Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's NEVER too late for Reading Resolutions!

It might not be the first of January anymore, but I'm still making resolutions.

However, instead of making traditional New Years Resolutions this year (which I don't really believe in anyway, I think you should start doing whatever it is you want to do regardless of the time of year: every day is a new beginning), I decided to make Reading Resolutions instead. These are some books that I've wanted to read for a while, but haven't gotten around to yet. I've organized them into different genres and categories of books.

This year I want to read...


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Northwest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

This particular memoir documents Cheryl Strayed's hike along the Pacific Northwest Trail from the Mohave Desert to Washington State, a trip she takes alone at the age of 26 despite having no backpacking or hiking experience. The book chronicles her physical challenges and her emotional ones as it alternates between her time on the trail and her past, as she copes with her mother's death, her distant family, her drug use, and her ensuing divorce from her husband. She gains a lot of insights into her personal life and walks away from the trail a person with a new perspective.

“A big, brave, break-your-heart-and-put-it-back-together-again kind of book. Strayed is a courageous, gritty, and deceptively elegant writer. She walked the Pacific Crest Trail to find forgiveness, came back with generosity—and now she shares her reward with us. I snorted with laughter, I wept uncontrollably . . . A beautifully made, utterly realized book.”
—Pam Houston, author of Contents May Have Shifted
Quote courtesy of

I have been excited to read this book ever since I first heard about it. Memoirs are one of my favourite genres to read, especially ones about self-discovery and growth. It brings to mind Kerouac's Into the Wild, albeit with a more positive outcome.


20 Something 20 Everything: A Quarter Life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction by Christine Hassler

20 Something 20 Everything is part self-help book, part exercises for you to answer in order to help you move through this interesting, exciting, and confusing period in your life. There is a lot happening from the time after you leave your teens to when you turn thirty: starting and finishing university, leaving the nest, starting careers and families. This guide helps you through this chaotic time in your life by sharing experiences and giving advice. It lets you know you aren't alone, and the best part is Hassler helps you figure it out yourself.

There seems to be a phenomenon of in the current generation of twenty somethings: anxiety-ridden, unbalanced, overwhelmed, and directionless. That's exactly what I'm craving right now, balance and direction. I'm at a pivotal point in my life: just graduated, applying to teaching school, working, wanting to travel yet still waiting. I have started reading and attempting some of the exercises in this book and what I especially like is that Hassler doesn't do the work for you, you need to do it yourself, thoughtfully and creatively, to really get the most out of the book. It is not a book you can passively read. I'm excited to get to work and discover some new things about myself!

For a taste of the book, here as an interesting article by Christine Hassler: 20 Something Does Not Have To Be 20 Everything


Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything by Deborah Schoeberlein and Suki Sheth

"Education is an area that has been crying out for mindfulness. Schoeberlein's book makes a helpful contribution to a growing body of literature and curricula on how to bring secular contemplative practices, including cultivating kindness, into school systems. It's replete with techniques to help teachers ground themselves amid the chaos and tension of the classroom, and related techniques that teachers can use to guide students--helping them enjoy being at school, learn better, and get along well with others." 
-Shambhala Sun
Quote courtesy of Amazon

I want to be a teacher and I've been searching for interesting and informative books about teaching that will help me as I volunteer in classrooms, when to school next year, and as I stand in front of little students as an educator. I believe reflection, mindfulness, and kindness have an important place in every classroom and are things that all teachers should actively teach in their classrooms. This book looks like it will be an important resource for me in making this happen. Can't wait to start my education on education!


The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

The small English town of Pagford seems idyllic at first glance, but when it's dear Parish councillor Barry Fairbrother passes away leaving an empty seat at town council, the town is shown for what it truly is: at war with itself in every way.

"An insanely compelling page-turner....The Casual Vacancy is a comedy, but a comedy of the blackest sort, etched with acid and drawn with pitch....Rowling proves ever dexterous at launching multiple plot lines that roar along simultaneously, never entangling them except when she means to. She did not become the world's bestselling author by accident. She knows down in her bones how to make you keep turning the pages." -The Daily Beast
Review Courtesy of Amazon

This one got lacklustre reviews from the public, but I started it and thought it was decent. I've yet to finish it though, so I'd like to. I fancy that it only got mediocre reviews because it was JK Rowling writing it, and after Harry Potter no one felt satisfied. What I adore most about JK Rowling is her subtlety and the ways she delicately weaves her plots together and this book looks to be no exception.


There Are No Mistakes in Art by Jennifer McCully

As the title of the book says, there are no mistakes in art. It is a book that aims to inspire its readers to make bold choices and be brave in their art and in their creativity.

I happened across this sweet book on Pinterest only to find she self-published the novel on Etsy. I'm in the process of buying it now and can't wait to get my hands on it. And she will even sign it and write a little message in it for you (I'm going to ask her to write a message to my future class, as this book will certainly have a place in my classroom). I'm a huge fan of children's literature and I think this will be a great addition to my collection.


The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest follows Jack Worthing, an upstanding gentleman and landowner who is guardian to the beautiful Cecily Cardew. He pretends to have a neer-do-well brother named Ernest who is always getting in trouble, though it is a secret unto himself that Jack himself is Ernest. That is until his best friend, Algernon, suspects Ernest of having a second life and takes it upon himself to see this country home and beautiful Cecily, all the while Jack is proposing to Algernon's cousin, Gwendolyn. As the two men both claim to be Ernest things get a little tense...

I have read a decent amount of classics for my English degree, but surprisingly I have somehow missed out on Oscar Wilde. I'd like to remedy this by starting with The Importance of Being Earnest because though I think The Picture of Dorian Gray may be his better known work, I feel I know the book quite well for never having read it (it's such a good popular culture reference!).

That's all for now!

Keep reading!


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