Know how I (Dr. Julie) yammer on about books I have been reading? Well, here is a place to see what I have been reading lately. I had someone tell me they actually read this page and I was embarrassed that I have taken so long to update it! so read on!
The Art of Racing in the Rain - by Garth Stein
Anyone who has heard me talk about this book will know how much I loved it. It really has
been one of my favourite books for a long time now. Told from the perspective of the dog
(the dog narrates the story), I just found it so completely charming. Now I have to warn you,
I HATED Marley and Me. So keep that in mind. If you liked Marley and Me (btw, never saw
the movie, but HATED the book) then you won't have the same take I do on dogs telling
stories, maybe. On the first page of TAORITR, I laughed and I got choked up enough to cry.
If you are wondering what I am talking about after finishing the first page, put the book down
and tell yourself "Dr. Julie doesn't read the books I like" and sorry for wasting your time...... But
Gotta say that this book was so compelling, I literally had to put it down sometimes. The emotions it generated in me were that strong that I needed to take a break. The author has done a magnificent job of telling this tale with snippets and vignettes that at first seem unrelated but as I progressed through the book, I just fell in love with these people and everything ties together so beautifully but without leading you by the hand. The book makes you think. After I dropped the book in water, I had to wait a few days for the pages to dry out and as soon as I picked it up, I was right back in the Calle. It isn't the best book I ever read (see above) but it is up there. Recommend.
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This is book aimed at the young adult reader, but I do find these books sometimes really profound. I tell myself I am looking for books for my sons to read but really, I enjoy them myself, mostly. This book tells the story of an individual who lives a new life every day. Is the protagonist a boy? A girl? I love the ambiguity. I love the uncertainty. And I loved the story. I liked it so much I tried to read some of this author's other books but this one really stood out.
I also wanted to recommend this book to a person who I think really would have appreciated it. She was a reader too. We shared some book ideas and I even bought her a copy of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” (and if you are reading this section of the webpage, you know it is my favourite book of all). But Alex is dead. She lived her life with compassion and understanding and thought and care so the lessons of this book would have all been lived by her already. I know she made an effort to be inclusive and kind to all the people she met. And this book is inclusive and kind. I know that she helped other teenagers deal with tough issues and was the girl who kept in touch even as her own life took her far and wide. She made a difference in so many lives. And I think I could have convinced her to make this her favourite book. Wish I had the chance.
A Long Way Down - by Nick Hornby
This was a good read. The author (I am gonna have to try more of his stuff), Nick Hornby, is pretty successful and has an extensive list of movie adaptations, screenplays, fiction and non fiction. His style of writing kept me thoroughly engaged througout the book. I loved his characters and I enjoyed getting to know them better as the book progressed. I got the idea to read it when I saw the trailer for the movie. As usual, book is way better than movie. But the movie was fun too, and I do enjoy a little dose of Aaron Paul, especially since Breaking Bad is over.
Four people meet on the roof of a tall building all wanting to commit suicide. Hilarity ensues. Naw, I'm kidding. But this unlikely group turn to each other and the interactions are told from the perspective of each of the four characters. Very enjoyable.
This book review is special to me. The book was fine. It is aimed at the young adult reader and it deals with suicide. It is a quick read, and certainly kept my interest right til the end. I really kept wishing the lead character was somehow not dead. (not giving anything away, I think the book started with her saying she was dead). It deals with your heartbreaking high school dynamics and how kids can tear each other apart.
All that said, this book is special to me because of who recommended it. The young woman was Alexandra Foto. She was a good friend to so many people and if you imagined a person less likely to kill themselves, it would be her. Alex was full of life and enthusiasm! And help other people? In everything I knew her to do, that was exactly her motivation. She dated my oldest son, Emmett. I remember thinking at the time what a special person she was and too bad these kids dated so young. Of course it couldn't last. They were only sixteen. And it didn't.
But this girl... if they wrote a book about her, it would be my favourite. She was killed August 7, 2014. She was riding her bike and was run over by a cement truck. She was doing everything right; wearing a helmet (useless btw when a cement truck hits you), riding in the bike lane, and by all accounts following traffic rules. She was nineteen years old. Obviously, even more than some fictional character in a story, I wish she was alive today. I have added some links so you can see for yourself what an incredible person the world (and yeah, I do mean the world, this kid was amazing) lost that day.
If you read the book, great. But this is really a tribute to this wonderful person.
RIP Alex. The world is truly a lesser place with you gone.
Thirteen Reasons Why - by Jay Asher
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I brought a pile of books home from the library one day. I remember looking at this thin book and thinking, how did I hear about this one? It was summer time, my family were away at the cottage and I had an evening stretching out in front of me. I picked this book out of the pile cause I thought, “if I don't like this, I can get into something else tonight”. While I stood at the stove I stirred my risotto, (takes about ½ an hour to make, stirring all the time), and started this book. The first chapter was only two pages long and is technically almost the end of the story. I almost stopped reading cause it was one of those group therapy sessions and I didn't really buy in. But then I turned the page. Three hours later, risotto eaten, still sitting in the same spot I wiped tears from my face. This book even made hockey fascinating to me. (cause I am no hockey fan). That is how good it was. It took place in northwestern Ontario, which made it especially poignant for me, since I grew up in Thunder Bay. Yeah, it hit home a more than one level. This writer has become a great source for me. I really enjoyed this book and Medicine Walk and Ragged Company and For Joshua (the cover on this book got me, made me think of my kids in the summer time) and I am looking forward to reading more of his books.
Indian Horse - by Richard Wagamese
Marathon Man - by William Goldberg
I found this book very interesting, and I read it before I even thought of going into dentistry. It takes place in New York and a guy (who runs a lot) is subjected to torture by a Nazi dentist. Yeah, I know, scary, right? The mean dentist tortures the marathon man by drilling into his tooth. Tortures works really well if you can relieve the pain (I am not making this up, it says so right in the book!) and guess what takes away tooth pain? Besides anesthetic I mean. Oil of cloves. I mean really! We use eugenol (derived from oil of cloves) based stuff all the time in dentistry. The book was good, and as I recall the movie was good too (but dated, cause movies from the 70's really look like they are from the 70's. Production values just weren't then what we have now).
Of course it is the whole dentist angle that makes me mention this book. It was good! A thriller. And I really liked the ending. And isn't that movie poster hilarious!?