the Arrangement, by Sarah Dunn

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Okay, this one wasn’t my favourite… It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book I haven’t liked. And that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this one, it actually brought up a lot questions and situations that made me squirm! It was kind of like a train wreck.

Here’s the premise: Lucy and Owen have been married long enough to have lived in New York City and moved to the suburbs, have an 8 year old autistic son, decide to get 19 chickens, and be involved in their communities. Long enough to fall into a comfortable place within their marriage. Then after a very drunken night with some friends, they discuss the rules that they would place within their relationship if they planned on having an open marriage. After a long day, and a lot of thinking about how she has lost herself, Lucy decides to propose to Owen that they should do this as a trial for 6 months. Owen agrees… and I bet you can guess where this story is going to.

This book had a great potential to have some really deep, dark feelings get examined, but I feel like it fell short. It lacked a depth that I was craving within this story of relationship. Albeit the story was super juicy, and that kept wanting to read right till the bitter end. For anyone looking for a fast, beach read… go pick this one up! It fits the bill completely.

Until next time, happy reading!!!

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The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin

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If you could know the date of your death, would it change the way you lived your life? Well, this is what this book is all about. There is a ton of hype around this book… in fact I  have been hearing about The Immortalists for the last year. So when it was released on  January 9th, I resisted the temptation to run out immediately and buy it. Then after hearing Chloe Benjamin on Just the Right Book Podcast, I thought “screw it”, and went out to buy it. I’m really glad I succumbed to FOMO, because it’s a very special book!

The Immortalists is a book based in the literary fiction genre, but really it is a book that crosses many genres, making it widely accessible to many types of readers. It is a super fast read, as the book is a beautifully told story, with an element of suspense. It had me turning the pages so fast, and I felt fully entrenched in the story.

Based in 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, the Gold children: Klara, Daniel, Varya, Simon, seek out a mystical woman, who is traveling psychic claiming to tell anyone the day they will die. What they hear forms the next five decades of their lives. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

So, this is how it started: as a secret, a challenge, a fire escape they used to dodge the hulking mass of their mother, who demanded that they hang laundry or get the goddamn cat out of the stovepipe whenever she found them lounging in the bunk room.

So here we are, back to the original question… If you knew the date of your death, would you live your life differently? Would you take risks? Would love harder? This concept alone had hooked me. Then once I started reading, it was so interesting to watch these four siblings lives play out based on the knowledge that they knew. These characters were so layered. At moments you loved them, then you hated them, and then you wanted to shout at the top of your lungs for them to stop what they are doing. THAT, my friends, is exactly how I knew I loved this book.

Magic is only one tool among many for keeping one another alive.

The big theme that really stood out to me was the belief of a higher power. Each character had something that they believed in, whether it was religion, magic, art, or science. They all had their passions that allowed them to live bigger. And although their each one was different, it was as if the characters were completely bound to one another through these… as if it was their life lines.

Anywho, I hope this post inspires you to go buy this book, or put it on hold at your library. It’s truly a work of art, and I am so excited to hear other’s thoughts on it.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

 

 

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Happy Sunday! Today I’m coming at you with a non-fiction book about creativity. Elizabeth Gilbert has written many novels, but you probably know her best from the bestseller, and movie Eat Pray Love. I had put Big Magic on my required reading list for My Happiness Project for the month of January. I thought that maybe it might inspire me to live a little more creatively and write more.

And you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simple do not have time anymore to think so small.

The key points of the book are to stop being so afraid of doing what you want to do, and to stand up like your badass self and embrace the thing that makes your heart sing. There is a wonderful story about one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s friend in this book who at the age of 40 decided to start figure skating again. She described that her friend had a completely different feeling within herself when she would skate, even though she hadn’t done it since she was a kid. So she did it, and still does it. She’s not preparing for the next Olympics… but she is happy, and healthier for it.

She also talks about how originality isn’t the key, but authenticity is. The idea of thinking up something entirely original is really daunting. Because in all honesty, how many ideas are really original. All the great writers, songwriters, athletes, and everyday people have most likely been inspired by someone else’s thoughts. So you do you, and embrace the ideas and feelings that make you want to be creative.

To me this book is all about inspired living. I love to read. I love to write. I love to run. I also love my job as an RMT. This book has ignited a fire within me to just do what I love to do, and fully commit to it. Be in the moment, and let the magic take over. And likewise… if you need to go through the motions of your day before you can arrive at your beloved task/hobby, do that without complaints. It’s all part of the process.

It’s nobody’s business but your own.

You may think that the books I’m reading are a waste of time. You may think that my writing is terrible. You may think that my career choice is crazy. But dammit, I really don’t care what you think. I know in my heart that I love these things. I know that the books I read are part of a bigger picture for me. I know the writing that I do is part of my process. And I know for sure that my work is deeply meaningful to me, and my individual clients. So, friends, your opinions are great, but what they are are yours. And this book has taught me to be authentically myself, and go where my heart wants to.

Believe in the magic. Until next time, happy reading!

Podcast listeners may enjoy these with Elizabeth Gilbert:

 

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

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How I have made it this long in my life without reading this book… I don’t know!! I feel like almost everyone read it in high school. I did not. So I the fact that it was required reading for most high school English classes made it seem really unaccessible to me. Almost as if I’d have to study themes, and what not to understand it. But this was not the case.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was first published 1953, and in interviews he claims to have written it at a time in which that he frustrated with the censorship, banning of books, and an illiterate society . He choose his best avenue to voice his opinion, although it was not received well by everyone!! For a book about censorship and the implications it would host… this book has been censored and banned numerous times over the years. Kind of ironic! It is a short book of 165 pages, and in the dystopian sci-fi genre.

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

Here’s a quick synopsis… if you haven’t read it yet. Guy Montag was a fireman whose job was to start fires, and he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumedly flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do…

“Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” someone said.

Words are power. Books have the ability to help you forge a new opinion, change your mind, or influence an opinion that you may already have quelling inside of you. Isn’t this the reason that a book can evoke such strong emotions in a reader? It can figuratively light a fire inside of you. Whether it’s positive or negative, it holds that power. This book is exactly what this is about. Over the history of literature, people have used words to influence people… this is seen in the Bible, classic literature, and modern literature. The big theme that spoke most to me throughout this book is freedom of thoughts, and speech.

We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

Did you know where the title comes from??? Fahrenheit 451 is actually the temperature that is required to burn books. Just further confirming that Bradbury is a pretty badass, rise up and speak for what you believe in writer.

To all the podcast fans out there… I listened to a GREAT episode from Overdue, Episode 274, breaking down their thoughts on Fahrenheit 451.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery

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If you don’t already know about my love of Lucy Maud Montgomery, click here to see a post about Anne and also about Maud. As of recently I’ve been reflecting on why I have this fascination… like most book worms… but I really think that it stems back to being a young girl visiting my Aunt and Uncle whom live a couple houses away from L.M. Montgomery’s home in Leaskdale. I always remember being fascinated by the fact that someone so inspired to write great literary fiction lived there. I can also remember wondering what it would have the town, and her life have been back then. Needless to say, I still haven’t been on a tour of her house, but I will need to put that on my 2018 bucket list.

I picked up The Blue Castle when we were visiting Green Gables this past September. I’ve heard many people raving about it, and what a delight the book is… Well it sat on my shelf until last week when one of my clients had been telling me that their book club actually read it, and adored it. So clearly, that green eyed book envy monster got the best of me and I picked it up.

Here’s a quick little synopsis for you: Valancy at the age of twenty-nine had never been in love, and her family, and herself thought that love had passed her by. Living with her overbearing family, the only sense of adventure that Valancy had experienced were wildlife books written by John Foster, and her daydreams of her own Blue Castle. Then when Valancy receives some troublesome news from Dr. Trent, she decides to live on the wild side… to do what she wants, say what she wants, and be who she wants. Through this troublesome news she has been blessed with the gift of love, and a much fuller life.

“Fear is the original sin,” wrote John Foster. “Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something.”

I really loved this book. First of all if you haven’t read much L.M. Montgomery, she is full of snark and wit… which I love. She has the sweetest twists and turns buried in this little novel. Another reason I really loved reading this book was it is based in the Muskoka’s in Ontario, Canada… which is close to where my parent’s cottage is. I really think that there is something special about reading a book that has a setting you are familiar with.

Watching Valancy’s character transform into someone confident enough to be who she was just dying to be inside was wonderful. She went from this meek, soft spoken young girl, to an opinionated, confident woman.

All in all, I hope this post inspires you to go read this book. I am never let down by Maud, but this book is truly a wonderful little book. And little is true as well, it comes in at just over 200 pages and has the ability to make you want to read each and every word, but also turn the pages at a fast rate.

Have a wonderful day, bookish friends!

 

 

 

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

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Have you ever read a book that in that moment you felt so inspired to DO something? I read The Happiness Project ages ago… BUT I must have just skimmed it, or not been in the right frame of mind to let it move me like it has done recently. I felt so inspired that I am going to do my own personal Happiness Project.

The concept of this book is much the same to how I would view myself… that’s why I think I connected with it so well. Gretchen is a relatively happy person already, but knows there are certain areas of her life in which she could be happier. So she decides to dedicate one whole year to The Happiness Project. She maps out resolutions and focuses on a different area of her life for one whole month, then the next month she tackles a new set of resolutions. You will have to read the book to hear the outcome! In only working on one area at a time for a month makes these goals much more attainable. They can range from making your bed in the morning, to writing a book!

It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light.

Here’s the thing… Gretchen’s resolutions are small, but have big outcomes in her daily happiness. She’s also not so naive that she thinks this is a cure all to her happiness, but that it can make her daily life a lot better. And what I really took away from this book is that you can go through life just getting by, or you can truly examine what is holding you back and work on it. I chose to examine as soon as I finished reading this book… actually WHILE I was reading this book I was making notes in which areas and certain resolutions that I could make.

The days are long, but the years are short.

SO… in short, I mentioned early that this book inspired me to start My Happiness Project. You can jump on over to that page if you want to see my notes and my little map on it. I am going to be keeping you all in the loop about it, and would love if anyone wants to join me! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have questions/comments regarding this.

ALSO, if you are a podcast fan check out Gretchen’s podcast, Happier. She co-hosts with her sister, Liz Craft, and it’s a great little resource if this type of book sounds interesting to you.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

Books of the Year List

Hey there bookish friends!

I wanted to do a quick post to share some of my favourite reads of the year. It has been an exceptionally good reading year for me due to some changes I’ve made to my reading life. These are including chatting with new and old friends about books more, finding some great book resources, and deciding to get up even earlier to read.

Below I have listed some of my favourite reads (in no particular order), and linked the blog post that I wrote on them if you would like more info. One important note before I get started is that I couldn’t obviously post a whole series… but you all know about my deep love for the Inspector Gamache series, by Louise Penny… this series is by far the best one I read this year… so check that out too. Please feel free to comment on what your favourite books you’ve read this year have been!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Oh man, this book!! I loved it. From it’s description I would have never picked it up, but the hype of it was too tempting to not try. WELL… I loved it. It’s based on an aging famous Hollywood actress who is coming to the end of her life, and decides to dish all the details on her life and her seven husbands. Click here to read my review.

 

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. I read this book before I started my blog… but this book is the most interesting, creative piece of literature I’ve ever read. Saunder’s style is very different in this book, but it’s so worth pushing through the style for the story. It’s based on President Lincoln’s son, Willie who gets very sick, and unfortunately passes away. It’s a story of grief, and a deep love.

 

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

Hunger, by Roxane GayThis is the memoir that blew my mind this year. The subtitle of this book is A memoir of my Body, and that’s exactly what it is. It’s a raw, and honest look at what living within her body has been and continues to be like. It’s a journey to self-acceptance, and understanding of ones body and mind. I really think that this should be a required reading in high school. Click here to read my full review.

 

Little Fires Everywhere

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. So this, friends, is the book I will be suggesting to all the reading people in my life. This book is a story about perfection, parent/child relationships, and love. I could not stop reading this one, it literally traveled everywhere with me. Click here to read my full review… but trust me and just read this one!

 

 

Jane Eyre

 

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Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte and Mr. Rochester, by Sarah Shoemaker. These books made my top books of the year because it was the perfect pairing of books. With a classic the reading can be a bit hard at first… but I didn’t get that feeling with Jane Eyre. It’s so relative and readable still. Then following up with Mr. Rochester, and seeing the love story from his eyes was terrific. It’s moody, it’s gothic, and it’s romantic. I love it!

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. This book is the my favourite non-fiction pick of the year. I’ve recently re-read it as I am planning on conducting my own project… click here to go to that page!! But this time that I read it I was so ready to embrace implementing small changes in my life, to have big outcomes. I think this would be a great book for just about anyone to read. Gretchen’s writing is easy to read, and super honest.

 

Stay with Me: A novel

Stay with Me, by Ayobami Adebayo. This book is one that will stay with me, and haunt me for a long time. It’s the beautifully told story of a husband and wife in Nigeria, who decide to stay only faithful to each other, despite their cultural norms. When they struggle to have a child, their relationship also starts to struggle. Click here for that whole review.

 

Castle of Water: A Novel

Castle of Water, by Dane Huckelbridge. Last, but certainly not least… this book is EVERYTHING!! Holy smokes, it gave me all the feels. From surviving the wilderness, to the deepest of love, this book had me ugly crying in the late hours of night when I was finishing it. It’s the story of the two survivors of a plane crash and their journey back to their world. Click here for my full review.

 

Okay friends, that’s my list. I’m sure I’ve left out some… one already I’m thinking of which was a close runner up is IT, by Stephen King… but you can’t list em all!! Check out some of my favourite bookish mentor’s sites to see their lists: