Last month I wrote about the bully in my head, and how I am often my own worst enemy/critic/creative saboteur. Along those lines, I wanted to share my thoughts on “want versus should” and my personal (and seemingly universal) habits when it comes to telling myself I should do things I actually want to do. Take a peek at the video, and leave a comment to let me know what you think!
What words do you use to encourage and motivate yourself to do the things you want to do?
My husband has been enjoying some well-deserved time off this past week. I was able to take some time out of the library and away from the computer, as well. We’ve been going on road trips across Ontario, having impromptu puppy play dates, playing Scrabble, and lounging out on the water. Instead of sharing what’s current in my life, I thought I’d share some current reads from around the web.
I’ve been called an aggressive person more than once in my life. When I see a problem I tend to bust it open like a bull at stud, rattle it around on my horns, and demand the people around me to help disentangle it. I call this engagement, and it’s how I’m comfortable operating 98% of the time. Sometimes people hear me speak to them in a demanding way; a way that startles them to the point of distraction; instead of focusing on the discussion, they focus them on the severity of my tone.
More often than not, this is how I talk to myself.
I am seldom snarky with people, and I don’t ever make an effort to belittle someone’s idea, off-hand thought, or curated plans. So why do I treat myself this way? Read More
It’s been a steady reading month, so I’m back with my April Mini Book Reviews wrap-up post! My March TBR pile was immense. I am still building up the confidence to become a constant, well-read reader. I began three impressive #CanLit books in March, but was unable to finish them until April.
Ru, Kim Thúy (2009) by Random House Canada
4 Stars: I am in love with Kim Thúy’s sparse, lyrical style. The novellas that make up each chapter are like little wisps of memory, fragmented and sweetened with nostalgia. Ru tells some heartbreaking stories, in quick, succinct acts. This book blurs the lines of reality, memory, and fiction for this quasi-autobiographical work of fiction. Thúy’s personal history is fragmented, avoiding any semblance of a linear trajectory, and Ru’s tales follow her own life’s format. She speaks poignantly of motherhood, of something universal and lasting, using examples that can be categorized by geography, by the politics of a place. Her stories of communism, of families broken and shattered, are humbling and generously ladled with syrup. The realities simply were, and their effects simply exist in the hearts and heads of its scattered survivors. This book is ethereal, and I recommend it to anyone who has pieces of thoughts, histories, or desires floating through their minds.
Fortunately, the Milk, Neil Gaiman (2013), by HarperCollins
2 Stars: Unfamiliar with Gaiman’s work directed at children, I picked this up from my library on a whim. The illustrations looked delightful, if not a bit manic, and I have been enjoying reading children’s lit lately. I don’t think you need to be a child to enjoy books aimed at children, and I didn’t find that I was enamoured with the fanciful tales of the protagonist’s imaginative father. The illustrations were well done, but off-putting. I couldn’t really believe they were intended for children. The entire story is built on the lies of a fanciful, middle-class suburban dad. The same dad who, admittedly, could be out at the strip club instead of spinning time-traveling stories. Not an awful book, but overall, not that enjoyable.
Omens in the Year of the Ox, Steven Price (2012), by Brick Books
3 Stars: There is immense beauty within this collection. I was surprisingly disconnected from many of the poems I originally thought, based on either theme or title, I would have been drawn to; poems looking at mythological archetypes in new ways, for example. The sorts of poems I enjoyed most were the Curses, specifically the Gardener’s. Comfortable in its format, and delighted by its mischievous cheek, I found these pieces to be darkly witty, yet palatable.
New Canadian Poetry, Evan Jones, Editor (2000), by Fitzhenry & Whiteside
3 Stars: This anthology was published in 2000, which means all of the work is from the 90s. There were several poems I enjoyed, but for the most part I felt disconnected from a lot of the work, unsure of the places they were coming from and the stories they were trying to share. I found the editorial decision to list poems in alphabetical order, by author, to be dull and inconsistent in terms of flow. I began reading from the back, then front, until I met my own mark in the middle. The forward discusses poetry’s place in the world as one of the last true art forms, a truly significant example of High Art. While I don’t doubt the artistic integrity of any of these poets, this is not reason enough to save or cherish poetry. The mere fact that it is supposed to be anything, much less high culture, is not reason enough to write it, nor to publish it. There’s more to these stories, there is more to a poem. Poems have the capacity to share a representation of the human experience, to offer semblances of sense and understanding amongst a myriad of confusion and chaos throughout our daily lives. Poems that exist for the so,e purpose to convolute an already misunderstood experience, event, or state of being, is not good poetry. Not in my opinion. There were definite elements of this type of poem collected in this anthology, though that fact should not overcloud the gems contained within it.
And We Stay, Jenny Hubbard (2014), by Delacorte Press
3 Stars: This is my first foray into Young Adult contemporary. Young Adult anything, for that matter. There were many ways in which this book was a poor representation of teenagers. It can be difficult to find the colloquial, casual, conversational dialogue that youth have with one another. The casual banter was, as with most entertainment aimed at teens, cringe-worthy. But the serious conversations between the girls, as well as the inner monologue of our heroine, Emily Beam, were often heartwarming and emotionally charged. I downloaded the audibook to pass the time, to be entertained for a long car trip. In the end I was drawn in, not so much by the story, as the majority of the plot happens before the book even begins; but rather by the poetry. This book deals with mortality, feminism, and love from a perspective I haven’t seen before. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a YA read that will demand your full attention. Read as an audiobook.
The Here and Now, Ann Brashares (2014), by Delacorte Press
3 Stars: This Young Adult science-fiction book had me questioning the vocabulary of popular YA fiction. On the one hand, wildly successful book series like Harry Potter rely on the notion that readers can understand and embrace subtlety, nuance, and a slowly-unfolding storyline. There were lots of twists and turns in this book, but the revelations arrived to the reader moments after the plot device had been mentioned. There was very little build-up, and the climax of the book (which is admittedly a page-turner) relied on characters who made no appearance in the story prior to this. The unreliability of the narrator as our protagonist is intriguing, but ultimately I wondered if these plot holes existed not out of some overshadowing purpose, but simply because of the assumed attention-span and intelligence of the readers. Overall it had a good premise, and I was happy to be immersed in a cautionary tale of sustainability and climate change, but the execution fell a little short for me. Read as an audiobook.
Morning in the Burned House, Margaret Atwood (1995), by Mariner Books
3 Stars: This book of poetry by Margaret Atwood left me with a similar feeling after any reading of Margaret Atwood. When I read her work I’m often confused, but not in an oh-what-a-glorious-challenge sort of way, by the accolades she receives. Then I read seemingly simple passages about our constant glorification of war and idolization of destructive forces, and I realize that must be why.
What did you read this month? How many 4 or 5-star ratings did you dole out?
In case you missed it, my husband and I enjoyed this film so much, we recorded a Hunger Games movie review. We joke around and talk about pop culture’s relevance in our day-to-day lives, and the intriguing politics that’s infused in franchise.
What did you think of the Hunger Games movie? Would you recommend the books?