New Year, New Look!

If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve given the blog a makeover. A little less clutter and a bit more up to date with website design. I’m also working on getting caught up on my reviews and have a new one being published this Wednesday!

Let me know what you think of the fresh new look!

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My Favourite Reads of 2015

Another year has come and gone and while I didn’t get to read as many books as I normally would have this last year, I did read some behemoth novels that have been on my to-read list for a while.

These are my top favorite reads, for both fiction and non-fiction, that I read in 2016:

Top Non-Fiction:

3) Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee: A heart-retching memoir of a man who sacrificed everything, including leaving his family, to escape the worn torn and intolerable country he grew up in to move to Canada.

2) The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King: An extremely relevant read for any Canadian. King’s writing is casual an approachable but gives you the perfect glimpse in to the real lives and issues that still exist for the Native American’s in Canada and the US.

1)  Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War by Che Ernesto Guevara: Picked up this book while I was in Cuba in order to learn a little bit about the country’s history. Che is an exceptional storyteller and he provides amazing details about a very turbulent time in Cuba’s history.

Top Fiction:

5) The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce: After a few recommendations, I caved and read this book and it was absolutely worth reading. The story is about regret, discovery and the rekindling of relationships, love and meaning.

4) Sum: Forty Tales From The Afterlives by David Eagleman: Short and sweet, this novella contains short stories about the afterlife that are sure to make you go “hmmm”.

3) The Martian by Andy Weir: Probably the biggest book of the year and it’s no coincidence. This book is clever, funny and absolutely riveting. If you’ve seen the movie, it truly doesn’t compare to the awesomeness of this book. Read me!

2)  And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier: One of the most beautiful books on death I’ve ever read. Part of the Canada Reads 2015 shortlist, this is one Canadian read you’ll want to add to your list.

1) Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage OR 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: I hadn’t realized that I managed to read two books by Murakami this year! He is now one of my favourite authors. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is Murakami’s latest piece and I loved it. I can’t decide if I loved more than 1Q84, which is considered one of Murakami’s greatest works.  You either love Murakami or you don’t but the man’s work speaks volumes to me. Almost literally, since most of his books are absolutely massive. Add him to your reading list though if you’ve never tried anything by him; Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is a reasonable length too and great place to start.

 

My Favourite Reads of 2014

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As a new year approaches I like to take a look back on what books I’ve devoured over the last year. These are my top 3 favorite reads, for both fiction and non-fiction, that I read in 2014:

*Click on the links to see my reviews of each of these

Fiction Top 3

3) Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell: One of the mostly beautifully written modern stories I’ve ever read. The novel’s tone is dark and lurking but is balanced with the fierceness of  Ree, the female protagonist. A quick and awesome read.

2) All The Light We Cannot See By Anthony Doerr:  Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award 2014 for Best Historical Fiction! This novel is one of the most popular published books of 2014 and it’s worth all the attention. Following the lives of two young people who are on opposing sides of World War II, the novel explores humanity at one of its worst times in history. This book has all the feels! Worth the read.

1) Stupid Children by Lenore Zion: I can’t say enough good things about this book. I came across this small-time publication through The Next Best Book Club on Goodreads and I was lucky enough to be apart of a group discussion with the author (see my review for some insight into this discussion). This book has a strange but amazing concept. After Jane’s father attempts to commit suicide, he is institutionalized and she is sent to the foster care system. The family she is adopted by is apart of the Second Day Believers cult. The novel depicts Jane’s upbringing with this family and the ordeals of living within a cult. This book is funny, creepy and extremely thought provoking and is the kind of book I almost want to read again. Support small press and buy this book!

Non-Fiction Top 3

3) The Romanov Sisters by Helene Rappaport: This novel won the Goodreads Choice Award 2014 for Best History & Biography! Lucky for me, I was able to read this book through Netgalley.  For those that have never explored non-fiction or even a history piece, I’d recommend this one for you. This informative book reads so much like a fiction and it gives a massive insight to the lives and personalities of the Romanov family.

2) Skin Picking: The Freedom to Finally Stop by Annette PasternakThis book is a bit personal but it was so immensely helpful that I have to include it. For anyone suffering from a BFRB (body-focused repetitive behavior), please read this book! It’s informative and has real exercises and practices that will dramatically help you get a handle on your condition. Life changer!

1) Diet Cults by Matt FitzgeraldWe are constantly bombarded with information of what to eat and what not to eat. Tragically, all of this information often times contradicts itself depending on the source and whatever died fad is currently being endorsed making being healthy quite confusing. Matt Fitzgerald, a professional coach and athlete, makes food simple again with this book and breaks down the data that many diet cults perpetuate. He never bashes diet fads but explains why they appeal to people, why they work for a short time, why our bodies can adapt to eat anything and how to get back to the basics and stop stressing over food! This was a game changers for me with my approach to food.