Notes on Reading 7/3/16

Happy long weekend everyone in Canada and the states!  I’m excited to have the fourth off for once.  When I had my last job I had to work when we were off for the fourth, because it’s not a Canadian holiday.  But I also did NOT get Canada Day off.  So that sucked a bit.

This week I’ve been reading some great books:

I finished: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel.  It was every bit as good as everyone said!!

I’m currently reading: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.  I’m having all the feels.  I LOVED (and sobbed through the last half of) Matson’s Second Chance Summer, and this one is definitely just as good so far.  Also, sad 😦

I’m changing it up tonight and drinking wine! I nice crisp pinot grigio, which I added fresh blueberries to because why not.

Hope you have a relaxing and fun weekend!  Reading anything fun?

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Review: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

art of hearing heartbeatsHere’s the description:

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present.  When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.

First Impressions: very high expectations

Final Thoughts: Did not disappoint.  I almost wanted to reread it immediately.  Why can’t all books be this amazing??

Favorite part: The writing-it was so damn poetic.  Also the imagery.  The way the author describes Burma made me want to jump on to a plane and see it for myself.  I felt like I was already there because of all the details but desperately wanted to visit to really experience it after finishing the book. Mi Mi was my favorite character because she was just so resilient.  I hope I’m half as good as her.

Goes well with: Blood Orange Saison from Resurgence

Title: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Author: Jan-Philipp Sendker
Date of Publication: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

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Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready player oneHere’s the description:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

First Impressions: Very different, I was a bit worried about not “getting it” since I don’t play video games and the 80s isn’t really my favorite era so pop culture references might not seem so obvious to me.

Final Thoughts: LOVED it.  What a unique book.  It touches on the nostalgia of the past but also makes the sad and scary realities of Wade’s present very real.

Favorite part: How Cline is able to make Wade, Aech, Artemis, and the others so human even though the majority of their interactions are within the virtual reality of the Oasis.  They did not seem 1 dimensional to me.  They seemed 100% whole and real.

Goes well with: Any of the UFO beers from Harpoon.  Mostly because of the name 🙂

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Date of Publication: 2011
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal copy

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Notes on Reading 6/26/16

Last weekend was twin’s wedding ❤  It was a beautiful day at Sonnenberg Gardens in Canandaigua, NY!  The wedding was perfect and I am so excited to see the bride and groom once they return from their honeymoon!!

Here’s a photo of the bride and groom at dinner.  I still have to upload all the other photos I took from the wedding weekend!

dinner photoIn blog news, I have a big backlog of reviews to post so in an attempt to make that easier I’m trying out a new format.  Yay!

Hopefully your weekend isn’t as toasty as mine is.  I am really wishing for snow right now..

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Review: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

book of unknown americans

Here’s the description from

A dazzling, heartbreaking page-turner destined for breakout status: a novel that gives voice to millions of Americans as it tells the story of the love between a Panamanian boy and a Mexican girl: teenagers living in an apartment block of immigrant families like their own.

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamà fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she’s sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.

I have to admit, this wasn’t really on my radar.  I’d read reviews, sort of knew what it was about, but it just didn’t strike any interest in me.  Then one day I was sitting at work with nothing to do (we had a period of time with NO work) and was browsing the Overdrive app on my phone, and happened upon it.  I was like “why not.  I’ve got 8 hours to kill..”  And I finished it in no time.

What a fantastic, sad, but also hopeful story.  I love that it’s told through so many different perspectives, because each character’s narration gives flavor to the overall story.  I wasn’t expecting it to be so deep or touching.  I have no idea why this didn’t seem interesting to me.  But as soon as I started reading the first page I was drawn in.

Maribel and her family really struck a chord with me.  They are trying to get help for her after an accident that’s left her with brain damage.  Her parents have a good life in Mexico, her father owns his own construction company.  But they give all of that up to live in poverty in the United States, all so that their child can go to the best school for her injuries.

I can’t say enough about this book.  I’m hoping to get one of my book clubs to read it because there is SO much to talk about.

Have you read The Book of Unknown Americans?  What did you think?

Title: The Book of Unknown Americans
Author: Cristina Henriquez
Date of Publication: 2014
Genre: Fiction
Source: Overdrive

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Notes on Reading 6/11/16

I can’t believe it’s already June!  Even more, twin’s wedding is in ONE WEEK!!  She’s been engaged for almost 3 years so it’s hard to believe that the wedding day is almost here.  I’ve been crazy busy with my maid of honor duties and as a result haven’t gotten in much reading the last few weeks.  But I’m still doing the book polygamy thing.  Anyone else find it impossible to read just one book at a time??  I have a bedside book, the book on my phone or Nook, and at least 2 books that are in my purse or by my couch, which are my “main” books.  I’ve always read multiple books at a time and I love it.  I know many people who can only do one at a time, which is fine, just not something I can see myself doing.

Here are my current reads:

Ready Play One by Ernest Cline (main book)
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (other main book)
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein (bedside book)
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (on my phone thanks to Overdrive app)

What are you currently reading??



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Review: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

our souls at nightFrom the book jacket:

In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbore, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away in Colorado Springs, her son even further away in Grand Junction, and Addie and Louis have been living alone in houses now empty of family, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. Their brave adventures-their pleasures and their difficulties-are hugely involving an truly resonant, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.

Our Souls at Night was a book club read, and our love for it was unanimous, which doesn’t usually happen in a book club.

I don’t want to give a way key parts of the book that are unveiled as the story progresses.  So I’ll say this instead: what a little gem this book is.  It is short and it goes fast, but you will not regret reading it, and it will leave you in contemplation for a long time after you finish it.

There is something very special about Addie and Louis and their story.  Read the book to see what I mean.

Title: Our Souls at Night
Author: Kent Haruf
Date of Publication: 2015
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy

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