Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Book Review 4: The Art of Racing in the Rain

I haven't written a book review for a really long time now. Let's be honest, I didn't think any of the books I've been reading lately have been review worthy.

Ever since I've been inactive in my library book club, I've gotten more of a chance to read many of the books on my "list." I just finished reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein. I've previously taken this book out of the library a couple of times, only to return it without reading it. But this time around, I finally got a chance to complete it.

Ever since I read "The Book Thief," I've started to enjoy stories told from the perspective of an unlikely and unconventional narrator. The protagonist in this novel is a young race car driver named Denny. We journey through his trials and tribulations from the point of view of his pet dog Enzo.

Though the story is told the way Enzo sees it, this is not a story about Enzo. It's a story about family, lost love, and betrayal.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I will say The Art of Racing in the Rain is a "fluffy read" which will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling after you put it down (no pun intended.)

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light and easy read.

"There is no dishonor in losing the race," Don said. "There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose." - The Art of Racing in the Rain 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Happy Birthday C.S. Lewis

The first time I was introduced to the magical world of Narnia was back in 1995, when my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Adams, read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with us. Followed by a viewing of the BBC mini series.

Never had I heard of secret wardrobes, friendships with gentle and caring fauns or eating meals with talking beavers. I'd never been exposed to such wonder and enchantment before. I was amazed, fascinated and instantly fell in love with it. 

The genius behind this magical world was C.S. Lewis. It was only a few years ago that I discovered this book was part of a seven book series. I bought the entire series in a Special Edition version; one massive book with all seven stories in them. Fully equipped with a map of Narnia and it's surrounding countries. I've read the first three novels so far. They are written in an old fashioned style which can often make it a bit of a tedious read but they are still pretty awesome! 

So let's all grab our Turkish delight and celebrate this wondrous occasion! 

I close by saying: Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia! 

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Goodbye Book Club!

Let me start off by saying, I feel like I've betrayed my blog for quite some time! I am still interested in blogging but have had internet issues for the last few months. I've been using my mobile for internet service while my desktops been down. However, it's such a hassle to blog using the dreaded autocorrect. =|

So I've decided to take the advice of a few different people and drop one of my book clubs. As previously mentioned, I am a part of 2: one at the library, and one with friends. I think I'm going to drop the library one. I absolutely adore the women in the book club, and really enjoy their company (and opinions.) However, it's just getting difficult to juggle two simultaneously.

For the last year or so, every time I was picking up a book, it just felt like it was a book club book. I found very little time to read the books that I wanted to read. I was especially unhappy about all of the unread books on my own bookshelf. I've purchased many books and received many books as gifts, and it isn't fair (to the books) that they are being abandoned.

I've also been thinking of going back to school, so I know my schedule will most likely start getting busy. I don't want to pick up a book feeling like it's a chore to finish it. I use books as an escape. It helps me relieve stress, because it takes me away from life for a short amount of time. I am carefree, and it almost feels like a mini (emotional) vacation.

It was a tough decision to make as I do love book club(s.) However, it was just getting overwhelming.

I still plan on being a part of the book club with my girlfriends because that just gives us a good excuse to get together and see each other a lot more frequently.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Since when is Controlling "romantic?"


So, I recently discovered a new phenomenon in the world of literature. Women seem to like to read about men who control their girlfriends, and in some sick way find that "romantic." Let's start with everyone's favourite: The Twilight Saga. I will admit, I read the entire series (because there was a shred of hope in me that Bella would end up with Jacob. But instead she decided to throw her life away, become a vampire and stay with her vegetarian, sparkly boyfriend/husband Edward.) The reason I had a problem with Bella's decision was because Jacob was clearly the better choice for her. He stated early on that if she wanted to be with him, she wouldn't have to change anything about herself. She could stay human, and they'd live happily ever after. Instead, she quit college, left her family, married Edward and had a human-vampire hybrid baby who nearly killed her from inside. And secondly, Edward's protectiveness was borderline controlling and almost abusive (in my humble opinion.)

If that wasn't bad enough, the huge success of Twilight spawned another "romance" series entitled The Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I have not read the series, but I've done enough research to know this book is about a young girl who develops a relationship with a wealthy and older man named Christian Grey. Their relationship soon becomes very sexual. Their sex life consists of BDSM, and Grey begins controlling young Ana both in the bedroom and in real life.

Author E.L. James claims that this is every woman's fantasy. Um, really? I can believe every woman wants some passion in her life. But it is really hard to think that all women would want to be a rich man's sex slave. There is a part of me that is curious to pick up the series and see what everyone is talking about, but I would in no way consider it a romance novel. If anything, I would probably categorize it under literary pornography.

Don't get me wrong. I sound like a cynic, but I do love reading a romance novel every now and then. I just think books like these are sending out the wrong message to women. It is making them think these relationships are romantic and healthy. When, in my opinion, they are just making girls look stupid. It is possible to have a healthy relationship and still do stuff that you want to do. It is not always about the man. A relationship goes both ways, and both the man and woman should be happy in it.

Furthermore, I like reading books about strong headed women who are able to stand up for themselves, are capable of making decisions for themselves and not have a man tell them what to do all the time. I am currently reading The Gray Wolf Throne which has an amazing female character, Raisa. Raisa is heir to the throne and although she has guards constantly protecting her, if she is ever in a rut, she can kick some serious ass. These are the female characters I look up to. Since when did women with no ambitions  and no backbone become "good" female role models?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

So many Books to Read, So Little Time.

I have so many borrowed books, purchased books, and library books sitting in my shelf which have not been touched for weeks! I feel like I'm betraying my one true love (reading). Life has just gotten so busy, that it's given me very little time to relax. I've been so busy with studying, taking extra curricular classes, volunteering and two book clubs that I've had very little time to read. (Two book clubs are keeping me too busy to read?! Oh, the irony...) My point is, I have very little time to read the books I want to read.

Let's be honest, many of the book club books do end up being boring. I have an ever growing list of books I've been meaning to read for fun. Such as Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Outlander, The Coffeehouse Angel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Gray Wolf Throne, and many more. I just haven't been able to manage my time well enough to get all these books incorporated into my reading schedule.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I am open to anything, please comment below to help me read these untouched books! They deserve to be enjoyed. =)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Books For Sale

As stated before, there is only one thing I love more than buying books; buying books for a fraction of the price. Much to my amazement, my local library was having a clearance book sale on discarded books and books donated by patrons. I kept debating on whether I should go or not, wondering if I'll even be able to find anything good. I was advised by a friend that looking for a specific book would be like, and I quote, "looking for a needle in a haystack." In the end, I decided to go, knowing that I would regret it if I didn't.

Boy, am I glad I did. I was able to find many well known titles on the shelves. Mind you, a lot of the books were not in "perfect" condition, but a few of them did look almost brand new. My friend was right though, I did feel like I was looking for a needle in a haystack. However, the tables were categorized, which made the search a bit easier. I will admit, I was specifically looking for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I own the entire series, except for the last one, so I needed to complete my collection. Unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found. But I was able to find New Moon and Breaking Dawn looking almost brand new. I already own Twilight, now the only one I need is Eclipse to complete the series.

In addition, I also found some Margarat Atwood, Ursula LeGuin and Nicholas Sparks novels. Along with some books I've wanted to read for the longest time, and some hidden gems I have never heard of. Books were priced differently depending on their categories. Hardcovers were 50 cents, paperbacks were 25 cents, and some categories were 3 for a $1.00. All in all, I went home with 14 books for just $4.00! Now all I have to do is make some room on my bookshelf to put all these books!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Books and Movies That Made Me Think

This blog will be a bit of a cheat. It will be about both books and movies. Bare with me, it'll be a long one!

There is only one thing I love more than kicking back with a good book and/or movie; kicking back with a good book/movie which makes you think about life. 


The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Anyone who's been following my blog knows that one of my all time favourite books is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. This book is about an elderly man (named Eddie) who works at a local amusement park. Eddie has been working at Ruby Pier for almost his entire life. He feels like his life has been a total waste. Eddie dies instantly one day, when there is a freak accident on one of the rides at Ruby Pier. The book is about his journey in the afterlife, meeting five people along the way, whom his life has greatly impacted.

I think I was about twenty years old the first time I read this book and I fell in love with it immediately. Your late teens/early twenties is essentially a time when you're "finding yourself." This book really made me think about how we all have a purpose in life, even though we may not know it at a time. No matter how mundane our lives are, we all have a reason to be here and should never take that for granted. I've read this book a few times since, and it never fails to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

This was another lovely book I was introduced to by my monthly book club. Randy Pausch was a University professor who was diagnosed with cancer. The book is about the trials and tribulations he went through with his family and friends during his last days, his chemotherapy and his process of creating his "last lecture."

What an inspirational human being! Even though he was diagnosed with cancer, and he knew he was about to die, he decided to live before he died. This is something many of us forget to do. We are so concerned about the insignificant things in life, that we truly forget to live. Refer to the link below to hear his beautiful lecture.

Achieving your Childhood Dreams

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Yes, another book club book indeed! The story starts off with an unnamed heroin who meets the charming (widower) Maxim DeWinter. They soon get married, and she moves to Manderly with him, a romantic town with a beautiful backdrop. The wife always feels like she is being compared to Maxim's deceased wife, Rebecca. She starts off a very shy, meek and quiet girl who allows people to take advantage of her. However, she soon becomes a strong and independent woman, able to express her thoughts, feelings and opinions. The book is written from the point of view of the heroin.

I instantly fell in love with this book. In my opinion, it's a book which I think all young women should read. It really shows that you can be strong and opinionated woman but still be a good person. We see lots of growth in the heroin through out the novel and it's written beautifully.


Yes Man

This is a goofy comedy starring Jim Carrey. Carl (Jim Carrey) is a recently divorced man with a dead end job. He never wants to go out with friends, meet new people or try anything new. Until one of his friends takes him to a motivational speech encouraging people to say "yes" to all opportunities that come their way in life. Carl soon says yes to everything and begins living his life to it's full potential.

This is one of my top "feel good" movies. How many opportunities have you missed in your life, simply out of fear of saying "yes?" What's the worse that can happen? The only way to truly be happy in life is to experience new things. How else will you know if you like (or don't like) something, if you've never tried it? I've re-watched this movie a few too many times, and it's completely changed my perspective on life.

The Truman Show

Another Jim Carrey drama. This movie follows the life of Truman Burbank. His life is recorded on screen where everyone watches his every move 24/7. Truman is completely oblivious to his star status and is unaware that his family and friends are simply just actors in his "TV show."

Truman feels truly trapped and lost, until one day he discovers the truth about his life. This film really made me think about free will. Are we really living life because we want to, or because it's expected of us? This is another gem I've seen numerous times, and love it every time. I always get goosebumps in the last scene of The Truman Show where Truman is quoted as saying, "In case I don't see ya. Good afternoon, good evening and goodnight."

Friday, 20 January 2012

"12 Reasons I Have Decided to Read One Book Per Week"

I wanted to do something different today. Rather than writing my own blog, I wanted to refer you guys to another wonderful blog post I discovered yesterday. It was quite inspiring and beautiful. Please follow the link below and enjoy.

12 Reasons I Have Decided to Read One Book Per Week

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy Belated Birthday J.R.R. Tolkien!

Beloved author J.R.R. Tolkien came into this world on January 3rd, 1892. He was known to be friends with Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis. Both Lewis and Tolkien were members of a writing group called "Inklings." Tolkien was the author of many novels, the most popular ones being The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

I am somewhat ashamed of myself. I've declared myself a fan of high fantasy and sci-fi, yet I've never completed the entire Lord of the Rings book series. I've read The Hobbit (on more than one occasion) but for some reason I've only watched the Peter Jackson version(s) of the trilogy on the big screen. Although I LOVED the movies, I promised myself that the next time I re-watched the movies, would be after I've read the books. I watched the films about ten years ago (when they first came out) and I've forgotten the storyline, so I think this may be a good time to start!

Though I haven't enjoyed all of his work, I've got to hand it to Mr. Tolkien for introducing us to the awesome world of bad ass wizards long before J.K. Rowling did. But I may be a little controversial in my opinion that Merlin is still the ultimate badass wizard. Sorry, Team Gandalf!

I close by saying, Happy Belated Birthday J.R.R. Tolkien and thank you for introducing us to a world of wizards, hobbits, and riddles.

PS, Please enjoy this movie trailer for the upcoming and very anticipated film version of The Hobbit. =)