Monthly Archives: January 2017

Licking the plate clean-A book that was hard to put down

It is only my second book of the year, and already I found a book that is a contender for my top reads of 2017. This book reminds of this brunch I had at a little restaurant in downtown Oakville. It was my first meal out with a newborn and it was a restaurant I had been wanting to try for awhile. My daughter was sleeping in her stroller and I was sipping the best latte ever when my meal came. I closed my eyes in ecstasy with each bite of the apple butter brioche French toast smothered in blueberry maple syrup. You know when food is so good that you don’t want to ever stop eating it; in fact, you feel like you could eat it everyday? That’s how I felt eating this meal. But soon the plate was empty and my stomach was bursting to full, and I realized that part of what made this food so good was that I didn’t eat it every day….that was this book.

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“The Best Kind of People” by Zoe Whittal was so good that I considered pulling an all-nighter just so I didn’t have to put it down….But then I realized that I have a toddler to take care of and the book would be waiting for me the next morning after a good sleep. George, the husband and father and beloved teacher, maintains his innocence when arrested for sexual misconduct against female students. Whittal takes a unique approach on this timely topic. The reader is taken into the thoughts of Joan, the wife; Andrew, the son; and Sadie, the daughter, who are struggling to decide what to believe and how to continue with their lives in a town divided while waiting for George’s trial. Sexual assault cases are complex and emotional, yet Whittal writes about this charged topic in a way that isn’t offensive and that looks at an angle that I’d never considered-the accused’s family. They have to continue their lives during the months before the trial while facing judgement from the town and grappling with the implications of this event. Whittal satisfies some of our curiosity about George and the sexual assault charges, but doesn’t let the details to overshadow the point of this book, which is to allow Sadie, Joan and Andrew to tell their stories.

Although this book was amazing, I could not read a book like this everyday. I would find it hard to have a life with these must-find-out-more books needing to be read; and books like these wouldn’t seem so special if I encountered one with every read. Plus, the topic of this book was heavy and in touch with the conversations going on today about sexual assault, so very close to reality. How much do we really know about our loved ones? What are we each capable of? How do we protect those we love? How do we continue with our lives after our family is affected by a criminal event?

So be prepared that this book deals with a lot of deep questions, but it is 100% worth delving into them through this storyline. “The Best Kind of People” is heartbreaking, explorative, and shocking.

5/5 bacon strips

(Afterwards, I needed a lighter read so I picked up “The One and Only” by Emily Giffin. It was cheesy and entertaining, which I needed after Whittal’s serious read. Sometimes a book works because it is read at the right place and time even if it isn’t a writing masterpiece. 3/5 bacon strips)

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Savour these titles from 2016!

This is just a quick post to start off the 2017 year. I’ve got a new review in the oven, but I realized I never posted my Top 5 Must-Read books from my 2016 reading list. I have included the link to my review of each book so you can get an idea of why I recommend them, or a short blurb for those I have neglected to blog a review of (sacrilege I know!). Happy reading!

  1. Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis click here (I know this one was only 4.5/5 bacon strips but it’s unique story and the fact that it is still stuck in my mind after 5 months is what pushes it over “The Poisonwood Bible” onto my Top 5 list)
  2. Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson click here
  3. Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb click here
  4. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend (This is a non-fiction book that I finished in December 2016 and it has changed my life. Cloud & Townsend provide wise advice in setting appropriate boundaries in your relationships, your work, and even with yourself. There is a Christian angle to many of their chapters, including a chapter on boundaries in your relationship with God, which I found very insightful. But if you are not a Christian, this book still provides invaluable guidance that will improve your relationship, help you find a better life balance, and really live out your value. It’s not easy (change rarely is), but the results are 100% worth the effort; as is finishing this book. 5/5 bacon strips)
  5. Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (Another well-written and captivating story from Genova that made it easy to flip each page, although heartbreaking to read the experiences of Sarah. After a car accident, Sarah experiences a brain injury that erases the left side of everything from her perspective (left hand, left side of the room, the fork on the left side of the plate). It was a strange concept for me yet Genova describes this odd injury so well that I was able to really picture what Sarah was going through. Genova also expertly navigates how neurological conditions affect family relationships as well as the life these patients once lived. I was caught up in cheering on Sarah as she attempted to find an equilibrium between the person she was and person she is now. 5/5 bacon strips)

Books of special note: “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” by Harvey Karp were the most helpful parenting books I read this past year. The first is great to read when you are expecting a baby or in the first few weeks of having a newborn, and the latter for any children ages 1-5 years old. Highly recommend both!