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November Chat-Up

I have been in a major reading/blogging slump. I just can’t seem to get into anything theses days. Oh well it can’t last forever, just wanted to let you guys know I am still here….Don’t forget about me 🙂

Also I welcome any suggestions to get me back in my groove please.

 

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Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m not entirely sure I am the right person to review this book. This book is about African Americans living in the U.S. Also, I don’t know what I can add to the conversation, but I hope if I can convince one person to read this it was well worth writing the review.

This is a non-fiction book written for everyone to learn about the race issues. Dyson talks about pretty much all aspects of race in here: from his childhood to the systematic racism in the U.S. He also touches on how we, as humans, can work together to bring true equality.

The book breaks it down into different aspects and makes it very easy to see the problems, and offers answer to questions you may have. It shows the common misconceptions surrounding “black-on-black crimes”. Dyson explains how social injustice has put many African Americans in a desperate situation, causing much of the violence. For example, he cites statistics on how many unarmed African Americans are killed by police compared to Caucasians. Hearing how African Americans need to teach their children how to act around a police officer in order to live through a traffic stop is heartbreaking.

This is a pretty small book for such an enormous topic. There is so much to be said, done, changed, and learnt. I have not lived in the U.S. and I am Caucasian, so I can’t say firsthand if the race issues are the same in Canada as they are in the U.S. However, no matter where you live, this book will teach you something about race and inequality.

It has now come to my realization how much denial people may have. Just because you aren’t racist doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing to the problem. Everyone needs to make an effort so that everyone has the same opportunities in society, no matter their colour. I think this book just helped me realize what white privilege really is, and to be respectful and give more credit to people whom I had no idea what they were going through.

This book is literally for everyone, to learn about another race, or perhaps to learn a bit more about your own. I have heard many glowing reviews from people of many ethnicities, so I hope that means it is a good representation for many.

This is an important piece of literature.

Carry On: Stan Zuray’s Journey from Boston Greaser to Alaskan Homesteader by Tim Attewell, Stan Zuray

Carry On

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I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A quick little recap for you guys. This the true story of Stan Zuray. Living in Boston, he was searching for meaning in his life. While his friends were being shipped off to Vietnam and then returning with injuries, emotional and drug problems, Stan decided his future would be in Tozitna River Valley, Alaska. This book will show you what nature can throw at you: good and bad from grizzly bears and famine, to dog sledding and racing. This is an amazing journey of heart and soul.

This is a great book. I find it hard to rate and review non-fiction/memoirs, but I settled on 4 stars for this one. My deciding factor…The story really stuck with me. It’s been about a week since I put it down and I still think about it.

The book starts off with Stan’s situation in Boston where his life was not heading down a good path. If he continued he could have inevitably ended up in prison. With the draft for the war and all the problems that it brought and his unstable situation, he decided move north.

Alaska, this is where the story really starts to gain momentum. I live in Canada; it gets cold up here(tons of snow where I live). But, that is nothing compared to what Stan was able to overcome. There is a monumental difference between living up north and living off the land up north. I found it fascinating just learning how he built somewhere to live, and the logistics of it all: cutting down the trees, prepping them, stacking and securing them into his new home.

The physical requirements and knowledge of the land is very important, which is pretty much what I would have expected. What I didn’t know, was how easily it could all have been lost. One fire and they almost lost everything. One bad winter and they could have starved. One bad injury and it could have been over too. There is very little room for error.

As I watched the story come to life, I felt anxious just reading about his life. Stan was saved after a fire had burnt almost everything they owned. An army base nearby sent up a boat full of food. While this saved the day, it was still touch and go whether they were going to make it or not. When Stan was attacked by a grizzly, and was rushed to the closest town to seek medical attention, again I had no idea how that was going to turn out.

Over the years they seemed to get a little more comfortable, earning a small amount of money selling furs in town while continuing to living off the land. Then Stan decides to race in the Iditarod. This is race that is nearly 1000 miles, going from Anchorage to Nome. Due to extremely harsh weather conditions, “It would remain among the longest,toughest races in Iditarod history”. From start to finish it would take the racers from 16 to 26 days to complete. Stan came in 9th place and won Rookie of the Year. His race time was 16 days, 6 hours and 44 minutes. The endurance and perseverance of the dogs and mushers is worthy of a book all too itself.

Stan’s story is fascinating, amazing, interesting, and I think for everyone. You will learn something, and it’s just a great story.

Animals do get hurt in this book, it is not done with malice, it was just the way of life.

Have you guys read any non-fiction about living up north? Or any suggestions for me based off this one?

You by Caroline Kepnes

You

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Finally getting back into some thrillers, yay…..Well one so far.

This is a thriller written from the point of view of a stalker, Joe. He is obsessed over a woman named Beck. He begins to work his way into her life, watching her every move and doing his best to become her perfect man.Meanwhile the woman is completely unaware of what he is doing.

This thriller had me on the edge of my seat. I was hooked right from the start. It was a different experience reading a thriller from the point of view of the stalker: it seems so much creepier when you can hear his thoughts and justifications.  The psychological aspect was really well done – the way he thinking and talking as if they were meant to be and everything else was getting in their way, or that what he was doing was for her own good.

The only part I wasn’t a huge fan of was how sexualized some of the narrative was. But then again, when someone is obsessed about another person like that. I think it may have accurate that a stalker would be focussing on sex. So if that makes you uncomfortable this book might not be for you.

If you like creepy creepy thrillers than I would say this one is for you. It was a little different than other thrillers I have read so it was really nice to see some change in the genre.

Have you guys read You, or the sequel which I have heard a lot of mixed reviews on?

I’d Rather Love Life Than Hate Cancer: One Woman’s Journey with Cancer by Julie K. Barthels

I'd Rather Love Life than Hate Cancer

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thanks Julie for bringing it to my attention. 

This is Julie’s memoir about her experience with an aggressive from of breast cancer. She starts off with what her life looked like before the diagnosis, from training for a half marathon, to her career path as the Clinical Director at a rape crisis centre and then to a private therapy practice. This all started with a letter written in the middle of the night to her oldest daughter. Not knowing if she would survive, she wanted to tell her all the life lessons she might miss out on.

This is a 120 page book that packs a punch. It took me a while to write this review, I wanted to sit with this after I had finished it: I wanted it all to soak in. She starts off with a the process of being diagnosed and the stress of it all; but, what Julie brings to the table is her attitude. She took this horrible thing that had invaded her body and saw what this experience could teach her about life (in the end what it could teach us all).

The book is broken down into many chapters, all looking at different lessons she has learnt from the whole ordeal: acknowledging the negative presence the cancer is in her life, but then choosing to not to let it define who she is. Julie’s memoir is unbelievably inspiring. The whole thing started with her cancer, but the lessons she talks about are universal.

Although the memoir is centred around a cancer diagnosis and treatment, Julie brings it all back to how it can relate to generalized life lessons- how she came to love her body even with the cancer; the balancing act between the body, mind and soul; and how this pushed her to refocus on the things that are truly most important to her. I think this is something we could use some help with, a little more balance in our lives. Even when our world is turned upside down, there are still things to be grateful for. Whether it is in our own lives, or just gratitude for our families.

Christianity is a main topic throughout the memoir. She is a Christian, and this helped her through it all. A few of the lessons come back to faith, but Julie leaves it open to other beliefs. The God you pray to or not, does not influence what you can get out of this book. Obviously her faith is a very important part of her and has helped her to be a better person: helped her to see the good in life, even when you are diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. I am not a Christian, but I still got a lot out of this book.

Reading this book, gave me a sort of calmness. It made me want to be a better, more positive, more forgiving person. I made we want to look for the good in life, no matter what was is going on.

If you are interested in a short but powerful memoir, about cancer, and really just life, I urge you to pick this up.

 

I’m Back!!

Hello booknerds,

I am happy to say I am home from vacation, it was so much fun, but very busy and I am glad to be home. Also I missed all my bookish conversations with all of you guys:)

I read a total of one book while on planes and trains. What can I say I was tired. I’m hoping jump right back in, now that my jet leg is finally gone.

Not much else to tell you guys but I’m glad to be back and I hope to start posting again right away.

Here are a couple of pictures :

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Vacation Plans

Hello boys and girls,

I am off on a vacation to Italy, and I’ll be gone for two and a half weeks. I will do my best to keep reading, and I’ll try to check my e-mail while I’m there. I’m bringing with me three e-books from Netgalley so I should be coming back with some reviews to be written and some stories to be told 🙂

 

Talk to you all soon