Reading Recap: April and May

  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – After staying on a farm with lots of sheep, duck, chickens, and turkeys, I was in the mood to read this story. Luckily the next farm (my third) I went to had a copy.
  • Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery – The third Anne book. I thought it was about time to read another one. FINALLY, progress on the romantic front! I didn’t know that Anne initially turns down Gilbert and nearly marries someone else. I wanted to bop her on the head, haha. I enjoyed this one as much as the others, for its introduction of new characters, Anne’s experiences at university and living with friends, and its balance of light-hearted and darker poignant moments. Owned by my third host.
  • The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter – Original review here. Brought this one with me. I feel like I can always learn something new from it. This book is a great resource for dispelling misconceptions about Tolkien. My personal copy. 
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – Original review of RotK here. A must read while travelling Middle-earth! I read it straight through, though I also loved looking up and rereading passages that corresponded to the locations I was visiting. My own copy (I finished FotR at

    home, and brought paperbacks of TTT and RotK with me). 

  • Finding Yourself in the Kitchen by Diana Velden – I picked this book from my library’s selection of ‘new addition’ ebooks. I was not familiar with Velden’s online presence prior to stumbling upon this book. I really enjoyed the mindfulness perspective on cooking and the experiences that surround that. Velden brings two of my favourite interests together. I hope I can remember her words when I work in my kitchen. The bite size pieces that make up this book would make it a nice book to have handy in the kitchen, to pull out and read a few pages when you need a moment to focus. I skimmed over most of the recipes but noted down the any fruit tart.
  • The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban – This /sounds/ like something I would like, but I found it mostly dull and actually a bit violent. I like a dark children’s story, but this wasn’t really to my taste. Owned by my third host.
  • Smokes Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty – I heard a lot about this book in the blogosphere

    but didn’t plan on reading it. When I saw my fourth host had a copy and she highly recommended it, I couldn’t pass it up. Informative read on a topic that should be discussed more openly.

  • The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer – How can I call myself an Amanda Palmer without having read her book? I put it off because I thought it would mostly be a rehash of her blog and Twitter…and it is mostly that, but there is some stuff in here she hadn’t shared previously that will probably make you cry. My mom (who mostly knows about AFP through me) read this book and really enjoyed it, so if you’re curious about Amanda and what she’s ‘about’, I’d recommend it. Library ebook.
  • A Drop in the Ocean by Jenni Ogden – Review here. I saw this book on the shelves when I was in Australia, which was kind of neat. Pretty cover!
  • A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson – A book about bumblebees in England and an attempt to reintroduce an extinct species. At times I found this dry, but it’s amazing how much there is to study and still to learn about such a little creature. Owned by my fourth host.
  • In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton – An important local fiction inspired by true events about two Metis sisters who grew up separately in foster care. The prose is a bit juvenile but the story is a tough one to swallow, especially considering that events like the ones in the story are still too common today. Library ebook.
  • Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump – I saw the film Hunt for the Wilderpeople in New Zealand. I didn’t realize it was based on a book until the end credits. A few weeks later, my fourth host recommended I read Barry Crump, a popular Kiwi author who wrote a lot of novels about bush life. She gave me this book. The book was more serious than the movie (which has a quirky, often humorous tone) and the ending was quite different. I preferred the movie but I’m glad I read the book.
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – Another book that I pulled off my fourth host’s bookshelf. This felt like a good follow-up to Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Gawande writes about the failures of end-of-life care and how we might improve. Another important subject that isn’t discussed enough. It made me think a lot about my grandparent’s lives now and what I might do when my parents are that age.
  • A Wild Swan: And Other Tales by Michael Cunningham – I had nothing to do in Auckland after my plans were cancelled one day, so I went to the library and read this collection of contemporary fractured fairy tales. Loved the stories and the illustrations (wish there were more!).
  • After the Crash by Michael Bussi – I stayed with my friends in Australia and one of them had

    this book from the library. After reading the description (plane crash with only one survivor, a baby, whose identity can’t be confirmed and is claimed by two families), I had to get the explanation. Even though the book wasn’t great and even I, non-reader of mysteries, figured out most of the ‘solution’ long before the end, I read the whole thing because I didn’t have any other pressing reads. 

  • I Have a Bed Made of My Buttermilk Pancakes by Jaclyn Moriarty – One of my favourite YA authors. She’s Australian and this book isn’t easy to find in Canada, so I planned to read it while there.Unfortunately, it’s my least favourite of her works. I thought it was too long, too disjointed, too odd, and lacking the emotional connection I get from some of her other books.
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – My copy. I take the little green hardcover, the one with Tolkien’s original cover that was released when the movies started coming out, when I travel. A great read, as usual!

Updating My Goal

    I read 29 books while I travelled. I had set my 2016 reading goal at 55 books. I based this decision off what I read last year, while assuming I wouldn’t read any books while travelling – just to be safe! I planned to adjust my goal when I returned, increasing the total by however many books I managed to read in those four months. That brings my new goal to 84 books. Goodreads tells me I’m still three books ahead of schedule. Boo yah.

    How did your spring reading go? Do you have a reading goal for this year?

    Reading Recap: February and March

    I’ve been reading a lot more than I thought I would be able to while travelling, so here’s a recap post with some quick thoughts on each read.

    1. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson – A gift from my parents a few, uh, years ago >.> I’d read bits of it but never the whole thing. A valuable read for a beginning photographer.
    2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – Reread in anticipation of the sequel, which was published at the end of February. I have the hardcover waiting for me at home and I’d hoped to get an ebook for cheap through Shelfie, it’s ‘not eligible yet’ so I still haven’t read book two 🙁
    3. Dreambender by Ronald Kidd – Review here
    4. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – Book recommended to me by my host. Easily digestible chick lit about a woman who temporarily forgets the past ten years of her life.
    5. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – Another recommendation by my host. Not really my sort of book, but I wanted to know what happened so I kept reading. I thought I recognized the author, but it wasn’t until I looked her up on Goodreads did I realize she wrote The Nightingale. Totally different cover here! I added that to my TBR some time ago…hopefully it’s better/different than this one.
    6. Essentially Japanese: Cooking and Cuisine by Hideo Dekura – Owned by my host. I liked reading recipes for some of my favourite foods in Japan and learning more about Japanese food history.
    7. Wild Garlic, Goodeberries…And Me by Denis Cotter – Owned by my host. Not a very practical read, with the ‘exotic’ ingredients he uses, but still intriguing. I did make the rosehip syrup!
    8. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Library ebook. Put this on hold just before I left Canada. Read in in two sittings. Made me realize just how difficult/impossible it is for me to understand what it’s like growing up black in America, all the implications and challenges that go with that.
    9. On the Shores of Darkness, There Is Light  by Cordelia Strube – Review forthcoming. Liked this much more than the other fictions I read thus far.
    10. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – Soooo happy to see my library wasn’t too slow to acquire the book! I’m a few weeks behind, but I finally got to blaze through this one. 
    I’m also currently reading The Lord of the Rings, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, The Road to Middle-earth, National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography and Finding Yourself in the Kitchen. I think I’ll have to update my Goodreads goal when I get home to account for all these books!