Saturday, January 23

Book Review: Bear

Title: Bear

Author: Marian Engel

Pages: 126

Summary: The winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, Marian Engel’s most famous – and most controversial – novel chronicles the erotic love affair between a woman and a bear. Lou has travelled to a remote island in northern Ontario to catalogue an eccentric nineteenth-century colonel’s library. Eager to investigate the estate’s curious history, she is shocked to discover that the island has one other inhabitant: a bear. Irresistibly, Lou is led along a path of emotional and sexual self-discovery, as she explores the limits of her own animal nature through her bizarre and healing relationship with the bear.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I went into to this book knowing that it was a controversial book and having an idea of what some of the content would be - but I wasn't expecting fifty shades of bear. Yet, despite some of the more, graphic sexual scenes, the book was a good read. The book was definitely one of those books that wasn't exactly in my normal confront zones of reading and I wasn't expecting as graphic of a bear and woman love scene - if you can call it that. But that part of the book is so small, although shocking when you first read it, it isn't the focus of the book. Although, it does stick with you and makes some interesting conversation pieces.

What the point of the book was a woman's self discovery, finding love and loving herself. The emotional journey she goes on was beautifully written and original. It is a book that sticks with you and one that is very memorable because of how the author chose to tell Lou's journey of self discovery. It especially stands out compared to other books like it, because of how the author chose to carry out Lou's journey.

Overall, it's a bit of a hidden gem and worth reading.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend it to read - although, some readers could be turned off by some of the content of the book, it is worth checking out.

What to read next: I'd try more of the author, The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood also would be a good choice

Challenges: 2016 Category Challenge, 9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge, New Author Challenge


Friday, January 1

2015 - A Year in Review

2015 was an interesting year for me - for many reasons. I didn't read nearly as much as I normally read due to a combination of falling into some extreme reading ruts - a result of reading just average books. Also I had a few distractions this year - both good and bad. One of the good was getting married! Back in June I married the love of my life - and planning a wedding does take a lot of time - even small low key weddings, which took away from my reading time.



Another factor was I once again attempted NaNoWriMo. While this year I didn't complete my goal, I did get some good headway on a novel and will likely finish a draft by the end of 2016.

There were other factors too - but the main reason was I just couldn't get out of a reading rut. I had a few books that I wasn't into, yet I couldn't give up on - so I spent a long time reading them (a few took a few months). But I still managed to read a good chunk of books and some of them ended up being fantastic reads, listed below are all my reads of 2015.

The Books

1. Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris - (Started in 2014) - 8.75/10
2. All My Puny Sorrows - Miriam Toews - 6.5/10
3. The Outlander - Diana Gabaldon - 6/10
4. A Week in Winter  - Meave Binchy - 7.5/10
5. Power Politics - Margaret Atwood - 8.25/10
6. Hunting Ground - Patricia Briggs - 7/10
7. Among Others - Jo Walton - 8.75/10
8. The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka - 9.75/10
9. The Reader - Bernhard  Schlink - 7.5/10
10. Knots and Crosses - Ian Rankin - 8.75/10
11. Monkey Beach - Eden Robinson - 7.75/10
12. Revenge Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger - 2/10
13. Friend of My Youth - Alice Munro - 7/10
14. The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan - 8/10
15. Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel - 10/10
16. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn - 9.75/10
17. Cast in Shadow - Michelle Sagara - 6.75/10
18. And the Birds Rained Down - Jocelyne Saucier - 7.75/10
19. The Golem and the Jinni - Helen Wecker - 8.25/10
20. Saltsea - David Helwig - 6/10
21. Shadow - Amanda Sun - 7/10
22. Trains and Lovers - Alexander McCall Smith - 7.75/10
23. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keys - 8.5/10
24. Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins - 7.5/10
25. The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill - 9/10
26. The Transfer - A Divergent Story - Veronica Roth - 8/10
27. Four: The Initiate - A Divergent Story - Veronica Roth - 8.25/10
28. Four: The Son - A Divergent Story - Veronica Roth - 8.5/10
29. Four: The Traitor - A Divergent Story - Veronica Roth - 8.75/10
30. Rift in the Sky - Julie Czerneda - 9/10
31. Swarm - Lauren Carter - 8.75/10
32. Heat Rises - Richard Castle - 8/10
33. Visions - Kelley Armstrong - 8.75/10
34. Enduring Love - Ian McEwan - 3.5/10
35. A Thousand Words for Stranger - Julie Czerneda (reread)
36. Going Down Swinging - Billie Livingston 7.75
37. Deceptions - Kelley Armstrong - 9/10
38. Case Histories - Kate Atkinson - 5/10
39. The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. Le Guin 9/10
40. Once Every Never - Lesley Livingston - 5.75/10
41. The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood (reread)
42. MaddAddam - Margaret Atwood - 9/10
43. Alligator - Lisa Moore  - 6.5/10
44. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson - 8.75/10
45. The Sleep Donation - Karen Russell - 8/10
46. Armada  - Ernest Cline - 6/10
47. The Love of a Good Woman - Alice Munro - 7.5/10
48. Fifteen Dogs - Andre Alexis - 9.25/10
49. Daydreams of Angels - Heather O' Neill - 7/10
50. The Red Shirts: A Novel with Three Codas - John Scalzi - 8/10


Breakdown of Ratings
Rating Category
Amount of Books
1 - 2.75
1
3 - 3.75
1
4 - 4.75
0
5 -5.75
2
6-6.75
6
7-7.75
12
8-8.75
17
9-9.75
8
10
1

My Favourites

Below is a list of all my ten favourite reads of the year. The theme of this years favourites seems to be heavily Speculative.

 
1) Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
2) Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
3) The Buddha in the Attic - Julie Otsuka
4) The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill
5) Rift in the Sky - Julie Czerneda
6) Deceptions - Kelley Armstrong
7) The Lathe of Heaven - Ursula K. Le Guin
8) MaddAddam - Margaret Atwood
9) Fifteen Dogs - Andre Alexis
10) Swarm - Lauren Carter






General Stats and other Fun Facts

This year was a slow reading year, but despite that I did accomplish a lot. Surprisingly, I read more ebooks than print - mainly because it's a lot easier to cart around an ereader than print books. I barely read from the library - because I forget I have the books, then forget to return the book then have angry librarians asking me to pay fees - okay they've never been angry with me - but that would make for a good story. Angry zombie librarians seek out delinquent book borrowers......

General Stats
Number of Books
Books Read
49
Pages Read
13, 701
Re-Reads
2
Format of Books
Print
20
EBook
29
Where it Came From
Own
45
Library
4
Review
0


My goal was to try and read some poetry this year. While that didn't exactly happen, I did manage to read one book of poetry this year. Maybe in 2016 I will read 2!

Type of Book
Number of Books
Novel
39
Short Story Collection
3
Short Story Individual
6
Poetry
1
Combined
0


This year appears to be heavily Speculative based for me. As half of the books I read fall under that category. Also, almost half the books read this year were by author's who were new to me.

Other Random Facts
Number of Books
Canadiana
24
New to Me Canadian Authors
9
New to Me Authors
20
Women Writers
37
Speculative Fiction
24
Mystery/Thrillers
8
1001 Books
2
Classics
3
Series
10
Childrens/YA
6


The Challenges

Once again, I entered far too many challenges - although if it weren't for the reading rut, I think I would have finished all of the challenges I entered this year.  While I love challenges, I'm finding it too hard to keep up with them all - so this year I won't be entering nearly as much. I want to try to stay on the social side of reading so, less challenges will mean less people to keep up with.



Challenge Name
Progress
Challenge Starts
Challenge Ends
Challenge Completed
1
2015 100 Books Challenge
47/100
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
 DNF
2
2015 Category Challenge
45/75 Books
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
DNF 
3
2015 Chunkster Reading Challenge
5/7 Books
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
DNF 
4
2015 Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge
2/10 Books
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
CANCELLED
5
8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge
23/13 Books
July 1, 2014
June 31, 2015
COMPLETED
6
9th Annual Canadian Book Challenge
8/13 Books
July 1, 2015
June 31, 2016
 DNF
7
2015 Ebook Challenge
25/25
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
COMPLETED
8
2015 Finish That Series Challenge
3/5 Books
2/4 Series
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
 DNF
9
The 2015 Mount TBR Challenge
30/36 Books
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
 DNF
10
2015 New Authors Challenge
21/25 Books
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
 DNF
11
Read Scotland 2015 Challenge
3/9
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
 DNF
12
The 2015 Ultimate Canadian Reading Challenge
2/20 Books - Local
1/20 Books - Award
3/20 Books - Genre
6/60 - Total
January 1, 2015
December 31, 2015
CANCELLED

 

Outlook for 2016

My outlook for 2016? Just keep reading!