I’ve actually been meaning to do something like this since the summer months began. I haven’t gone away for the summer this year (been busy taking summer classes anyways) but I thought it would be fun to do a series of lists featuring books from certain places I’ve been or places I’d love to go someday.
It’s funny posting this particular list this week because this time back in 2010, I actually was in France so it’s a timely enough list to reminisce ^_~ Paris–like any of the big cities in Europe–has so much history, so much culture, so many things to do! The four days we were there was not nearly enough to check out everything (though we did hit all of the major monuments…I think, lol).
The following list after the cut is a mix of classic lit and contemporary lit featuring different aspects of Paris depending on the story.
To all my Canadian readers, I hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend! =) Today we are celebrating the 146th birthday of our country (Canada was born in the Confederation of 1867: Ontario (Upper Canada), Quebec (Lower Canada), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; for all my non-Canadian readers, today our country consists of 10 provinces and 3 territories)).
So, in celebration of this national holiday, I decided to put together a list of Canadian stuff, mainly books, music and movies/television shows =) I could’ve gone on to mention other things like sports (our Women’s football team (okay, soccer; I’m a stickler to calling it the European term here), hockey (not an avid follower but like any good Torontonian, I do pay attention whenever our team makes it to the playoffs),
food beer (Alexander Keith’s, Fin du Monde–yes, I love this beer partly because of its name =P) and places to see (I’ve been fortunate to have toured around the East Coast…have yet to tour the West Coast). But hey, if you guys are interested, I can whip another post together ^_~
Canadian Authors & Titles
I admit, I don’t read a lot of Canadian literature or from Canadian authors *blushes* I will try to do better so that maybe next year I’ll have a far more comprehensive list ^_~ But in the meantime, here are some titles that came to mind and that I’ve read:
- Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers (review)
- Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo
- Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi
- Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (review)
- Robert Rotenberg’s Old City Hall (review)
- Douglas Coupland’s All Families are Psychotic and Eleanor Rigby
Honourable mentions: No Canadian list is ever complete without Margaret Atwood (still have yet to pick up The Handmaid’s Tale though–oops *blushes*). I’d also like to mention Vincent Lam, who received a number of accolades a few years ago for his debut novel, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures (another book I have yet to read *blushes again*).
Okay, you know the obvious artists in the pop genre but here’s some other bands out there (and that I jam to):
- Magneta Lane — Been following their discography since they released their first EP The Constant Lover. If you’re into alternative rock, definitely check them out, they are hands down my favourite female band out there. Favourite tracks: “Mare of the Night”, “Wild Gardens”, “Love and Greed”
- The Organ — Sadly this band broke up a number of years ago but their album Grab the Gun was my jam during mid- to late-undergrad. Kind of a mix between alternative rock and shoegaze/dreamy indiepop. Favourite tracks: “Love Love Love”, “Basement Band Song”, “Memorize this City”
- The Stills — Aww, I was just looking up their discography and am sad to learn that they disbanded back in 2011. Their first album, Logic Will Break Your Heart remains my favourite album from them. Favourite tracks: “Love and Death”, “Fevered”
- Arcade Fire — I remember a few years ago at the Grammys they picked up the Album of the Year award and everyone was like “Who the heck are they?” Been listening to their stuff since their first album, Funeral, came out and I just love their sound. Favourite tracks: “Rebellion (Lies)”, “Ready to Start”
Films & Television Shows
- Orphan Black (posts) — Okay, so they never specified what city the story takes place but it is filmed in Toronto. Plus, most of the cast is Canadian, which is beyond awesome. If you haven’t checked this show out, it is absolutely imperative that you do =D You won’t regret it (and then come back here and share with me your thoughts =P)
- Actually a number of sci-fi television shows are currently filmed here in Canada–Orphan Black, Continuum, Lost Girl, Haven (posts)–as well as other shows like Rookie Blue, Flashpoint and I believe the first two seasons of Covert Affairs (they used some stock footage of one of the government buildings where I used to work, lol)
- Bon Cop, Bad Cop (review) — lol, I have to share this movie with everyone because it’s just pretty hilarious. It’s jam-packed with everything Canadian–from the Ontario-Quebec sentiments to hockey fevour–and hey, it’s Colm Feorne (The Borgias, Thor, Revolution)!
- Men with Brooms — I watched this movie years and years ago but I remember enjoying it. Again, it features a nice cast of Canadian talent (I seriously did not recognise Peter Outerbridge in this movie) and curling (a sport that, even after watching this movie, I can’t quite figure out *blushes*)
And that’s my celebratory list of things Canadian! Have you read any of these books/listened to any of these bands/watched any of these shows/movies? What is your favourite Canadian book/author/musician/band/television show/movie/celebrity/public figure/anything and everything? =)
This list was originally made for the book meme Top Ten Tuesday. However, my site was down for a good part of that week so I posted that list over at my WordPress site. For the sake of just having it here on my blog for archival purposes, I’ve posted it again here =)
Suffice to say, 2013 has been a wonderful year so far book-wise. I’ve done my best to narrow it down to the very best/the ones that stayed with me long after/the ones that just really gripped my attention and I couldn’t put them down I’ve read so far this year…
In no particular order:
It’s occurred to me that it’s more or less the end of the school year for many students and for a number of students, it’s the end of their elementary/high school/undergraduate programmes. So I’ve put together a few inspirational titles that you can gift to that graduating student in your family (or to your friends who are graduating).
‘Make Good Art’ Speech by Neil Gaiman — I actually posted about this last year when Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement speech at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. It’s a wonderful and inspirational speech and I picked up the book to keep around at all times and remind myself to “make good art.” Even if your graduating person isn’t particularly inclined to the arts and artistic activities, some of the advice that he gave are applicable to facing and living life out there.
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon — Again, it’s geared towards the artists of all walks but some of the advice in this book can be applied to any field. Austin Kleon talks about creative thinking, an important commodity in the workforce, and a lot of the items in his list are just applicable to everyday life. Plus, this book is just so much fun to read, there’s just something about it being presented solely in black-and-white.
Illustrissimi: The Letters Of Pope John Paul I — For the Catholics, I hold this book very dear to my heart. Pope John Paul I wrote these letters to a periodical when he was Cardinal Archbishop of Venice. A lot of what he wrote about are still applicable today and it’s interesting to read how he focuses on everyday life in applying Catholic beliefs and values. Not to mention he was very well read (a lot of the figures he addressed his letters to are from Italian literature but then there’s figures like G.K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens, Maria Theresa of Austria and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe) so these letters he wrote were pretty funny and thoughtful.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho — This book was actually gifted to me from my high school chaplain when I graduated. It’s a simple but powerful story about recognising and following your dreams and the transformation that occurs within us over the course of our journey towards realising those dreams. I actually find myself flipping through this book whenever things are looking dim or discouraging.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry — Another classic book reminding us about the importance of creativity and dreams and the people we meet along the way in life. My mum has a copy of this book but I picked up my own copy some time ago; it’s just one of those essential books to have on your shelf.
And those are my five recommendations! What books would you give or have given as graduation gifts? Feel free to comment and share, I’d love to hear the titles you’ve chosen 🙂
By now the entire internet has heard that Google Reader will be closing on 30 June 2013. Which absolutely sucks because I finally got around to using it to keep track of all of my friends and fellow bloggers’ entries! *facepalmsmack*
So! Like many, I’ve been wandering around a bit for some alternatives that’s easy to use and aesthetically pleasing (yes, this is important to me, I don’t like cluttered-looking feeds xP). This is what I ended up checking out:
THE OLD READER
I found out about this site through a friend on Twitter and decided to check it out (This is me over there if you want to follow me). I like the layout, it’s very simple but organised and kind of reminiscent of Google Reader in a way. I’m still learning how a few of the features works but I suspect that I will be using this site the most (unless something changes or whatnot; see this entry from the creators).
The only drawback at the moment is that the server’s working rather slow, probably because of the migration over, but thankfully there aren’t as many blogs on my subscriptions feed on Google Reader so I was able to do it manually.
Another website that’s been recommended in place of Google Reader and one that’s gotten quite popular in the past 24 hours. Aesthetically it’s quite wonderful, giving you the choice of themes and a selection of layouts to present the latest blog entries from magazine layout to a full coverage of the entries. There’s also no server issues of lagging time. I haven’t used it as much yet but for the most part it’s just as easy to use as the Old Reader.
The only drawback I have about this website at the moment is that I can’t seem to delete the categories. It says you can delete certain items through a drag-and-drop system but I can’t find the option to delete it anywhere. If you’re using Feedly, do you know how to do it?
There are also other alternatives out there (including app-only readers but I did not include those in the list), although I haven’t used any of the following:
So what RSS reader have you migrated to or have checked out? What are the pros and cons about that program for you? Would you recommend one that I did not list here in my blog?