Greetings Fellow BookNerds!
First off, to all my Canadian followers – heck, anyone who’s a fan of sparklers, fireworks and celebrating where you came from – I hope you all had a happy Canada Day. In all honesty, it has been a very long time since I’ve done anything to truly honor the occasion. I usually just spend that evening consoling my dog as the fireworks next door drive him into a barking frenzy. This year, being my first summer spent in Ottawa, I decided to do something special, and ended up joining a friend of mine in taking part in the creation of a Human Flag in downtown Ottawa. I’m always up for trying something new. Granted, it seemed like a rather strange way to spend my time at 9am in the morning, but after seeing the picture they took, it was totally worth it.
It’s always amazing to see so many people coming together to volunteer for something like this. Granted, we still could’ve used a few more people to fill in the spaces, but it still turned out pretty incredible.
Ok, down to business. As is almost always the case with me, it takes me time to get through a book. I tell people that I’m a very detailed and thorough reader, and that’s why it takes me a bit longer than most. Yes, that is one reason. I think another reason is because I’ve never been a fan of reaching the ending of things. What I love about books that come in series is knowing that there’s always going to be another one, but even they eventually reach an ending point. I was pretty much curled up in my bed in tears when I read through the last Harry Potter book. Just the other day, I watched my boyfriend play until the end of The Last of Us, and the fact that the game ended on a cliff hanger made me more upset than all of the other stuff that happened throughout the game. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very heart wrenching game that made me tear up more than once, but the only thing that bugs me worse than something coming to and end is when the ending only leaves you with questions! Great game though 🙂
There is a point in all of this, and that point is that as much as I love reading books, I’ve learned to take my time, because I know that no matter how great of an ending it might have, it will still have an ending… That being said, I have finally managed to read one of my greatest literary obstacles: Good Omens. I say it’s a literary obstacle because for years I’ve been meaning to read this book, and I only just got around to it about a month ago. All I can say is that I honestly regret not getting around to it sooner!
Angels, demons, the apocalypse, and the fate of the world resting in the hands of an eleven year old boy, who also happens to be the anti-Christ. This book has been around for over 20 years, and yet there’s still nothing quite like it out there. It’s not your typical ‘good vs. evil’ story. In fact, they make it very clear that it’s not so much a case of angels being inherently good or demons inherently bad, they just both have their jobs to do in order to keep the world running. I know, it seems like I only have positive things to say about the books I read. Well, give me a bad book, and I’m sure I’ll be able to pick some good things out of it to. That’s what I like about books; no matter what the intention of the author is, I can feel free to interpret it any way I so choose. Of course, there are some books that even I cannot salvage any words of praise from… like Twilight. It is possible to write a good romance story about humans, vampires and werewolves, but I have yet to read it.
Ok, back to Good Omens. There is very little to critique about this piece of work. The writing is amazing, the characters are brilliant, and the storyline is the perfect level of comedy and drama without going over the top. Admittedly, there were a few points where I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what was going on, but I think it’s because the book isn’t written from solely one perspective. It’s constantly jumping back and forth from one characters viewpoint to the next, even within the same chapter, which sometimes makes it hard to keep up. The good thing about that is you get to see the events occurring through various eyes, allowing you to connect with all of the characters on some emotional level. I figure if I were to read it again, I would be able to follow it much more smoothly, but that will have to wait until I finish going through the rest of my library.
In conclusion, a great read, and if you love a good satirical and speculative fiction, laced with the combined wit and sense of humour of Gaiman and Pratchett, you should definitely add this book to your collection.
As always, I welcome any thoughts you may have on my review, or perhaps you have an opinion about the book you would like to share. Either way, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, or visit my blogs facebook page and comments to your hearts content. Either way, until next time, happy reading everyone!
Greetings Fellow BookNerds!
4. Value Village
Yes, I realize that this is not strictly a bookstore, but you would be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck. I usually drop in to browse their clothing selection, but there hasn’t been a single time when I haven’t found myself wondering over to their little book corner. The great thing about used books is that you’re more likely to find books that you’ve never seen or heard of before, or in other cases, you’ll find that one book you’ve spent ages searching for.
These are just a few of the little beauties I stumbled upon during my most recent trip to Value Village. Each one of them stood out to me for a different reason. The Alice Munro collection, for instance, reminded me of the journalism internship I completed last summer out in Huron County. One of the articles I wrote required me to go on a self-guided tour of all the locations that Alice Munro had either visited herself or wrote about in her short stories. It’s always fascinating to see how much a person’s writing is directly influenced by the people they meet and the places they’ve been. The novel by Terry Goodkind is based on the same universe as the Sword of Truth series, which I’m still trying to make my way through. I feel inspired by authors who are capable of organizing a story in a way where it can keep going from one book to the next. I’ll be lucky if I can complete a trilogy, let alone an 11 book series! Arctic Chill was recommended to me by my friend/roommate from Sweden, who is really into mystery and crime novels. Although not usually my cup of tea, I must confess that the synopsis did peek my interest somewhat. The last book… actually, that’s one I borrowed from my sister-in-law over the Christmas holidays which I have yet to get around to reading.
I’m going to have to teach myself some techniques that will help me to read books at a much quicker pace. That being said, here’s this weeks question:
Q: How do you read books quickly without missing any of the crucial details?
This is all to say that there will be many more book reviews to come, which means a great deal more for all of you lovely booknerds to look forward to. In the meantime, happy reading!
Greetings Fellow BookNerds!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from four years of university, it’s that the words ‘free’ and ‘cheap’ and two of the sweetest words in the English language. This is especially true for a book addict like me, as I figure I own more books than I’ll be able to read through in a single lifetime. I was ecstatic when I first learned that there was a Chapters within walking distance from the place I’m staying at, having grown up in a small neighbourhood where the closest book store was almost an hours drive away. I could spend hours in Chapters, roaming the shelves and committing to memory every book I would like to get my hands on one day… when I have money.
This is when my search began for Ottawa’s less expensive book purchasing alternatives, and so far it has yielded some very positive results. Let’s take a look!
1. All Books
Admittedly, I’ve only been to this place once, but all it took was that one visit for this store to make it to the very top of my list. It’s an independently owned used bookstore which, according to a quick internet search, has been around for about 15 years. That’s saying a lot, as independently owned ventures in the writing and literary world have been steadily disappearing in recent years. It’s small, but every corner of the store is packed with books, and what doesn’t fit on the shelves is stacked in piles wherever they will fit. It looks very much like the dream room I wanted when I was younger… what am I saying, it’s still my dream room 🙂 This is where I finally bought a copy of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I don’t think I paid much more than five dollars. The prices are beyond reasonable, and they have an incredibly diverse collection of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as quite a few academic reads. What I love most is when they set up the table just outside the store, which is then covered in books that you can buy for just 1 or 2 bucks. I hope this plays sticks around for a long time, so that I can refill my book reservoir when it starts to go down again. It’s located between the Bytowne Cinema and the Mac’s convenience store on Rideau Street, and if you haven’t been there yet, I recommend you do so immediately!
2. Agora Bookstore
Okay, so not exactly the place to go to if you’re looking for a leisurely novel to read, but if you’re a university student like I was – still feels strange to say it in the past tense – and you really don’t want to pay the price that the university bookstore is demanding of you, then this place is great. The price is a hell of a lot more reasonable, and even moreso if you choose to rent as opposed to buying the books that you’ll probably only read once and then never open again anyway. There’s also the wonderful option of ordering the book to be sent directly to your house, which is especially great in the winter time when you really don’t feel like braving the Ottawa cold. This one is also near the downtown area, and the building is pretty hard to miss.
3. Benjamin Books
This is yet another place that specializes more in academia. It’s small, kind of like All Books, but with a bit more space to move around, and a bit ore organized so that students can find what they’re looking for quickly. The people who work there are very good at what they do. I have two foreign exchange students staying with me, and they were looking to buy some of their books from Benjamin’s. One of them wasn’t sure what the book was called, but at the mere mention of the class name, one of the gentlemen working there knew exactly what she was looking for. Very good service, and the prices aren’t bad either. They do sell fiction books, although it’s usually because they’re being studied for English, literature or other fiction novel oriented courses. I was ecstatic beyond belief when I saw that the mandatory reading for one of those classes was The Fault In Our Stars. This store is located on Osgoode, close to the University of Ottawa Campus, and next door to a pretty good Shawarma place 😉
That’s the end of my list for now, but I shall continue to search until I have visited every literary repository this city has to offer. As always, I would love to get some feedback from my wonderful BookNerds. If you know of any reasonably priced bookstores in the Ottawa area, don’t hesitate to jot the name down in the comments below. Or if you have a book you’d like to recommend, visit the Book Recommendations From You page above and leave the title of the book and the author in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you, and as always, happy reading!
Today, there will be no talk of books, movies or anything of the fictitious variety. It is not likely, but for those of you unaware of the events which transpired yesterday at Parliament Hill, follow this link: Parliament Hill Shooting Timeline
There are very few times in my life when I can recall experiencing a sense of fear so strong that it was physically crippling. I have been living in Ottawa for nearly five years now, and yesterday was the first time within those five years that I honestly feared for my life simply by being in this city. I could barely convince myself to leave the house, the fear was so overwhelming.
When I don’t have anything I urgently need to be at in the morning, I have a tendency of sleeping in through my alarm clock. Yesterday, I had planned on going downtown in the morning to run some errands, but my bad habit manifested itself and I once again slept in, and you know what? I could not be more thankful. It was later in the morning that I got a text message, warning me to stay away from the Parliament Hill area. Of course, having not seen the news yet, I had no idea what he was referring to. I, being the curious journalist I am, immediately turned to the vast information archives of the internet, and at first I could not believe it; a shooting, here, in Ottawa!? It’s not as though violence was unheard of in this city, but gun violence? That was a first for me.
Having grown up in a small farming community, I must confess, my life was relatively uneventful and sheltered. When I first moved to Ottawa, I was terrified that it would be like living in Toronto, where something horrible seems to occur on a daily basis. I simply had little to no experience with living in a big city, and therefore had no ide what to expect. If I had to sum up my 5 years of living in what to me is that ‘big city’, it would be that it felt safe. Admittedly, I have had moments where I felt nervous walking through certain parts of the downtown area, but I never felt like I was in danger. That is, until today. It just goes to show that, no matter where you go, nowhere is immune to the hate, anger and frustration which plagues the minds and hearts of too many people in this world.
Too afraid to set foot outside, yet too nervous to simply sit around, there was only one thing I could do; I prayed. I prayed for the safety of all of my friends living in Ottawa who were trapped in the university during the lockdown. I prayed for those I knew who worked in Parliament, and even those I didn’t know. I prayed for everyone who was in the downtown area at the time, just going about their daily business, just happening to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And of course, I prayed for the soldier who lost his life, and for the family he left behind. I prayed harder than I ever had before, in the hopes that those words would somehow keep everyone safe.
Today is not a day for reading or reviewing fiction novels. Today is a day for each and every one of us to reflect on our lives and how precious they are, to start living those lives to the fullest if we haven’t already, and to remind ourselves that in times of great turmoil, we must show courage in the face of fear.