Favourite Books I Want to Re-Read

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To read a book for the first time is to make the acquaintance of a new friend; to read it a second time is to meet an old one. – Chinese Proverb

I don’t re-read books often. In fact, it’s kind of rare for me to do so. I suppose this is partly because there are so many books out there and there is always something new to grab my attention. But even more than that, I feel that I do have a hesitancy to read books that I have already read and loved. That experience and connection that happens when you first read a story is really special, and with every new book I reach for, I hope for that little bit of magic. When I do get that, I tend to tuck it away, leaving it in that space and time. Because magic is hard to replicate. Maybe the present experience can cast a shadow over the initial one. Like old TV shows that I adored as a kid, that fell completely flat when I watched them as an adult. Recently however, in reference to the Chinese Proverb, I have felt more and more the desire to meet old friends. To have new experiences with old favourites. That initial connection will always be in that time and place. And perhaps there will be that magic of the past, or perhaps there will be a whole new kind of magic. We have to keep the door open, right? ūüôā Continue reading “Favourite Books I Want to Re-Read”

Favourite Books of 2015

‚ÄúA great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.‚ÄĚ

2015 was a great reading year.  I discovered new authors, enjoyed styles of writing I had not read before, and came across books that soon became a treasured part of my bookshelf.

When choosing my favourites of the year, I selected those that I not only loved but would love to re-read.

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1. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Sometimes a book finds you at at the right time, and The Storied Life A.J. Fikry was one of those books. ¬†I went through a long period of time where I fell out of reading, when life started to feel overwhelming. ¬†When I was looking for a book to get back into the swing of things, I ended up picking up The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and it really touched my heart. ¬†A bookstore owner, who is grieving the loss of his wife and isolated himself from others, finds an unexpected package left at his store that changes the course of his life. ¬†It’s a beautiful story, and on top of that, one¬†that serves as a love letter to books.

2. Signal to Noise by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
A charming debut novel that alternates between 1988 and 2009 in Mexico City.  It follows a girl named Meche and her two best friends, Sebastian and Daniela.  Inseparable friends each dealing with personal challenges who discover they can cast spells through music.

3. A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install
Another wonderful debut novel.  This one is about a man named Ben Chambers who is stuck in a rut and dealing with marriage problems.  One day his wife discovers a robot in their garden, which makes Ben embark on a journey that changes his life.

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4. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
The title completely got me with this one, and the book as a whole delivers. A unique story about a girl named Rose who can taste people’s emotions through the food they make. ¬†We follow Rose from the age of eight, when she first discovers her ability, to her early twenties and see the ways it alters her reality.

5. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
The moment I finished the last page of Vicious, it became an all time favourite. ¬†It’s one that has been on my reading list for a while, and I only wish I had read it sooner. ¬†Two best friends turned enemies set on revenge. ¬†The story, the characters, the writing… all brilliant.

6. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A smart, character driven debut novel that is absolutely brilliant.  It follows a nine-member crew travelling on a tunnelling ship whose job it is to punch holes through space in order to create shortcuts.

Hope 2016 brings many more brilliant reads. ūüôā

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

BLOG“It happened for the first time on a Tuesday‚Ķ”

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is a charming story that follows a girl named Rose, who can taste people’s emotions through the food they make along with the origins and components of the ingredients used. ¬†It is an odd ability that she discovers at eight-years-old when her mother bakes her a lemon cake with chocolate frosting for her birthday. ¬†In it she feels her mother’s loneliness and sadness, and the discovery of this ability alters her life.

The story develops from there with Rose showing us glimpses of her life, from the age of eight up until her early twenties. ¬†We get to see her coping with her ability and the difficulties of being exposed to very complex adult emotions at such a young age.¬†While this is an important part of the book, there are so many more elements to it. ¬†We meet her brother Joseph who is five years older and quite introverted. ¬†He is incredibly intelligent but appears to suffer from a form of social anxiety and is removed from the world. ¬†Her mother is depressed and restless in her role and her marriage is in a difficult place. ¬†Her father is not very communicative and does not connect in a personal or in-depth way to his family. ¬†We also meet Joseph’s best and only friend George, who is incredibly intelligent as well but does not suffer from Joseph’s anxieties.

What unfolds is a story that gives an insight into all these characters and how they exist together but never truly connect.  A story that captures and expresses emotions so beautifully.  The writing style used is unique in that the author does not use quotation marks in the dialogue, which I felt worked well overall.  It sets a certain distance between the characters and the reader where we become silent observers and can appreciate the story as a whole.  I absolutely fell in love with this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Favourite passage: “When I crossed the street, according to my mother, I still had to hold someone‚Äôs hand. ¬†At ten, I would be able to cross streets unhanded. ¬†I‚Äôd held on to Joseph‚Äôs many times before, for many years, but holding his was like holding a plant, and the disappointment of fingers that didn‚Äôt grasp back was so acute that at some point I‚Äôd opted to take his forearm instead. ¬†For the first few street crossings, that‚Äôs what I did, but on the corner at Oakwood, on an impulse, I grabbed George‚Äôs hand. ¬†Right away: fingers, holding back. ¬†The sun. ¬†More clustery vines of bougainvillea draping over windows in bulges of dark pink. ¬†His warm palm. ¬†An orange tabby lounging on the sidewalk. ¬†People in torn black T-shirts sitting and smoking on steps. ¬†The city, opening up.

We hit the sidewalk, and dropped hands. ¬†How I wished, right then, that the whole world was a street.‚Ä̬†