Top Ten Books I’d Like My Children to Read


Please go to The Broke and the Bookish for more details about their weekly meme. This week they’ve challenged us to list the books we’d like our children to read. I can’t pin down specific titles for my entire list so you’ll see a mix of titles and authors from whose writings I’m sure my children will learn and be inspired both now and when they are older.

5 Books to read in childhood/adolescence

  1. I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – captures a mother’s love so beautifully
  2. Rowling’s iconic Harry Potter books – ’nuff said
  3. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – a mansion full of secrets in Yorkshire? Sign me up!
  4. Judy Blume of course!
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis – fantasy, adventure and fun

5 Books to read in adulthood

  1. Anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for some Colombian heritage reading
  2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – because Offred’s insights and observations eerily resound
  3. Eckhart Tolle – at some point each of my children will need some tools to manage the hardships of life which I was unable to impart (or, gulp, deal with issues I may have unknowingly created…sweat beads…)
  4. The Awakening by Kate Chopin – ooooh, this book. Especially my daughter. When (if) she’s a mother.
  5. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison – a beautiful, provoking read about identity, forging it, finding it in a harsh world

Which books would your list include?

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Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson


I’ve read quite a bit about self-help, self-improvement, finding your true self, healing yourself etc. In fact, I didn’t realize how much until reading this book.

Chapters 1-4 had me smiling. The simplicity of the writing combined with the stark, honest tone offers a refreshing take on a theme so many people claim to be experts on. At no point does Manson claim expertise in any of the areas he highlights which is a nice way of interacting with his reader because the decision is always left in the reader’s hands.

The honesty is a no-holds barred delivery of the mistakes he has made in his own life – and this continues throughout the book. I had two reactions to this approach.

I felt that it worked well because he intermingles all of the stories of his own pitfalls with the stories of other rather well-known personalities, plenty of solid research and a really sound basis for his views on modern living and how it should be approached in order to live a balanced lifestyle.

By the end of the book, however, I felt like I had just read Manson’s personal journey of self-discovery rather than be allowed to use his advice to have one of my own. This isn’t necessarily a knock on the book. It was just how I reacted.

The not give a f*ck attitude of the book is really strong in the opening chapters. The swearing is abundant; however, it does taper off. The edge of his attitude isn’t quite so sharp in the second half of the book. And, it begins to read a little like a traditional self-improvement book, with a few f*cks thrown in so one doesn’t forget the spicy title.

Overall, I found Manson’s book entertaining and an easy read. His anecdotes and stories were very interesting and painted a great picture for the points he wished to drive home.

I do feel he has much to offer people in terms of finding a less stressful way to live life. He is an advocate for gratitude, for making conscious choices, for learning to fail and learning to say no. His writing style is fun, lively and he really is a great storyteller, using that skill to reel us in for the real purpose of his chapters: to show a better way to approach modern living.

If you’re looking for a book to inspire a little change in your life, to spark you to live your life a little differently, this just might be the book to do that.

Have you read Manson’s book? Would love to hear your reactions!

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6 Things I’ve Learned About Motherhood


#6. The laundry.

Oh, the laundry! If you’re just starting your family, invest in the best & largest washer/dryer set your budget allows. Stock up on your favourite brand of stain remover and be prepared to rewash a load which has been sitting in the washer for a few days or wear wrinkled clothes that never quite made it to the hanger because life.

#5. Your Calendar will never be your own again.

Play dates, birthday parties, dentist, doctor, eye doctor, practices, rehearsals, games, recitals. Curriculum nights. Due dates. Is it library or gym day today? Book orders, fundraisers, spirit days, food drives. Pizza orders, milk orders, lunch pails orders because making lunches is the bane of my existence (I wonder if that should be it’s own category?)

#4. You will shop incessantly, except not for yourself.

Because growing bodies need new clothes for every bloody season. Shoes can’t be so big they’re a danger to everyone or so small they’re outgrown in a month. You must analyze weather patterns, predictions for how cold or warm fall/winter or spring/summer will be and then say “f*%! it!” and buy whatever they’ll wear anyway because who has time for arguments about clothes in the morning. Regardless if you go thrift, mall, online, discount stores…you will shop. For them. (And don’t even get me started on gear for sports which need to be purchased months in advanced because by the time the sport is in season, every store everywhere will have every size available except the one which fits your child).

#3. The hostile take-over of your home.

Everywhere you turn there will be evidence of the people you created. And, I don’t mean the play pen, high chair, bouncy chair kind of take over because you decide where those actually go. I mean the toys. The toys! In every corner. And you may swear you will never spoil your child with toys, but everyone else will. And, of course, you will too. Regardless of how many times you sing the damn clean up song, or swear to throw it all away each time your foot is impaled by a sharp object in the middle of the night, or create a game or rewards chart or simply threaten the entire household…the toys will take over your home. (Add to that every single piece of paper they scribble on at school; the problem exponentially grows before your very eyes).

#2. The energy it all takes.

Motherhood is a continuous ebbing and needling and prodding for attention. Everyone needs something. So it’s important to put your energy where it matters.

Weaning them off needing you takes work, too: “You can pour your own cup of milk” “Try the step stool” “Did you check the dishwasher?” “The milk may have been pushed to the back of the fridge” “There’s more paper towels in the storage room downstairs”.

One thing to remember is that every battle doesn’t need to be fought: yes, you may wear a t-shirt and shorts to school on the first cold day of autumn because the cold will get you into warmer clothes faster than I ever can.

Everyone needs something. All the time. And while daddy is sitting right next to them, willing to address their needs, mommy is always the first resource. Even on the good days, the energy required to mother two children, maintain a home and a career is almost miraculous. Never mind this ambitious endeavour of writing on the side.

#1. Self-Care is paramount.

I always loved going to the gym and having “me” time…who doesn’t? I didn’t realize that it would become vital to my very survival. Making time for myself is the only way to keep from breaking down. I do that by (in)consistent yoga practice, (not so) daily meditation and writing, sprinkled with a few outings with dear friends when I can get away. I can feel my entire being rebelling when I haven’t spent the time on my mat, at my keyboard or chatting away with someone I love who is not a part of my family. It’s easy to be swept up in the feeling of being needed by your family, of being indispensable to them…but one day, they will be their own independent people (because that’s the goal, right?) and I want to still have something that’s mine, that can’t be taken away when they’re continuing their journey without my everyday care & guidance.

I think I could write on this topic forever because with motherhood the learning curve has been steep…and, oh so worth it. After all, I wouldn’t be the woman I am without my two and I have to admit, I kinda like her.

Any lessons you’ve learned you’d care to impart? How do you self-care in order to keep going?

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Mother! Wow. Just, Wow.


I loved Black Swan. I hated The Wrestler. So, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when my husband convinced me to go see Darren Aronofsky’s latest, Mother!

I watched the movie a while ago. Thoroughly dissected it with my husband that very night and a dear friend a week later. And, it still remains with me.

The film sung to my literary soul from the very beginning. I loved, loved, loved being asked to turn on my brain and see the story through the lens of allegory, symbolism and metaphor. This is not a movie to take literally. If your trips to the movies must involve sheer and utter entertainment without thought…this may not be the movie for you.

However, if you are at all feeling riled up by the present social, political, cultural climate created by our neighbours to the south, and even many issues which we face in Canada (we, loathed to admit, are far from perfect), then this film will move every single one of your senses to feel complete outrage at the audacity with which we treat women, the earth, our homes, ourselves and our relationships with greater powers (i.e./ God).

This film is not for the faint of heart. But, I think that was the whole point anyway. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and hope the horrors of life will just disappear. We are forced to look at ourselves and what we have done, what we have created in order to figure out how to dismantle it and recreate it before it destroys us.

Jennifer Lawrence’s nameless character is poetic and Javier Bardem’s nameless character is so frustratingly positive. Each minor character elicits discomfort, disgust, rage and even pity. The acting was superb and the story was powerfully woven right to its dramatic conclusion. Not once were we let off the hook.

A great movie for a strange and important time.

Did you see Mother!? What did you think?

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#amreading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck


The title. Obviously.

My first thought: the title is a gimmick to sell self-help in an inundated market. My second thought: yeah, I’ll buy it.

I’m at the point in my life where I really don’t give a f*ck what people think most of the time…so, I’m hoping this book will enlighten the way to feel like this all of the time.

I’m also hoping this book will be as honest and practical as its title suggests.

Looking forward to some great nuggets to use on this journey of growth and search for equanimity I seem to have unwittingly embarked upon.

Seems like a short straight-forward read…can’t wait to share my thoughts on this one.

Have you read it? Would you recommend it?

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