Tag Archives: reading

Music Break : If You Really Love Nothing (Reimagined by Pêtr Aleksänder)

I got home from school drop off and came to my computer, like I do every morning after drop off, and opened Spotify. Looking for something different to listen to, I clicked on the Release Radar mix. The first song I heard was this and I felt it was just the perfect song for this morning.

I’ve been reading a book called Road Ends by Mary Lawson. It’s about a family who lives in northern Ontario, set in the late 1960s, and the struggles they deal with from their past and present. The mother locks herself in her room with her newborn and slowly fades away, completely obliviously to the rest of the family, the father lives a life of regret and fails to step up to his role as father, and the kids, well, the kids are surviving the best they know how. About 15 pages from the end I put the book down and I cleaned up all the toys on the floor I’ve been ignoring, put away all the drawings my kids have 1/2 finished that just sit around the house, I put away clothes on the floor that I pretend aren’t there and threw out a banana peel from under the coffee table that looked like I caught it just in time. Life can get away from you. I get it but I don’t want that. I want to step up. My kids deserve to be kids and I should be there to support them and show them how to love even when things aren’t going our way. Gosh, books, I love them. I love music, too. Now it’s time to draw!


Hail To Davidson

Craig Davidson's The Saturday Night Ghost Club New Book

I was just online browsing for images of this crazy hail storm on highway 22 when I found this other link and then another link. In the second link I found some really good information that I feel compelled to share. The same author who wrote Precious Cargo has written a new novel titled The Saturday Night Ghost Club and it comes out this August. Well, look how things turned around there! From hail to a new Davidson book. Things are look up!

What I’ve Been Reading : The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Book I've Read - The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksWow. What a book. This one had me from page one. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and the immortal cancer cells that were taken from her body, and how they took over the world.

This book is about much more than just some cells that won’t die. It’s about how the Lack family (a poor, uneducated black family from a tobacco farm) felt when they found out Henrietta’s cells were still alive and making some people very rich.

Ah! But the book is also about who has rights to cells once they’ve been taken from a body, whether that body is dead or alive. It’s a very interesting question that I would never have thought about otherwise. I had a mole removed a few years ago, do I have any rights to that sample once it leaves my body?

The author does an astounding job of showing as many sides of the story as she can. The doctors, the Lacks family and friends, the scientists, the people cured from various diseases thanks to HeLa cells, the journalists and the hospital where Henrietta Lacks went for cancer treatment and died.

Read it. You won’t regret it.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.

What I Thought Of : The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry By Rachel Joyce

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - A Novel - Rachel Joyce I recently joined a new book club called Accidental Book Club, a sort of book club for beginners (since a few of us have never been in one before), and this month we were supposed to read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, as well as, the Judy Blume book I recently talked about. Not that we are supposed to compare the two books but I thoroughly enjoyed this one more than the Blume book. I have a soft spot in my heart for old men, especially nice old men.

My Grandfather was a quiet man. He was playful with us kids but he also enjoyed his solitude. He would go on long walks in the morning by himself and, once in a while, I was able to go on walks with him. He would always walk holding his hands behind his back, which I have always thought was a very friendly way to walk. He had a past but he didn’t talk about it and never took out any stresses on his family members or anyone else … although, maybe it would have been better to at least mention some problems to his wife as he died from cancer very suddenly, or, at least, suddenly for us. I mention my Grandfather because Harold Fry reminds me of him and although I knew my grandfather for only a short 18 years, I will always think of him with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. One could only hope to have such an impact on another person once this life has ended.

Harold Fry lived a life believing he had made no such impact on anyone’s life and caused only pain and suffering. Imagine believing you are one big mistake for 70 years of your life and to finally do something spontaneous and treacherous and seemingly impossible because you believe you need to do something worth while in this life time. We’ve all heard the line that goes something like it’s not about the destination but the journey, well, nothing could be more true for Mr Fry. Harold was not only walking 500 miles for a dear friend who was dying but for his own life and what happens to him on this pilgrimage is life changing.

I loved this book. I loved the simple idea – a man going for a walk to save a friend. The different emotions Harold feels and people and places he encounters along the way seem so real and honest. You are on this journey with him. I’m not sure I would have handled certain situations and people the way he did but I understood his choices.

If you’re interested in the book, I borrowed it from the library and it’s going back today. I recommend it.

And that’s 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.

What I Thought Of : The Republic of Love by Carol Shields

The Republic of Love - a novel - Carol Shields. What I'm reading now...I picked up a book about love at the reuse centre in Fernie – life is a little funny sometimes. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book so focused on love and what love can do and feel like. It was refreshing, although published in 1995 so this modern story about love had things like VCRs and hand written letters.

Although, The Republic of Love by Carol Shields is a bit slow and contemplative, I enjoyed picking it up when I had the time to do so. It wasn’t like I was trying to get this book done, which happens with some books.

The Republic of Love tells the story of two people who grew up and live in Winnipeg and have never met but their friends and family are all interwoven. Half way through the book they meet and they fall in love but love is never as simple as just falling in love, the end. Love is a complicated idea/feeling/concept. It’s interesting how uniquely each person can experience love and react to it. The book tries to show that in all the different characters you meet – the differences and changes that happen through the years. I used to think, when I was kid, that love was something you find and it never goes away. It never causes problems or makes you act in a strange way. Then I grew up. Love can change everything, love can fade, love can smother, love can be one sided, love can be life altering, love can hurt and love can put you in a state of euphoria. Love and life is messy.

A book about love. Who knew I was ready for that?! I fully enjoyed reading it. Thanks, Carol.

And that’s in my uneducated opinion.