My August Reads

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. With the exception of the word lazy, the phrase is particularly apt this year. The skies are hazy from nearby forest fires, and the tempo of my life is edging to the crazy side. That means reading time is at a premium, and whatever book I pick up must be compelling enough to hold my attention and keep me away from my out-of-control ‘to do’ list. Lucky for me there’s no shortage of great material. Here’s what I’m reading this month:

Before bed: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

At the gym: A Version of the Truth by Jennifer Kaufman

Beside the pond: The One and Only by Emily Giffin

Books read to date in 2018: 54

My July Reads

We’re staying close to home this summer, which isn’t exactly a hardship when you live in a city as beautiful as Victoria. Since we’re planning a move in the not-too-distant future, we’re savoring what my hometown has to offer while we can. We’re also keeping on top of garden chores and tackling a few inside renovations as well. It doesn’t leave much time for reading but when the opportunity presents itself (and when Mr. Petrol Head isn’t looking), I seize the moment. Here’s what I’m diving into this month:

Beside the Pond: The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green

On the Kindle: The Past Life Perspective by Ann C. Barham

Before Bed: The Runaway Midwife by Patricia Harman

Books read to date in 2018: 46

Summer Time . . . Book Time . . .

It’s that time of year when friends are packing up and heading out on holiday. Books inevitably find their way into carry-ons and suitcases, and I’m sometimes asked to recommend titles. It’s easy if I know their taste (and especially if I share it) but that’s not always the case. When I’m at a loss I always recommend they talk to their favorite book seller or check out some of the lists that pop up at this time of year.

Time Magazine has compiled a list of 22 new books to read this summer:

Since Canada Day is less than a week away, my attention was drawn to the CBC’s 100 Novels That Make You Proud to be Canadian list. Check out their recommendations here:

If you’re buying for children and teens, Scripps National Spelling Bee has released its 2018-2019 Great Works (and Great Words) book list. I especially like that they break their recommendations into very specific age ranges (they use grades but you can easily extrapolate to determine suitability for the children in your life). I also like the fact that they mix classics with contemporary reads.

Finally, if you’re looking for an easy summer beach read you can’t go wrong with one of these romances:

Happy reading and happy travels!

My June Reads

I’ve been in the weeds of late. The garden is producing them at a rate beyond which they’re controllable. The path you see to your left has been weeded several times already but you’d never know it. The butterflies and bees are happy, even if I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s not an unusual feeling for me at this time of year; the garden is at its most demanding now. This year, however, we’re juggling spring garden chores with indoor renovations as we’re contemplating selling our house. Lots of changes . . . and very little downtime to read. But when I do stop for a break, here’s what I’m reading:

At the gym: The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry

On the Kindle: Flipside – a Tourist’s Guide on How to Navigate the Afterlife by Richard Martini

Before bed: No Time to Spare: Thinking about what Matters by Ursula Le Guin

Book read to date in 2018: 37

My April Reads

Spring often conjures thoughts of spring cleaning. It’s more like spring purging around here these days as we go through cupboards and drawers and hidden corners of the basement eliminating the things we don’t use and no longer need. With the exception of my garden (crammed with plants,) my bookshelves (crammed with books) and an impressively stocked kitchen pantry (eight kinds of rice at last count, and herbs and spices into the triple digits) I’m something of a minimalist.

Part of it is necessity – a writer’s salary isn’t large (at least this writer’s salary isn’t large) – and part of it is the way I’m wired. I don’t love shopping. I don’t hate it, but it’s not what I do for fun or for relaxation. Reduce, reuse, and recycle was part of my lifestyle before it was trendy, back when it was considered weird.

So I was keen to pick up and read Cait Flander’s Year of Less. After getting rid of 70 percent of her belongings, Flanders stopped shopping, other than for necessities (and those were very narrowly defined), for an entire year. Unfortunately, the book didn’t have the depth I was hoping for. It wasn’t so much a memoir about living with less as it was a memoir about a millennial struggling with love, loss, career and family angst during a year when she also stopped shopping. It was a fun, easy read but it didn’t speak to me in quite the way I’d hoped. So if you’ve read any great books on minimalism, let me know. Spring purging should only go so far.

Here’s what I’m reading this month:

At the gym: Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen

Beside the bed: The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

On the weekend: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Books read to date in 2018: 31

The Quiet Ones Sometimes DO Surprise You

Some books are sleepers. Michael Morpurgo told me that years ago (if you’re not familiar with Michael’s work take a minute and google him). It’s not that I put any less effort into what I call my sleeper books. They take as much effort as any other novel; some come together relatively quickly and others take a long time to jell. But sleeper books start out quiet. They don’t generally make a splash out of the gate; in fact, they might never make a splash. That doesn’t reflect on their quality. They’re good books but quieter ones, often modestly reviewed, rarely gathering much attention or getting nominated for awards.

Those sleeper books, however, have staying power. And Hannah’s Touch is a good example. Hannah’s Touch was first published in 2009. It received moderately good reviews but no real fanfare. A year or two after its first release, it was translated into German, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian. Then an audio version became available. Today it continues to sell, and well enough that the publisher just did another print run.

Thank you Orca Book Publishers. And thank you readers for keeping Hannah’s Touch out there in the world.

My March Reads

The daffodils are blooming  and so are the cherry blossom trees. Spring officially arrived yesterday. The air, which seems to get warmer by the day, is fragrant with possibilities. Life is especially sweet at this time of year . . . and especially so if you have a good book to read. Here’s what I’m reading this month:

At the gym: Same Beach Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

Beside the fire: We, the Arcturians: A True Experience by Norma Milanovich

Before bed: Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd

Books read to date in 2018: 20

My February Reads

For those who note these things, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Life inevitably has its messy, difficult times and that’s been true around here since mid-December. I’d managed for a while by scheduling everything in advance but lately even that’s proven challenging. So while this blog and my social media presence is on something of a hiatus, I’m hoping I won’t be away too much longer. My reading has taken a hit lately too, though I’m managing to squeeze in a few books here and there. And I’m gravitating to upbeat escapism whenever possible. Here’s what I’m reading this month:


At the gym: Best of My Love by Susan Mallery

Beside the fire: A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon

Before bed: Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Books read to date in 2018: 14

My January Reads

Last year, if my record is accurate, I read eighty books. Funnily enough, I apparently read eighty books in 2016 too. That works out to a book and a half a week. Broken down like that, the number seems low because I always have two or three books on the go at once, and most weeks it feels like I get through at least two of them. So either I’m forgetting to note some titles down or I’m not reading as much as I think I am. Either way, I’m not really bothered. I have a record of what I’ve read and enjoyed over the last few years, and more than enough titles on my ‘to be read’ list to keep me going for a long time yet. And here’s what I’m reading this week:

At the gym: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

For Research: The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

Before Bed: Aging Backwards by Miranda Esmonde White

Books Read to Date in 2018: 5

My November Reads

Every year when we switch back to standard time and fall back an hour, the familiar cry goes out on social media: why do this? Why not stay with daylight saving time all year long? I don’t have an answer, but until this year I’ve always been happy to make the switch. I love getting the extra hour of sleep at the time of the change, and I also love that it’s lighter in the morning and darker earlier at night. I guess it suits my personal biorhythms or something, especially as fall rolls around. This year, however, Luna has had trouble adjusting to the change. Dawn – referred to around here lately as yawn – comes earlier than we’d like it to and crawling out of bed has been a bit of a struggle. I’m slowly adjusting. The coffee is set to brew even earlier and I’m taking advantage of the extra time to get in a little reading before the writing day starts. Here’s what I’m reading this month:

At the gym: She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

On the Kindle: The Copycat Killer by Lea Tassie

In the office: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier

Books read to date in 2017: 70