Wishlist Wednesday | Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

HarperCollins Canada

This week’s Wishlist Wednesday pick is inspired by today’s #BellLetsTalk initiative, which was created to encourage conversations about mental health and work towards ending the stigma around mental illness. I’m so glad that initiatives like this exist because it works to bring people together to support and love each other.

I know I’m not the only one who’s had a loved one confide that they’re suffering from or have suffered from mental illness, including depression and anxiety. It’s hard to know what to do sometimes — do I try to talk to them or do I leave them to figure things out on their own? — but then, I saw this tweet:

I had already had Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive on my radar (I do work for its publisher, after all) but up until this point I hadn’t realized just how important it is for me to read it. It sounds like the perfect life-affirming book to help others — or yourself — in times of darkness.

Have you read Reasons to Stay Alive? Did you participate in the #BellLetsTalk initiative?

Wishlist Wednesday | Canada Reads 2016 Shortlist

This morning, the 15th annual Canada Reads shortlist was announced! If you’re unfamiliar with Canada Reads, it’s basically a “battle of the books” competition. Over the course of 4 days, 5 panelists, moderated by host Wab Kinew, will come together to champion the book that they believe represents this year’s theme — starting over — the most. It’s always fun to watch, and even more fun when you’ve read all of the books!

So, this week, here are the books that I’m adding to my wish list:

  • Birdie by Tracey Lindberg
  • Bone and Bread Saleema Nawaz
  • The Illegal by Lawrence Hill
  • The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami
  • Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter

Do you watch Canada Reads? Have you read any of the books on the shortlist?

Wishlist Wednesday | The Widow by Fiona Barton

The Widow Fiona Barton Evidence Bag

Okay, okay, so I’m technically cheating as I was a lucky recipient of an advanced copy of this week’s Wishlist Wednesday pick and have already read it, but I’m so excited for you all to read it that I wanted to highlight it in this post!

The book was sent in a really intriguing evidence bag with some case details and a pack of Skittles. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to eat the Skittles after reading the book. If you haven’t guessed by now, Fiona Barton’s The Widow is a crime novel — a new-to-me genre that I’m loving immensely.

The book follows a few different characters, but in the center of it all is Jean. For years Jean has been living her life as “the wife of a suspected criminal,” but now, her husband is dead. Will the truth of his crimes finally come out now that he isn’t around to control her? Or is there more to the story than everyone thinks…?

This book was so entertaining and took me no time to read at all. I can’t wait for it to come out!

Are you a fan of crime fiction? Are you interested in The Widow?

Wishlist Wednesday | Reader, I Married Him Edited by Tracy Chevalier

Jane Eyre Inspired Short Stories One More Page Blog

Happy Wednesday, friends! In an effort to give some structure to my blogging schedule, I’ve decided to bring back my weekly Wishlist Wednesday posts for the time being. They’re always so fun to write, and I am never out of ideas for it. 😉 If you’re unfamiliar with it, I basically pick a title (frontlist or backlist) that I haven’t read but am dying to read. If you’re a bookworm with a massive TBR, you’ll understand just how large my selection is when deciding which books to feature. That being said, here’s one book that will be at the top of my reading pile when it comes out.

Ever since I found out about Reader, I Married Him I’ve been so anxious/excited to read it. According to its description, it’s a collection of short stories, edited by Tracy Chevalier, that all start with one iconic line: “Reader, I married him” (from the classic Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë). As an English lit nerd (more on that in Friday’s post!), I absolutely love the idea of this and I can’t wait to see where the selected authors take their stories. I’m willing to bet that each story will be wildly different despite the common sentence. I seriously can’t wait for it! Here are some of the writers that are involved in this project: Emma Donoghue (Room), Evie Wyld (All The Birds, Singing), Patricia Park  (Re Jane), Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife), etc.

It comes out on March 22nd this year, and you bet I’ll be reading it soon after.

What are you guys looking forward to reading soon?

Wishlist Wednesday | Christmas Edition!

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done a Wishlist Wednesday post, but seeing as Christmas is coming up, I thought I would put a list together of my most anticipated reads as well as some books that somehow haven’t made it onto my shelves… yet. 😉

1. Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (release date: Jan 20, 2015)

I actually am reading this right now, thanks to Penguin Canada and Netgalley. So far, it’s been a tender story about, well, Etta and Otto and Russell and James. I’m loving it! When the book starts, we find out that 82-year-old Etta is leaving home to go on a journey across Canada to see the water on the East coast. She leaves behind her husband, Otto, in Saskatchewan. As the story progresses, we learn more and more about Etta and Otto’s past, and how it has led them up to this point. The book’s synopsis calls it “a beautiful novel that reminds us that it’s never too late to see the things you’ve longed to see, or to say the things you’ve longed to say” and I can’t agree more.

This would make a great belated gift for readers who love quiet, heart-warming character-focused novels. I know I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy!

2. Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville (release date: Oct 21, 2014)

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

I came across this novel when browsing in Chapters Indigo a few weeks ago. I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it before because it sounds like something I would really enjoy. From what I gather, it mixes fairy tales with psychoanalysis – two things that I’ve always been extremely fascinated by. I definitely have this on my Christmas wishlist, and I think any reader who loves dark, twisted, fairy tales will want to check it out too!

3. Lullabies by Lang Leav (release date: Sept 16, 2014)

Lullabies Lang Leav Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

This is another book I came across while perusing the bookstore shelves. It is a poetry collection that “explore[s] the intricacies of love and loss,” according to its synopsis. I leafed through the book while I had it on hand and it seems like the perfect book to read by the fire on a snowy (or rainy) day.

4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (release date: Aug 29, 2014)

Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

“An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.”

Station Eleven has been receiving a lot of praise from the blogosphere and I’m itching to find out why! I don’t know too much about it yet, just that many of my blogger friends (like Backlist Books) absolutely loved it.

5. New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 by Shelly Oria (release date: Nov 4, 2014)

New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 by Shelly Oria Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

My new reading goal for the coming year is to read more short story collections, and what better way than to start with this one with its beautiful, bold cover? From its description:

“The stories in New York 1, Tel Aviv 0 speak to a contemporary generation and explore the tension between an anonymous, globalized world and an irrepressible lust for connection. The result is an intimate document of niche moments, when relationships either run their course, take flight, or enter holding patterns.”

Everything in this short summary appeals to me. Stories about loneliness and human connections will always grab my attention and I am looking forward to reading this promising collection.

What is on your wishlist these days? Have you read any of the books on mine? What did you think of them?

Wishlist Wednesday | Conversion by Katherine Howe

Conversion by Katherine Howe Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

When I found out that Katherine Howe’s new book Conversion alludes to or is a loose retelling of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, I was sold. The Crucible has a special place in my heart not only because I loved it so much when I read it a few years ago but because I saw the opera version of it on my first date with my boyfriend (my roommate at the time was performing in the opera too, which made it extra special!).

Conversion is set in a high school in Danvers, Massachusetts where some senior girls have suddenly fallen ill. No one knows what is happening and some even suspect that the girls are faking it. But then one girl, who is reading The Crucible for extra credit starts putting the pieces together…

I am always curious to read retellings and adaptations because I’m always interested to see how the author spins the story in a new way and whether he or she can keep the essence of the source material. That curiosity paired with my love for The Crucible puts Conversion right at the top of my to-be-read list! If this book is anywhere as suspenseful and interesting as The Crucible I think it will be a great read. I can’t wait to see what it’s all about!

Have you read The Crucible? Will you be checking out Conversion?

Wishlist Wednesday | Landline By Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Source: Goodreads

I’m sure Rainbow Rowell needs no introduction as she is definitely one of the most buzzed about authors on the internet (in my corner, at least)! She is known for her young adult novels Eleanor and Park and Fangirl as well as her adult novel Attachments. I’ve only read Fangirl so far but I recently purchased a copy of Attachments and I can’t wait to read her new adult novel Landline.

As far as I know, Landline is about a couple who is trying desperately to hang onto their marriage. Things are not going so well and Georgie, the main character, wonders if this is it. Until, that is, she finds a way to “communicate with [her husband] in the past.” (Goodreads description) Can this new form of communication help fix this marriage?

Even though I’m not married (or ready to be married any time soon), the idea of falling out of love intrigues me and frightens me, if I’m being honest. I am totally the type who over-analyzes and thinks back to whether I could have done things differently when a relationship ends (or is about to end), so I’m really interested to see how Georgie communicates with her husband in the past as she tries to figure everything out for them. Is the relationship still worth holding on to? Can this give them a second chance? I can’t wait to find out how it all ends!

Are you looking forward to reading Landline? Are you an over-analyzer like me?

Wishlist Wednesday | Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami Book Cover Wishlist Wednesday

Source: Goodreads

I have a confession to make: I have never read anything by Haruki Murakami. I know, I know. I have no idea how I’ve been a reader this long and haven’t read anything by him yet but it’s true. So imagine my delight when I heard that his new novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage has been translated to English and is coming out in August! I think the universe was nudging me, whispering “It’s time…” Murakami’s name aside, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage sounds like a book that I would definitely be interested in. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

“Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage centers on a devastating emotional betrayal and its consequences. Tsukuru Tazaki belongs to a tight-knit group of five friends in high school–three boys and two girls who form a perfect circle they imagine will stay together forever. But when Tsukuru returns home from college in Tokyo, he finds himself inexplicably rebuffed by the group. Something has changed, but nobody, not even his closest friends, will tell him what.

Years later, Tsukuru, now a successful engineer, begins dating an older woman named Sara and confesses to her the shadow this betrayal has cast over his life. Sara urges Tsukuru to try to find his old group and to try to solve the mystery that has haunted him all these years: why did they suddenly turn on him?

On a quest to discover the truth, Tsukuru travels back to meet his old friends–with the exception of Shiro, the group’s most volatile and psychologically unstable member, who he learns was strangled to death in an unsolved murder six years ago. As the dark truth about Shiro reveals itself, Tsukuru must confront the simmering emotional undercurrents that the group had suppressed in order to reach their ideal of perfect friendship. 

Can love overcome isolation? Is it possible to truly reach another person? Can buried emotions ever really stay buried? And will confronting the past allow Tsukuru to finally open himself up to the future?”

Tsukuru sounds like such a complex character with a complicated past. I can’t wait to dive into the book and find out what really happened all those years ago!

Are you a fan of Haruki Murakami or are you new to his works like me? If you’re a fan, do you have any recommendations for me?

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage will be published on August 12th, 2014 in Canada by Random House of Canada.

Wishlist Wednesday | Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood

Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

[Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop hosted by Pen to Paper]

There have been quite a few books about the Jazz Age lately, from The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, and now Mrs. Hemingway by Naomi Wood. What is interesting about these three novels is that they chose to present the point of view of Hemingway and Fitzgerald’s wife/wives as opposed to giving us another male-centered book. I’m not going to lie; I find this to be a refreshing change.

I read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald in April. Like many other literature lovers, I am very intrigued by the whole era and the men that dominated the American literary scene in those years. Shamefully, I can admit that I didn’t think much about their wives. But as I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but hope that Zelda could be strong and stand up for herself when it seemed like Fitzgerald wasn’t being a great husband/partner. I wanted her to be able to find her own passions and meaning in life other than being someone’s wife. I wanted her to be able to live freely and do as she pleased. I’ll leave you to read the book or read a biography of the Fitzgeralds to find out if she succeeds, but I am glad that the spotlight has shifted to the women of these famous and revered authors.

One thing that I felt shock for when reading Z was my dislike for Hemingway. With everything I learned about him I seemed to like him less. I don’t know if it’s because younger me didn’t know that much about his family life or if I’ve grown in terms of the way I perceive relationships between men and women and our gender balance (or lack thereof?) but he really did not come off as a great man or husband. Because of this, I am intrigued and nervous to read more about him.

That being said, Shannon from River City Reading highly recommends Mrs. Hemingway, a book told from all four of Hemingway’s wives’ point of views, and because I respect Shannon’s opinions, this book is now on my radar as well. I’m interested to see whether my opinion of Hemingway will change with this reading or if my feelings will continue along the path that it has been going… I can’t wait to add this to my bookshelf so I can find out for myself!

Do you have any thoughts about Ernest Hemingway? Are you a fan? Did you add any new books to your wishlist this week? Let me know!

Wishlist Wednesday | Tic Tac Tome by Willy Yonkers

Tic Tac Tome by Willy Yonkers Book Cover

Source: Goodreads

From Goodreads:

“Think you’re pretty smart? Turn the pages to play your moves and watch as Tic Tac Tome beats you forward, backward, and diagonally. Tic Tac Tome features more than 1,400 pages, hundreds of draws and losses, and just one way for a clever reader to win. No apps, batteries, or touch screens required—Tic Tac Tome is powered by good old-fashioned book smarts. It’s deceptively simple, endlessly addictive, and (nearly) impossible to defeat. Complete with introduction and FAQs for the unfamiliar and unsure, Tic Tac Tome is the smartest book you’ll ever cross.”

Guys, this book by Willy Yonkers claims that it will beat you at Tic-Tac-Toe. What? With no electricity needed, this huge book thinks it can beat you at a game you’ve probably been playing since you could hold a pen. Apparently there’s only one way to beat it in this book. I know that this isn’t the type of literature that I usually review on my blog, but ever since I found out about it I’ve been obsessed with it. It’s not on sale yet, but I’m dying to give it a shot! As I mentioned in my last blog, I have a tendency to be competitive and this sounds like the perfect thing to expend some of that competitive energy on!

Do you think you could beat Tic Tac Tome at Tic-Tac-Toe? Do you think you’ll give it a shot when it comes out? Did you add anything to your wishlist this week?

Tic Tac Tome will be published by Quirk Books on June 10th, 2014.