Tag Archives: Fiction

What I Thought Of : A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

A Tale for the Time Being a novel by Ruth OzekiI just finished A Tale for the Time Being this morning. A book I borrowed from a fellow Accidental Book Club member (Thanks, Courtney). It’s been a while since I’ve read something that got me thinking and wondering about quantum physics. Are we living multiple lives right now? We have infinite alternate realities? Could there really be 4 billion moments in every day?

This book started off really slow. A women finds a diary from a girl in Japan along the coast of a remote BC island in a ziplock bag and starts reading it. This woman, let’s call her Ruth because that’s what her name is, starts getting involved in the writer’s life and seems to feel responsible for her. In a strange way, they become friends without knowing each other.

It took me over a month to read this book. It wasn’t until I got to the last 100 pages when I really began wanting to know more and actually caring about what happens. I’m amazed I finished it at all, to tell you the truth. I have other actual book club books I should be reading. But I’m glad I got through it.

Often times I am in a moment in my own life when I know I need to do something but I haven’t and then I read a book that engages my brain and gives it a little kick. I think that’s precisely what happens to Ruth in the book as well.

In the end, I can say I did like it. I liked it a lot. It felt a little like homework at times but in the end I feel fresh and ready…for something.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

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What I Thought Of : Lost & Found By Brooke Davis

Novel - Lost and Found by Brooke DavisLost & Found by Brooke Davis was picked up at the Fernie Heritage Library because other books I wanted weren’t in…and as I scanned the New Releases section, this one stood out. I was looking for something light and friendly and what I found was something a little twisted and odd. A little girl, around the age of 7, was abandoned at a department store by her mother (that’s incredibly sad!) only to be discovered and helped by a couple of senior citizens.

What I love about this book is how the two elders were written. One was an 82 year old shut in who only left her house after years and years to begrudgingly help the little girl. The other, an 87 year old man who escaped a nursing home to finally begin living. These two were my favorites. They were quirky and lived a life the way they wanted to live it and didn’t care too much about anyone or anything else. Now in their eighties, they have discovered that they aren’t useless and still want adventure in their lives…and can still love, find new friends and be someone you can count on.

I think about my Oma, who is in a nursing home and sits in front of her tv all day and night. She doesn’t do much unless the nurses force her out of her room for some fun (“fun” being playing bingo or doing a puzzle). How excited would I be if I found out my Grandmama has ditched the place and can’t be found? Very excited…although, I hope she brings a sweater.

I enjoyed this book and I’m excited to get old and start a new adventure when I’m in my 80s.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : Abide With me By Elizabeth Strout

Abide With me - Book I'm Reading - Small Town SocialAbide with Me by Elizabeth Strout was borrowed from the Fernie Heritage Library as a filler because the books I requested  were out. I had typed Elizabeth Strout’s name in my ‘book’ notes on my phone but it wasn’t the exact novel recommended but I thought I’d give this one a try. Abide With Me is mostly about a family, the father being a minister, living in a small town in America and surviving and dealing with loss.

The book doesn’t show much positivity or too much activity either but there is a beautiful look at how a family deals with tragedy – and even the community around them. Strout gives all sorts of perspectives in this town – teachers, patronages, family, friends, house keepers etc. What the people around the family observes and what they expect from them is so harsh. If I ever talk to anyone that is grieving, I hope I am patient, loving and kind and never push them to move on or be happy.

I’m interested in reading another book by Elizabeth Strout – I hear Olive Kitterage is great…but after this book of sadness, I’m not sure I’m ready for it just yet.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : In The Unlikely Event By Judy Blume

Judy Blume - In The Unlikely Event - A NovelAn Accidental Book Club selection, In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume was an interesting read. I liked it more once I was about half way through and then I couldn’t put it down. The book introduces about twenty characters, which allows us to see each person’s perspective during one particularly tragic year for a little town named Elizabeth. I was getting overwhelmed and lost in the names and their relations. When I have to try too hard, my brain fights it – I spent many nights passing out after reading 2 pages….sometimes, 2 paragraphs.

Once my brain figured out who was who, I could see a little more clearly what Judy Blume was doing. There are definitely a few main characters (a family of characters) and it seems as though everyone else had some sort of connection to this one family. We’re all linked, really, if you think about it.

I’m not sure if it’s because of Judy Blume’s past but I couldn’t help thinking, at times, I was reading young adult fiction. Not all the time, as there was definitely some adult content. There was just something about it that I can’t put my finger on.

What I did enjoy was seeing the change is perspective and attitude over the characters’ lifespan. You sometimes forget how tragedy can affect people so differently, depending on age, family life, your personality and, once again, perspective. The novel covers the unlikely events of passenger planes crashing into a small town in New Jersey and how it effects the lives of the people in the town of Elizabeth, as well as, the family and friends of the passengers in the planes. How blessed I am to not have lived in a town where multiple planes crashed (as Judy Blume had as a child, as it turns out). The funny thing is, I used to wonder if people living by an airport worried about this exact scenario. I think I would, which is probably why I don’t live by an airport. In fact, the closest one is about 1 hour away. Perfect.

So not only is Blume telling the story of grief, healing and moving on but she touches on something more, like the importance of love and forgiveness. I can’t wait to talk to my Accidental Book Club people about this book. I find the idea of personal opinions fascinating. How can one person like something and another doesn’t? We’ll find out!

By the way, I don’t recommend reading this on a plane.

Thanks, Fernie Heritage Library, for lending me the book!

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : Lost Lake By Sarah Addison Allen

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison AllenI was madly looking for my next book to read and both books suggested for this month’s Accidental Book Club were not in at Fernie Heritage Library. I couldn’t go home empty handed, so I picked up Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen. The other books will have to wait. As soon as I picked up Lost Lake, I couldn’t put it down. It’s definitely an easy read and a novel I could see as a feature film starring Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon that would definitely be put on the Chick Flick shelf…but I still got lost in Lost Lake and finished it in less than 3 days. That’s a record for me, in the 3 years.

Lost Lake is about that time in your life when you are in the middle of change – a time of reflection and shedding of old skin. All the characters, who meet at Lost Lake for their own reasons, are heading to this place without realizing the magic it holds and the place it has in their hearts. A woman named Eby, of around seventy, owns the resort but wonders if this run down place was the ending to her story. Lissette, a girl who followed Eby and her husband to Lost Lake holds tight to her past. Kate and her daughter Devin flee to Lost Lake looking for answers and happiness with Great Aunt Eby. Wes, the boy Kate met as a child during a short family vacation, has to find his own happiness. There are more interesting characters to come to the lake throughout the book and each one is a little bit lost and each one will have to make some big decisions but they aren’t about to do it alone.  It’s nice to read about people who are lost, even at an old age, because I always feel as though I shouldn’t be in transition anymore. I should have figured it all out by now but I know nothing is permanent and we must all adapt as the world changes. It’s easy to get lost in the mess and feel lonely but the book shows you the importance of people – a support system.

A couple quotes from the book that stood out for me:

“The world was not like him and was not going to change for him. The trick to getting through life, she’d told him, is not to resent it when it isn’t exactly how you think it should be.”

and

“Lisette took a deep breath and stood up.
When  your cup is empty, you do not mourn what is gone.
Because if you do, you will miss the opportunity to fill it again.”

If this book does become a movie one day, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s got all the good stuff : love, magic, mystery, sadness, joy, friendship and alligators. I’d see it. Now I need to get this book back to the library so I can pick up Judy Blume’s In The Unlikely Event.

And that in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : Irma Voth By Miriam Toews

Irma Voth by Miriam ToewsMiriam Toews really knows how to write a book that is both hilarious and sad. That’s an amazing gift. Irma Voth is a story about Irma Voth, a mennonite girl shunned by her family (her father), left by her husband and feeling very alone. Still, I’m laughing on every page! It reminds me of the debate that goes on between some middle aged comedians or writers throughout Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda. Depending on how the story is told and I guess largely based on perspective, the same story could be a tragedy or a comedy. Irma Voth could have been a really dark and depressing novel but it was strangely the opposite. Perhaps, it was the naive main character and her wild imagination that kept things so light or maybe it was because people, even in the worst situations, can rise above and carry on. I like the idea of the latter.

Irma Voth is a young women who doesn’t have much going for her, not by choice, but throughout the book she finds people who show her a life beyond what she’s grown up with. From each person she encounters, she realizes a truth about herself and the world and most importantly, she sees what is wrong in her world. When we’re going through a hard time, how amazing is it to just have someone see your potential and give you hope? Some people just need a chance to shine.

I love Irma Voth. You might too. I recommend reading this book if you want to read about a girl who doesn’t give up.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

Secret Daughter a novel by Shilpi Somaya GowdaSecret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda was picked up at a recent Bake & Book sale (fundraiser for SNiP) – I always find it interesting how certain books enter my life – and I could not have read it at a better time in my life. The subject of adoption has come up with various people in my life quite frequently lately. Secret Daughter is about two women who are connected by the child that links the two together. One woman secretly brought her daughter to an orphanage in India because they were too poor to keep her and an American woman adopted her.

The story centers around two women who show power and strength in very different ways while dealing with their own realities. Everyone can relate to that, I think. No matter what choice we make in life, we can’t avoid challenges and pain. Some pain is much harder to tolerate while others can be forgiven and forgotten. With each woman there is a man who make choices, as well, and they must also live and deal with certain consequences. There’s an interesting balance in a marriage. No? How and when to make choices you know the other doesn’t agree with but you choose them anyway. How do you both heal? How does one forgive? Again, it comes down to making a choice.

When I think about my own kids and the problems they could face, I get all mama bear and my fists get tight. My own journey with letting go and allowing my children to make their own mistakes, it will be a tough one. Strength does not come from having your mom take care of all of your problems. I must remember that my kids are a force of their own. They will have to decide what’s best for them and forgive and still love themselves when they chose poorly. Lastly, but most importantly, I must not forget about who I am and where I come from.

Our story is important and our struggle is what strengthens us.

Secret Daughter could go in the dictionary under “easy read”, if that was even a possibility, but if I can read a book and be reminded about the power of love and forgiveness, it was a good read.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.