You think THAT is a great book? Oh Honey, we need to talk.

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...
English: Stack of books in Gould’s Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was scrolling through endless book lists looking for that next great read. I find myself reading book reviews and browsing Goodreads and think, maybe. My problem is I have read such great books in the past 6 months that the next great read needs to be SPECTACULAR! All I really want to know is WHY for the love of libraries is Shades of Grey the number one downloaded book? That is the worst book EVER. There are WAY better books that will teach you and tantalize you about sexual encounters that may or may not shock you depending what your pleasure is. Seriously, Shades is NOT GREAT LITERATURE, it’s not even good porn. Obviously I cannot rely on the masses to tell me what is a great read. Luckily I have friends who read great books and are willing to spread the word.

So far this year I have read 8 books, I know…I know… I was suppose to slow down. But now that the pressure is off, and my goal is only 25 books instead of 50, it may be darn site easier to read 50. We shall see… At any rate, I have read 8 and started my 9th. My iBook reader (ipad) says this latest book has 1653 pages. Holy hell Stephan King, you write really long books. I know that isn’t actual pages because I read with bigger font because I am old I don’t like the glare.  Still, the average book I read is 400 pages. I hope Under the Dome is at least as good as 11/22/63 because THAT book was fantastic.

Here is my list of books I read this year so far (2013) it doesn’t count the fantasy books I am kind of reading. I am trying to get through Dragonlance Chronicles and have learned fantasy is NOT FOR ME, but I am giving it my best shot. There is too much war and fighting…snore, I prefer – well I no longer don’t know what I prefer. I now like thriller or mystery, that’s new because I wouldn’t read those before. Mostly because I would skip to the end because I am impatient. I can’t stand romance for the sake of romance….snore. But throw in a great romance into a thriller, sci-fi or contemporary novel and I am IN! Anyways………….. here is what I read so far

The Edmonton Tourist’s 2013 Book List so far

  1. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadmen. This is one of Heather’s Picks (the CEO of Indigo Books) I typically think she picks great reads, this is another one. This is about a Lighthouse keeper in Australia after WWII and the things a lonely couple get up to when no one is watching. I liked it. 4 GR stars
  2. Where the Heart is by Billie Letts. The movie was better than the book. I liked it in spite of the main character being to naive to be real. I didn’t love it. 3 GR stars
  3. Proof of Heaven by Alexander Eben. I am a sucker for this kind of stuff for reasons I won’t get into. His story is fascinating and not fake like the Heaven is for Real. 4GR Stars
  4. Every Day by David Levithan. Now THIS was a great book! It was odd and quirky about a disembodied soul that pops into people everyday to live their life for a single day. Levithan is becoming one of my favorite authors. 5 GR Stars
  5. Dragonlance Chronicles Book 1 by Margret Weis – I just am plowing through this series, this book was meh for me but those who love this genre will LOVE this book.
  6. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Good read filled with sociopaths. It was a little unnerving to read this book about a school shooting so soon after Sandy Book, but it is enlightening. Well thought out and characters are real. 4 GR Stars
  7. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. This author is CRAZY or at the very least understands crazy. This is the second book of hers I read, I will read her other one hoping it will be as good. The reviews I read say Sharp Objects isn’t as hood as her other books. I rated 5 GR stars. I thought is was dark and twisted. The ending  – well, just read it.
  8. Lessons from the End of a Marriage by Lisa Arends. This is a true story about a woman whose husband left her via text so he could marry his second wife. The best part about this story, is how Lisa learned from choices she made and used goals to pull her out of her nightmare. I really admire her courage and spirit. I found her because she subscribed to me here first. Then I decided to take a peek at her blog. I watched her on Jeff Probst and love here memes. I have gleaned great insight from her that can be applied to all relationships and self, not just broken marriages. Go give her site a peek and then buy her book. $7 on Amazon, you can’t go wrong. 4 GR Stars

 

Tell me about a GREAT book you read, chances are I have it on my list or have read it, but I am hoping for that book I will mourn over and miss characters from for weeks.

Happy Reading!

Secrets

In between my crazy busy life, I take time to read. I have challenged myself to read books and genres that frightened me before. I am not talking about horror type books, because those have never been on my radar, but books that touch on mental health issues. I always have been the sensitive type that could pick up on others emotions or feelings and assimilate them into my own consciousness. Trust me, I don’t recommend this technique for developing empathy, yet here was me being able to understand a too deep of a level.

I just finished reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Mental Health is at the root of these books trying to explain why people’s action result in unspeakable crimes. The sad part is, I can understand why these events occur. For me it is like sitting up high in the rafters of a hockey game. From that vantage point you can see the play develop in the back-end, speed through the center ice with skill and finish in the other end with finesse. It all makes sense, it unfolds in a seemingly logical way.

What these types of books have done for me – other than give me nightmares about serial killers, is have me walk around and just look at people. Wondering what their secret is and why it makes them behave in such away. Some people wear their secret on their arm as if they cut it into their flesh like Camille did in Sharp Objects, Rape, Slapped, Molested, Ignored, Unloved, Stolen, Bullied, Abused, Hated. Their secret becomes who they are and effects every facit of their life. Others simply ignore their secret and over compensate for things with, I am not my Father, If I love you enough you will love me back, This happened to me so you should have it happen to you because it’s fair.

One some level it is comforting to know that there is someone out there who understands on some level my secret or your secret. It becomes part of our need to belong or feel apart of a group. I sometimes sit in my secret place and think about my secret and how I could use it to change my life. Would it help? Would it damage? We all have some secret we either share or guard close to us. Perhaps it is why Frank Warren’s Blog PostSecret has had  586,318,599 visits in 7 years. He started an art project that invited people to anonymously send him a postcard with their secret on it. Millions of people did. I have read secrets that could have been mine, secrets that could have belonged to my love and secrets that could belong to you. We will never know who the belonged to because they are secrets, but it is nice to know we aren’t alone.

Here is a PostCard from Sunday’s PostSecret blog. I found this to be particularly sad and can think of someone in my life who might belong to this secret.

whoeverlovedthatlovednotatfirstsight

The flip side of this postcard read:

Love never dies they & I am living proof of that having been married for 50 years I am in love with someone else I can’t have. Love never dies!

Here is Frank Warren’s PostSecret Project

My favorite books I read in 2012

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...

I am not going to lie, 2012 was a craptastic year. But every dark cloud has a silver lining and I had a few of those. I achieved some goals, learned some hard lessons and made new friends. All of those belong in the win/win category of my story.

My Life Coach advised me to make a non-fitness goal this year. That was hard. A non-fitness goal made me feel weak. I looked at the things that were important to me and I decided convincing myself that I am intelligent was pretty high on the list. My non-fitness goal of 2012 was to read 50 books. Today is December 30th and I completed my last book today, just under the wire.  You can see the complete list of books here. That list shows 51 books, that is I am not sure whether to include Life of Pi. I read it 2 years ago and reread for book club. I got new insights out of it as I often do when I reread books, so I added it to the list. I also didn’t include the TON of reading material I read for University, that wasn’t for fun it was for marks which is fun in a different way, so that didn’t count either.

I decided to reflect back on my year of reading, trying out new genres and exploring topics that had been difficult for me in the past. I picked most of  these books because someone else read it and said, you might like it. Mostly it was true. If  i started a book and hated it, i stopped reading it. 50 books was a lot to get through and I wanted to enjoy my reading, after all this was suppose to be fun! This was a huge year for risk taking when it came to books and it paid off in droves! Here you have it, the Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 books she read in 2012.

My favorite books I read in 2012

  1. Book of Negroes by  Lawrence Hill. Yes it is an older book, yes it won the Canada Reads award, yes it shamed me as a human and Canadian. But the story was captivating and engrossing. I couldn’t put it down. This should be required reading in every high school on the planet. I missed her when I finished the book. She was remarkable.
  2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Maybe I loved this because of where I was at the moment in my life but it struck a chord with me. It was my Eat, Love Pray of 2012. I want to read it every year to see if I learn new insights from it.
  3. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. This was and is the only book I have read by him. I will admit to being scared of him. I have seen some of his movies and I don’t like feeling scared, but something about this book called to me. First of all it wasn’t scary! Secondly it had an element that lots of people think about, myself included, the chance to go back in time and fix a wrong that you did. Sadly there would be consequences  I loved this book, but it was loooooooooooong. Not a quick read.
  4. Room by Emma Donoghue. This is not for the faint of heart. It was told through the eyes of a 5 year old boy and that made it seem less horrific because he didn’t really understand what he was seeing. A college girl is kidnapped and made to be a sex-slave for a creepy old guy and she is kept in ROOM. It made me think about how young children see their world and how they deal with pain and abuse.
  5. A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. A book club pal recommended this to me. It is from the perspective of a dog who reincarnates into several lives looking for his purpose. He takes the lessons learned into the next life. Brilliant book, I loved it. It was heart warming and not sad.
  6. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Better than the movie, although I thought the movie was great. I loved this man’s journey to discover what was truly important to him. The fact that I could vividly picture my future ex-husband George as the main character only broke my heart. I love how his relationship with his girls builds throughout the book. There is nothing sexier than a great dad.
  7. The Unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It was long listed for the Booker Prize and I heard about this from Laurie Greenwood on CBC Radio. I liked this book as it played like a movie in my head, but it wasn’t until the end when you find out what it meant, then looking back over the book made it brilliant.
  8. Me before You by Jojo Moyes. I have figured this for some Chicklit fluff. Was I wrong! It had me torn in pieces thinking about the moral dilemma  Loved the two main characters. Great read!
  9. Gone girl by Gillian Flynn. I had never ventured into mystery before, or a mystery like this one. I often found my jaw hanging open in shock and awe. I may have found a new genre I like!
  10. Shop Girl by Steve Martin. I like his writing style. His other books were not as good as this one. I like how he captured the female character. I think it is hard for a man to write about females, I find them often unbelievable but I liked her.
  11. A Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. This was almost poetry and made me feel pretty. Lots of memorable lines and something I could really relate to. Heartbreak transcends gender.

It was hard to narrow it down to 11 but I found some authors who I will read again, I quite like Diane Chamberlain and Jennifer Weiner both new to me. And I had the pleasure of reading Maeve Binchy’s last book. She is my favorite author and of late her books had left me flat, I was not like the Father Flynn series at all. But a Week in Winter brought in new characters and was as lovely as Even Class. I shall miss her.

As for next year? I am setting a goal of 20 books. This time I am going to explore fantasy. This is something that doesn’t interest me much but people yap on and on about it. Can’t say I hate something if I don’t give it an honest chance. I find it hard to wrap my head around weird names and bizarre settings. I like Sci-Fi so maybe I need to re-examine Fantasy, and by Fantasy I don’t mean that crappy 50 shades series. There is 2 days I will never get back.

So tell me, what is on your list for 2013? What is the first book you will be reading?