Wednesday, January 18, 2017

What Makes Our Book Club Special

What comes to your mind when you hear Book Club? Most people think about a group of people reading the same book together and getting together to discuss the book they are reading.

Well, that's not how our book club works. The photo above of the notice I posted on Facebook about our group before our first meeting gives an idea of how our group works. We do not have a set book to read. We all read whatever we want, and when we get together we take turns sharing a bit about whatever we are presently reading, or have recently read.

One of our members recently posted the following quote from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to our Facebook Group Page saying that this sounds like our group, and it really does!

None of us had heard about the Guernsey book when we started our group but it has become a very special book to our group.

I read the book in November and shared it to the group. Since then it has been making the rounds in our group. Some of us enjoyed it more than others, but we can all see how certain quotes from the book apply to us.

I posted the following quote to our FaceBook Group page from the book while I was still reading it because it reminded me so much of what happens in our meetings:

When someone talks about a book at our meeting it makes others think of other books and by the end of the evening we have talked about a lot of books!

We call our group "Let's Talk Books!" because that's what we do.

Another really neat thing about our group is that we all have such different taste in books. We end up talking about historical fiction, science fiction, romance, non-fiction, etc. Every night a great variety of genres end up being discussed. You may see that more clearly in future posts as I am considering posting a list of the books we discuss each week.

While this type of book club may not be for everyone, it is perfect for us. We all love to read, and we don't want to be told what to read. We want to read whatever we want whenever we want, and this way we can.

That's what makes our book club special.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My First Juices and Smoothies by Amanda Cross

My First Juices and Smoothies

My fourth book for 2017 was My First Juices and Smoothies by Amanda Cross.

This book caught my attention when I was looking through the juvenile shelves of our local library looking for books for my daughter. My daughter gave me a blender for Christmas and we had been looking for smoothie recipes to try out so I decided to check it out.

In reality this book was mostly about juicing, with a small section on smoothies, but it did succeed in getting me interested in juicing. I did get some ideas for smoothies from this book, but not as much as I was hoping.

Do you have any favourite smoothie recipes?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Hamilton: The Revolution

My third book read in 2017 was Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I listened to an audio version using the OverDrive app. The book was published April 2016. The hardcover of the book has 288 pages and the audio is a little over 6 hours of listening. It tells the behind the scenes story of the creation and production of the Broadway Musical Hamilton.

I learned about this book from Trudy Morgan-Cole's Top Ten Books of 2016. I have obviously lived with my head in the sands because I had not heard anything about the musical, but I decided to check the book out anyway.

I'm sure that if I knew more about the show and the people involved in the production, and even about the historical people and events the play is inspired by, I would have enjoyed the book even more than I already did, because I did enjoy it.

Part of the thing that I enjoyed was getting a look at the creative process play writers go through. I think this interested me so much because my youngest daughter joined a youth theatre group a couple of years ago and has acted in a few plays so I had some experience with some of the behind the scenes of plays but nothing of this magnitude.

Reading the book has made me want to learn more about the present day and the historical people connected to the play. I'd love to be able to see the show, but I know that is an impossibility. I have, however, recently discovered that our library system has the CD's of the play and I'm anxiously awaiting listening to those, though I know it will be nothing like seeing the play in person.

Thanks, Trudy Morgan-Cole, for exposing me to this book. By the way, if you haven't read anything by Trudy, you are missing out. I have gushed about Trudy Morgan-Cole many times in the past. Do yourself a favour - go check out her blog and her books.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt Cloutier

The Right To Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet

My second read for 2017 is The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier. I actually started reading it Christmas Eve, but didn't finish it until January 8. I read an ebook version on the OverDrive app.

I heard about this book from the Canada Read 2017 longlist. I didn't realize that it was non-fiction, really a memoir, when I started it, but it didn't take long to figure that out.

I took loads of notes while reading this. Loads. I learned a lot, and I'm left with a lot to think about.

The first quote I took was from the introduction:
To live in a boundless landscape and a close-knit culture in which everything matters and everything is connected is a kind of magic.
In the book Sheila explains a little about the magic of their way of life, until others came into the picture and things changed.

The following quote, also from the introduction, is the most succinct statement about the changes:
...while many of the changes are positive, the journey into the modern world was not an easy one - and it has let it's scars.
Sheila shares about how these changes affected her family. So many different factors that affected them in so many different ways.

Another quote from the introduction sums up another prominent topic in the book:
The land that is such an important part of our spirit, our culture, and our physical and economical well being is becoming a precarious place for us.
Sheila shares information about the roles she played in different organizations to help make people aware of the affects of global warming and climate change on the Arctic and trying to come up with plans to help protect it.

The following quote sums up the history and present day struggles of the Inuit in the Arctic:

Missionaries, fur traders and governments had fought over the Arctic for decades to further their own self-interest: converting us to their religion, pressuring us to build their trade or using us to establish their sovereignty. In the  process, our well-being and our way of life were sacrificed. Here again, scientists, consultants and lawyers were busy pushing forward their own agenda.

While I did find the book a bit tedious at times with all the detail and all the acronyms of all the different organization, I also found it interesting and informative. There are many more quotes I'd love to share, but I'll leave it at that for now.

I would love to see this as one of the books on the short list for Canada Reads this year because I'd love to hear some discussion about it.  I guess we'll have to wait and see if it makes it or not.

Friday, January 13, 2017

January Mindcraft Challenge Calendar

I have a girl obsessed with MindCraft. If I let her alone she would spend all day and night on it.

I can't make head nor tails out of it! It makes absolutely no sense to me.

Thanks to Pam Barnhill's Homeschool Solutions FaceBook page, I recently discovered a January Mindcraft challenge calendar created by Colleen, the blogger at It is a printable list of challenges of things to create in mindcraft.

I'm using it as a bribe to get my daughter to finish her school work. She's allowed to work on the challenge for the day when she's finished her work. It's working like a charm.  😀

Thursday, January 12, 2017

How I Came to be Part of an Amazing Local Book Club

Have you ever been a part of a book club? I never have, but I've always wanted to be. Listening to the Canada Reads debates and the What Should I Read Next postcast made me want it even more. I really wanted a group of people to talk books with.

I tried to find information about a local book club but couldn't find any, so for a long time I just dreamed of being a part book club.

Then, one day, I decided to do something about it. August 24, 2016 I posted this to my FaceBook page:

Before the night was out I had 9 people express interest! I was so excited! Most of the people interested were from our community or a community close by, but some were further away. I quickly set up a Facebook group page for those that were interested to discuss and make plans for how we wanted to do things and told them about it in a comment on my first post.

Two days later I had set the date for our first in-person meeting at our local library. Our librarian had seen my post and messaged me to offer up the library as a place for us to meet. I decided to post to my page again sharing my excitement about the response and inviting anyone else that might be interested to join, either in person, or online, or both. A few more people did join us.

Our first meeting took place on a Tuesday night, but the next meeting was on a Thursday night and we've been meeting faithfully on Thursday nights every since. I think there have only been a few Thursday nights that we didn't meet.

Thursday became my favourite day of the week! 😀

Along with our in-person meetings, we also still make use of our FaceBook Group page. I'll share more about how we use that in another post.

If you carefully read the notice I posted to my FaceBook page about our first meeting, you'll see that our bookclub is not like what most people think of when they think of a book club.

I'll tell you more about that in another post too. For now, I'm off to enjoy my bookclub night!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Canada Reads 2017 Longlist

The longlist for the 2017 Canada Reads was announced December 23, 2016.  Here's a screenshot of the list from the Canada Reads website.

Fifteen books and I hadn't read one of them.

I was surprised by the variety of genres of books on the long list. They include fiction, memoirs, a poetry book, dystopian science fiction, fantasy, and a comedy.

I checked which ones were available from our library system on the OverDrive app. Only 5 available, and some of them were already wait listed. The five on OverDrive are:

The Break by Katherena Vermette

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Today I learned it Was You by Edward Riche

Waiting For First Light by Romeo Dallaire

My plan is to at least read those five, but I won't get them all done before the short list is announced so we'll see what happens. So far I've read The Right to be Cold and I am presently reading The Break. I'll tell you more about both of those books, and any others I read, in future posts.

With the wide variety of genres on the list, it will be interesting to see which ones make the cut. Hopefully it will be some of the ones that I manage to read before the short list is announced. The short list will be announced January 31.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones do you think will make it?