TBR 22 in ’22 – #2-10 (May 2, 2022)

When I started the TBR 22 in ’22 Reading Challenge, my intention was to write a short review post for every book I completed. Unfortunately, that fell by he wayside after my first read. So, this post is a 9 book review update. The challenge is going well, as after 4 months I have read 10 of the 22 books I put on my list for this challenge. So, here goes:

How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People – Pete Greig (January 31) – I got this book a couple of years ago for a reading club, but I never got through much of it at the time. I don’t think the time was right for me then. This time I pretty much breezed through it and found it very helpful. Thankfully, it wasn’t a formulaic book, but rather the author shared a lot of personal stories of how different types of prayer had helped him, while at the same time stressing that not everything works in the same way for everyone. He shared lots of good resources and it’s definitely a book I’ll be able to go back to from time to time. (my rating – 5/5 on Goodreads)

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories – Marina Keegan (February 11) – I can’t remember where I first heard about this book, but it intrigued me enough to pick it up for myself. The author was a promising young writer, who had just graduated from Yale, about to set out on her career, when she tragically died in a car crash. This collection of essays and stories was put together posthumously, as those who had known and been close to her wanted the world to share the gift that she had left behind. On the whole, I mostly enjoyed this collection. I can see why people predicted that she was destined for a bright future. I think that I enjoyed her non-fiction pieces more than her fiction, but there were none that I didn’t enjoy. (my rating – 4/5 on Goodreads)

A Promised Land – Barack Obama (February 25) – This was an interesting read for the most part, but it was one I had to read in stages. It’s a long book and it’s pretty obvious that the former President likes words – this is the first part of three memoirs. It gave a lot of insight into the day to day life of the sitting US President and is worth the read if you take the time to do so. It was a good mixture of honesty, humour, and seriousness, which gave good insight into who Obama really is as a person. (my rating – 4/5 on Goodreads)

Home Tonight: Further Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son – Henri J.M. Nouwen (February 27) – This is the second book on the Parable of the Prodigal Son written by Nouwen, although I still haven’t read the first. This one was based on a workshop he led on the parable and was published posthumously. The book centres around his experience of spending much time with Rembrandt’s famous painting depicting the return of the prodigal son to his father. This is a book I will need to return to, so that I can take time with the spiritual exercises included at the end of each chapter. This book helped me to see a very familiar story in a different light. It’s well worth the read. (my rating – 5/5 on Goodreads).

The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man – Jonas Jonasson (March 13) – This is a fun read, every bit as good as the first book Jonasson wrote about the 100-year-old man. The way that he writes world leaders into the story in believable ways, that also seems almost absurd, always make Jonasson’s books worth reading. (my rating – 5/5 on Goodreads)

Out of Sorts – Sarah Bessey (March 21) – This is a very honest memoir, where Bessey takes us on the journey of her faith so far. It is filled with much critical thought and honesty, as she takes us on a journey of deconstruction and reconstruction, as she searches for an authentic Christian faith. I found myself challenged to look at my own faith journey in ways that perhaps I had been avoiding because I didn’t want to look at what I might find there. I also liked the fact that her story was told from a Canadian perspective. (my rating – 5/5 on Goodreads)

French Exit – Patrick deWitt (April 16) – This novel took me a little while to get into, but in the end I was glad that I persevered. I didn’t enjoy it as much as his other novels, but it is worth the read. The story centres around a widowed socialite, who is running out of her fortune, and her relationship with her adult son. It’s a funny and tragic kind of tale, which also sends up high society. Lots of interesting characters come and go. I have to admit that I didn’t see the ending coming, but as I reflected on it, it made sense to end in the way it did. (my rating – 4/5 on Goodreads)

The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our ”Correct” Beliefs – Peter Enns (April 24) – This is another sharing of a faith journey of deconstruction and reconstruction of sorts. The main thing the author wanted to share was that faith and trust in God is more important than believing the right things about God. He encourages his readers to have no fear of a questioning faith and that doubts are not a wrong thing to have as part of one’s faith journey. This was a refreshing, honest and candid book. I look forward to reading more of his stuff and I plan to listen to more of his The Bible for Normal People, which he co-hosts with Jared Byas. (my rating 5/5 on Goodreads)

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall – Kazuo Ishiguro (April 30) – This was a fairly enjoyable collection of short stories from one of my favourite writers. It is a diverse collection, although each story is connected by characters with a love of music. What I liked most about the stories is the ambiguous endings, leaving the reader to think and ponder on what may have become of each of the characters. Not as enjoyable as some of the other Ishiguro books I have read, but still worth checking out. (my rating – 4/5 on Goodreads)

That’s a quick recap to catch up on my attempt to complete the TBR 22 in ’22 Reading Challenge. Moving forward I will hopefully keep up with posting about each book as I complete it. I have almost completed half of the challenge and we’re only a third of the way through the year, so I would have to say that this challenge is going well for me so far.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Spring TBR (March 15, 22)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ’Books On My Spring 2020 TBR.’ I have a habit of putting together TBR lists and never following through on them. This year I am making the effort to change that. So far it is going well and I actually read all the books on both my January and February TBR lists. Long may it continue. All the books on the following list are ones that have been on my shelf unread for far too long.

  1. What Is the BibleRob Bell
  2. Moominvalley in November – Tove Jansson
  3. French Exit – Patrick deWitt
  4. Mere Christians – edited by Mary Anne Phemister and Andrew Lazo
  5. Sabbath – Dan B. Allender
  6. A Life in Parts – Brian Cranston
  7. Calypso – David Sedaris
  8. Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro
  9. Just After Sunset – Stephen King
  10. The Sin of Certainty – Peter Enns

TBR 22 in ’22 – 1/22 (Jan 22, 2022)

I decided to participate in the TBR 22 in ’22 reading challenge for this year, hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader. This challenge is one that will help me to read 22 books that have been on my TBR piles for far too long. My list can be found HERE.

I finished my first book for this challenge today – Daddy Lenin and Other Stories by Guy Vanderhaeghe. I got this book for Christmas about 5 years ago, but only read the first story of nine at that time. i’m glad I finally got around to reading it now, as it is a great collection of stories from one of Canada’s great storytellers.

As is often the case with Vanderhaeghe, the stories were mainly set in his home province of Saskatchewan, covering a variety of themes. My favourites were probably The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Anything, although they were all worth reading. I gave the book 4/5 on Goodreads, but it was probably a 4.5. Now I need to work out what my second book will be for this challenge.

Welcome 2022!

Happy New Year 2022 Greeting Card Stock Illustration 1929883925

Happy New Year!

I only posted here four times in 2021, so I was beginning to wonder whether it was worth keeping this blog going or not. I do use it to keep track of my reading and movie watching, but is it worth keeping it for that alone? I’m not big on resolutions, but I always use the New Year to think about things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year. One of the things for this year is that I would like to post here at least once a week, whether it be an update of what’s going on in my life, a book meme or review, or even maybe a comment on what is happening in the world. I used to really enjoy blogging, but somewhere along the way I drifted away from it. I’ve signed up for some reading challenges this year, so that might encourage me to come back here more often.

One thing I aim to follow through on for this year is getting my weight down to close to 180lbs. Before the pandemic broke out in 2020 I was just under 190lbs (down from 230lbs in the previous Fall), but in the following months I let things go again and was back to 220lbs by the end of summer this year. Even being a vegan doesn’t guarantee that the weight will stay off. In September I started exercising on a daily basis again, as well as eating a healthier vegan diet (it is possible to eat an unhealthy vegan diet), and when I weighed myself a week before Christmas I found out that I am down to 203lbs. Hopefully by Easter I’ll be getting closer to my goal of 180lbs. I’ll see how it goes. It’s been hard to get out for walks with the recent cold snap – most days recently the temperature has not been more that -20C – but I have been doing free step on the WiiFit board for an hour each day and that has been helpful.

What about you? Are you into resolutions or do you see no point in making them if you feel that you’ll break them too easily? This year I’m going to work on some of the things I mentioned already and will try to enjoy these things and not get too worried if things don’t work out as I hoped. Who knows what the year ahead will bring, but hopefully we may find light at the end of the tunnel as far as COVID-19 goes. I hope you have a great 2022! Stay safe and stay healthy.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on My Fall 2021 To-Read List (21 Sept, 2021)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is .Books on My Fall 2021 To-read List.’ These are all books I haven’t read yet. I have started some of them, but really need to concentrate on getting them read. I’ll see how I get on anyway.

  • The Island of the WomenGeorge Mackay Brown. This collection of stories looks like one that I’ll be able to get through quite easily. I always enjoy his stories anyway.
  • Moominpappa at Sea Tove Jansson. I’ve been slowly working my way through all the Moomin books. There’s only one more to go after this one. I read some of these over 40 years ago and it’s been good to revisit them.
  • The Bookshop at Water’s End – Patti Callahan Henry. I don’t know much about this one, but it’s been unread on my shelf for too long. It looks interesting, so hopefully I’ll enjoy it.
  • French Exit – Patrick deWitt. I’ve really enjoyed his other books, so I’m looking forward to this one.
  • Practicing the Way of Jesus – Mark Scandrette. I got this as a book club read a few years ago, but I had to drop out at the time and never got it read. I think it’ll be a decent read and hopefully will be challenging too.
  • Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C.S. Lewis – edited by Mary Anne Phemister and Andrew Lazo. I started this book in the early summer. It’s one of those books that you can dip in and out of from time to time, so I’ll just keep chipping away at it.
  • Nocturnes – Kazuo Ishiguro. I always enjoy reading Ishiguro, so I’m hoping this collection of stories will be enjoyable too.
  • Calypso – David Sedaris. I just got this collection of Sedaris stories a couple of weeks ago, but I want to get it started soon.
  • How the Bible Actually Works – Peter Enns. I always enjoy listening to Enns on The Bible for Normal People podcast, so I’m looking forward to reading this. Hopefully it’s quite thought provoking.
  • A Promised Land – Barack Obama. I read about a third of this before the summer, so it’s time to get back to it. It’s been a fairly fascinating read so far.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books Written Before I Was Born (Feb 2, 2021)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Books Written Before I Was Born.’ These are all books I have read and include two of my all-time favourites. Those who know me will probably know what those are, otherwise you’ll just have to guess!

  1. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve read The Hobbit. It’s one of the books that sparkled my early love of reading.
  2. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury. A classic that’s always worth a reread.
  3. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson. This is also one that I read when I was young. If I remember correctly I read it after watching the Disney version from the 50s. Although the movie was enjoyable and was the impetus for me wanting to read it, the book was far superior.
  4. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway. I first had to read this for high school English and somehow it just stuck with me.
  5. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell. This is another one I had to read at school. The year I first read it was 1982. It’s one I’ve returned to a few times since.
  6. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky. This is probably my second-favourite book by a Russian author. It’s probably due a reread.
  7. The Man Who Was Thursday – G.K. Chesterton. This one is good on so many different levels.
  8. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Alexander Solzhenitsyn. This is my favourite book by a Russian author. It’s not a long read, but it is one to savour. There’s a certain bleakness to it, but the reality of one day in the title character’s life in a Siberian labour camp is worth checking out. I’ve probably read it at least half a dozen times and I never grow tired of it.
  9. The Stranger – Albert Camus. I read this in one sitting, as it was hard to put down.
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis. If I remember correctly my parents first read this one to me and I’ve loved it ever since. Although this is not my favourite book, C.S. Lewis is my favourite writer.

I was born in the 60s, so there are lots of great books that were written after I was born. However, these ten are ones that are probably all in my top 100. Having said that, I haven’t come up with a top 100, so maybe that’s a project for the near future.

Top Ten Tuesday – 2020 New-to-me authors (Jan 26, 2021)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020.’ Even though 2020 wasn’t a great reading year for me, there were a few books by people I’d never read anything by before. I usually enjoy trying different authors/writers and almost half the books I read last year fell into this category. These are the ten in print form that I own that I enjoyed the most. There were others that I borrowed from the library or read in ebook form. I’ll probably go on to look for more by some of these and already have read another Matt Haig book, with another on my TBR. Although I realise that Alex Trebek was not an author as such, his book was one of my favourites of the year and I couldn’t really leave him out of this list.

Ellie seems to approve, but is not sure why these are on top of her castle!
  1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson. I had heard so much about this one and it didn’t disappoint.
  2. The Way of Tea and Justice – Becca Stevens. This one was both informative and inspirational.
  3. TornJustin Lee. A very helpful look at the dialogue between gays and Christians, from the perspective of a high-profile gay Christian.
  4. The Humans – Matt Haig. I’m not sure why I waited so long to read anything by Haig. This was a great read, both funny and sad, and everything in between.
  5. The Answer Is… – Alex Trebek. This was one of my favourites of 2020. Trebek was a very inspirational person and it’s sad that he is no longer with us.
  6. The Fire Never Goes OutNoelle Stevenson. An enjoyable memoir in picture form.
  7. The Gown – Jennifer Robson. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. The style and structure made it a fairly engaging read.
  8. Five Little Indians – Michelle Good. This is a very powerful novel – sad at times, but also had moments of triumph.
  9. Imagine Wanting Only This – Kristen Radtke. This was another memoir in pictures. It was fairly enjoyable, but left me wanting a bit more.
  10. A Stranger’s TaleNatasa Xerri and Adam Oehlers. I got in on the crowdfunding of this debut book by someone from Australia that I follow on Instagram. As part of this I received an autographed first edition. It is a beautifully illustrated folklore tale that is worth checking out.

Although I’m hoping that 2021 will be a better reading year for me, I’m always on the lookout for books by people I haven’t read before. As always, I’m open to suggestions.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Got Away (January 19, 2021)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To.’ These are all books that were on various 2020 TBR lists, but somehow got away from me and haven’t been read yet. I’d like to think that I’d be able to get them read this year, but who knows!

  1. If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis – Alister McGrath
  2. This is How it Always Is – Laurel Frankel
  3. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell
  4. Inspired – Rachel Held Evans
  5. The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan
  6. The Toynbee Convector – Ray Bradbury
  7. Daddy Lenin – Guy Vanderhaeghe
  8. In the First Circle – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  9. The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man – Jonas Jonasson
  10. How the Bible Actually Works – Peter Enns

Some of these I’ve had for a long time, others for not too long, but they were all bought with good intention. The one that always seems overwhelming is the Solzhenitsyn one. I’ve started it on at least two occasions, but it’s one I definitely want to read at some point. Maybe 2021 will be its year.

2020 was not a great reading year for me, but 2021 is off to a good start so far. I’m hoping this will continue and that I may actually get some of my unread books read, especially those I’ve had on my TBR lists.

If you have read any of these, which would you recommend I try first? I’m always open to reading suggestions.

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Quotes (September 29)

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Favorite Book Quotes.’ This one will be hard to keep to ten, but I’ll do my best!

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. (The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien)


541732You can’t get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. (Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories – C.S. Lewis)


44363. sx318 Questions are not scary. What is scary is when people don’t have any. What is tragic is faith that has no room for them. (Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith – Rob Bell)


119787There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. (Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury)


474073. sx318 Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. (Coraline – Neil Gaiman)


10890You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. (Traveling Mercies – Anne Lamott)


6151Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life…all of our life. (Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular WorldHenri J.M. Nouwen)


The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary RadicalAnd I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about. (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical  Shane Claiborne)


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams)


Beside the Ocean of TimeWe never find what we set out hearts on. We ought to be glad of that. (Beside the Ocean of Time – George Mackay Brown)

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall TBR (September 22)

I’m actually managing to post one of these lists for the second week in a row. Maybe I’ll manage something different before next Tuesday comes around. I’ll just have to wait and see how I get on.

TTT-Big2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a different topic is posted inviting the participants to come up with a list of ten things to do with the topic.

This week’s topic is ‘Books On My Fall 2020 TBR.’ I’m not always good at getting through my TBR piles, but I’ll see how this one goes. Some of these are ones that I’ve had a long time, some are recent acquisitions, while others are ones I’ve started before, but not finished. Hopefully I’ll manage to get most of these read by Christmas, although I’m sure others will come across my path to distract me from these. On a brighter note, though, I have managed three of the six books I put on my TBR list for September, so there is hope for me yet!

Here are the ten in no particular order:

  1. Letters from an Astrophysicist – Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is a fairly recent purchase and it is one that I already started. It’s a light read that you can dip in and out of, so I’m slowly enjoying it and getting through it.
  2. Finding Chika – Mitch Albom. I started this one earlier this year, but accidentally packed it for the m ove before finishing it. I’ll get back to it soon.
  3. If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis – Alister McGrath. I’ve had this for a few years, so it’s time to get it read. I started it last weekend and so far so good.
  4. Hrafnkel’s Saga and Other Stories. It’s been a while since I read any of the Sagas and they’re always fun reads, so I’m looking forward to this one.
  5. How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People – Pete Greig. I just got this one in the mail today. I joined the Renovaré Book Club this year and this is the first of the four books for this. I’m looking forward to being a part of this again, as it’s been three or four years since the last time I joined.
  6. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Peter Scazzero. I recently started listening to Pete’s podcast and remembered that this book has been on my shelf for too long, so I decided it is time to give it a read.
  7. The Toynbee Convector – Ray Bradbury. You can never go wrong with a collection of Bradbury short stories, so this should be an enjoyable read.
  8. The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan. The author was a promising young writer with a bright future ahead of her, but her life was cut short by a tragic accident. This collection of short fiction and non-fiction was published posthumously by one of her professors, with the help of her parents.
  9. The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-Old Man – Jonas Jonasson. I have no idea why this has sat on my shelf unread for so long, because I’ve enjoyed all of Jonasson’s other books, especially the one that this one is a sequel to. His books are always smart and funny, so I’m hoping for more of the same here.
  10. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road – Neil Peart. I started this memoir, by the late Rush drummer, a couple of years ago, got halfway through it and never got back to it. I really need to finish it now, as it is a very engaging read.

That’s my ten, and I really hope to get all of them read, because I think they all have something different to offer.

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