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Showing posts from September, 2018

A haunting coming-of-age graphic novel

Home After Dark 

The fascination and demand for coming-of-age stories is seemingly inexhaustible, no matter how old, no matter how many stories have been told. With each, perhaps we strive to see a different perspective, to help us understand the struggles that remind us of our own journey. While each, every story can be a little bit different, but also can be a bit of the same. 

David's Small graphical novel Home After Dark tackles the story from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt. His family life isn't as peachy as something you'd see on an episode of the Wonder Years. His parents are constantly bickering and drinking, an observation Russell makes as he's eavesdropping in the dark shadows. That isn't the first reference to a web of darkness that weaves over plot and permeates Russell's life. 

Home After Dark by David Small,ironically begins with an illustration of a boy starring at a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree. It's a picture perfe…

Everything is perfectly good, until it's not

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard

When I was wild,
you were steady.
Now that you are wild - 
what am I?

These are words that haunt Eden, when her best friend runs away from home. That's in reference to Bonnie, her perfect, never-gets-into-trouble best friend. 

Bonnie, who gets perfect As, who's obsessed with acing her exams, who will not rock the boat --until she does.
How? She runs away with a guy, and not just any guy.

The book is endearing, jarring and unexpected. Sara Barnard's Goodbye Perfect is a YA ("young adult") novel that makes you question everything and really see situations from various vantage points, whether they be from a teenager's, a parent's, or a best friend's. 

Goodbye Perfect is honest and brilliantly written. The essence of friendship, and growing up is captured. And, it's relatable. Not only to the younger YA audience who will embrace it and capture its essence, but also to adults who decide to give it a read. It will make you questio…

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Step into the sadness of Sea Prayer. Inspired by actual events, Khaled Hosseini's children's book, takes a deep dive into making the reader understand the refugee crisis, and it's superlative. The story stops you right in your tracks. Sea Prayer was inspired by the tragedy of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach safety in Europe in 2015. 

Told from a father's point of view, Sea Runner is a love note to a son. Words that express fear, hope, anxiety, and above all truth. 

"These are only words. A father's tricks.  It slays your father,  your faith in him.  Because all I can think tonight is how deep the sea, and how vast, how indifferent. How powerless I am to protect you from it."
Short, but packing a wallop, Sea Prayer is the logical descendant of Khaled Husseini's masterful heart aching tomes, The Kite Runner and The Mountains Echoed

I couldn't wait for the release of this book, and it was well…

Low-carb recipes for on the go

If you are trying to cut out carb (and who isn't these days), then Sandra and Mirco Stupning's book Low Carb On The Go may suit your palate. Personally, I find that I am always constantly struggling to come up with recipe ideas, in addition to devoting enough prep time time during the week, to make quick workday lunches that are healthy and easy. 

Here are a few of my faves from the book:

Strawberry bowl with avocadoInfused with chia seeds, yogurt and mango, in addition to the two aforementioned recipes, this one contains 8g of protein and 405 calories. 

Chia pick-me-up with turmericWho hasn't heard of turmeric -- deemed the new superfood (or was that last year's choice?). Whatever the case, turmeric has always been top choice in my world. Turmeric is a staple in Indian cooking, and has only recently become trendy in the mainstream market. It's powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Chia seeds are also a good choice to incorporate into an…

Less is more. A guide to minimalism.

What is minimalism?

This is Rachel Aust's guide to minimalism. 

How do you change your life to have less and still manage be happy? We live in a material world, consumed by advertising messages bombarding us to believe that more is better. More will make us happier. But does more stuff to fill your life, your home, make you happy? Does more experiences and more choices really enrich our homes? Is more really the best solution? 

Rachel Aust's book Less explores the concept of minimalism. It outlines the common misconceptions about minimalism and even provides an idea of the basics you need in your life, whether in your kitchen or your d├ęcor. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

The book is an exploration of ideas. You are forced to ask yourself questions whether you really require all the hundreds of kitchen gadgets that sit idle in our kitchen drawers, waiting to be loved. Reading made me evaluate specific aspects of my own existence and ask myself what I really need to pair down in my li…

Women Talking by Miriam Toews

It was between 2005 and 2009 that over 130 Mennonite women in a remote colony in Bolivia, were drugged and raped. An ex-Mennonite herself, Miriam Toews tells their story in her new book Women Talking. 
In some ways the conversations that centre around the book are poignant to what’s happening in the world today with the Me Too movement, although Miriam Toews suggests that this is purely coincidental. The details surrounding this particular case are horrific and unimaginable…the women are attacked at night after being knocked unconscious. Waking up bloodied and bruised, the women were led to believe that perhaps demons or ghosts were responsible, and it was a consequence of them being punished for their sins. It was also suggested by the elders that perhaps the attacks were only due to an invention of “wild female imagination”. This theory was expelled when one of the women awoke and saw one of the men sneaking into the woman’s room to commit this heinous crime. After being confronted h…

Starlight by Richard Wagamese

Richard Wagamese's new novel is here and it stays true to the man we all admired. Picking up on the story of Frank Starlight, a character he introduced in his earlier novel Medicine Walk, this book time travels into the future, where Starlight's father has passed away.

Frank Starlight lives with his friend and hired help Roth, on a farm in the heart of the B.C. interior that he inherited from the old man who took him in as a young lad. The white farmer was the closest to a dad that Starlight has ever know. 

Starlight is no stranger to hard work and a honest day's pay, and his days are consumed by chores on the farm with his hired help Roth. But there is another side to Starlight. He has an unusual talent for capturing wildlife photography. 

Richard Wagamese's characters have always been rich in this kind of complexity. They do not conform to stereotype, nor are they one dimensional. Starlight on first glance may seem the typical soft-spoken farmer, but there's more to…