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Showing posts from April, 2014

Month In Review

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April was a great month for reading, I read 15 books!  I think that may be a new record for me. It helps that I had so many great books to read as well as the 24 Hour Readathon.  Here is what I read, with my GoodReads ratings:

5 Stars
Prada and Prejudice by Katie Oliver
Landing Gear by Kate Pullinger
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
Up, Up, & Away by Jonah Keri

4 Stars
Skinny Bitch Gets Hitched by Kim Barnouin
Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole
God's Dream for You by Matthew Barnett
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
The Fully Lived Life by Dr. Merry C. Lin

3 Stars
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
Tempting Fate by Jane Green
Deep Thoughts from a Hollywood Blonde by Jennie Garth
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan

Challenges

Canadian Book Challenge (5), Diversity on the Shelf (3), TBR Pile (0), Classics Club (0)

What I'm Looking Forward to in May

"The Here and Now" by Ann Brashares

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Follow the rules.  Remember what happened.  Never fall in love.
Seventeen-year-old Prenna James immigrated to New York when she was twelve years old.  But she didn’t come from another country, she came from a different time.  In the future, a mosquito-borne illness has killed millions of people and is threatening to wipe all life from earth.  But Prenna and others have discovered a way to escape, by going back in time.
Once in the present day, their community is strictly controlled and everyone must follow the rules so that no one discovers where they are really from and so that they can help prevent the plague they are escaping from.  Prenna doesn’t want to break the rules but when she falls in love with Ethan, a boy at school, she finds herself in trouble.  And when Prenna and Ethan find out a secret that could save the future, they soon find themselves on the run from the community and in a race against time.
The Here and Now is the newest novel from Ann Brashares, the bestselling …

Sunday Headlines

Here are the headlines that caught my eye this week:
*Canadian author Alistair MacLeod, winner of the 2001 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, has died at the age of 77.
*A CBC Books poll determined that Anne Shirley is Canada's most iconic character.
*Bookstores are using creative means when it comes to organizing titles.  This Guardian article shares some of the odder book sections.
*The Guardian has also compiled a list of 10 authors to see live.

24 Hour Readathon

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It's time for another Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!  This time around I have decided to use this time to knock a few books off my Netgalley shelf.  Here is what I hope to read today:


I will be doing my updates on this post and probably completing most challenges on Twitter or Instagram so be sure to check me out there! (@goodbooksandtea)
End of Event Meme
1) Which hour was most daunting for you? Around hour 14 was when I realized that things weren't going to last much longer.
2) Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Every Day is for the Thief by Teju Cole was good because it's a novella, it has fantastic photography, and really keeps your interest.
3) Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope, as always it was wonderfully organized and a lot of fun.
4) What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The social media component was great and the website was very …

"Tempting Fate" by Jane Green

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For the past twenty years, Gabby has been happily married to Elliott, having settled into life in Connecticut with their two daughters.  And even though Ellott has made the decision that there will be no more children, something Gabby desperately wants, she never doubts her love for him or how wonderful her life is because of him.  Until one night while out with the girls she meets Matt.
Matt is a young, successful entrepreneur who knows all the right things to say to Gabby.  He makes her feel young and beautiful and though she knows it is just harmful flirting, she lets herself fall into the fantasy.  It should have ended that night but Gabby allows it to go further until one moment destroys everything she has.
Tempting Fate by Jane Green is a novel that looks at the old adage of wondering if the grass is greener on the other side.  A story of marriage, betrayal, and forgiveness, it is a simple story with a powerful message.
I always look forward to a new novel from Jane Green.  Thou…

"All My Puny Sorrows" by Miriam Toews

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What do you do when someone you love wants you to help them die?
Elfrieda and Yolandi are funny, smart, and loving sisters who grew up in a boundary pushing Mennonite family in Manitoba.  As adults, they are two very different women.  Elf is a world-renowned pianist, wealthy and happily married.  Yolandi is twice divorced with two kids desperately trying to find true love.  But together the sisters share a struggle that is hurting their family.  Elf wants to end her life and she wants Yoli to help her do it. 
All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews, is a heartbreaking, tender and yet humourous novel about love, family, grief, and responsibility.  With a flood of emotions, it touches a difficult topic in an honest and incredible way.
The subject matter of the book along with Toews’ gentle way of approaching it makes this a difficult book to read in one go.  The emotions are so understated, I didn’t feel them creeping up on me.  I had to keep putting the book down and reading something els…

Sunday Headlines

Here are some literary articles that caught my eye this week
*Readers, writers, bloggers have all been talking about this lately - diversity in books and why publishers aren't doing enough.  Buzzfeed shares why diversity is not enough.
*The Toronto Public Library chose Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo as their One Book for 2014.  To celebrate, 22 cellists will be playing in 22 spots in Toronto over 22 days.
*A decline in male readers is worrying authors says The Guardian.
*As everyone knows, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has passed away.
*If you're Canadian, you know Winnie The Pooh's back story from the CBC Heritage Minute.  Now, Ryerson University is exploring his history in an exhibit.

"Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde" by Jennie Garth

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If you were a teenager in the 90’s, you probably caught an episode of Beverly Hils 90210 (or all ten seasons.)  And you probably recognize one of the show’s famous blondes, Jennie Garth.  From the moment Kelly Taylor came on the screen, Jennie was thrust into the spotlight and with the rest of the cast became an instant celebrity.   Since then she has had a career in Hollywood that has spanned over two decades which she is sharing about in her new memoir Deep Thoughts From A Hollywood Blonde. 
Why did she decide to write a book now?  Jennie found herself at a new point in her life.  At the age of 40 she was newly divorced and raising her three daughters as a single mother.  After years of focusing on her family rather than her acting career, she found herself, and her life, in all of the tabloids.  So she decided to tell the story herself, juicy bits and all.
I picked this book up because I was such a big fan of 90210 growing up.  I’m pretty sure I was a little too young to be watchi…

"Landing Gear" by Kate Pullinger

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Spring 2010.  Ash from a volcano in Iceland has closed the airspace over Europe.  With most of her colleagues in local radio stranded abroad, Harriet jumps at the opportunity to further her career.  But a chance encounter with a man from her past ruins everything.  Meanwhile, Harriet’s husband Michael is stuck in Toronto and staying with an old flame, while their teenage son Jack who is off from school and on his own finds himself in a lot of trouble.  Emily is a young television researcher who has just lost her father to a heart attack.  And Yacub is a migrant worker from Pakistan, stranded in a labour camp in Dubai after the project he is working on goes bust.
Fast forward two years and all of these lives come crashing together when Yacub falls out of the landing gear of an airplane and lands on Harriet’s car in a supermarket parking lot.
Landing Gear, by Kate Pullinger, is an intriguing page-turner that brings many aspects of modern society - the internet, airplanes, immigration, t…

Sunday Headlines - Top Ten Edition

Here are some of the headlines that caught my eye this week, all lists of ten.
*Ten authors to follow on Twitter from The Savvy Reader.
*CBC Books shares ten amazing author statues.
*Are you a dictionary fanatic? Here are ten great reads the National Post thinks you might like.
*The Celebrity Cafe thinks these ten YA books should be adapted into movies.
*The Guardian lists the top ten books about missing persons.
*Here are the ten mistakes non comic book fans make about comic books, courtesy of What Culture (my husband will probably tell you I have made all ten.)

"The Ever After of Ashwin Rao" by Padma Viswanathan

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In 1985, an Air India flight leaving Vancouver, Canada blew up off the coast of Ireland.  The majority of people on board were Canadians of Indian ancestry.  It wasn’t until 2004 that two suspects were finally put on trial for what is the largest mass murder in Canadian history.
Ashwin Rao is an Indian psychologist who was trained in Canada but returned to India after the bombing took the lives of his sister and niece and nephew.  But the trial brings him back to Canada, to do a study on comparative grief by interviewing people who lost a loved one in the attack.  This brings him into contact with the Sethuratnam family, and their friend Venkat who lost his wife and son.  As Ashwin becomes wrapped up in their lives, he finds himself trying to deal with the emotional fallout of his own loss.
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan looks at the emotions, grief, and recovery of one of the darkest days in Canadian history through the lens of fiction.  In addition to following th…

Sunday Headlines

Here are a few literary headlines that caught my eye this week:
*Some bookstores are closing while others are thriving - is it the end of the independent bookstore?
*Elle magazine asked 12 great female authors to recommend their favourite female authors.
*Here are 10 famous literary characters based on real life people
*Yann Martel reflects on life and the book that brought him fame.
*It is common for book covers to change between hardcover and paperback, but titles?

"Up, Up, and Away" by Jonah Keri

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2014 is a difficult year for Montreal Expos fans.  It’s the 20th anniversary of the strike that hurt baseball in Montreal, and the 10th anniversary of the year the team left the city for Washington, DC.  But it doesn’t mean that the Expos aren’t still beloved by people across the country, and the rumours that Major League Baseball will come back to the city aren't going anywhere.
I grew up on the Montreal Expos.  To this day I still find it strange to watch baseball on television without French commentary.  The Expos logo factored heavily in my childhood wardrobe and I could find my way to the stadium on the Metro long before I could find the way to my hometown team on the subway.  So when I saw the book Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos by Jonah Keri, I knew it was going to be a grand slam.
Every so often a new book about the Expos comes out and I a…

"Boy, Snow, Bird" by Helen Oyeyemi

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In 1953, Boy Novak arrives in a small town in Massachusetts, hoping to escape her difficult and violent life in New York.  She settles in and marries local widower Arturo Whitman, becoming stepmother to his daughter Snow.  Boy never imagined she would fall into the role of wicked stepmother but it soon happens.  When Boy gives birth to a daughter whose dark skin exposes a long-kept secret of the Whitman’s, Snow finds herself sent away from her own home.  Separately and together, Boy, Snow, and Bird all struggle against the forces of beauty and the power the mirror holds over them.
Called a re-telling of the fairy tale Snow White, Boy, Snow, Bird, is the fifth novel from Helen Oyeyemi, a writer who was recently named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists.  Known for incorporating myth and fairy tales into her work, Oyeyemi tackles race in a pre-civil rights era America in this book.
While all of the marketing for the book refers to this as a re-telling of Snow White, it really …