Book reviews – a little catch-up

Alright, I confess, this holiday I have been doing an awful lot of reading without the appropriate amount of writing or blogging to balance things out. So I’m going to give you a quick rundown of the books I’ve read recently, from best to worst!


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart

Loved it, this book was fantastic. Cleverly-written and so perfect for any burgeoning feminist, Frankie Landau-Banks finds herself chafing against the good-old boys club she has grown up in and is surrounded by, so she turns her boarding school on its head with her intelligent subversion of the ages-old boys-only secret society. Lockhart has such a talent for capturing her audience and the writing is superb.

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Christmas treats for your best friend

Riley

This Christmas came with some very sad news for the family – my beloved golden retriever, Riley, is suffering from late-stage cancer and has very little time left with us. Although it’s hard to believe in that he still behaves like a puppy with boundless energy, this season is where I will have to say goodbye to him.

I wanted to bring him something special for the last time I get to spend time with him. I’m not the type to be into serving my dog hand and foot (and why should I, when he is just so darned pleased with dry dog food), I figured since a toy is out of the question, I’d bake him up a tasty just-for-dog treats, using his favourite ingredient: peanut butter.

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Simplicity in Parenting

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I find as a mom to be, I’m getting lots of advice. Lots of it. Much of it at odds with each other. I’ve been given books or book suggestions, some which I’ve found tremendously helpful, others where I find myself gaping, asking whether I’m honestly expected to do such things as a parent. By far my favourite book so far is one given to me by my mother, Simplicity in Parenting, by Kim John Payne.

The subject matter really dealt more with children then it did with babies. Since babies are a complete and utter mystery to me, perhaps I found this book so comforting because it was at least something I could relate to. It seemed to very much describe my childhood – parents providing a comfortable, safe environment that I could learn and explore, all the while not overstimulating or over-scheduling me to the point where I wasn’t able to develop my own sense of personality, or curiosity.

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Fireplace care

ChristmasFireDogIs there anything more comforting than a roaring fire on a cold winter night? This year, make sure your fireplace is in top shape, both inside and out.

The first thing all woodburning fireplace owners should do is get the chimney inspected – at least every year. “The chimney is critical to functioning and safety,” says Dana Moroz, manager of customer service at Napoleon Fireplace. “It’s important not just to clean this out, but to inspect for cracks.”

As wood burns, it sends up a layer of creosote that condenses and builds up along the chimney, causing blockages. The buildup also insulates the steel of the chimney, causing the temperature to lower and more creosote to build up.

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O Christmas Tree!

Here are some helpful tips to finding the right Christmas tree, up to the best ways to deck it out with the sparkly shimmer to light up your holidays:

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From buying a tree to showering it with decorations, the Christmas tree is an icon of the holiday season.

“Choosing a Christmas tree can be overwhelming,” says Fiona Wilson, department manager at Home Depot. “All that choice can create anxiety.”

Height is the easiest thing to decide. “Remember to add room for the stand underneath,” Wilson says. “For the average ceiling, look to the five to seven foot sizes, and the lot should be able to shorten it for you if need be.”

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Book reviews: Coming of age novels in a new age

I have just read a little bunch of young adult novels, each of them dealing with that age-old theme, coming of age. Each of these books was set roughly around the time I was growing up too, maybe a little earlier, so I assume the authors are close to my contemporaries. I found each of these to be a compelling read, and it was interesting to read them so close together, so I could compare. The topics raised (namely, sexuality and revolution) are both fairly universal – in that they have and can come up at any time in history – but also so very singular to the narrator/author, which I suppose is true of any coming of age novel. It might just be me, but I find this new wave of coming of age books to be less innocent and wide-eyed wondrous than ones from earlier generations. Perhaps its just the way I read them.

I also feel like everyone was having WAY more sex than I was in high school. Or maybe it just makes for a better book? I don’t know, I was pretty sheltered growing up.

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Christmas cookies

It’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas … and taste like it too! The winter bacchanalia that consists of me stuffing myself full of cookies to take my mind off the fact that I can’t stuff myself with wine right now has begun. And so, I spent some time this weekend making delicious Christmas cookies.

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With all of my down time right now, I’m taking on little projects, like writing out all my favourite recipes in a pleasing fashion and organizing them in this pretty little recipe box I didn’t need that I bought at Chapters. Huzzah for pretty little things!

I decided to make my two favourite Christmas cookies from when I was growing up. These have been in the family so long, I have no clue where they came from. Both are absolutely atrocious for you, with no redeeming qualities other than absolute deliciousness. Enjoy!

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