A post I loved…

I’ve watched the show The Handmaid’s Tale. I read the book. It was one of those I couldn’t, couldn’t put down. It was incredibly addictive…and terrifying. I had nightmares for two days after I started reading the book…and this week, the absolutely horrible attacks on Manchester haven’t helped.

The book is terrifying because it seems like our world is only steps away from making it come reality and not fiction. It’s also terrifying because all of the things in it have already happened at some point in history, so none can be denied with a ‘that’ll never happen’ sort of comment.

But, as always, words fail me when I think of the great parts of the book and movie. And, then I saw this post that puts into words some of the things my little brain couldn’t. I absolutely loved it. Big thanks to Part Time Monster for that wonderful read.

Last week, as I was watching “A Woman’s Place,” the sixth episode of Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, I was struck with a realization: I had not watched a single episode of the show without flipping through the social media feeds on my phone or my laptop simultaneously. So I started to think […]

via Why I Have to Look away from The Handmaid’s Tale Sometimes, and Why That’s a Good Thing — Part-Time Monster

Review: The hour I first believed

A friend of mine loaned me the book, The hour I first believed by Wally Lamb. I had to have it read quickly because she needed it back. At over 700 pages, it’s not a tiny book, still I gave it a go…and I got hooked.

It’s odd because this, again, is not my type of book. I’ve never read Wally Lamb and the characters suffer so much that I wanted to stop reading; I’m a big wimp when it comes to characters not being happy. But the story and the writing refused to let me go. This book haunted me for the two days it took me to read it.

The story is about Caelum Quirk who starts out as an unhappy man in his third marriage, stumbling around life and not being very successful at living it. Then, while things around him unravel, Caelum slowly starts to confront the knots that are keeping him prisoner in his own life.

A lot of books are great stories, but few are an amazing experience. This one is. I can see why Oprah would have chosen this author as one of her favourites and picked his books a couple of times. I can see why he made the Bestseller list.

Wally Lamb manages to write the ordinary, haphazard occurrences of Caelum’s life into a masterpiece of miracles. Along the way, Caelum is transformed. His beliefs and doubts have completely changed. And, as the reader, I got to see it all.

His wife, Maureen is a nurse at Columbine when tragedy struck. This book is based on that fact but the story is only born around it. Maureen suffers from severe PTSD and becomes one of Caelum’s challenges. Along the way, Caelum meets other characters who teach him and push him further along his journey.

There are many things that I absolutely loved about this book. Though I had to read it quickly, I can see how sitting with it and savouring it would be divine. It’s got details and little nuances that need to be noticed along the way. Nothing is really left to chance, this book is written carefully and with clear attention to detail. It took the author 9 years to write and, in my humble opinion, it was worth every moment of those years. From the tone of the narrator, to the pace, to the twists and turns, this is a book to cherish.

(credit: goodreads.com)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a mom is never easy.

You have to have courage…

Strength…

And patience.

But the rewards are awesome.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s happened to me before, I grab a book and, a few pages later, I have to buy it. Well, it happened again. This time it was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It’s a negative dystopian novel, so definitely not my usual read but it was still incredibly addictive. I couldn’t put the thing down.

It was also terrifying. I dreamt about the book for two nights in a row.

Without giving too much away, the story is about Offred who is a Handmaid in the future of the US. In this setting, humankind is suffering from the inability to have children and, among other things, they have forced women who have working ovaries into being surrogates.

I say among other things because the entire civilization is incredibly controlled. With high-level monitoring, people only have to say the word and a black van comes and takes someone away. The entire country runs on a mixture of cultish religious mix and political agenda that’s really scary.

To better subdue the women they capture into willing handmaids, the women are taken to a centre where they get a dose of brainwashing mixed with a healthy amount of ‘religious beliefs’ and some physical torture to finish the deal. Everything from their name to their rights are completely taken away. They are named after the couple they are given to and are to pray that they get impregnated quickly so they can bear their couple a healthy baby.

The Handmaid’s Tale is part warning, part narrative. Offred is our guide through this terrifying world. She’s trying to survive so that she can find her daughter (also taken away) and escape.

I loved how well thought out the world was. Pretty much everything from the shopping stores to the clothing was carefully designed to fit into the story and it completed the picture perfectly. I particularly loved their dialogue and scripted answers to greetings. It depicts cults perfectly and gives a very real impression of what total control of government/cult can look like.

I also have to add that the book was actually written in 1986, where computers, the web and all our technological advances were mere figments of the imagination. The book still does a very competent and accurate projection of what the future will look like. There were no jarring shocks of mistakes along the lines of computers or technology.

To boot, there’s a new series on TV based on this book running right now and it’s getting great reviews. I saw the first episodes of it and it seems like a great adaptation of the book; really faithful to the writing and storyline.

So, absolutely, this one is a book I’d highly recommend. If you’re into dystopian society or just interested in a fun, entertaining read, check it out. I honestly couldn’t put the thing down until I had read the last page. It was mesmerizing.

(credit: amazon.ca)

Note: click on cover to go to site.

My pros and cons of a plant-based diet

Almost 6 months into the plant-based diet, I have put together a little list of my pros and cons. I had some questions going in, like would it be more expensive? Would I have trouble adjusting? Can i still eat out? So, here’s what I found out, good and bad.

(credit:Cuisinicity)

The Good Stuff:

  • It feels super healthy and good to eat this way. Every time I take a bite, I’m putting good stuff in my body and it feels like a pat on the back. Just goodness for my body over and over.

(credit:She Said Beauty)

  • I feel better. My body feels better and I know my stomach and insides feel better too. That’s a huge bonus because I used to feel slightly sick or super full after meals. I don’t anymore.

(credit:Care2)

  • My taste buds have changed. It’s true. A silly green apple tastes like an incredible treat. I have no idea why or how but I love eating things that before were consumed only because they were good for me.

(credit:Tip Top Lifestyle)

The Bad Stuff:

  • I can’t eat out. My hubby has been hounding me trying to get me to go out to restaurants but the truth is the only things that are vegan there are salads that contain two sad little ingredients. That’s not a meal and helping him by peeling large amounts of crab legs at a buffet is not my idea of a good time. We have managed to find ethnic restaurants that do cater more towards vegans but it’s still tough.

(credit:The Family Dinner)

  • It’s more work. I used to eat whatever there was around the house not really giving what I put in my body any thought. Now Sunday I strategize the meals for the week and research what we’re going to eat in everything from breakfast to snacks. It’s work.

    (credit:Skindividual – blogger)
  • I do miss some things, like cheese and butter. It’s hard to have toast without butter and nothing vegan is close to melted cheese. Those things are tough to replace.

(credit:Bountiful Blessings Market – LocallyGrown.net)

Overall:

I haven’t found it more expensive to eat this way. I thought it would be, but I forgot just how expensive meat and fish can be. So, financially, this hasn’t been a struggle.

(credit:herbs and spice and other things nice)

As much as I love furry creatures, I didn’t do this for them. I did it because I thought it’d be better for my health. As it turns out, you can be a good, healthy vegan or an unhealthy one (fries and chips can be vegan friendly), so that’s not a great reason to continue.

(credit:Nichole Bernier)

So, will I continue? I go to have some blood work done this week and that will pretty much determine if I continue or not. If I find I’m deficient in some vitamins or supplements, I will change for my own health. But, right now, I’m still sticking with it.

(credit:My Raised Bed Florida Vegetable Garden)

 

Best posts of all time

Well, I was curious. Just what do my readers like best about this blog? Well, I looked. Here are the top 5 posts of all time in this humble little blog.

(credit:All Things Curly)

5. Snow is coming…and I’m not happy. – Where I ramble about snow and winter.

4. 5 Worst things you can do if your internet is running slow. -True and still appreciated by readers.

3. #1000 speak for compassion. -Wonderful and still loved.

2. The amazing abilities of akitas. A ramble about doggies I had no idea would be so well received.

1. The importance of tags: for bloggers. The best of the best, this one still gets viewed, years after it was written.

There you go, the top 5. What do you think? Are they overrated or justified?

Review: Victoria

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin is not my usual genre of books. It’s the story of Queen Victoria from the time she became Queen to when she married Prince Albert. It’s written by Daisy Goodwin who has a degree in history from Cambridge and has written other New York Times bestselling novels all about historical figures. I have never read a book by Daisy Goodwin and I rarely read nonfiction. I picked this one up for a moment, read a paragraph and was hooked. I tried to put it down, I actually did slide it back on the shelf, then I walked away and I knew that paragraph would be haunting me for the rest of the weekend and I’d have to return to find out what happened.

I bought the book instead.

I’m glad I did because Victoria was just delicious. I’ve gone and done a bit of searching since just to see if it was accurate and the truth is Daisy Goodwin got all the facts straight. On top of that, she wove them into a wonderful story. That certainly takes talent.

One of my favourite parts about this story is the transition of Victoria from the shy, protected girl we meet at the beginning of the book to the Queen we have in the end. It was quite the transformation. Her mother kept Victoria ‘protected’ while she was a child by not allowing her to see or meet anyone. She was carefully schooled by people she chose and saw only those she approved, which meant that, by the time she was eighteen, Victoria was so sheltered she was very ill equipped to reign.

Her mother’s plan had been to make her daughter dependent on her and so reign through her, but Victoria refused to become her mother’s shadow and to bow to her wishes. Instead, she tries to do things on her own. How she manages to not only succeed but to do so well is the meat of the story.

Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch in England until Queen Elizabeth II just surpassed her only a few years ago. She also married Prince Albert not out of necessity but out of love, something unheard of in that time period and had 9 children with him though she hated being pregnant. She was an incredible queen, something that was due to her determination, perseverance and talent because she started off with odds severely against her.

This isn’t a romance story, it’s historical fiction. But I was looking for something different. I like women’s lit and, in spite of the time period change, this is certainly the story of a woman coming of age and finding her purpose and role from a very challenging set of circumstances. It’s incredible how fast those pages turned when I read this book. It seemed to end too quickly.

I would absolutely recommend it. It’s got a fantastic story of triumph over adversity, historical facts, a love story and historical kings and queens all in one great book. Plus, it has a ton of intrigue but not a lot of fighting, which I adore. If you’re a fan of fiction or history, this one is a great one to try. If you do, let me know what you think of it.

(credit: goodreads.com)

(credit: goodreads.com)

If we were having coffee…

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I’m worried about Ocean. My littlest dog has been puking lately and I don’t know why or how to stop it. In other ways, she’s actually doing better (she had an allergic reaction to a food change) and I think the allergies are going away but the tummy troubles are still there. I don’t like it one bit. If she doesn’t get better…well, I just can’t imagine life without her.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that this week has been insane mostly because my lovely hubby ended up in the hospital after losing a fight with a gall bladder stone. Long story short, he still has his gall bladder but it has to go. Next week, he has tons of meetings with different doctors and we’re going to see what they all say. Thank goodness we live in Canada and all those appointments are free.

I don’t like to be negative on this blog, so I’d probably tell you that this morning, it was so cool and fresh, the air was just gorgeous. I stood outside freezing my tail off but loving every breath. It just felt clean and beautiful. I love spring.

And I’d ask what’s new with you. How are you and how are things at home with you? How is work?

The Weekend Coffee Share was created by Part Time Monster and is now hosted by Nerd in the Brain.