A whole lot o' nothing. And then some….
Random header image... Refresh for more!

MOAM BOOK CLUB

Howdy reading readers.

It’s been a long, hot, fabulous summer. A summer of love, parties, and revelling in being 50.

It’s also been a summer of reading!

I’ve been writing to lots of you with mini-lists, but here, at long last, is The Big One.  I’ve tried to add a link so you can purchase the books directly from this site, thereby earning me about $.03/book (CAD!!) but between wordpress updates and Amazon affiliate codes, I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

So here is the official Summer 2018 MOAM Book Club. Do feel free to send me comments, questions and reccos. And don’t be share to spread the book club love.

Remember, friends,  reading is for life, not just for summer…..

THE LONELY HEARTS HOTEL by Heather O’Neill

I absolutely loved this magical tale set in 1930’s Montreal (with a side of NYC). Two babies left in an orphanage grow up together and fall in love. One is a musical genius, the other the consummate song’n dance gal. Together they dream up the most extravagant and fabulous circus act ever to be seen. Of course things don’t go quite as they imagined. Separated as teens, each is forced to use their talents to survive, until they can be reunited. Stunning writing. Gorgeous characters. Whimsical yet dark. Total page turner.

SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward

A pregnant teenager and her brothers are essentially raising themselves as their drunken father prepares for the upcoming hurricane. This is a visceral and beautifully written award-winning  book set in an impoverished rural town. Dog fighting, sick puppies, motherless children, and young people looking for love as devastation in the form of Hurricane Katrina looms made this a real graphic and incredible page turner.

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward

After I finished Salvage the Bones I needed another fix of Ward’s writing. I found it in this, her next novel. Another award-winner, another story of familial desolation. This time ghosts haunt the present and the past in this poetic and stunning story of a drug-addicted woman striving to be a better parent, and her young biracial son trying to come to terms with who he is, where he comes from and where he is going. Southern Gothic greatness.

THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin

What would you do if you knew the exact date of your own death? In the late 1960’s in New York’s Lower East Side, four young siblings visit a psychic who claims to be able to predict just that. Hearing their prophecies, each sibling sets out on their own path. A tale of destiny and choices, paths dreamed of and routes taken, I was this novel to be intriguing, compelling and amazing.

AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones

Celestial and Roy, a young married couple finds their newly wedded bliss destroyed when Roy is arrested and convicted for a crime Celestial knows he couldn’t possibly have committed. Through letters and straight up page-turning prose, this story of about being Black in America, trying to hold to love when you’re forced apart, and trying to keep it together, separately. So timely. So brilliant.

THE RULES DO NOT APPLY: A MEMOIR by Ariel Levy

I read several memoirs this past year, most of which fell flat. Ariel Levy’s, however, was searing, honest, funny and brutal. I’m lifting the quote straight from the back cover for this one. “When thirty-eight-year-old New Yorker writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true.” Extraordinary.

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah

This book had been repeatedly recommended to me. Set in WW2 France, it is the story of two sisters and how they survive the war. I never really had any interest in reading it, but it kept getting mentioned, and it kind of reminded me of All the Light We cannot See (which I read in one sitting). So I picked it up The Nightingale….and put it down only after devouring it in one long sleepless night. What a story! What a read! This in an author who really knows who to spin a tale.

THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah

See: above. Another Kristin Hannah novel, another total page turner… A Vietnam vet uproots his young family to go live off the grid in the wilds of Alaska. This is the story of the teenage daughter, coming of age and coming to terms with her parents’ unconventional and passionate choices. An extraordinary portrait of life, resilience and growing up in Alaska’s wildly beautiful and dangerous frontier. This author has written 30 novels. What to read of hers next??

GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER by Shoba Rao

In an extremely poor Indian village, two young girls form an unlikely friendship. Despite the hideous life they are born into, they find solace, light and love in the bond they share. One which threatens the power structure and the others in their lives. A statement about feminism, the caste system, and the power of love, this book is magnificent and horrifying as the girls find themselves living separate and brutal lives, always holding on to the belief that they will be reunited. Tragic, hopeful, gripping.

THE GUNNERS by Rebecca Kauffman

Six kids from very different families become best friends – complete with ghost stories, sleepovers, adventures and a clubhouse. They were destined, like so many childhood pals, to be bffs forever. And like many childhood bffs, when they hit high school, things changed. As they grew up, moved on, and skipped town, only Mikey stayed behind, living a lonely life as his vision fails. When one of the gang kills herself, the rest return to town and they reconnect and reminisce. Very Big Chill-esque….

WE ALL LOVE THE BEAUTIFUL GIRLS by Joanne Proulx

I loved this book! A family’s life is ripped apart on one fateful night: the parents discover they’ve been cheated out of all their savings by their friend and business partner, and their son passes out in a snowbank with terrible consequences. Yes, in one night. After hitting the reader with all that, this is the story of what happens next.  Relationships are tested, as everyone tries to find ways to deal with the fallout. Some crumble and fail, some grow into something new. All are changed….

THERE THERE by Tommy Orange

There’s a big powwow happening in Oakland. For some, it’s a reunion. For others, an opportunity. As a diverse group of people share their interconnecting stories, one thing is certain: they will all converge at the powwow and shit will go down. This is a poetic, surprising, gripping and incredible read. Voices we don’t hear often enough come through loud and clear in this bright and beautiful book about indigenous urban identity. Powerful storytelling at its finest, this amazing book hits all the right notes from beginning to end.

LESS by Andrew Sean Greer

This Pulitzer-winning book centres on a failing novelist on the eve of his 50th birthday. In an effort to avoid the wedding of a past lover, he hits the road and travels around the world, trying to hide from himself. This is very much a character study with some great moments and even greater truths. It is very “writerly” and character-driven rather than plot-heavy. I absolutely loved this voice. So many lines in this book spoke to me…and stuck with me. And not just because I recently turned 50. Well, maybe a little….

STANDARD DEVIATION by Katherine Heiny

Graham lives with his second wife, the zany and kinda crazy Audra, and their autistic son. When his first wife re-enters the picture, he is forced to re-evaluate the choices he’s made in life and love. I laughed out loud while reading this. The character of Audra jumps straight off the page. This book is far from perfect, but it’s tender, awkward, and touching. It’s not a total laugh-riot, but when it’s funny, it’s it’s reeeeeally funny.

THE DIRTY BOOK CLUB by Lisi Harrison

When MJ ups and leaves her amazing job in NYC for a perfect life in California, things don’t quite turn out as planned. She is soon mysteriously conscripted into the DBC: the dirty book club, where the scandalous and erotic fiction inspires four very different women to open up about what’s happening in their real lives. Set both forty years ago and today, the author reminds us that the power of friendship is never dated.  If you’re looking for a fun read about female relationships and empowerment, look no further than this hilarious romp.

CIRCE by Madeline Miller

I am a sucker for Greek mythology and absolutely loved the Song of Achilles. When I read that this same author had a new book, I had to read it. I liked the tale better than the retelling, but I felt compelled to continue reading it to remind myself of Circe’s story and because I loved being lost in that world. A must read for mythology lovers. And a might-read for everyone else.

OTHER PEOPLE’S HOUSES by Abbi Waxman

A carpool mom stops to grab something from one of her neighbours – and finds her naked on the floor with a man who isn’t her husband. This is an easy, beach read about the goings-on in a neighbourhood and the affect the affair has on the families in the carpool. I quickly got sucked in to the daily drama and gossip.  Liane Moriarty-lite.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US  by Greer Hendricks

It’s hard to write about this suspenseful, twisty thriller without giving too much away, or sending the reader on a quest to forge it all out before the book’s end. Suffice to say this is a real page turner about a marriage gone very wring and the lengths a wronged party will go to fix it. I’ll leave it at that, or else it’s spoiler-alert central! Clever and yes, it’s being made into a flick…..

THAT KIND OF MOTHER by Rumaan Alam

I wanted to love this book, I really did. It’s really well-written and depicts the early days of motherhood when your life is turned totally upside down. It’s the story of a young white women who bonds with her black nursing coach. It takes a pretty crazy turn and explores some sensitive and timely topics. Overall, however, something about it left me cold. That said, people adore this book, so I’m putting it on the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share/Bookmark

August 13, 2018   No Comments

Advertisement

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Looks like summer is officially over. Tomorrow it’s back to school. Back to carpool. Back to chauffeuring. Being a night-before stylist. An enforcer. A chef. And my fave – The Warden.
I had all these grandiose plans for the summer….
Seeing lots of movies. Check.
Exercising. Started off well.
Getting back to Bikram yoga. Got too tense – and had nothing to wear that wouldn’t either constrict in the most unflattering of ways, or flip over my head and blind me if I bent over.
Writing a script. Did a rewrite… okay, a polish… of an existing project. But that kinda counts.
Spending lots of quality time with my kids. I extended their day camp. But we did hang out a lot at the cottage. And I took them to an amusement park by myself, went on loads of rides, ate as much junk as possible, went onstage during a clown performance, AND got stung by a bee and didn’t cry. Yes, I am supermom.
I also saw how enlightening a summer can be, even when you’re 1, 4 and 5-and-a-half years old. While my baby conquered walking and learned to point instead of scream, my big boys picked up all kinds of other equally important stuff this summer.
They are now gaga masters (that’s dodge ball for those of you out of this particular loop). They love archery. They can swim in the deep end and jump off diving boards. They pretty much know the entire Beatles catalogue by heart, and are counting down the days until Beatles Rockband arrives (-2. We pre-ordered). They’ve become terrific bikers, soccer players, and catchers. They can wield a tennis racquet with the best of ’em – and sometimes even hit the ball. Over the net. They know street names, directions, and how to do English accents. They appreciate the BBQ. They’re not afraid of sunscreen, and they like wearing hats. Their phone manner and overall sportsmanship has improved tremendously.
And they can swear like sailors.
It started off innocently enough. Weiners. Balls. Butts ‘n bums.
Jackass. Piss. Crap.
Stupid. Idiot. Stupid idiot.
And then shit happened. “Say shit”… “He said shit”… “You’re a shit!”
Inevitably, they dropped the big bomb. The F-word cruised into our house on a barrel of laughs and blushing cheeks. Apparently, FUCK was one they learned here at home. From their father, God bless him. That they happened to pick it up only when off at camp and yet blame their dad amazes and amuses me. But it’s here to stay (not that it ever left!) And joining the F-word is the B-word (Buck) and the C-word. Everyone gets a little shifty and nervous when they mention the C-word. But – get this – they think it’s Cuck! And so it goes with every letter of the alphabet.
Except L.
The L word is Love. As noted by a 5.5 year old.
So while they stub their toes and scream fuuuuuuck like banshees, and call each other dicks, jackasses, and shits – but only “for pretend until school starts” – I take heart that the L word will stick around, even in grade 1.
Fucks, shits and pisses be damned.
Happy back-to-school… for those who go, those who drive, and those who remember!

1 comments:

Anonymous said…

the father did really teach it to them. notch another one for jack ass. summer lovin!

September 7, 2009   No Comments

Advertisement

Back to School Blues

Put away your whites, people, ‘cuz it’s Back to School time.

Yep, for all us North Americans, it’s the real deal new year. Doncha think? You get all sentimental about the summer. Then you reflect: too hot, too cold, too fast. Blah blah blah. Same time next year, right? All through August you lament the end of summer and now it’s here. The end, that is. But instead of looking back and waxing nostalgic, it’s really a time of looking ahead. To fall. And the rest of the year. As I said it’s Back to School time.

Despite all the ads and plans and warnings, it doesn’t hit until Labour Day. And then, poof!- it’s here. New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.

For the kiddies, it’s a new grade, new teachers, new friends. For the rest of us, it’s the memory of that back-to-school feeling. It’s makes even the die-hard drop out feel new-ish: new season ( not really, but it feels like it, right?) New job/attitude (even if you’ve worked all summer, there’s a different, fresher, more serious vibe, right?) New movies (Goodbye silly boy flicks, Mr Apatow and co notwithstanding. Hello Oscar Bait. Right?) New footwear (even if it’s boiling, you’re tempted to put on your boots, right?) And of course new outifts (September mags, right?)

Everything is new new new.

Labour Day (Labor Day for our American cousins) has a certain weight to it. It’s far more momentous than any January 1st has the right to be. So I say Labout Day is the new New Year. Why not? New year’s resolutions? Do ’em in Sept. Starting a diet? Post-summer’s the perfect time to start. Quitting smoking? Hell-ooo? What better day than the one after a long, hot, smokey summer?!

So what, you may wonder, are my resolutions? Hmmmmm….To tell would be giving away too much, don’t you think? ‘Cuz resolutions aren’t really that different from wishes and I’d hate to think that if I told they wouldn’t come true.

Let’s just say…well, I’m here, right?

Besides, I’m trying to keep my own resolutions at bay. My focus is on my oldest child. For this week, anyway. My almost-4-year-old starts school tomorrow. Real school. The kind that is no longer filed under optional. It’s Junior Kindergarten – not just another program in his overprogrammed world. This one is It. The Biggie. The school he starts tomorrow will be, (hopefully, please god, poo poo poo) the one he graduates from in 9 years. Or 10. Whatever. It’s the one that’ll teach him to read. To write. And god only knows what else. For better or worse.

Yes, this Labour Day is all about Back to School. The first of many for some. And yet another slew of hopeful new beginnings for others.

Healthy. Wealthy. Wise. And working. What more could a girl ask for – for herself, her kids, her people? Aside from a few more glorious weeks of open-toe shoe that is.

Happy New Year.

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

mmm… oscar bait. As one literally going back to school, I just wanna know if it’s still cool to carry a pencil-case.

12:06 AM

Anonymous said…

SO LONG IN COMING.. FANTASTIC.. WHAT A MIND.

1:01 AM

Anonymous said…

In case you have forgotten – it is the New Year – I believe some of us call is Rosh Hashana. And although I am more of an eating Jew than a religious one – I think our people have always had it spot on. September, post-summer, is a more organic time – the pagans knew it and the Jews stole their fabulous idea! It’s based on crops, farming, climate! What the hell is January 1st anyway – where did it come from? If it’s a Christian calendar – why not December 25th – or 26th? What is this 1st of Jan smack in the middle of a season with no growth!

September 3, 2007   No Comments

Advertisement