books

Born with Teeth

Rip planted this red flag squarely in my field of vision, and still I could not see it.
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Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

How it begins: I started out in a green house with a red door in a small town, where mysteries abounded.

This book brought me back to my long-neglected blog. I got it in the mail yesterday and I sit her sad that I’m already through it and pleased to share it with anyone who is looking for something to read.

Already a fan of Ms. Muldrew (as Red on Orange is the New Black), I had no other expectations, other than the hope for kept interest, when I ordered the book to my mailbox.

It was a beautiful story and a true pleasure to read. Pain is woven into chapters with care and love. Sadness is captured with longing sincerity.

Her story is told with respect for the other characters, with passion for her work, her loved ones and for herself and with an openness to joy that is waited for, and never too far off.

Read this book. There is such beauty in the pages.

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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

 

 

The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone.
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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

How it begins: On the Ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skins her predecessor’s notes.

This book was just a simple read of pure enjoyment. It was a story for those who like stories, who find comfort in books, who get excited by a full bookshelf and a comfortable chair.

I was unsure what to expect when I started reading. Mr. Fikry is not easy to love at first. The characters are flawed, but smart. They face loss and trouble and are afforded happiness – some fleeting and some redeeming. References to other works of literary fiction, short stories and classics add depth for the real readers who find themselves lost in the Island bookstore.

Maya’s life is interesting and rich. Daniel’s (spoiler alert) end is one of the most simple and most beautiful ends I’ve ever read. A.J. begins with hardship, grows with duty and is touched with love in the end. The stories we tell those who matter to us, and the stories we keep from them were shown as meaningful and served to connect to the characters in a kinder and more empathetic way that I would in a normal, quick summer read.

If you enjoy sitting with a good book, do make sure you sit with this one.

Readers are the best…

They have access to hundreds of souls, and the collected wisdom of all them. They have seen things you’ll never understand and have experienced deaths of people you’ll never know.

I came across this article and there are so many important and interesting elements to it. Don’t only consider falling in love with a reader, but befriend them, seek them out. They are special and thoughtful folk.

Read this.

Top 10 Tuesday

TTT

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s Topic: TOP 10 FAVOURITE TV SHOWS

I’ve been meaning to start doing these for a few weeks now, and considering this week is actually a departure from books is an ironic note to start on. I’m starting, nonetheless. Here’s my list! (in no particular order)

UnknownSHERLOCK

The casting is clever, the dialogue quick and full of wit. I hate that the seasons are so short but I can’t wait to see the return of Moriarty. My favourite relationship in this one is between Sherlock and Mycroft. I agree that Elementary is good at showcasing the stories of Sherlock Holmes as well, but the actors, music and fast-paced stories win me over every time (in case I was forced to choose). Benedict Cumberbatch wins. Every time.

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THE WALKING DEAD

Sunday nights, this is what I’m doing. October cannot come soon enough. The stories, the people, the tragedy, the themes. The show is so well done. We’re getting down to people that I’m afraid to lose now, though. And I can’t wait to see how they get out of that train car.

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HOMELAND

I’m not even caught up with this one…waiting for season three to come out on Netflix. I can’t wait to see Brody die. I keep watching so intently because I know that it’s coming. I just wonder what’s going to drive Carrie as nutty afterwards…I’m interested to find out though.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

I am a binge watcher. After the new season got released, I was through it within three days. I convinced myself that I was watching while working, but not much got done those days. The characters are interesting and troubled (of course, they are incarcerated), based in truth, and as much as you hate some of them (still not a fan of Alex), there are elements that redeem them enough to invest in their story. The end of season two was so fantastic, all of the emotion pent up from Rosa’s news was balanced with the karma put upon Vee…fan-tas-tic.

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SUITS

This show fills the void left from Boston Legal. It’s smart and interesting. Shows the darkness of people – high stress, thinking outside the box. Intelligence is cool and I love that.

Donna and Louis Litt – love, love, love.

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FRANKLIN & BASH

Another law-based drama. Perhaps I have a type? This one is funny, the supporting characters add so much to the focus of the show. And the throwback to my generation of Saved by the Bell and Clueless – these boys are still cute.

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REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER

Again, with the smart. Bill Maher is intelligent, opinionated and I love watching his show. (I fall asleep to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert Monday through Thursdays too).

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MODERN FAMILY

Al Bundy as a put upon step dad.
Phil Dunphy.
Cameron Tucker.
no more words.

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THE BIG BANG THEORY

One of the only two sitcoms on the list. I have a fondness for Sheldon because I have a small Mr. Cooper living with me. The Nerdy version of Friends, in lots of ways, I enjoy the interactions and the personality quirks and the trouble, embarrassment and muddling through.

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DOWNTON ABBEY

I watch this one when it comes out on Netflix. I watch it for the stories. I love reading historical fiction, and I assume that’s why I enjoy this one. It’s the quiet humour, the ‘way things are’, the conventions, the scheming and the terribly tragedies that result in heartbreak, upset and then, the ability to carry on.

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CRIMINAL MINDS

Spencer Reed. Penelope Garcia. The awkwardness and the raw ability.
And, the words at the beginning and end. I’m a sucker for those as well.

THE ONES I MISS THE MOST:
These are the shows that I loved so much when they were on and missed them when they left.

Boston Legal. Denny. Denny Crane.
Friday Night Lights. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.
The Big C. So much emotion.
Breaking Bad. ‘yo. (at least Better Call Saul is coming)
House. Everybody lies.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The most random things get her way too full of love.

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Where’d you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

How it begins: The first annothing thing is when I ask Dad what he things happened to Mom, he always says, “What’s most important is for you to understand it’s not your fault.”

This book sat on my reader for a long time before I started reading it and after finishing it, I had wished I had read it sooner. Although the cover doesn’t necessarily suggest Young Adult in genre, the story fits there, I think. With themes of family and independence, fitting in and standing out, the characters face typical growing up challenges with atypical actions. Crazy comes out of the woodwork and through the blackberry vines. Antarctica helps Bernadette remember her purpose, her importance and her own possibilities that have not passed her by. Bee knows to never give up on the mother who stays inside, hates everyone and would do anything for her daughter.

The set up of the story is interesting, the delivery is engaging and the characters are laugh-out-loud funny. There were a few developments that I would have rather done without, but they made sense and they made the entire story even more real.

This is a read that will make you feel, make you laugh, make you connect and make you want to savour the words, the message and the little bit of crazy we all carry that tends to make the world go ’round.

Love Letters to the Dead

I think a lot of people want to be someone, but we are scared that if we try, we won’t be as good as everyone imagines we could be.

18140047Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

How it begins: Dear Kurt Cobain,
Mrs. Buster gave us our first assignment in English today, to write a letter to a dead person.

Quick read. I found a number of passages came with particular impact, on the high side for typical YA reads. The story was cute, but kind of typical and not that difficult to predict. There were a lot of similarities to both The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Sky is Everywhere. Both books I loved, so that’s ok, but I found myself spending too much time comparing the stories, the characters, the styles. I love letters and I think telling a story with them is interesting and carries great potential. I write them in my head all the time. The dead people who Laurel write to represent great things in history which adds depth and interest to the storyline.

Overall, a cute read, but if you’ve already read the the other two books I mentioned you may find yourself thinking you’ve read parts of it before.

thirty days in one

if i try to stretch it out over a month, it will never get done, so here’s the 30 day book challenge in one.

01: Best book read last year
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

02: Book you’ve read more than three times
The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

03: Favourite Series
Harry Potter – JK Rowling

04: Favourite book of series
Prisoner of Askaban

05: Book that makes you happy
Bird by Bird – Anne Lammott

06: Book that makes you sad
Have a Little Faith – Mitch Albom

07: Book that makes you laugh
Dad is Fat – Jim Gaffigan

08: Most overrated book
Room – Emma Donogue

09: Book you thought you wouldn’t like but did
A Reliable Wife – Robert Goolrick

10: Book that reminds you of home
House Rules – Rachel Sontag

11: Book you hated
Can’t answer; if I hate them, don’t finish them

12: Book you love and hate at same time
Looking for Alaska – John Green

13: Favourite Writer
Anne Lammott

14: Book turned movie – completely desecrated
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

15: Favourite Male Character
Charlie – Perks of Being a Wallflower

16: Favourite Female Character
Lennie – The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson

17: Favourite Quote from a favourite book
“Rivers know this– there is no hurry, we will get there someday” Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
(I could go on for a day with this category)

18: Book that Disappointed
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

19: Favourite book turned movie
Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
I almost never like movies made from books, this one I hated least.

20: Favourite romance
Crossfire Series – Sylvia Day

21: First novel you remember reading
Charlotte’s Web – EB White

22: Book that makes you cry
We were the Mulvaneys – Joan Carol Oates

23: Book you’ve wanted to read for a long time, still haven’t
Where’d you go, Bernadette – Maria Semple

24: A book you wish more would have read
When God was a Rabbit – Sarah Winman

25: A character you can relate to the most
I don’t read to relate, so this one is hard…

26: Book that changed your opinion about something
This is How – Augusten Burroughs

27: Most surprising plot twist/ending
The Giver – Lois Lowry

28: Favourite title
It’s not usually the title that gets me, it’s the dedication or the first line.

29: A book everyone hated but you liked
I don’t know…who is everyone and what book did they hate?

30: Favourite book of all time
There are so many favourites…
Oh! The Places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
This is How – Augusten Burroughs
The Sky is Everywhere – Jandy Nelson
The Beginning of Everything –  Robyn Schneider
A Visit from the Good Squad – Jennifer Egan
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
….

The Distance Between Us

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The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

How it begins: My eyes burn a hole in the page. I should know this. I can usually dissect a science equation easily, but the answer isn’t coming to me.

I finished this book not all that long ago, and as I’m writing this, I’m struggling to remember many details of the story. Not to say that it was a bad read, I don’t finish books that I struggle to read. I usually give them one chapter, at the most two and if they are hard to get through, I put them down. So, that wasn’t the case with this book. The characters were cute. They could have been made more interesting with some deeper backstories, more attention to secondary characters, and such.

I finished the book, and now, it’s just meh. I put it in the ‘finished’ pile, but not necessarily the ‘remembered’ pile. It was ok, but it could have been better.

How I Came to Sparkle Again

No matter what comes flying at you, don’t catch it. Step aside and let it fly by. Think of all those words as if they were balls bouncing around the room, like dodgeball. If you don’t catch them and throw them back, they’ll all lose their energy and end up on the floor behind you. Go through the motions in the physical world, but don’t participate on an energetic level.

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How I Came to Sparkle Again by Kaya McLaren

How it begins: It was fair to say Jill Anthony’s first day back at work had been a disaster – so much so, in fact, that her supervisor had sent her home early. She just wasn’t ready to be back. Enough time had not passed.

It was a long drive from home to Florida and this is one of the books that was savoured on the way. I so enjoyed this book. For some reason I haven’t read a whole lot of adult fiction as of late, and this book made me question why not. (Most likely because YA is so easy to get through and I have so many distractions…)

This is a wonderful story of loss and change. Making your way, through obstacles that were unexpected and nothing like you had planned for. The characters are funny and flawed, real and written with impact. Uncle Howard, how I wish he was mine. He was after my own heart. I read this one slower than I usually do and felt like I got to know the characters better. They resonated with me – their upheavals, their need for difference, their struggle to find their place.

Read it to remember the value of friendship, the answers that you can find in a book and the strength that hides within us all, even when we’re sure it’s gone.

The Giver

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

How it begins: It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.

The story was so simple and so sad. The ending, although ambiguous, felt tragic and made me want to pause. I can easily go from book to book, one ends, another begins. But when I finished this one, I stopped reading for the night. To me, there was so much loss in the pages. Loss of emotion, of memories, loss of growth and choice. There was room for the reader to decide about many things in the story and there was room to feel and to consider. I felt so much loss while reading this story. And longing – longing for Jonas and for Gabe, for those who were released and the Old who are celebrated as they are sent to sleep.

Days after finishing it, I still have thoughts about it. I don’t think I’d ever read it again, but I don’t think I’ll forget it either.