How Long Do You Take to Break Up With a Book?

DONE

How many of you have gone through an awful breakup? You break up. You get back together. You break up. It happens, but breakups don’t just happen in your love life.

I’ve had to break up with books before.

I don’t like doing it and trust me, I try and try to make it work, but sometimes it’s just not the right fit. Typically, I give it about 50 pages before I set it down. Sometimes I’ll even pick more than twice and try again if someone makes a strong case. And of course, I’ve been wrong before! I can’t tell you the number of times I tried to read Animal Farm (which is only 112 pages) before a professor made me read it and I ended up loving it. We all make mistakes, but I feel pretty strong that when I’m done… I’m done.

Clearly this is a book blog, so there’s no real scientific reasoning to the following breakdown. But people have different reasons and strategies when it comes to reading, so after doing some research… who am I kidding… I asked Twitter and I got some great responses.

There are a number of reasons why you put a book down before you finish it, such as,

  • You can’t/don’t relate to the characters
  • You don’t like the characters
  • You don’t enjoy the plot
  • You’re not a fan of the writing
  • You’re not connecting with the story

Everybody has a different reading process and no one is going to have the same reading experience (even if they’re reading the same book) so here are some thoughts from Twitter:

As you can see, everyone is different. Maybe I’m naive, but it actually never occurred to me when I started writing this post that people didn’t give up on books. I completely understand their reasoning on why they might not want to break up, but I think I have the same philosophy as @MissusLeaver – life is too short to read something that I’m not enjoying. It could also be due to the fact that I have so many unread books, that if I can’t get a book to “stick”, I know I’ll be able to find one that’s a better fit. 

They say that breaking up is hard to do and it’s hard to do it with books too, so share with me in the comments below, what’s YOUR reading break up habits? Do you bail at chapter 3? Why do you throw in the towel?

*Luckily, I’m at the 75 page mark in my current read (a Spring title by Tessa McWatt), so it’s safe to say, I’m in it for the long haul.

6 Reasons Why You Should Read Marie Phillips’ The Table of Less Valued Knights

Less Valued KnightsI could write a review of this incredible book OR I could convince you why you should purchase a copy of The Table of Less Valued Knights in six points. Seeing as how I love categorizing things into numerical form I’ve chosen to go with the latter.

1. She’s the author of Gods Behaving Badly

Back in 2009 we all got the pleasure of reading a comical satire about the Greek Gods, otherwise known as Gods Behaving Badly. This charming novel had everyone talking about it’s originality and humour. Lucky for us, she’s done the same thing in her new book The Table of Less Valued Knightsa tongue in cheek look at the world of King Arthur and the Round Table. Well… technically, we don’t spend too much time at the Round Table as this story is told from the perspective of the Table of Less Valued Knights. A less prestigious table where old and rigid knights are forced to sit when they’re past their prime.

2. The Princess Bride meets Monty Python and the Holy Grail

When I heard that this was the two comparisons the publisher used to describe Marie Phillips newest book, I was sold. It’s the perfect combination of work to describe this hilarious book. Sir Humphrey du Val is not valued and when a damsel in distress comes running into the castle, he disregards King Arthur’s rule that he’s no longer able to go on quests and offers to help Elaine, a young maiden in search of her kidnapped fiancé. With his squire Conrad (an undersized giant) and Jemima (Conrad’s elephant) they set off a journey together with hopes that he’ll be able to prove his worth and once again get a seat at the Round Table. What transpires is a journey like no other… talking swords, a chase and a girl dressed as a boy, you’ll be laughing and cheering for this unlikely group the whole time you read this book!

3. It’s laugh out loud funny

There’s nothing better than a book that makes you smile and makes you chuckle. This is that kind of book. If you’re looking for something silly, but written brilliantly, this is one you NEED to pick up. Oh and if you need further convincing, might I suggest you check out the first two chapters.

4. You can make yourself an unofficial Knight while reading the book

In an effort to make you feel like a British leader, Random House of Canada created a Knight Name Generator to enhance your reading experience. For instance, some of you might know me as Reeder, but technically my Knight name is Sir Favian Chastity, Rider of Lawnmower, so feel free to call me that when you want to get my attention. Some of my other favourites are,

  • Sir Rulf Darktonian, the Average
  • Sir Rebral Joust-a-Lot, Scrabble Player Extraordinaire
  • Sir Favian Shadowmere, the Entitled

5. Who doesn’t like a good misadventure? 

As I shared before, this a book that will make you smile while reading. I love literature… a lot, but there is something to be said for a book that doesn’t require a lot of brain power, a book that just takes you away on a fun adventure. Even if you don’t have a firm understanding of medieval literature, it’s not required to understand this book. When you open up page one of The Table of Less Valued Knights, you’re going to be entertained for the rest of the afternoon, I guarantee it.

6. It’s going to be the book everyone’s talking about!

I can promise you that this is one book that everyone and their dog will be talking about, it’s that funny. It’s already received a rave review from the Guardian and it hasn’t even hit bookshelves yet! If I’ve done my blogger duties right, I’ve hopefully convinced you that this is a book you’re going to LOVE. So here are the next steps you can take:

  • Pre-order a copy from your local bookseller or online by clicking here.
  • Chat about it online using the hashtag #LessValuedKnights
  • Connect with the author of Twitter @mpphillips
  • Pick up a copy when it does hit bookshelves on August 12th.

I really hope you consider picking up this book, because it’s the perfect read to enjoy with a cup of tea or beverage in the sun this August. Oh and be sure to share with me in the comments what your Knight name is!

Signed,

Sir Favian Chastity, Rider of Lawnmower

 

 

[Video] Document Your Life – July 2014

July 2014

My first couple of days of July were spent saying goodbye to my childhood home in Halifax and spending some quality time with my favourite people. Only two of which are documented in the video below, but many more were there… I promise. The rest of the month, I read only a few books, Gone Girl and Landline, because much of the month was spent enjoying the Toronto sunshine.

It only made sense that since I’ve finally finished the Harry Potter series that I come face to face with Daniel Radcliffe. Well… technically, he never really looked at my face, but he did come to the premiere of The F Word here in Toronto and I got to attend with my pal Amy. We took pictures (and video) and thought that after the introductions that would be it… but nope. About fifteen minutes into the premiere of the movie, he came back in and sat SIX seats away from us. I watched the movie (which was delightful), but a lot of the time was spent looking to my left to watch him sip from his bottle of diet coke. FUN FACT: He is very short in real life.

Have a look at my July below and let me know if the comments what fun things you did this past month.

*The concept of the Document Your Life videos was created by Lauren Hannah. Her story, videos and a description of the project can be found here.

** The song in this video is Bare Feet by Vydamo — http://www.vydamo.com

I Can’t Wait Any Longer… I NEED to Talk About These Books!

One of the biggest perks of working for a publishing company is advanced reading copies (ARC) and/or galleys. Here’s the difference between the two:

Galleys: They lack any dust jacket or resemblance to the final product and most times they are usually uncorrected proofs, meaning that the text can still be corrected.

Advanced Reading Copy: Usually printed in colour and are in similar format as the soon to be published book.

Going forward, I’m just going to continue to refer to both as ARCs. Neither of these formats are available for sale. But you can get your hands on early copies of books when you…

  • work in the publishing industry
  • magazine/newspaper reviewers
  • your a Goodreads user and you enter contests

Now that all that clarification is out of the way, I wanted to share some mini reviews of some of the fall/spring ARCs I’ve read. The best part of being a book blogger is getting to read books early, the downfall is that you can’t talk about it with anyone until they hit bookstores. So I thought I’d do something a little different and share a few of my favourite up and coming books. Be sure to add them to your to-read file on Goodreads and come back here on their on sale dates to see a full review of each book.

Mãn by Kim Thuy (08/26)

ManKim Thuy’s Ru was a Giller nominated book and won the French- language Governor-General’s Award in 2010. So you can imagine the anticipation is building for people to get their hands of her new book, Mãn. I can tell you with full certainty that she has once again created a prose that is beautifully written. She examines the intricate relationship between love and food. Mãn has three mothers: the one who gives birth to her in wartime, the nun who plucks her from a vegetable garden, and her beloved Maman, who becomes a spy to survive. Seeking security for her grown daughter, Maman finds Mãn a husband–a lonely Vietnamese restaurateur who lives in Montreal. Mãn then becomes a chef, but just not any ‘ol chef. She believes her calling is in food and she works to create dishes that are pieces of art. But when she encounters a married Paris chef, things take an interesting turn.

160 pages isn’t many pages, but that’s the beauty of Kim Thuy novels. They pack a powerful punch and they allow you to immerse yourself into another world for one afternoon. If you need further convincing, I encourage you to chat with @jvpurcell and @hellohemlock who have read the book and will be chatting about it on their YouTube account in July/August.

Up Ghost River by Edmund Metatawabin (08/26)

Up Ghost RiverIf you are someone that really enjoys non-fiction, then you are going to be captivated by the story of Edmund Metatawabin. At seven years of age in the 1950’s, Edmund was separated from his family and placed in one of Canada’s worst residential schools. St. Anne’s, in northern Ontario. The horrific things that took place in this residential school are explained in full detail and Edmund courageously shares with readers the effects of his experience at St. Anne’s. After leaving St. Anne’s he started his own family, but the effects of his stay at St. Anne’s led him down a path of drinking and caused his family life to implode. In an effort to find healing, Metatawabin travelled to Alberta to learn from his elders and participate in native cultural training workshops. It was then that he was able discover his Cree culture and face his alcoholism and PTSD. Today, Metatawabin has made it his mission to help the next generation of residential school survivors.

This is a powerful story and it’s a story that needs to be told. His discovery of his Cree culture, his path to recovery and his determination to fight for change are all revealed in this haunting and important book. For more information, I encourage you to check out this video:


Who by Fire by Fred Stenson (09/23) 

Who by FireIf Erin Brockovich had been filmed in Alberta, it would be very similar  principles to Fred Stenson’s Who by Fire. To quote the publishers site, which nails the essence of this book perfectly, “Who by Fire is a powerful, passionate novel about the march of “progress” and the environments, families, and ways of life destroyed in its wake.” This is the story of Tom Ryder and Bill Ryder, Father and Son who, over the years are fighting different types of battles. When a gas plant arrives in Alberta in the 1960s on the border of their family farm, Tom Ryder’s family experiences health problems and his livestock start to die from the poison emitting from the plant. Tom slowly starts to make it life mission to fight the plant. As the novel progresses into present day, we get a different perspective from a now, grown up Bill, who surprisingly reacts to his father’s disappointments by rising through the managerial ranks of an oil company in Fort McMurray.

A fantastic novel that not only looks at the impact of gas plants environmental damage, but the impact that it can have on surrounding residents. Written with a twist of family drama, you’ll be captivated by every page of this brilliant novel.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (10/14)

Leaving TimeUp until reading Jodi Picoult’s forthcoming Leaving Time, the only other book I’d read written by her was My Sister’s Keeper. So I was excited to read a new and what people in our office proclaimed something very different than what you think of when you think of when you think of Jodi Picoult. I can actually remember bringing the manuscript of this book with me to a Timothy’s coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon and reading 100 pages in one sitting. 13-year-old Jenna is on a hunt for her Mother, Alice Metcalf, an accomplished scientist who studied grief among elephants. It’s been a decade since she disappeared under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind her small daughter, husband, and the animals to which she devoted her life.

In a desperate attempt to find her Mother, Jenna enlists the help from two unlikely sources, a disgraced psychic named Serenity Jones, and Virgil Stanhope, the cynical detective who first investigated her mother’s disappearance. Together the three of them band together to create an unlikely trio of detectives who are about to uncover a mystery like no other.

Smart, captivating and a book you won’t be able to put down, I can promise you that this is a book that everyone is going to be talking about! Oh and I’d be remiss not to mention that thanks the the internet and it’s sharing capabilities (22,000+ mentions of #LeavingTime), Jodi Picioult is releasing a FREE e-short about Alice Metcalf from August 4th – August 9th from your favourite eBook retailer. 

Where I Belong by Alan Doyle (10/14)

Where I BelongI wear my Maritimer card proudly on my sleeve. Thanks to Alan Doyle’s Where I Belong, I felt like I got a trip to East for the cost of $0.00. Alan Doyle, the lead singer of Great Big Sea has had a pretty accomplished life, but it all started in a tiny fishing village of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. Although this is a memoir, it’s reads like a lyrical story of a young boy in a family of hilarious and fun characters. Stories of fighting it out for the bathroom and his first job on the wharf cutting out cod tongues for fishermen make up the essence of this memoir. Doyle is well aware that the lessons he learned as a young man and the impressions made from the larger than life characters helped shape him into the musician and man he is today.

A brilliant and stunning memoir that you’ll be handing to your neighbour… hopefully while humming this tune.

 

It Was Me All Long by Andie Mitchell (01/06/15)

It was Me All AlongI’ve attempted to write the sentence “I’ve struggled with my weight” six different ways, so God knows how Andie Mitchell wrote a whole book about the topic. In her heartwarming memoir It Was Me All Along, she shares an honest journey of her struggle with weight loss. It’s one thing to lose a lot of weight, it’s another to figure out who you are when all that weight is gone. Food addiction is a real thing and in this memoir, you watch a young girl become a young woman and work at determining her self worth.

This book isn’t just for people that have struggled with weight issues though, it’s a story of perseverance and a story of growth. It’s a look at one woman’s strength and how if you set your mind to it, you can do anything you want in life. I cannot wait to write a full review for this book, so be sure to come back in January 2015 (so long away) to hear me gush on and on about this memoir in 3-4 paragraphs.

Be sure to check out Andie’s blog, Can You Stay for Dinner and watch this inspiring TedTalk in which she discusses her weight loss:

If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie (01/20/15)

If I Fall, If I DieAnd last, but certainly not least is a book that had me settling deeper into my sofa after reading page 1. Michael Christie’s If I Fall, If I Die is the story of Will and his Mother Diane. His Mother is battling with agoraphobia and has somehow convinced her young son that the world is a scary and harmful place. Not knowing any better, he remains locked up in their home and only sees the outdoors when their groceries and online orders are delivered to the front door. Then one day, Will miraculously decides to venture outside, in a helmet… for protection, and discovers that the world isn’t such a scary place after all. He eventually befriends Jonah, a quiet Native boy who introduces him to the most reckless and exhilarating activity he’s ever seen: skateboarding.

If The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Room had a book baby, it would be this book. Told in an exciting prose with adventurous discoveries, Will will become a character you won’t soon forget.

And there you have it friends, seven books that should be on your radar. I have to say, I’m so glad that I finally told someone other than my colleagues how much I enjoyed them. If you liked this type of post, let me know in the comments and I’ll do another teaser post about Spring 2015 titles near the end of the year.