Book Haul: September 2016

To complete my reading list for class, I bought the two last books required. In addition for the September haul, I also bought a book which was adapted into a movie of the same name starring the one and only Michelle Pfeiffer. I remember seeing that movie years ago and thought it was beautiful despite the journey the main character had to go through.

La chaise berçante by Abraham Moses Klein

La chaise berçanteIn A.M. Klein’s final volume of poetry, he explores more profoundly than ever before in his writings the theme of community which had been the centre of his major works. The poems express his responses to persons, things, and places, to issues Canadian and, more particularly, French-Canadian. As in his earlier poems about the Jewish community, in his French-Canadian poems Klein drew on his firsthand knowledge of the Canadiens and their culture. His warm sympathy for French Canada was probably deepened by his awareness that it, like his own Jewish community, was a minority society striving to preserve its cultural identity, language, and religion against the encroachments of larger outside forces.

If these similarities enabled him to draw on his personal experience to celebrate a living community, they also enabled him to confront the limitations of community as he had suffered them, a crippling narrowness and fearfulness in the face of the unknown. In the volume’s concluding poem, “Portrait of the Poet as Landscape,” the theme of the neglected artist in an indifferent or corrupting society is a moving general indictment. The Rocking Chair was the best received of Klein’s books, winning enthusiastic praise in Québec for its accuracy and sensitivity, and also capturing the Governor General’s Award for poetry. It is one of the major collections of 20th century Canadian poetry.

Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs by Leonard Cohen

Stranger MusicStranger Music: Selected Poems and Songscelebrates the astonishing career of Leonard Cohen, revered around the world as one of the great visionaries, writers, performers, and most consistently daring songwriters.

Cohen’s career began in 1956 with the publication of Let Us Compare Mythologies, and he has since published eight books of poems – including The Spice-Box of Earth,Death of a Lady’s Man, and Book of Mercy – and has made numerous albums, becoming one of the most popular and influential artists in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

His first record, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967, was a remarkable musical début and introduced some of his most famous songs, including “Suzanne,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” and “Sisters of Mercy.” From then, and with each subsequent album, he earned the status as one of the most dazzlingly literate songwriters of our time.

Stranger Music brings together for the first time a comprehensive selection of Leonard Cohen’s song lyrics and his poetry, including some poems not previously published. This landmark edition demonstrates the range and depth of Cohen’s work, revealing an extraordinary gift of language that speaks with rare clarity, passion, and timelessness.

White Oleander: A Novel by Janet Fitch

White OleanderEverywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.

I’m not much into poetry but hopefully it will be the beginning of a new interest thanks to this class. As for “White Oleander”, I hope it’s as beautiful as the movie if not even more.


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5 Upcoming Movies Based on a Novel

Movie adaptationEvery bibliophile knows that the book is always better than the movie adaptation when Hollywood tries to cash in on the success. But luckily sometimes, the producers and screenwriters get it just right.

With only four months left to this year, there are still some notable movies that were based on novels. Here are the top 5 movies that I’m ecstatic to see (and pray won’t become a disaster).

1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Following a family tragedy, Jacob travels to an island off the coast of Wales. He finds what seems to be the ruins of an orphanage. As he explores what is left of the building, he starts to feel that there must be a hidden story to the place, a reason why the children were placed in such a remote location. Though the island has been deserted for years, there is a presence as if the children were still there…and alive.

In theatres: September 30, 2016

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The lives of three men and three women are intertwined through marriage and betrayal in this psychological thriller. Rachel travels by commuter train everyday where she fantasises about the perfect couple that she sees as it stops every morning by their cottage. They appear to be living a happy life that Rachel wished she had with her ex-husband until one day, the woman suddenly goes missing. As the police investigates, Rachel is drawn more and more into the couple’s lives and somehow becomes the prime suspect for the woman’s disappearance.

In theatres: October 7, 2016

3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Newt Scamander attends the Magical Congress when dangerous creatures from his briefcase accidentally escape into our world. As he tries to correct the mistake, threats from the New Salem Philanthropic Society, whose mission is to eradicate the wizard-kind, is being felt as tension and violence rise between magical and non-magical peoples.

In theatres: November 18, 2016

4. Inferno by Dan Brown

Professor Robert Langdon is tangled in another mysterious adventure. He awakens in an Italian hospital, unable to remember the past thirsty-six hours. He discovers a macabre object hidden in his belongings while an assassin is on his trail. As he tries to escape, he also discovers that the myth of Dante’s Inferno is not just a story but a prophecy to something disastrous.

In theatres: October 28, 2016

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor O’Malley, a young boy victim of bullying, has to face the terminal illness of his beloved mother. Unable to cope during her treatments at the hospital, he has nightmares of a monster every single night until the day it finally became real. The tree-like creature is different from his nightmares and becomes a friend helping him find happiness again.

In theatres: December 23, 2016

There are more movies based on novels but these ones are the ones I look most forward to. Which movie adaptation are you most excited about?


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Book Haul: August 2016

This month’s haul is a mix of school books and reading for pleasure. In preparation for a literature class I will be taking this fall, I went ahead and bought three of the required books that we will be covering (the first three below). The other two are to complete my collection.

I thought I’d change the format of my haul posts again to give you a better overview of the books I purchased during the month. Instead of making you fetch the synopsis from Goodreads or your favourite online bookstore, it will be directly here along with an image of the book cover.

So here are the books I got this month:

Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall

Bottle Rocket HeartsWelcome to Montreal in the months before the 1995 referendum. Riot Grrl gets bought out and mass marketed as the Spice Girls, and gays are gaining some legitimacy, but the queers are rioting against assimilation, cocktail AIDS drugs are starting to work, and the city walls on either side of the Main are spray-painted with the words YES or NO. It’s been five years since the OKA crisis and the sex garage riots; revolution seems possible, when you’re 18, like Eve. Eve is pining to get out of her parents’ house in Dorval and find a girl who wants to kiss her back. She meets Della — mysterious, defiantly non-monogamous, an avid separatist and ten years older. Initially taken in by a mutual other-worldly sense of rapture, they hole up in Della apartment, trying to navigate spaces of jealousy. On the night of the 1995 referendum, politics and romance come to a head and Even’s naiveté begins to fade. From naive teenager to hot shot rough girl, Even decides her own fate.

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill

Lullabies for Little CriminalsBaby, all of thirteen years old, is lost in the gangly, coltish moment between childhood and the strange pulls and temptations of the adult world. Her mother is dead; her father, Jules, is scarcely more than a child himself and is always on the lookout for his next score. Baby knows that “chocolate milk” is Jules’ slang for heroin and sees a lot more of that in her house than the real article. But she takes vivid delight in the scrappy bits of happiness and beauty that find their way to her, and moves through the threat of the streets as if she’s been choreographed in a dance.

Soon, though, a hazard emerges that is bigger than even her hard-won survival skills can handle. Alphonse, the local pimp, has his eye on her for his new girl; he wants her body and soul—and what the johns don’t take he covets for himself. At the same time, a tender and naively passionate friendship unfolds with a boy from her class at school, who has no notion of the dark claims on her—which even her father, lost on the nod, cannot totally ignore. Jules consigns her to a stint in juvie hall, and for the moment this perceived betrayal preserves Baby from terrible harm—but after that, her salvation has to be her own invention.

Standing Wave by Robert Allen

Standing WaveThe themes of Standing Wave will be familiar to readers of Robert Allen’s acclaimed poetry and novels: the slow rusts and wild incandescences of memory; the myths and delusions sustaining our lives; the uneasy duo of body and mind. In this book, he brings two different lenses to bear on these ideas: a wry, conversational formality in “Sonnets from Jimmie Walker Swamp”, and the long and complex syntaxes of the final section of his ongoing long poem, “The Encantadas”. Put together, these two sequences are the black and white photographs and the colour film of the same restless dream. More than any of Robert Allen’s other books, Standing Wave illustrates, through this two-fold structure, the range of language and cadences still possible in contemporary poetry.

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter & the Cursed ChildBased on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.  The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.  As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

Summer & the CityThe Sequel to the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Carrie Diaries

Summer and the City brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country “sparrow”—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

The class I will be taking very soon is called Quebec/Montreal Writing in English given at Concordia University. It will be the first of many literature classes since I decided to pursue a degree in English Literature. What better excuse to read all day, everyday? ;)

If you prefer this format for my book haul or would like to know more about the class at ConU, feel free to comment in the section below.


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Kindle Oasis: My First Official E-Reader

Kindle Oasis“Welcome to the 21st century!” That’s how everyone responded when I told them I finally decided to get myself a Kindle Oasis. I think I resisted the idea of an e-reader for as long as I could because I just love the feeling of holding a book in my hands, the texture of its cover underneath my finger tips and the smell of the pages that swallow you whole in an unexpected and unforgettable journey. I felt like I would be betraying my love for hard copies if I went electronic.

So why the sudden change of heart? Why opt for an impersonal piece of technology instead? Aside from the lack of shelf space as I acquire more books day by day, I scream in terror (internally) when the corner of a book gets folded accidentally in my handbag or gets wet by sudden rain. An e-reader would solve most of my problems.

The Good
  1. It can contain thousands of books without taking more than 5.6″ x 4.8″ x 0.13-0.33″ of space.
  2. It easily fits in a purse.
  3. It weighs practically nothing at 131 g. Sure I can read on the Kindle app on my iPhone but it’s too small.
  4. Its light weight makes it comfortable to hold with one hand and to read for a longer period of time without a tired wrist.
  5. Definitions can be easily looked up when connected to Wi-Fi.
  6. E-books can be purchased instantly at a lower price compared to hard copies.
  7. It syncs with all devices with the Kindle app.
  8. Long battery life.
  9. Turning pages is made easy at a click of a button or gentle touch on the screen.
  10. NO MORE DAMAGED BOOKS! (Though scratches on the device can equally make me cringe.)
The Bad
  1. Monochrome. The artwork of the book covers can only be enjoyed in black and white on Kindle devices unlike its app for smartphones, tablets and PC/Mac.
  2. The highlighting feature is not as precise as on a smartphone or tablet.
  3. There is a small delay when the screen “wakes up.”
New Love?

After a month of reading on my Kindle Oasis everyday, I can positively say that I do not regret this investment. I still struggle when trying to highlight certain passages; either I’m unable to select all the text I want or too much is selected. However, it doesn’t ruin my whole experience. It’s so much more practical to carry it around. It’s light and doesn’t take too much space in my handbag. Sometimes, I even forget that I have it with me. On top of everything great about this gadget, the Kindle Oasis in particular comes with a charging cover which makes the battery life last even longer.

So far, I reserve e-book reading time when I’m not home and the good ol’ hard copy for before bedtime. I will still buy hard copies but only when they are worth it. That way, I won’t look too much like a book hoarder with piles of books everywhere. :P

Do you prefer reading an actual book or did e-readers steal your heart?


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Book Haul: July 2016

This month’s haul turned out to be surprising. I don’t think I was ever able to limit myself to only one book but I did it.

After finishing the 4th season of Orange is the New Black, it reminded me to get my hands on Diane Guerrero’s memoir. She had appeared in a heartfelt interview last year telling her story. When she was only 14 years old, her parents and older brother were deported back to Colombia. Being the only person in her family to be a US citizen, she was left behind.

In the Country We Love

I love Guerrero’s character in OITNB. On the show, Maritza Ramos is cute and sassy. I would have never guessed that both the actress and the character shared a painful past though different from one another.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided received very good reviews on Goodreads which makes me even more excited to read more about this brilliant and talented actress.

Do you have a favourite memoir? Do share in the comment section below. :)


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