Suicide Note: an Interview with Author Teresa Mummert

We all know how I feel about authors. They are my rock stars. There is something so amazing to me about having the ability to create a world in your imagination, invite others along for a peek and have them be caught up in your imaginary world. I know it is hard work, rewrites and edits, feedback – good and bad, but once I get writing, I lose myself in it. So the idea of being paid to write is somewhat of a fantasy for me.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to interview New York Times Best Selling Author, Teresa Mummert about her latest release Suicide Note, out on book shelves March 15, 2013. She was gracious enough to oblige me and is providing a gifted Kindle e-copy of her new book Suicide Note when it is released to one of my lucky readers! That means you! Contest closes March 14th, 2013,  at NOON Mountain Standard Time To enter the Book Giveaway, simply click on CONTACT me (above) with your name, preferred email address and leave a blog comment below. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Noon MST. Good luck, and spread the word!

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Thank you for stopping by my blog for this interview! I can’t tell you how excited I am about this and the giveaway.

The premise of your book Suicide Note is found on the website , “A soldier returning for mid-tour leave decides to stay with a cousin in Maine after his fiancé leaves him for someone else while he is away at war. His cousin is going through his own devastation and is struggling to pick up the pieces and move on with his family. As they try to help each other through the pain, Shane’s path crosses Jenn’s and he soon learns that everything happens for a reason.”

ET:  Suicide Note has been getting amazing reviews! Will it only be released in ebook format?

TM: It will also be available in paperback on Amazon.

 

ET:   Is this entire story from Shane’s perspective?

TM: It alternates perspectives so you can see what each character is going through while they are apart.

 

ET: How is it different writing from a male perspective than a female one?

TM: I tend to have the female characters wear their sleeves while the male characters keep their feelings inside.

 

ET: Being a writer sounds like the perfect flexible career since you follow your husband around for his military career. I understand this is a fictional story, but was it inspired through your experience as a military wife?

TM: Some of the experiences come from real life situations. The soldier on the pool table is a perfect example of that. It actually happened in Afghanistan to a soldier while my husband was deployed. The soldier survived.

 

ET: Does this kind of story happen more often than we would like to think about because of the transient and stressful life in the military?

TM: Everything in the military seems to move in fast forward. People marry younger and of course that can cause a lot of problems down the road. It is a highly stressful lifestyle and not everyone is cut out for it.

 

ET: Are you a big believer in “Everything happens for a reason”? Can you give me a personal example?

TM: I think no matter what happens in your life you can choose to make the best of the situation and grow from it. It is hard moving from place to place and being alone the majority of the time, but I have also made some amazing friends that I would not have met otherwise. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of it all.

 

ET: This is not your first book; I believe Suicide Note is your 6th book? You tend to write series. What is the underlying reason for turning a book into a series?

TM: Suicide Note will be my sixth book. When I write I like to picture the story in my head as a movie. The story ends but there is always so much more that can happen and I become very attached to the characters.

 

ET: Is the book concept serial based? Or perhaps the characters needed more room to tell their story? How do you decide which books will be serial and which will stand alone?

TM: It really depends. I start out only planning to write one novel but if the characters are still stuck in my head I will continue their story.

 

ET: Will Suicide Note be a series?

TM: Suicide Note is written as a stand-alone novel. I have tossed around the idea to write another from a different character’s perspective but I most likely won’t do that. I have too many projects on my plate. Jenn and Shane’s story is over.

 

ET: I noticed on your web page you have 6 more books waiting to come out. Can you tell me about your writing process?

TM: I write the novel that is currently stuck in my head. I start by creating the characters. Once I know what type of people I want them to be I create a playlist of songs that help me get into the emotional state of each one. From there I write until I get everything out that I think needs to be told.

 

ET: Is there a particular character that you feel more attached to than any other? Why?

TM: I really felt I could relate most to Jenn from Suicide Note. I put a lot of real feelings into the characters that I have felt during deployments and things of that nature.

 ET: Thank you so much for coming by to talk to me and my readers! This was a fantastic experience!

TM: Thank you so much for taking a chance on my novels! It means the world to me.

Visit the links below to find out more about Teresa Mummert

TeresaMummert.com

Facebook.com/TeresaMummert

Suicidenotenovel.com

Facebook.com/suicidenotenovel

Twitter.com/teresamummert

Suicide Note will be released march 15, 2013

Contest closes March 14th at NOON Mountain Standard Time. To enter the Book Giveaway, simply click on CONTACT me (above) with your name, preferred email address and comment below. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Noon MST. Good luck, and spread the word! March 15 a person will be chosen randomly via randompicker.The winner will be notified via email and the winner will receive a gifted copy from Amazon to their email.

Obsession or Passion?

My book obsession passion has reached new heights.

dovekeepersThen why am I writing instead of finishing the last chapter of The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman? Well, to be honest, the last chapter has filled me with anxiety and trepidation. I am fearing the end because I fell in love with 3 out of 4 of the women whose stories are intertwined with each other. I don’t want to see it end, nor do I want it to end badly, NOR do I want to say good bye. I will busy myself with house work and some other mundane chores before I sit to weep and say farewell to Yael and Aziza.

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Last night at my Book Club meeting, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of sitting for the entire evening talking about books. We asked each other why this happened. First off, we all read the book Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danicat. Two of us really liked the book and two of us weren’t sure. This made for great discussion as to what we liked and what we didn’t. The big consensus was that this was an unfinished book, with gaps and details left to misunderstanding or oblivion. I like that in a book. I don’t always want to know the meat of the story, it helps with speculation of the character. But I did love the cultural aspect of the characters family. Learning about the bond of women and how they give everything up to serve man. This makes me thankful I am a Canadian Girl with North American values that honor education and independent choices for women and their daughters.  Leaving this book behind did not sadden me like leaving the Dovekeepers will.

Other books that have stayed with me over the long term and make me sad when I leave them behind have strong character development and something that has me relate on a personal level. Everyone I talk to who has read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant has felt the same as me, they loved this book and rank it amongst the best they have ever read. The Dovekeepers feels the same as this book. From the time in history, to the bonding of women, to the servitude of men, The Red Tent speaks to the strength of women over time. Read it.

I have been ever vigilant in searching for that next great read. I browse Goodreads on a regular basis and have found some reviews to be stellar and others that make me wonder if we read the same book.  There is a section on goodreads called Explore. I stepped into that section this week to look at new books that are going to be released this year. Authors I have never heard of, genres that don’t interest me (romance) and concepts that I have never heard of for fiction (Steampunk? I thought that was art!). Then I discovered a section called GIVEAWAYS!

For the record, I love free things! From soap and shampoo in hotel rooms to water bottles at conferences, Free = Good! I started heading down the list and began entering the draws. Publishing houses and authors give away first copies before the launch of their books to readers who are willing to read and review these books. Tuesday I won a Canadian book The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper! Simon and Shuster publishers are mailing it to me. The release is set for March. It sounds scary but so interesting! I can’t wait to crack it open!

The next night I was browsing that list again and entered a few new draws. By morning I received notice that I won Healer’s Touch by Deb Howell. Deb sent me a private message on Goodreads, she is signing the book and mailing it to me! Her and I chatted back and forth a bit and I admit to being star struck. I get that way with writers, hockey players and astronauts.

Then Friday I was browsing again and came across The Fallen Snow by John Kelley. I entered the draw for that book because it is another autographed copy but then I noticed a message, this weekend is the book launch! He was offering a free download on Amazon click here you Canadians for a free copy for your kindle or kindle app to read this book. The deal is, by accepting the free book, they hope you will review it on Amazon or the Kindle store. Fair enough, I appreciate the book and will be honest about my review!

I do know that the more you review, the more books people will send you. SWEET! Bring on the books! But here is my disclaimer, if it isn’t smart or clever, I will be ruthless.

What do yo think? Obsessed or passionate?

So here is me, looking for my next great read! I have chosen these ones for the month of March  and end of February:

  1. The Fallen Snow by John Kelley
  2. Under the Dome by Stephen King
  3. The Dinner by Herman Koch
  4. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (the book club selection for March)
  5. The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
  6. Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb

Thoughts or opinions on my chosen ones? Got a better one for me? I am ALL EARS!

Happy reading!

I am Judging a Book by it’s cover for the first time and it isn’t pretty!

Do you judge a book by it’s cover? I want to say no, but then THIS happened:

annecover

 

Who is the Blondie in plaid? The last time I read Anne of Green Gables I was 42 (for the record that is 3 years ago). I have read this book on a consistent basis for about 37 years. The funny thing is, Anne Shirley – the main character, the ANNE of Green Gables – was a red-head the first time I read it and EVERY SINGLE TIME SINCE. Well, once she met a peddle on the road and promised her the dye would turn her hair a beautiful Raven Black – but it turned green…but Marilla cut the green bits off and it was good again.

There is a long tradition of Anne of Green Gables in my family. My Great Grandmother lived on Prince Edward Island and made sure all the girls in her family had the first 3 books to read. Being a teacher, reading was important to her, reading about the Island also important and being a smart girl was the most important quality any female could posses. In keeping with the tradition, I gave a copy to my daughter and told her it was an old book, but the character was just like her. She would make you laugh and you will be amazed at the crazy stuff she gets involved with, yet she is the smartest girl in any book ever written about a 12-year-old without magic.

The 100 year anniversary9780670067800 edition came out in 2008 and it was a traditional type cover.

 

But Seriously….Who was the brains behind this fiasco?

 

This is how I imagine the marketing meeting went. Imagine a board meeting in some Urban Publishing Setting with Suits (men) who have never read this classic Canadian Tale.

Big Wig: Minion, tell me the new projects on the table for this month.

Minion: Well, Our best selling classic book Anne of Green Gables had it’s 100 Anniversary in 2008 and that launch was a huge success, but since then we feel the numbers should be stronger but we found they have actually tapered off. We propose a revamp of the cover. Re-market it as a package for this new hip generation.

Big Wig: I like it! Show me what you have.

Minion: Nothing says sexy like a Blonde in Plaid on a hay stack. Guys love that.

Big Wig: Who is our target audience?

Minion: Teen girls who buy sexy magazines and duck face themselves in club washrooms across the nations. Girls who appear on ‘Girls gone Wild Spring Break’ and girls who are looking to attract that special someone. This new cover will be perfect.

Big Wig: Tell me what this book is about.

Minion: Well sir, this book is about a hot a girl who is very popular and gets all the boys.

Big Wig: Then this cover would be perfect, but why the plaid? It feels a little Daisy Duke to me.

Minion: Well Sir, it takes place in Canada. They all wear plaid in Canada.

Big Wig: Are you sure Minion?

Minion: Yes sir, I went to EPCOT in Florida  to the Canada Pavilion last year with the wife and kids. The Canadians all wore plaid sir.

Big Wig: Nice research Minion. Start printing right away, I want them out for Valentines day.

Minion: Consider it done.

Well the book came out and you should have heard the rant from my ChatterBox.

“Why is the new cover of the Anne of Green Gables a sexy blonde in plaid? Anne is a self conscious red head 12 year old with freckles and a pointy nose. Anne was NORMAL and now they have ruined it! What is wrong with the plain old hand bound books? with solid colour covers. If they rewrote the book from Josie Pye perspective then perhaps it might work but the book is called ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! ANNE OF GREEN GABLES IS A 12 YEAR OLD GIRL! 12 YEAR OLD GIRLS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE SEXY BECAUSE THAT IS CALLED PEDOPHILIA.  18 IS WHEN YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE SEXY BECAUSE THEN YOU DON’T ATTRACT PEDOPHILES. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING?”

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Did I happen to mention how proud I am of my girl? I should have name her Anne but I named her to honor my Great Grandmother. I promised I would never name her Agnes or Christina, instead I named her for my gram’s mother. It was the best I could do. I raised a smart girl just like my Gram hoped I would. Thankfully I still have the books that she gave me, and I passed them down so the tradition can continue.

Miss you Gram.

Tell me how well do you know Anne? 

 

My Technology Crisis

Breath, Eyes, Memory
Breath, Eyes, Memory (Photo credit: wpwend42)

I am in the middle of a technological crisis.

I was reading Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations by J.M. Bryson. I mostly find this interesting because I love Strategic Planning, well…planning in general. There was a word (Governance) where I knew the meaning but it seemed out of context with the section I was reading. I pressed my finger on the word thinking the dictionary would pop up and give me another meaning that would fit the context.

Expect for one small problem.

My text book is the old fashion paper kind, not an electronic e-reader. The dictionary was never going to appear. Nor could I highlight with my finger and add notes.

I realized I have become one of the converted. This hit home today when my Book club Padawan texted me with a title of the next book. I couldn’t find it for download in Canada. Which is stupid because it is ELECTRONIC – meaning digital, it should be the easiest way to find the book. I looked online for it through my libraries (I have access to the Univeristy of Alberta and MacEwan as well as the City of Edmonton Public Library) and there were no e-copies available.

Do you know what this means? I will have to DRIVE my CAR and go into a STORE hoping they will have the book I want to read. I may perhaps have to drive to a few locations before I find it, well, no I won’t because I will search their data base at the store to find a copy. However, what if I have to order it in? Then it must travel to get to me. Ask me how annoyed I am? If I am going to be searching all of the place for this book, I will CALL the independents first. I HATE PHONE CALLS, why can’t I just text them? I will call local booksellers like Greenwoods or Audrey’s before I hit Chapters and Indigo because A) support independent  B) Chapters doesn’t have an e-book copy so I am punishing them.

I have learned something about me through this process. I prefer to shop online for regular stuff, who are we kidding, all stuff except shoes and handbags, and diamonds. I will buy on line but I prefer the experience of being in the store for those items. Shopping on-line is mostly a great experience for me. I did 99% of my Christmas Shopping at www.thinkgeek.com (by the way, if you are thinking of buying me a gift, I’d like the Tardis Tea Pot) Sure I preferred to buy that stuff for me, but I have raised young geeks who need that stuff too. We are in short supply of geek stores in Edmonton. So on-line it is!

Last week I bought office furniture for my new gig. I loved the process of having it delivered to me, or so I thought. I ordered everything and then sometime today a single chair was delivered to my front yard. Did UPS ring the door bell? No. Did Someone call me to say it was coming? No. Was I home today? YES! All stinking DAY. I wouldn’t know my new chair was in my front yard if I didn’t have to walk my daughter to an event at school tonight. Thanks UPS for the email at 9:00 PM telling me you delivered my chair. I never would have known otherwise. This to me is a shopping on-line FAIL.

I can’t wait to buy a 3D printer. I can order my cool stuff on-line, then print it off in the comfort of my office. I may have to then assemble it but I am great with Swedish Directions, Ikea doesn’t scare me. Anything is better than random items spread all over my lawn. This is why I love E-Books.

You pick the book, download it into my e-reader and start reading INSTANTLY. I LOVE IT. It is part of the reason I have read so many books this year.

I need one of two things to happen to me, I need a bookstore to open up down the street from me OR have every book available in epub format. Let the flaming begin, but my house has way less stuff since I have changed everything to digital format, photos, music, movies, and books. I have freed up rooms of space! I don’t think I am asking for too much…I just want a copy of Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat. 

And a dictionary installed into my paper text books.

And a 3D printer.

And a million dollars.

That’s not asking too much.

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!

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?

50/50 Me: Update 38 books

 

Well…it’s been a while since I have updated this project of mine. I think it was somewhere around May 20th. I think it was Never let me Go. I have read 16 books since then and you can find out what they were by checking out THIS page.  I ave read some outstanding books this year and I have read crap. I do know what I think is crap, others think is fantastic. That is what I love about reading. Different books appeal to people in different ways. Isn’t that fantastic?

English: Open book icon
English: Open book icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a certain group of goodread friends who read with the same taste as me. I check out what they like, they check out my list and then we discover for every 1 book we finish we need to add 5 more to the list. It is frustrating. I just can’t seem to read fast enough. I am currently reading (almost finished) 419 – the 2012 Giller Prize winner. Know what? It is justified. This book is compelling and interesting and there are times I am GOBSMACKED at the stupidity. 419 is code for the Nigerian bank account scam. I actually know a person who gave their bank information and had their account wiped out. AND they were not seniors with limited faculties, they are a perfectly sane human who thought it was a good idea. It ruined him financially. It crippled his life and I doubt he will ever be the same. Just like the book is unfolding. Scary really…

I figured it was time to update my top favorite 5 books of the year so far. I hope to make it to 50 books by New Years Eve. I am not sure if I will make it, but I am trying. 50 books is a ton of reading. I went through the Wee Book Inn the other day. That is my favorite used book store on Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona. I was looking at the books they were displaying and in my head all I could hear was ” read that, read that, read that, read that read that.” But do you think I could find the next book my book club is going to read? NO! I may have to pay full price because I am not good with the library book thing. I never return them on time and it creates bad karma. There are so many books I want to read I am having a hard time fitting them all in. But those of you who read the same types of books I do (good ones) then maybe this list might be helpful in choosing YOUR next book.

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 5 favorite books in 2012 so far…

  1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It is a book about “what if”,altering the time line and saving Kennedy. Great read, weak ending.
  2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Probably not for everyone but the journey she took shook me and I could relate. Loved every moment of this book.
  3. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. So unexpectedly great and moving.
  4. The Book of Negroes by Lawernce Hill. Every human should read this.
  5. The Decendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Maybe I loved it because of where I am in my life, but it was way better than the movie and I liked the movie too.

Choosing 5 is hard, I need to give honorable mention to The art of Racing in the Rain and A Dog’s Purpose. Both of those surprised me and charmed me…yes I cried too but the endings were perfect.

50/50 me is also about movies but I have reached that target long ago and stopped keeping track. I am well over 80 by now, perhaps more.

So that is what I am reading. Follow me on goodreads if you want to read my reviews of all the books I have read or challenge me on books you think I should read. Click on the goodreads button to the right, it will lead you to me. Or just tell me what you are reading! Should I read it too?

 

“We read to know that we are not alone.” ― William Nicholson

 

“We read to know that we are not alone.”
William Nicholson

 

I just came off a weekend reading frenzy. I love those kind of weekends. You know the type, lay around in comfy clothes, snacking instead of eating meals and reading 3 books that had me a Page 1.

The first book was J.K. Rowling’s A Causal Vacancy. This was my least favorite of the 3 books this weekend. The story line was just fine, there were a couple of characters I really enjoyed. I loved reading about Krystal’s family and I really liked Andrew. The rest of the town was just overloading me on not caring very much. There was something about this book that made me wade through the crappy bits to get to the climax. Rowling is a master of creating excitement and building to a big finish. That was obvious from reading all her previous works. A Casual Vacancy also had a big build up. I LOVE that in a book. It was unfortunate that this story line was less than interesting. Even with the big build up to the end, I was left with disappointment in her plot line. It was just a regular little town with regular weird residents that resemble people I know. I have to admit of being sucked in by the author’s name. I will likely read her next book but am still holding out hope she will create a Marauders series. Her small town book was dull….except for the end. I rated this book 3 out of 5 on Goodreads.

After I read that book, I immediately picked up A Dog’s Purpose. My friend and bookclub mate The Reader suggested it to me. Our taste in books is very similar, so I figured I would likely enjoy this one too. Did I ever love this book! You don’t need to be a dog lover to enjoy it. The story is from the perspective of the dog, who reincarnates 4 times and has memory of his previous lives. The interesting part for me was how this pup would learn from lessons taught in each life and bring it forward to the next one knowing he has a purpose and must fulfill it. I read this book in a couple of hours and was enchanted right from the time he was Toby until the end of the book as Buddy. I rated this book 5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Love, love, loved it!

The last book I read was the Book of Negroes by Canadian Author Lawrence Hill. It won the Canada Reads award and is a book that everyone should read. I rated it 5 out of 5 on goodreads. For some reason, it is called Someone Knows My Name in the USA.  Which is a shame because of the historical importance of the book entitled The Book Of Negroes (a log kept by the British military to keep track of the slaves, endentured slaves and people freed from slavery who were transplanted to the British colonies in Nova scotia and New Brunswick). It was the story of an 11 year old girl who was captured by the slave traders in Africa. It talked about her 3 month journey to the coast where she was branded and sent on a slave ship to Sullivan Island where she was sold. The story moves throughout her amazing, yet tragic life and the 7 different places she lived. She was more fortunate than most but her life was tragic none the less. I was shocked and shamed to learn about Nova Scotia’s part in the slave trade. The underlying message from this book was timely. It stressed the importance of educating women,especially after Malala Yousafzai was shot for being an activist for girls right to education. Shining Hope for Communities is an organization that combats gender inequality and extreme poverty in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, by linking tuition free schools for girls to accessible social services for all. Studies show that by educating women, poverty can be reduced and violence is lessened. Women who are educated and well read tend to are less fearful. People shouldn’t have to live in fear.

The Dali Lama said this today on his facebook page:

Comparing the 20th century to now there are many hopeful signs. Look at the way people view war. These days many people challenge the need for it, they question why we have to resort to it. In the early twentieth century there was no talk about protecting the environment, yet now everyone is aware of it. Our perceptions are coming closer to reality; humanity is becoming more mature and I am optimistic about the future.

I think we are making gains. Keep Reading people!

Readers

Fiction - October 09
Fiction – October 09 (Photo credit: Pesky Library)

Here it is 8:00pm Wednesday night and my children are buried deep in their books. They finished their homework hour ago, this is reading for fun. The house is silent except for the hum of the water cooler and refrigerator. The odd comment comes from one of the offspring and a giggle about the part of the book they have reached. They are both reading Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan. This is the latest from the Percy Jackson series that hooked my kids a long time ago.

There is nothing that gives me as much pleasure than knowing I raised readers.

It started when they turned one. I read Good Night Moon every night before bed. Children need lots of repetition. When we could talk about what was happening in the pictures we increased the books to two before bed. Eventually, we worked up to longer content and by the time my kids were in school, we were reading chapter books together. They would read to me for homework, then before bed, I would read to them. It was pure pleasure on my part. Together we read The Magic Coin, Charlotte’s Web, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Narnia Series and of course the entire Harry Potter series. We read classics like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. I would choose stories that I loved from my childhood, like Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great and Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing.

Parent/Teacher interviews often had a book fair on the same evening. These fairs were library fundraisers for the school. I would always reward my children with a books of their choice. It was a big deal. Family nights were often a trip to the bookstore and a cup of hot chocolate. We learned that Alex Rider was a great series and Clementine made for great bedtime reading. The trick was finding books that appealed to my kids sense of adventure.

Then one day, the day came when my kids read on their own before bed. They would come and kiss me good night, and tell me they were going to bed early so they could read the latest adventures of Peter and the Star Catchers or Anne of Green Gables. Even as they entered high school, the stories changed and Michio Kaku and his physics books became more interesting than fiction, they still would read every night and complain if they were out of books.

On the “I have read these books” shelf, my kids have placed The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Steve Jobs, The Time Travelers Wife, 11/22/63, Tara Road and many other adult fiction titles. It makes me smile when they pick up a book they have already read because it feels like an old friend. The books that get revisited most often are the Peter and the Starcatchers series and the Hunger Games. Occasionally book #4 of Harry potter comes out or a companion book like Magical Beasts and Where to find them.

Dinner conversation sometimes revolves around books, “I never thought I would see the day when ‘underscores’ were used in dialogue.” Huh… I wasn’t even sure what that meant, but a meaningful conversation ensued. Both offspring have decided to take it slow with Mark of Athena because of the sadness that comes with finishing a great book. We have all gone through that mourning period when we think about the characters long after the book is finished. They each have several books in queue, but the one they are reading is currently the best. Perfect for a quiet Wednesday night at home.

What were some of your favorite reads as a kid?