Tag Archives: Reading

Summer 2015

13 Jun

My summer vacation time doesn’t start for another ten days, but I’m SO ready for it now. Every summer I get a big stack of books ready so there won’t be a lack of choices. Today I just finished reading Revival by Stephen King. I’m not a big King fan, but I loved this one. So now, I want something a little less intense and I’m looking to my stack to make my next choice.


Besides the stack of 17 books you see here, I have the following eReads waiting for me
Things I Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight
Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Longbourne by Jo Baker

Honestly, if I read 8-10 of the 25 before school starts again in the fall, I’ll be happy. So, which one should I start with?


Day 61 – And my summer is done

24 Aug

wpid-20140713_085103.jpgSixty-one days is a long time to not be working. I don’t say vacation because my job is such that I get paid for the work I do ten months a year and that pay gets spread over twelve months. When I’m not working in the summer, I’m actually not paid for that time, but it sure feels like vacation and I love it. I consider it one of the many perks of my job. To anyone who begrudges me that summer ‘vacation’, you too could have been a teacher. I don’t apologize one bit for enjoying every bit of that time. Tomorrow I officially go back to work for the 2014-15 school year.

When I started my daily blogging on day one, I mused about how blogging every day might affect my enjoyment of the summer. In fact, I was pretty certain that 2011, the last summer I blogged every day, was an excellent summer in part because of the blogging. Now I know that I was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have a bad summer, but I don’t think blogging made it what it was. I usually enjoyed the time spent writing. I’m proud of myself for posting every single day and I’m a bit tired of posting every single day. This summer was good. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t call it fantastic, as I did in 2011.

I had big plans to read lots this summer! On day two (no I won’t recap every day) I shared my summer reading list. I read five of the eleven books on my list, well I’m almost finished number five. Of the five, I recommend three booksof them. The first book I read was The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It was okay,  lagged in the middle and was a long story, long enough to be epic, but fell short. It was far less interesting than its title suggests. Then I read Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. This was a great YA read that I’d recommend to most of my female friends and my students. It deals with poverty, abuse, bullying and young love. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness was my favourite read of the summer. It was the third in her Discovery of Witches trilogy and I almost never read sequels. This was a most excellent exception. If you like fantasy and historical fiction, this trilogy is for you. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was a light and easy read and it was downright funny. Glenn’s reading it now. I’d recommend this one to anyone who reads; its appeal and target audience is that wide. Right now, I’ve been reading A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby for a few weeks because I had a difficult time getting into it and I had to slug through the second part of it. With about 60 pages left to read I finally want to know how it ends. What drew me to this book was the premise: four strangers meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve on the roof of a tall building with the intention of jumping to their deaths. They don’t jump and the rest of the book is about how they navigate through life and their newfound unlikely and unofficial support group. It’s less interesting than it sounds. I’ll see it through.

I have learned a lot about myself as a writer this summer. While I won’t delve into that too much I’d like to recap my top five posts ICYMI.

  1. Day 14 – Letting Go I wrote about my daughter’s daring summer adventureswpid-img_0301.png
  2. Day 20 – Ten ideas for stories exactly what the title suggests
  3. Day 28 – Namaste was about my path to yoga and what makes it right for me
  4. Day 29 – The end of an era was about the new subdivision being built behind my home
  5. Day 42 – BBQ Meatballs is a family favourite recipe

Each of these have been viewed by over a hundred different readers, so clearly these have proven to be the most interesting posts. Even though each post is dramatically different from the others, they have one thing in common. None of them are about my day, nor are they poetry. Those type of posts got the least traffic. I enjoy writing poetry and will keep doing so. In fact, if you didn’t see my blackout poetry, check it out. I really had fun with it and can’t wait to try it with my students. I always felt like writing about my day was  a bit narcissistic and definitely a cop-out when I wasn’t sure what else to write about, especially when the day wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Now that my 61 days are over, I plan to continue blogging from time-to-time. Now that the summer is over, I’m looking forward to going back to work. I might as well look forward to it and go in with a positive outlook because it’s going to happen either way. It’ll certainly make it more enjoyable.

And thus, without a wing,
or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape,
Into the beautiful.
                       ~ Emily Dickinson

Day 3 – One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble

27 Jun

The first few days of my summer vacation are always about getting to do those things that have been put off. Today was a beautiful day to be out on the town. It was sunny and warm and perfect for going to Telus for my daughter, because her name isn’t the primary one on the account they won’t talk to her without us. Then taking my son’s brand new, Crappy Tire bike to have it fixed because Crappy Tire put it together wrong and didn’t know how to fix it. The good news is, the one year old bike, that’s been ridden twice, is finally working like it is new. The lesson here is, don’t buy a bike from Crappy Tire.

bangkokThe fun part of summer vacation is being able to do spontaneous things like seeking out a food truck that’s only in town for this weekend and getting awesome Thai food to bring to Glenn’s work and have lunch with my sweetie. We shared spring rolls, cashew chicken and pad thai and it was all scrumptious. We’ve not eaten a lot of Thai food, but if you read the reviews on facebook, you’ll learn that many people believe it’s the best Thai food ever and from a food truck nonetheless.

After getting groceries in the afternoon, I did get about a half an hour on my deck with my book, but tomorrow I plan to spend much of the day reading. I can’t wait!

We ended our day with our neighbourhood party. Once a month we gather at one of the neighbour’s houses, theoretically from 6-8 PM but it always goes longer. Everyone brings their own drink and finger food/appetizer to share, so no one feels the pressure of hosting. We’ve been doing this every month since January and we’ve had a different host each month so far. It’s been really good getting to know my neighbours better!

Oh, did you make the connection with the title? I guess it wasn’t really ‘night’, or technically IN Bangkok, but it was yummy!


Day Two – Summer is meant for reading!

26 Jun

Every June I always post a photo of my summer book pile. I never read every book in my stack and every year the stack gets bigger. So, I went back through my lists from the last three years and made a master list of the books that I didn’t get to. None of these books made my 2014 list. I’m hoping if you’ve read some of these you might convince me to, or not to, read these:

  1. Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  2. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
  3. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  4. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  7. One Summer by David Baldacci
  8. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
  9. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  11. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  12. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larson by Susin Nielsen
  13. Every Last One by Anna Quindlan
  14. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  15. Gifted by Marilyn Kay

This year, I’ve got BIG plans. But before I get to those, why don’t I give you a few recommendations. Let me tell you about my favourite summer read from each of the last three years.

Last summer I read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. This was a gift from Savanna last year for my birthday. I have the whole box set, but I only read the first book. I have a tendency to do that, only read the first in a series. I also did that with Outlander, The Hunger Games and Divergent. Although I enjoyed these novels, I just never seemed too interested in what happened once the book finished. I love A Game of Thrones and now Glenn and I are watching the first season of the HBO show. I am very much enjoying the TV adaptation of this novel, so much so that I may even tackle the second book. I wonder if each season covers one book.

My favourite 2012 summer read was Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. It was a psychological thriller with a fantastic twist that you’d never guess. I love a book that can surprise me, but I guess I love the predictable and sappy too!

In 2011 my favourtie summer read was The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. This is one of those epic historical fiction novels that I would recommend to any adult reader 16 and over. I’m not a big history buff, but I love, love, love most historical fiction and this one is one of my top five favourite historicbooksl fiction novels.

Here’s the 2014 list:

  1. The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
  2. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
  3. The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (on pre-order, not in the photo)
  4. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
  5. This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
  6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  7. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
  8. Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti
  9. The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers
  10. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
  11. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

I’ve started reading The Interestings already and I’m really liking it, and I already know that The Rosie Project will be next because it’s this month’s book club pick. After that it won’t matter what I’m reading, I’ll definitely put it aside for The Book of Life as soon as it arrives. It’s the third in a trilogy, and although I haven’t had much luck with sticking with series lately, there’s no way I’m not reading this one! If you haven’t read the first, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, I highly recommend it!

I do have other goals for this summer, but reading and writing are at the top of my priorities, so expect to hear more about books.


Day One – This summer has 61 days

25 Jun

In 2011, I challenged myself to blog every day for the entire summer. I did it and surprisingly it left me feeling like I had the best summer possible. I remember, at the end of the summer, Glenn and I were at an outdoor concert at Officer’s Square and one of my colleagues was there and he asked me how my summer was. When I replied, “It was great!”, he was clearly taken aback, I even remember that he commented that he’d never heard that response before; he expected that standard, “Good,” or “Too short!” At first, I didn’t connect blogging every day with having a great summer, but looking back I can see that these two things clearly were dependent on each other. First of all, I spent a considerable amount of my time doing something I love to do–writing! I do love to write, and I so rarely make it a priority because with my job and busy family life it seems selfish to take the kind of time it requires out of my already crammed schedule. So writing daily was a treat for me and meeting my goal of blogging every single day, all summer, was satisfying. Also, I think writing every day kept me cognizant of how I spent my time. Even though I didn’t write about my day each time, I was more purposeful about how I spent my time, making sure that I had interesting experiences to share. At first I thought I had made a terrible mistake, counting down the days, when the end of the countdown meant I had to go back to work. However, as the summer wore on, I realized that feeling like I was achieving my goal and having a record of the best parts of my summer, mixed with my musings and poetry, left me feeling truly accomplished and satisfied. I tell you all this to explain why I’ve decided to do it again. I guess you could say it’s a bit of an experiment. My driving question is this: Is daily blogging directly linked to a having a great summer, or were the two once simply mere coincidences?

Even though a rainy one, today was a fantastic day for the first day of my summer. I slept in until 8:30 when the pounding construction started behind my house. I got up in time to see my guys off to work and then did my yoga in peace, took my coffee and book to the deck to read, all before breakfast. I firmly believe that EVERY day should start this way! Because she had the day off today, Savanna and I had a mother and daughter dfiosay planned. We did a little shopping, then went to see The Fault in our Stars, a movie based on the John Green book that we both read last year. Usually, I’m not thrilled with based on the novel movies. How can two hours do justice to a good book? There are so very few based on the novel movies that I ever think are even as good as the book that I really should stop seeing the movie, but when I love the book there’s no stopping me from seeing the movie too. I’m glad I did! The movie was equally as good as the book, right down to the tear jerking ending. Savanna even sniffled a bit, which almost never happens.

The end of the day brought the season premiere of Big Brother. We started watching this years ago with Glenn’s mother Sadie and now she watches faithfully every summer, so we do too. This summer she’ll be with us for eight weeks, essentially the whole summer starting this Saturday.

So, yoga, coffee on the deck with a good book (more about this and other books tomorrow), a movie with my girl and Big Brother. I’d say I’m off to a great start to a fantastic summer. Tomorrow brings a morning with my boy, lunch with a good friend and hopefully more time spent reading.


Summer Reading

26 Jun

Summer Reading

I do this every summer. It serves as a visual goal for me. I never read every single one, but I always add more. They’re piled here in the order they looked the best, not the order I want to read them. Right now I’m finishing THE HOUSE GIRL by Tara Conklin and I highly recommend it. Next, I’m going to read ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE. You’ll notice that I have some adult and some YA fiction in the pile. As a high school English teacher I like to read good YA fiction so I can authentically recommend it to my students. What are you reading this summer?

Back in Familiar Territory

25 Jun

Last summer I blogged every day. When school started again, I just stopped, quite abruptly. I did that with the gym too. I went five times a week all summer and I paid for the gym for five months after I stopped going. So, this summer I’m going to try something a bit different. I don’t plan on going back to the gym, but I’m going to check out a yoga studio and plan on doing lap swims. Last summer, I forced myself to blog every day. This summer I’m going to force myself to write every day, but it might not always be a blog entry.

Summer 2011My summer just wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t have a stack of books waiting for me. Last year, this was my stack. There were seven on my list and I read five of them. The two I didn’t read are When You Are Engulfed in Flames and Ophelia. Neither of them made it into my stack this summer, which is much bigger this year. My book club book for July is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I read this months ago, and I highly recommend it! Having read it will allow me to delve into the stack of books that I already have set aside.

Summer 2012So here’s my 2012 summer reading list:

1. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
3. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
4. One Summer by David Baldacci
5. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
6. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
8. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
9. Divergent by Veronica Roth
10. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
11. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

There’s a lot of YA fiction there, but that goes with the territory of being a high school English teacher. So many books and only 61 days of summer vacation. Good thing I already read my book club book. Now, if I only knew which book I should start with.

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