I flat-out love this book. It's probably my favourite book ever, certainly my favourite book on faith and spirituality. Annie Lamott earned her place...moreI flat-out love this book. It's probably my favourite book ever, certainly my favourite book on faith and spirituality. Annie Lamott earned her place as my very favourite Author and person-I-want-to-be-like-when-I-grow-up with this book. It's a "spiritual memoir" of sorts, written by a funny, idealistic, liberal, reformed imperfect prophetess alcoholic. This book has perhaps the best description of God I've ever read - God as cat at the door. We are all glad Annie invited him in.
Anne Lamott has had a colourful life, to be sure, but when a series of painful experiences and a lifetime of personal struggles with weight, relationships and career seem to take over, Anne becomes bulemic, alcoholic, and at times, suicidal. This book follows her, in a warm, humble, comfortable and very funny way, from her lowest moments to her discovery of her church, the birth of her son, finding God and letting go of the big stuff.
Annie reminds us that the hard stuff is the true stuff, but that it can be told with life-giving humor and grace. (less)
Not just for "dog people!" I loved this book - not just because Grogan has a talent for writing humor, but because he has a talent for writing humanit...moreNot just for "dog people!" I loved this book - not just because Grogan has a talent for writing humor, but because he has a talent for writing humanity into everyday occurrences. Grogan in 15 years will likely be on the level of Bill Bryson - perhaps the Bryson of dogLit? Let's hope that this isn't his opus and that there more books like this waiting to come out.
This book is about a family and their lovable, funny, but slightly demented golden retriever, Marley. Grogan manages to convey the life lessons he's learned from their "special" pet without sounding trite. The book spans Marley's life with Grogan's family, giving Grogan a wide scope to include vignettes and observations about life in general, his various jobs as a journalist, and the transitions his family goes through from couple to married to young parents to rural backwoods homesteaders in Pennsylvania. (don't ask, read the book.)
The person who lent me this book told me that she'd know when I was reading it because I'd have to laugh out loud at some point. Sure enough, in the middle of the night (because I'd started reading it before bed and couldn't put it down), my roommate got up to let her dogs out to pee and heard me belly-laughing all the way down the hallway.
This book had been recommended to me for years from some medical anthropology friends. Grealy, a poet, is known primarily for her memoir of a childhoo...moreThis book had been recommended to me for years from some medical anthropology friends. Grealy, a poet, is known primarily for her memoir of a childhood growing up with the disfiguring result of childhood cancer and surgery. This is the book that people will recommend to you if you were in a terrible accident, something for "inspiration." Don't believe a word of it - this is the book you read that will make you think long and hard about the darker side of "different," and the role the "differents" (my words) play in our social lives.
To say that I liked this book doesn't really capture it. It disturbed me, it made me think, and often it made me want to autobiographize my spine and it's life within mine. The book has a rather dissatisfying ending, but it echoes the theme throughout the book of uneasy dissatisfaction and vulnerability.
Read this book. You may not enjoy it, but you will remember it, and it will make you want to write down your own tortured thoughts and painful childhood. That, I think, is high praise for any book. (less)
I started reading Emily Carr's books while on a vacation with my dad in Victoria, BC, near where Emily Carr grew up. Her art is famous, but sadly her...moreI started reading Emily Carr's books while on a vacation with my dad in Victoria, BC, near where Emily Carr grew up. Her art is famous, but sadly her writing has faded into the background. IT shouldn't - it's brilliant. This book is a childhood memoir in the best old-fashioned sense. IT's a quick read and a lot of fun. The history is interesting and the family dynamic is great.
Maybe not for everybody, but I sure liked it, even at 16.(less)
Stephen Lewis is a modern-day Ezekiel, calling humanity back to themselves, drawing attention to the desperation that's being overlooked. I heard thes...moreStephen Lewis is a modern-day Ezekiel, calling humanity back to themselves, drawing attention to the desperation that's being overlooked. I heard these Massey Lectures when they were broadcast on the CBC and was frequently chilled, moved to tears, or riveted to the radio.
If you don't want to be deeply moved - don't read it.(less)
I think this was the first book that made me want to write. This book chronicles Emily's sad, withdrawn life as a boarding house maid in Victoria. The...moreI think this was the first book that made me want to write. This book chronicles Emily's sad, withdrawn life as a boarding house maid in Victoria. The abuse and use she saw at the hands of her tenants, her mischeiviousness to subvert their gaze, and the passion for her art that went on in her attic room. It's amazing how she balances the narrative of her own yearning with the humor of her circumstances in this short book. (less)
I'm not even done but I love this book. A team effort from Kingsolver's partner and daughters, this book reads like part memoir of their year "of food...moreI'm not even done but I love this book. A team effort from Kingsolver's partner and daughters, this book reads like part memoir of their year "of food life" (aka the year they decided to eat from their own backyard) and part walk through the dysfunctional past and present of our Western "foodsheds." Kingsolver introduces us to the possibilities - gastronomic, economic and community-wise - in our own backyards and gets us home in time for dinner. Her daughter provides the nitty-gritty - stats and recipes and re-educates we ignorant folks in the population who have no idea what's even in season in our own backyard, let alone how to survive without year-round supermarket strawberries. Kingsolver's Partner, Stephen L. Hopp gives us a crash course in the netherworlds and histories of food, farmers and the policies that govern them - often leaving you with a bitter taste in your mouth. Read this book and you'll never enter a supermarket the same way again. Still - one of the most practical approaches to local eating that I have read so far. (less)
People outside of public health circles may have never heard of Paul Farmer, but you should. This book will introduce you to the life of the slightly...morePeople outside of public health circles may have never heard of Paul Farmer, but you should. This book will introduce you to the life of the slightly eccentric, but passionate Harvard physician-anthropologist, infectious disease expert, and champion of the poor.
Farmer took an early interest in the people of Haiti, and ended up doing his undergraduate ethnographic research in a small town called Cange. Throughout his medical school years, he took increasingly frequent trips back to work with the locals, treating wounds, helping where he could a population in desperate poverty and political oppression. As an infectious disease specialist, Farmer began building a now world-respected medical clinic in the remote and rural town in Haiti, bringing primary healthcare to the nation with the Western Hemisphere's highest rates of HIV.
Farmer founded Partners in Health, a non-governmental organization, with his medical school friend Jim Kim, to try to bring more healthcare to the poor. This book is a biography of Farmer by a friend and Pulitzer-winning journalist Tracy Kidder, and follows Farmer around from his work in Cange six months of the year, to his work at one of the best (and most expensive!) hospitals in the world, Mass General in Boston, to his advocacy on the world stage for people needing treatment for multi-drug-resistant Tuberculosis.
This isn't just a medical memoir, or a vanity piece. This book is about a real, imperfect, and rather eccentric man with a single-minded passion to bring a "Preferential option for the Poor" to the world - the idea that because the poor will always be with us, that our policies and responses should always be to have a preferential option to care for them. Farmer's liberation theology influences show often in this book, but it's not a religious book. It's the kind of book that might make you angry, hopeful and shocked all at the same time.
Warning: this book may turn you into a raving activist.(less)
Pierre Berton is a legend in Canadian publishing and writing. He started out as a cub reporter and wound up writing enough books to fill up 6 pages in...morePierre Berton is a legend in Canadian publishing and writing. He started out as a cub reporter and wound up writing enough books to fill up 6 pages in my goodreads search. This book is part memoir of his writing life, part instructional tome, part encouragement. It's not a traditional how-to, but does come with a convenient compilation of his writing advice in the back. Well worth the read.(less)
Every once in awhile, you read a book you thought would suck, but in fact suprised the socks off you. Robert Sawyer is a Canadian science fiction auth...moreEvery once in awhile, you read a book you thought would suck, but in fact suprised the socks off you. Robert Sawyer is a Canadian science fiction author (he's got a great website for beginning writers and fans, btw)
My brother had to read this book in a university course and thought I might like it - basic premise: a middle-aged, mildly-dissatisfied atheist curator and anthropologist at the Royal Ontario Museum is somewhat suprised when a spaceship crash lands outside of the ROM at the end of work one day. The hitch: These two aliens, from different planets and cultures, believe that they have been created by the same God, and had set out in search of the 3rd civilization that their God had created - humanity. How will humanity receive them? How will the secular western governments cope with this new development? The thing about this book is that the whole aliens thing seems a bit schmaltzy. I read the back of the book and wrinkled my nose, thinking it would be some trite, slightly x-rated scifi novel.... but it was none of those things. Oh, it definitely is scifi, but it takes a backseat to the deeper questions thrown out by the characters in their dilemma, and the character drama throughout the plot. (less)