Sady Doyle “Trainwreck”

The full title of this book is “”Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… and Why””

 

This was an excellent read! Insightful, witty, and easy to read, Sady Doyle does an amazing job illustrating how women do so little to be critiqued immensely.

I was having these thoughts before picking up a copy. I thought to myself, as one would, why do I hate Miley Cyrus? Has she truly done anything to upset me so much? And then I came to the conclusion, no. In fact. I envy her. How can she live life so true to herself? Sure there are parts of Miley Cyrus’ character that I cannot relate to, but she is living her life how she wants to live her life. Why should I mock her for her own life choices?
10/10 would recommend this book. It’s important to build ourselves up, and this book sparks the conversation.

[2016] reflection

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Formal Introductions

Last year I wrote “[2015] reflection,” so in effort to make this a tradition, here’s my review of 2016. To add to the reading, play this in the background. It’s my top ten songs of 2016.

Now, by looking at all the memes of 2016 – it appears that 2016 was a crazy ride for everyone. We lost many iconic musicians, there were numerous questionable political events (notoriously Brexit & Trump), the scandals, etc. But let’s not focus on the scary portion of 2016. That’s not what a reflection is supposed to achieve. No. My reflection is to remind me the growth I have accomplished over the year and to bring positivity.

A Taste for Adventure
Ottawa

I started the year off right by overcoming my fear of driving, by deciding to make my first real long-distance drive to Ottawa. May not seem to be much, but for a first-time car owner, a long-distance drive is a huge accomplishment. So with ten+ hours of driving in the snow, this helped elevate my confidence with driving. Now the QEW & 427 commute is a piece of cake.

Ottawa was a great decision to ring in the New Year surrounded by the good ‘ol Marshall crew.

Yukon

From long-distance driving transitions to first-time-flying-by-yourself-all-the-way-up-North trip. I would like to thank AB for allowing me to visit her in The Yukon in May. I came back with a new sense of purpose and other clichés. But seriously, Yukon has given me that much-needed push to add more adventures to my life. The Yukon is so beautiful that I encourage all to visit this magnificent place at some point in your lifetime. I miss being surrounded by mountains. For my full telling of the Yukon, continue reading here.

Cuba

The next step? We go from flying within Canada to flying outside of Canada sans-parents for the first time. And to Cuba! Cuba was just the escape I needed in November. And it will forever be memorable, as of course I went when Fidel Castro passed away. It’s one thing to go for the all-inclusive, but it’s also important to leave your resort bubble. Havana is a beautiful city with so much culture imbedded. I am glad we were still able to visit Revolution Square the day before Castro’s ashes were brought for mourning. It’s one place I would definitely visit again.

Concerts & Festivals

Compared to last year, Miss Victoria Chiasson went to the most amount of concerts and festivals. Although Mumford & Sons did not make the list because TicketMaster did not come through, I still went to four other great musicians (and probably for the price of one Mumford & Sons ticket).

Experiences, my dear reader, is what you need to focus on. Here’s a sum of what added value to my 2016:

  • Winter BrewFest
  • TSwift Dance Party
  • Drake & Rihanna Dance Party
  • Bread n’ Honey Festival
  • KONGOS @ Velvet Underground
  • BeerFest
  • Cider Festival at Yonge-Dundas Square
  • Dan Mangan @ Union Station
  • TURF
  • Nuit Blanche (first time going!)
  • Adele Concert
  • July Talk Concert
  • Christmas Market at Distillery District (first time for this as well!)
Reading

Came short on my reading challenge this year, as I am still learning to balance work and life. I am still pleased that I managed to read 12 books. Also by looking at my stats, my books equaled 4043 pages, which I’m happy with. My top books of 2016 you should get around to are: Missing, Presumed and A Year of Marvelous Ways. Both well written with life lessons that stick around.

Follow my life of reading over on goodreads.

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Conclusions & Other Rambles

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I did not set a resolution for 2016 when I wrote my first reflection. Rather, I went into the year with a general attitude. I hoped that 2016 would be a year of transformation. I think from this general reflection, that yes. I have grown as an individual by focusing on experiences and creating memories. I have gained confidence in some places, but I know that I still have work on gaining confidence in other areas.

2017 will be the year of no excuses. No excuses to making things happen, achieving dreams, and moving forward. No excuses for those around you and for yourself.

Dear 2017. I’m ready. Bring it on.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

20160820_171904Finally made enough time to finish this book! It was quite enjoyable, albeit makes you wish it was an actual novel and not a performance script.

From the first 30 pages I felt for Albus Potter, and could relate to his character. I thought they did a good job with the storyline, and it does have some twists to keep you guessing.

Really, the only critique is that it’s a performance script, so most of the writing is cheesy. I feel that this is more suitable to see on stage, so that it provides the reader with the intended effect.

Maybe, just maybe, J.K. Rowling will make it into a full-fledged novel?

Follow my love of reading over at GoodReads.

Susie Steiner “Missing, Presumed”

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Demolished this book in last two days at the cottage. The first few chapters are a tad slow, but only to establish the plot. Roughly 50 pages in, you will become hooked, so stay with it! I could not put the book down until I was done!

Missing, Presumed is a literary-crime novel written by Susie Steiner. Although the plot is based on the search for Edith Hind – a twenty-something graduate student at Cambridge whose father is surgeon to the Royal Family – the novel is more of a character analysis of DS Manon Bradshaw who struggles with her work & being lonely. In addition to Bradshaw’s development, the novel also takes place from many different viewpoints, which is a nice touch.

Overall, this is a brilliant novel with beautiful writing, many twists, and good character development.

“I sometimes think I don’t actually like anyone that much. That all I ever want is to be on my own. And then I can’t cope with it — with myself, just myself all the time, and it’s like I become the worst company of all 00 and there’s this awful realization that I need people and it’s almost humiliating,” – pg. 164 **big nod from me**

Follow my life of reading over at Goodreads.

Sarah Dessen “Saint Anything”

There’s something comforting in Sarah Dessen’s writing. Easy-reading for the summer.20160712_211216

Who doesn’t love some chick-lit?

Saint Anything regards all sorts of relationships. Family, friends, love, personal. This is laid out through the life of Sydney, who has always felt invisible. Her brother Peyton won the attention of many throughout their childhood. Peyton, however, begins to spiral out of control and finds himself in jail after a drunk-driving incident.

This leads Sydney switching schools and meeting the Chathams family after deciding to visit the local pizza place after school one day. There she learns more about herself and begins to realize that she too deserves to be heard.

The novel is perfect for anyone looking for a quick and easy ready.

“How a song can remind you of something specific in your own life, like it belongs to you. But how personal can it really be if a million other people feel the same way about it? It’s like a fake meaning, on top of a manufactured meaning, divided by a true.” page. 159.

BOOM. hit the nail on the head with this quote. cough “Do I Wanna Know?” Is the perfect example of this. scratch that. The whole AM album cough.

Follow my reading adventures over at goodreads!

Dean Koontz “Deeply Odd”

Deeply Odd is more emotionally straining than the other books. Given that children are the main focus, be prepared to become teary-eyed. Odd’s world is becoming more complex and it will be interesting to see where this goes in the final novel.

Continue reading

Dean Koontz “Odd Apocalypse”

Odd Thomas is quite possibly my favourite character. As this if the fifth Odd Thomas book in the series, I was not disappointed. This book is more supernatural (I know right, how can that be when Odd sees ghosts) than the rest, and has many crazy elements.

Carrying off from Odd Hours, Annamarie and Odd find themselves at Roseland estate (built by a Roaring 20s Hollywood Film Maker). In typical Odd Thomas fashion, Continue reading

Manal M. Omar “Barefoot in Baghdad”

The full title of this book is “Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity — My Own and What It Means to be a Woman in Chaos.”

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Personal Image of my Copy of Barefoot in Baghdad

Thought-provoking, eyeopening, and well written. The book centres Manal Omar’s experiences working in Iraq to provide relief to women in dire situations. Additionally, it discusses Omar’s personal story of identity of being an American-Palestinian Muslim woman choosing to wear the hijab in a war torn country.

Based on other reviews I came across for this book, some were convinced Manal Omar is/was anti-American. It is clear that for those who have this conception did not actually read the book. Manal Omar is not anti-American, she is more so against the occupation of military in Iraq, and is critical of the “War on Terror.” There is a difference between being American and the military.

There was an important quote Omar writes, which I will include here: “Years of humanitarian work had taught me that the smallest intervention could set loose an avalanche of unexpected consequences. I knew better than to dive in on a whim.” pg. 142.

This quote can be applied to humanitarian work such as the donation of clothes, textbooks, shoes, etc. On the surface these are great causes, but only offer short-term solutions. The real solution is long-term, in which communities are taught ways to sustain themselves. Just something I thought about whilst reading.

Sarah Dessen “Lock & Key”

Picked this book up because a) needed something that was mindless b) it was on sale for $5.99.

Nevertheless, it was an excellent read, and provided just what I needed. As this is my third Sarah Dessen book I have noticed a recurring theme throughout her writing. Strong relation to Dreamland, except not to the same extent. Continue reading

Dean Koontz “Odd Hours”

So this book picked up from page ten? And didn’t stop there. The last few chapters, I was sitting in Starbucks reading – as one would – and all I could think of was: “Wow, the people around me don’t even know how intense this is, and it’s not like I can just open my mouth in full disbelief of the amount of things happening at this moment.” It was that good. Continue reading