Last month I committed to writing a little bit everyday. I didn’t quite make it, but I blogged TWELVE times this month, which is like WHOA compared to my usual two posts. My secret is to let go of perfectionism. Not every post has the most perfect picture, or every book title and twitter account linked. It’s that kind of thing that makes me spend too much time obsessing rather than just writing and interacting, which is kind of the point of blogging, for me.
Any of you bloggers out there have tips to keep a good blogging streak going?
- Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer. 5 Stars. The night I finished this book, I bawled for an hour. I was doing that thing where you flip ahead to make sure something awful wasn’t about to happen, because if it was, you need to mentally prepare. But I couldn’t prepare for the ending, obviously. Just go read this, please. Review coming once I can emotionally handle it.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy. People recommended this book to me a few times after my post about dark and depressing reads. My mom found it at a used book sale for $2. Score!
- The Outlander by Gil Adamson. Another score at the book sale, and I just realized it’s the Canada Reads selection from a few years back – my copy has a different cover. Excited for this one. You had me at “19 year old widow by her own hand.”
- Dance, Gladys, Dance by Cassie Stocks. I was very fortunate to get a signed copy of this Leacock Medal winner courtesy of Matt at NeWest Press. Pickle Me This calls it feminist and smart. Sounds good to me.
Books I Want to Read
- Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels. Cannot for the life of me remember where I read a review, but I know I added it to the list immediately. I also know it won the Orange Prize in 1997 and that’s good enough for me.
- Molotov Hearts by Chris Eng. Read about this punk rock YA book over at Alexis Keinlen’s blog. What can I say, a boy with a mohawk broke my heart once.
- Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone. Sounds like a good coming of age book. Will pick it up despite annoying cliche “girl facing away” cover.
- She Rises by Kate Worsley. Read this review at She Reads Novels and added it to the list when I read “reminds me of Sarah Waters.”
On the Blog
I officially posted enough this month to justify a recap.
#MobyDick2013 – Moby Dick Read-A-Long
Events, Memes, and Randomness
- NeWest Spring Spectacular
- The Desexification of Anna From Away
- Book and Music Pairings
- Classics Club May Meme
- April Reading Roundup
What’s Next on Reading in Bed
#MobyDick2013 continues, I’ll probably start planning my beach reads for July (I like to plan ahead) and a #yegbooks fall preview. Stay tuned!
Last month, I was feeling pretty smug about getting back on track with reading. I still am, actually, because I read FOUR books this month. But, I only blogged twice. I have so many ideas, abandoned drafts, and book reviews to catch up on. I’ve decided to focus on writing for the next little while. The timing is pretty great, because I’m hosting a Moby Dick readalong starting this month, which means weekly blog posts (gulp.)
It’s tough, because I can’t write from my phone, so I’m limited to when the kids are in bed. We’re trying to limit Ben’s computer time, so I have to set an example. I’ve been reading more by sneaking it in – that Kobo is in my purse at all times! – but it’s hard to carry the laptop everywhere. Maybe I need to take a “just a little bit everyday” approach like I did with reading. Wish me luck!
- Persuasion by Jane Austen. 3.5/5 stars, I have nothing bad to say about it, but it didn’t really get to me. Great heroine, though.
- Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams. 3/5 stars. This was my Classics Club Spin pick. I actually liked the second book in the series, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, much more. The strength of the books is largely in the main character, and he was oddly absent for much of the first book.
- The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje. 5/5 stars. Boom. Review (and rebuttal to The Book-a-Week Project’s review) coming soon.
- Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford. 3/5 stars. I was sort of dreading this, in case I hated it, but the worst thing I can say is that it was uneven. Also, it weirdly reminded me of Ian McEwan’s Atonement, for some really specific reasons, but even just in general, Briony was a little liar who wanted everything to be perfect, too. Must find time to elaborate!
- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. So far, I’m not really into it. But it’s like 100 pages long, so I’ll stick it out.
- Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer. My first library book in ages! I’m really excited for this one. It’s an epistolary novel, which isn’t always my favourite. Also, “epistolary” reminds me of “episiotomy,” which is never a good association. But the reviews are strong, and I could probably use some mega romance before getting into the mega whale.
Books I Want to Read
- Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I abandoned Villette after the first chapter, when I realized it’s a 600 pager and wasn’t sure I could finish before the Moby Dick readalong. That’s the thing with e-readers. There’s no weight, no flipping through pages, so a 100 page novella and a 600 page brick look and feel the same. Anyway, I will come back to Villette, because the first chapter was amazing.
- Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon. Vineland was my favourite read on 2012, so it’s pretty sweet that he’s got a new one coming out so soon. The first page was released online and it’s a little strange… but that’s par for the course.
- The Rest is Silence by Scott Fotheringham. Rebecca Campbell mentioned this book in her Q&A. I read the premise (rogue bacteria destroys all the plastic in the world) and I’m already hooked! I don’t usually read dystopian or science fiction or however you want to classify this, but it sounds crazy.
- Readings, signings, live music, tasty beverages… Less than two weeks until NeWest Press Spring Spectacular. I reviewed two of the books being celebrated, Belinda’s Rings and The Paradise Engine, and I’m so excited to meet the authors. The Edmonton Book Bloggers will be there. Won’t you come, too? May 15th, 7pm, Roast Coffee House. Facebook event page.
- Speaking of the EBB crew… Edmonton Book Bloggers were in the news! Kristilyn did us all proud by telling our story in the Edmonton Journal.
- Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I found out about an annual literary event in Edmonton, the Henry Kreisel Memorial Lecture, that, much like the MacEwan Book of the Year, had me thinking “How am I only finding out about this NOW?” Each year, the U of A’s Canadian Literature Centre puts on this FREE event, bringing a prominent Canadian author in to speak. On April 16, Edi Edugyan, author of Half-Blood Blues, talked about “home” and how that word and that idea has informed her work. She covered German history, slavery, immigration, and Canadian identity in her hour-long lecture. Her memories of visiting her ancestoral home in Ghana for the first time really came alive for me. The strangeness of being an outsider who looks like an insider was as compelling as the anecdotes about their wild taxi driver were hilarious. I would love to read a story along those lines! Check out Winter Distractions for fellow Edmonton Book Blogger’s Kristilyn’s take on Esi’s lecture.
What’s Next on Reading in Bed
Moby Dick! The read-a-long starts on May 20th, so finish up whatever you’re reading and watch for the sign up post next week.
Release date: March 15, 2013
Publisher: NeWest Press
Thank you to NeWest Press for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Half-Asian teenager Grace (but she’d prefer it if you called her “Gray” instead) is not a perfect little supermom-in-the-making like her older sister Jessica, and would rather become a marine biologist than a mother—although she does understand how to take care of her special-needs kid brother Squid better than anyone else in her family. When her mother Belinda abruptly runs out on her family and flies across the Atlantic in order to study crop circles in the English countryside, Grace is left alone to puzzle out her life, the world, and her unique place within it. With a warmth and a boisterous sense of humour reminiscent of Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness and Peter Hedges’ What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? author Corinna Chong introduces us to two lovable and thoroughly original female characters: persnickety, precocious Grace, and her impractical, impulsive mother Belinda—very different women who nevertheless persistently circle back into each other’s hearts.
Before I start the review proper, let me get a few cliches off my chest: Stunning debut. Unflinching. Courageous.
Belinda’s Rings is about a lot of things. It’s about being a parent and being a sibling and being a child. It’s about mental illness and race and marginalization. It’s about perfect circles on the ground and lights in the sky and creatures in the sea. But most of all, it’s about mothering. And in a media environment that is sorely lacking in any nuanced discussion of motherhood (“Mommy Wars,” anyone?) it is so satisfying to read a take on motherhood that had me nodding in agreement and wincing in horror all at once. Continue reading