April 30, 2013

I'm an easy sell if...

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday list is words or topics that instantly make you buy or pick up a book. At first I was like, "this is too hard, I'll never come up with 10", but turns out I'm a pretty easy sell if your book consists of (or promises to consist of) any of the following:

1. Eating Disorders: I have been fascinated by eating disorders for as long as I can remember. Whether it be  fiction or non-fiction, I will probably read/buy it.

2. The Holocaust: I wouldn't say I'm a huge history buff, but I find World War II, and more specifically, The Holocaust, utterly interesting, fascinating and haunting. I will read pretty much anything about it that I can get my hands on.

3. Pit Bulls: As this misunderstood breed is garnering more and more attention, I find there are more and more books cropping up about this breed, in both fiction and non-fiction. I am a huge dog-lover, but my heart lies with the bully breeds and I am always excited to see a book that features them. 

4. Medical Topics: And it's not just because I am a nurse! Mental illness, physical illness/disability, legal issues relating to medical issues - you name it, I'll probably add it to my physical TBR if I haven't already read it.

5. Midwives: This deserved it's own category apart from medical topics because when I think of some of my favourite books, they are about midwives, and if I haven't already read it, my interest is immediately piqued if it's a story about a midwife.

6. Lori Lansens: One of my favourite authors and the author of my favourite book, The Girls. I will buy every book she publishes before I even know what it is about. And she's Canadian!

7. Autism: I have always been intrigued by this disorder (for lack of a better word), and I am always drawn to books that highlight any aspect of autism.

8. Animals as Narrators: Who hasn't ever wondered what animals are really thinking? Sadly, we will never truly know, but some authors have done a great job of portraying what we think animals are thinking.

9. The Beach: I've always been a little envious of people who own beach homes or who have the kind of life where they can spend an entire summer at a beach house. I love to read about summers spent at the beach - the descriptions of the smell and sound of the ocean, the possibilities of summer-romances - the place where the every-day noises and distractions of regular life seem to come to a stop. If I can't go there, then I can at least enjoy reading about it!

10. Books set in Canada: There's something really neat about reading a book that takes place in a city or province that I have either lived in, live in or have been to.

What words or topics instantly get YOU to pick 
up or buy a book?

April 21, 2013

Saigon Sundays: For the Love of Snow

I remember when Jim and I were getting ready to move back to Alberta a year and a half ago and we were so worried that Saigon would HATE the snow after living somewhere as warm and lush as BC. We couldn't have been more wrong! Turns out, Saigon LOVES the snow. He just doesn't like the cold. And good thing, because this winter we had months and months of snow. 

We had a lot of fun with Saigon in the snow this winter, both in the backyard and while out on walks. Watching him roll, burrow and leap through the snow never got old. He's like a kid in a candy store! The snow is finally almost all gone and I hate to say it, but I'm a little bit sad for Saigon*.

It's really hard to take action photos (or any photos really) when you have mittens on, but here are some of my favourite shots from this winter:

I tried so hard to get a good video of Saigon playing in the snow and this was the best I could do...I'm no videographer that's for sure, but it captures how much Saigon loves rolling around in the snow (and eating it too!). 

*I'm not really sad...I don't mind the snow, but it has been eight long months and enough is enough. Bring on the spring!

April 18, 2013

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Dear Mindy,

Can we be BFF's? We can have sleepovers and watch television reruns all night. We can not go for runs together. We'll gossip about boys all night. It will be glorious.


Ok, but seriously, Mindy is one of those famous people I would actually want to be best friends with in real life. I watched Mindy as Kelly Kapoor on the office for years, looking forward to every time she appeared in an episode (damn you Mindy, for being such a great writer for the show that you eventually had to stop acting in it altogether). Then I found out she was writing a book and I was pretty excited for it's release. AND THEN, I found out she had her very own show coming out. Needless to say, I've watched every episode of The Mindy Project since it began airing last fall and I love it. I am a HUGE Mindy fan. Obviously.

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But let's back up. I hate to draw attention to how far behind I am in blogging about the books I read, but I actually listened to Mindy's book on audio back in August. I needed a new audiobook (this one was only my third one ever) and I had decided to go the comedy route thinking it would be easier to pay attention while driving in my car. And it's true: it's much easier to follow along with a book that really has no plot and is just a book of rambling musings of ones life, albeit, hilarious ramblings. That's not to say I didn't love this book. I did. It was light, funny, although not really laugh-out-loud-funny, more nodding-your-head-in-agreement-funny, and I feel like I got to know more about the girl in the television screen.

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 Side note: how do publishers/bookstores decide when to market a comedian's book as humour or as memoir when the content is funny, but also biographical at the same time? (Mindy's book, in Canada anyway, is shelved in the humour section, whereas, Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is shelved in the biography section.)

Having listened to Mindy's book shortly before her new TV show began has made me appreciate her show so much more. I feel like it's so "Mindy". So many of her personality quirks and tendencies that ooze out of her book seem to be portrayed in her character on the The Mindy Project. She may be acting to film the show, but her character on The Mindy Project is relatable, honest, sarcastically hilarious and just trying to find love when it seems like the search is hopeless.  Which, really, isn't too far off from the Mindy in her book.  Plus, her name in the show is also Mindy, so there's that.

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The problem with audiobooks is there's really no way to write down or mark your favourite quotes, short of pulling over in mid-traffic to whip out your pen and paper. Maybe this is a good thing, otherwise I'd be inclined to post a whole whack of quotes to get you to want to read this book (or listen to it). Or maybe the problem is I shouldn't wait 6+ months to blog about a book and I might just remember a favourite line or two. But probably not, because my brain does not work that way. ANYWAY...obviously, if you know who Mindy Kaling is and you aren't really a fan of her stuff, then you probably won't enjoy this book. And I promise I will try not to take it personally.

April 07, 2013

Saigon Sundays: Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was a very special day in our household: our big, blue baby, Saigon, turned 5! It's hard to believe that it's already been a few years since Saigon came into our life. He was around 2 and a half when he arrived at our home for a "visit" in BC. At the time, little did we know he would weasel his way into our hearts and find his furever home with us.

 Happy Birthday, Saigon! We love you more than we ever knew was possible.

April 03, 2013

Winter Reading Roundup

I always find April a little bitter-sweet. I mean, I'm happy that it's finally spring and the snow is starting to melt and the weather is getting warmer, but at the same time, where has this year gone?! Last year, I didn't do monthly recaps (because I never felt I had enough to say for one), but I did do a 6-month recap. This year, after I wrote my 2013 goals post, I decided I would do quarterly updates. Mostly to keep myself in line and more accountable to said goals.

So here's a quick look at where I'm at:

1. Get Back to Basics: I haven't been meal-planning, but I have been cooking much more often, although I haven't tried any new recipes. I've been packing my lunches for work, but only the snacks portion. I'm still struggling to find foods to take for lunch that are easy to eat in my car. Someone mentioned using a thermos so that I could then take leftovers to eat (which are my favourite lunches). Does anyone have a type/brand they recommend?

2. Get Off my Butt: In February, I bit the bullet and got myself a gym membership. When the gym I had been wanting to join, opened up another location a block from my work, I took it as a sign. I'm proud to say I've been going 3-4 times per week since I joined. Except for this one workout fail.

3. Walk the Dog: While he still gets out at least once a day, it's not always in the morning on my days off and Jim and I don't always go in the evenings together even when we can. I like to believe that the cold weather had something to do with this - why should we ALL suffer from the freezing temperatures when we can divide up the time spent out in the cold? And sometimes, when it's not freezing cold out, we don't just walk, we RUN.

4. Cook-Book Scrap Booking: Fail. Haven't even started. But I think about it a lot.

5. Abolish Clutter: Working on it. The Shit room is tidier  but that's just because Jim organized the junk in there into neat piles because we had a guy coming over to look at the furnace.

6. Write: While I often fall behind several days in writing in my Q & A book, I have been staying caught up with writing in it. It's fun!

 7. Finish Unfinished Projects: (ie. finish unfinished furniture projects). Saving this one for the warmer weather!

8. Catch Up:  Hmmm...well, I can't say I've caught up on my "reviews", heck, when's the last time I even posted a review - besides Harry Potter musings?!

9. Read: Goodreads says I'm 3 books behind if I want to make my goal of 50 books per year. Which is pretty good considering I have about 5 books on the go right now. But there's always room to read more...every time I choose to play games on my phone, spend time on the computer, or watch TV...is time I could have spent reading instead.

10. Stop Biting My Nails: Ha...Hahaha!

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In Other Bookish News:

- I'm still trudging along with The Harry Potter Readalong. I've fallen behind ever since going to Mexico last month and have been struggling to catch up. These books are HUGE! But I really want to finish reading them or I worry I never will. And not because I'm not loving them. You just know how it is...books constantly get pushed to the back burner for newer books! Jim and I have also started watching the movies as I finish each book in the series and we're quite enjoying them. 

-I recently just finished listening to Sophie Kinsella's, I've Got Your Number in my car while I'm out and about working, and I loved it! The story was fun and cute and the narrator was a pleasure to listen to.

-Last weekend I started at the top of my bookshelves and started scanning all my unread books into goodreads. I will never say I will stop buying books, but I thought if I had a real list of all the unread books I own, I might be more inclined to read more off this list. I'm only half way done scanning and I'm already at 80 owned and unread books. Sigh. This little project has only proven to raise my sense of feeling overwhelmed. But it's also nice to feel somewhat organized about my TBR.

The Stats:

Books read this year so far: 7

Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone (Readalong posts #1 & #2)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Readalong posts #1 & #2)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Readalong posts #1 & #2)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Readalong posts #1 & #2 to come)
The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowder
Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (audio version)

Number of pages read: 2340

Percentage of fiction: 100%

Percentage of female authors read: 100%

Percentage of Canadian authors read: 14%

So let's bring on spring! As much as I love reading all snuggled up on the couch, I much prefer to sit outside on the deck and get lost in a book. Warm weather, I am ready for you!

What books did you read this winter? 
Do you prefer cozying up indoors to read or taking 
your book out into the sunshine?