Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm Engaged!!!

Well this is non-book related but I couldn't contain my excitement. Derek proposed last night. We've been together officially for almost 3 years (well.. more like 2yrs 5 months but who is counting) and last night he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We had a very romantic dinner at a revolving restaurant so we got to see all of downtown Ottawa and then came back to his parent's house on the river because we're dogsitting. I was running a bath and I turned the corner to go get something and he was there. Very nice and I'm super excited. Here is a pic of the ring. We haven't set a date as of yet. We are thinking August but depending on finances it could be 2010 or 2011. Anyhow I should get off this thing but I wanted to share my news.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Quiz

This is something that I found off another blog that I read. You're supposed to tag people and have them answer and post but I don't think my blog is quite at that level yet. I just thought you might be interested in reading my answers, so here it is.

1. The book that’s been on your shelves the longest:

I think this would have to be In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I did an independent study on this book in like grade 10. It survived may moves that's for sure. Usually I purge my books in the case of a move just because if not all my boxes would be books. That being said this book has survived a lot. It's a classic and it introduces a new genre of writing. The story is grim but I just had to keep it.

2. A book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time, etc.):

Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald makes me think of life in Cornwall. At the time I read this I was in grade 10 doing a book study. I was going through a lot of personal family issues and I have to say that this book really helped me keep my head straight during a lot of that. It made me realize that life could be much worse. I have been through some tough things and everytime I do I think of that book. I will also never forget my teacher's face in grade 10 English when I told him I was doing that book for a novel study. It's twists and complications were a little scandalous for a Catholic high school.

3. A book you acquired in some interesting way (gift, serendipity in a used bookstore, prize, etc.):

I'm not sure if I acquired any of my books in an unusual way. Mostly from the bookstore, the library or from friends. I remember the book that Derek, my bf, first got me. We were doing long distance at the time and I was constantly going back and forth from the Toronto to Ottawa and as a result spent many hours on the bus. So one night on our way to drop me off at the bus station yet again we were wandering Chapters with our Starbucks and Derek bought me Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. I read it for the entire 5 hr drive home.

4. The most recent addition to your shelves:

Hmmmm... Well I recently got a few books in the mail from Barnes and Noble. They are as follows:
-Night by Elie Wiesel (audiobook)
-Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
-Dracula by Bram Stoker
-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
-Sweetheart by Chelsea Caine

5. A book that’s been with you to the most places:

Hmm... I'm not sure. I'm not much of a re-reader so that being said I would have to go with the same answer as question one. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote just because it's moved with me the most. From Cornwall, to my dad's in Ottawa, to my grandmother's in Ottawa, to my first place on my own in Ottawa, then off to Toronto (2 different places there), and then to Ottawa again. Like I said, I've moved a lot.

6. A bonus book that you want to talk about but doesn’t fit into the other questions:

Well, I think that this would have to be A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer. I had to read this book recently for a book club that I started. It was someone else's pick and I have to admit I am a judge a book by it's cover kind of girl. Based on the cover I wasn't really looking forward to reading this book at all. I put it off for a while and when it became apparent that I had to start reading it or it wouldn't be done in time I picked up the book and started reading it. Well it didn't take me very long to finish it because I became so immersed in what was happening. I ended up really enjoying the book. I have to say that this has opened my eyes to other books. I like to try new things now. I try not to limit myself to what I usually read and I try not to judge the book by it's cover although occasionally it still happens.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

Summary (from publisher):

Heather Wells Rocks!

Or, at least, she did. That was before she left the pop-idol life behind after she gained a dress size or two -- and lost a boyfriend, a recording contract, and her life savings (when Mom took the money and ran off to Argentina). Now that the glamour and glory days of endless mall appearances are in the past, Heather's perfectly happy with her new size 12 shape (the average for the American woman!) and her new job as an assistant dorm director at one of New York's top colleges. That is, until the dead body of a female student from Heather's residence hall is discovered at the bottom of an elevator shaft.

The cops and the college president are ready to chalk the death off as an accident, the result of reckless youthful mischief. But Heather knows teenage girls . . . and girls do not elevator surf. Yet no one wants to listen -- not the police, her colleagues, or the P.I. who owns the brownstone where she lives -- even when more students start turning up dead in equally ordinary and subtly sinister ways. So Heather makes the decision to take on yet another new career: as spunky girl detective!

But her new job comes with few benefits, no cheering crowds, and lots of liabilities, some of them potentially fatal. And nothing ticks off a killer more than a portly ex-pop star who's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong . . .

This book was easy to read and entertaining for a couple days. I found Heather Mills character endearing; however at times I found her frustrating. She is desperately in love with her roommate but unwilling to ever tell him. While being terrified of telling a boy she loves him she's not afraid at all of a potential murderer. She dives head first into the murder mystery in the dorm- or, as we are never meant to forget as the term is annoyingly repeated throughout the book, residence hall. The book is typical of chick lit and the plot line is predictable. That being said, overall I did enjoy it. I was not expecting it to be literary genious and as a result I could enjoy the book. I do believe the Heather's character could have been developed more but I believe there are 2 other books in the series and I have a suspicion that over time the character development will occur. I give this book 3 stars.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The OC Transpo Bus Strike

I am in Ottawa, Ontario and at this moment the city is having a transit strike. I am someone who does not have a license and relies on public transportation. In the beginning, it was an inconvenience to me but I didn't mind the strike all that much. My father works for the CAW union and I can fully appreciate the value of a strike. That being said, I have been without transportation now since December 10th. I am getting more than a little irritated at lack of organization that is being demonstrated in this city. Since Dec. 10th, there has only been one vote on one contract. I have to say in a time of recession, why on earth are people asking for more money. They should be counting their blessings that they still have a job considering how many people are getting laid off all across our country and the United States. I sincerely hope that the City and OC Transpo get their act together and come up with some sort of solution to this problem soon. I have had to get my poor grandfather to drive me to work and have my boyfriend pick me up. At that, our vehicle is a little on the ancient side and has decided to break once again. I just want things to be resolved quickly and efficiently and I don't believe that is too much to ask.

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Summary (from the publisher):
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers-among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears-through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation and a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twentieth century, Blindness has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of man''s worst appetites and weaknesses-and man''s ultimately exhilarating spirit. The stunningly powerful novel of man''s will to survive against all odds, by the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature.
What I think:
This book excellent. It takes a little while to get used to the writing style. The paragraphs don't seem to make much sense because the subject can change with the next sentence but overall it is a well written book. The book is thought provoking and it really shows how people act when they think no one can see them. It is amazing to think of how much trouble we would be in if everyone lost their sight. The book gives a very raw look at humanity and has us question how different we really are. Would we react any differently? The people in the book were of all different classes and cultures and in the end most of them reacted in the same way. After reading the book I watched the movie. I would have to say that the movie follows the book fairly closely. i would recommend both highly. I give it 5 stars

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

Summary (from the Publisher):
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise children: it has the proverbial good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. It’s the kind of place where parents are involved in their children’s lives–coaching sports, driving carpool, taking an interest in their development at every level. The Abstinence Teacher focuses on two divorced parents who each play key roles in the lives of other people’s children: Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school who believes that “pleasure is good, shame is bad, and knowledge is power.” Her younger daughter’s soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Tim is a member of The Tabernacle, the local evangelical Christian church that wants to take its message outside the doors of its own sanctuary, and sees a useful target in Ruth Ramsey. Adversaries in a small-town culture war, Ruth and Tim instinctively distrust one another. But when a controversy on the playing field forces the two of them to actually talk to each other, an uneasy friendship begins to develop.
My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. I had read mixed reviews. I found the juxtaposition of fanatic religion and anti-religion to be interesting. While I tended to relate more to Ruth, a sex education teacher who is forced to adhere to a strict abstinence focused program, I at times was frustrated with how close minded she was. I enjoyed reading the parts about Ruth more than the parts about Tim. I found Tim to be bland and seemingly without much personality. I suppose that it might be on purpose to show how fanatic religion has taken over Tim's personality and he doesn't quite know who he is anymore. I just found it funny that both sides were evenly close minded. I grew up in a Catholic family, going to church every Sunday and going to Catholic school. While I do not follow organize religion anymore, I can see the value in it. This being said I think that people need to be less close minded to things. Ruth rejects all things religion and is upset when her daughters want to go to church. Tom's church believes in Christianity to the exclusion of all other things. There needs to be some kind of balance in life. Overall, this book is easy to read because the characters draw you in. That being said, I'm not sure if I find the ending believable. I won't spoil anything for anyone but the ending seems to be something to be expected but shouldn't happen. Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.


So, this is my first blog entry ever. This is the first time that I have actually kept a blog. I enjoy reading and I joined Library Thing a few months back. Since joining LT I have come across a bunch of very interesting book blogs and I figured why not? So here it is. I have set a few challenges for myself including the 100 Book Challenge. I am determined to track how many books I have read this year and my goal is 100. Now that I'm not in school anymore I figure this shouldn't be hard to do. While taking part in this challenge I'll post my reviews on the blog. Well, it's getting late and I have a day of supply teaching (gr. 8) and then off to my part time job til 10pm. All this without any buses because they are on strike. Stay tuned for my book reviews.