Top Ten Tuesday: Humorous Book Quotes

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Okay, so technically this week’s prompt was “favourite book quotes.” I tweaked it a little to become humorous book quotes because the world needs more laughter at the moment in my opinion.

1. “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

 

2. “Reality continues to ruin my life.”
Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

 

3. “Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”
Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time

 

4. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

5. “If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”
Mo Willems, Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

 

a drawing of the sun that includes a smiley face on the sun

6. “You deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed.”
Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth

 

7. “Are you always a smartass?’

Nope. Sometimes I’m asleep.”
Jim Butcher, Blood Rites

 

8.“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
George Bernard Shaw, Immaturity

 

9.“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
William Goldman, The Princess Bride

 

10. “No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?”

“They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer.

“And what is hell? Can you tell me that?”

“A pit full of fire.”

“And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?”

“No, sir.”

“What must you do to avoid it?”

I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: “I must keep in good health and not die.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

 

 

4 Creative Ways to Overcome a Reading Slump

A girl with a bored expression on her face reading a book.Today I wanted to share some tips for overcoming a reading slump and (hopefully) finding the joy of losing yourself in a story once again.

Most readers have probably experienced this phenomenon at one point or another.

You slowly, or maybe quickly, shift from your regular reading patterns to no longer feeling anticipation at the thought of picking up another book in your preferred genre(s).

Maybe you’ll start one book only to grow bored and wander away from it after a chapter or two. This can happen again and again during a slump.

I know I’ve sure found it harder to stay focused since this year began.

Stop Reading

Drawing of a perturbed black cat. The phrase "not entertained" is written next to and underneath it.I’m totally serious about that, too. It feels obvious to me, but so many lists on this topic seem to skip over this solution.

How long should this break last? That’s up to you. I think about my interest levels in reading in general instead of how much time has passed.

Generally, my breaks last between a week and a month, but I’d have no problem going much longer than that if needed.

The thing about being an avid reader is that you often eventually begin to see the patterns in the genres you read. It’s harder to surprise someone who has been reading the same genre for years or decades.

Reading also isn’t so much fun when one can predict what will happen next in a story, especially if you’re already feeling tired of this hobby in general.

Sometimes the best way to react to this feeling is to stop trying to make yourself enjoy reading and find something else to fill your free time.

What else can you do? Well…

Get (More) Active

Reading can be like exercise for your mind. Books can teach new words (or even entire languages),  challenge your pre-conceived notions of the world, and introduce you to sorts of people and situations you might never come across your daily life.

There’s definitely something to be said for switching between activities that challenge your brain and activities that challenge your body, so stay with me here.

Depending on your current fitness level, interests, and what equipment you might have access to, this could take a wide range of forms:

  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  •  Swimming
  •  Playing sports
  •  Hiking
  •  Weightlifting
  • Taking a long walk

If you’re already physically active, now could be a good time to increase the length of your workouts or try a form of exercise that isn’t part of your regular routines.

Try Something New

White rabbit wearing yellow sunglassesNo, I’m not referring to trying a new genre (unless you already have the urge to do so). It’s been my experience that this technique works best if it has nothing to do with books or reading at all.

There’s nothing like tasting a new food, buying something small you’ve been wanting for a long time, or visiting an autumn forest so filled with brightly-coloured leaves that it almost seems as if all of the trees themselves are glowing.

Sometimes the “new” thing I try is as simple as walking down a street I don’t normally visit to see what interesting landmarks might exist there or crouching down on the ground to observe a plant I’d normally walk past without a second thought.

This can take many forms, and it can be as thrifty as you’d like it to be. Honestly, most of my favourite memories in life involve intangible things that no store can ever box up for sale.

Perform an Act of Kindness

A rock painted orange that says "stay safe be kind." It is lying on a much larger, lichen-covered rock. It’s been my experience that reading slumps are often tied into how I’m feeling in general. I’m much more likely to have them when I’m dissatisfied with other aspects of my life.

There are many things that are out of our control, and many more that can only be changed after months or years of effort and a great deal of luck.

That’s part of the reason why I think that performing acts of kindness are so effective. For that moment, I’m pulled out of whatever is going on in my own head and only focusing on making someone else’s day a little bit brighter.

A random compliment for a stranger or a quick text to a loved one about something you know they’d love only takes a few seconds to accomplish.

That instant mood boost might eventually trickle over into other parts of your life as well. It often does for me! Even if it doesn’t work right away or at all, you’ll still have the satisfaction of knowing you had a positive impact on someone else’s day.

And who knows how far one act of kindness can spread?

One of my high school English teachers always paid the fee for the car behind her when she drove on toll roads because she wanted to make strangers smile. She once pulled up to the teller only to learn that the car ahead of her had already paid her fare, so she paid for the next two people in line after her!

I’ve often wondered if they kept that chain of kindness going. It’s nice to think that they did.

How have all of your reading habits been this year? What do you find effective when you’re in a reading slump?

Rural Frights: A Review of Cabin for Rent

Book cover for Seth Tucker's Cabin for Rent. Image on cover is of a cabin surrounded by a dark woods and with a muddy lake in the foreground of the shot.

Title: Cabin for Rent – A Short Horror Story

Author: Seth Tucker

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: February 19, 2018

Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Contemporary

Length: 19 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

Learn about the macabre history of the cabin on the lake, as you take a boat ride to view this unique property. Despite its dark past and mysterious disappearances, this beautiful secluded get away will take your breath away and you’ll never be able to leave.

Review:

If you love local legends, keep reading.

This is one of those short stories that works best if the reader knows as few details about it in advance, so I’m wording this review carefully.

One of the unique things about it that I can share is that it was framed as one half of a conversation. That is, you read Jimmy’s responses but not the things his companion says that urge him to share the dark history of the property they’re viewing on their boat ride.

Anyone reading this review also knows that local legends also play a role in what Jimmy has to say. He was someone who had deep roots in his small, rural community and knew all sorts of things that outsiders wouldn’t have even thought to ask about. This gave the tales he told an extra layer of fright as I put all of the pieces together.

One of my favourite parts of the storyline was how well I got to know the unnamed visitor even thought he never had a single line of dialogue and the audience only had the faintest clues about his physical appearance. Jimmy’s responses to the questions he asked were so detailed that none of this mattered. I knew the visitor exactly as well as I needed to in order to get sucked into their conversation and the hints about what was going on at that property.

While I did figure the ending out in advance, it didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for it in any way. There were enough clues along the way that it wasn’t so important for the audience to know what was going on as it was for the visitor to figure it all out.

Yes, this was firmly rooted in the horror genre, but it wasn’t gory for anyone who might be wondering about that. It relied on psychological horror, a slowly growing sense of doom, and some strategically-placed hints to make the audience shudder instead. That’s exactly what I seek out when I wander into this corner of the speculative fiction genre!

Cabin for Rent was an immensely satisfying read that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys horror or dark science fiction.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Things to Do in the Autumn

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Autumn is a beautiful season in Ontario. You can spend hours outdoors without worrying about sunburns or frostbite, so most of my answers will reflect the benefits of taking advantage of such mild weather.

The Word on the Street Festival. This is an annual Toronto festival about literature that features local and well as international authors and publishing houses. It covers every genre and age group you can imagine, and everyone is welcomed. Of course, it was virtual this year due to Covid-19, but the food there was amazing in the past. They had cuisine from many different cultures, and the portions were so generous at many stalls you could easily buy one meal and split it with another adult if you wanted to.

A bush whose leaves are beginning to change from green to redPhotography. I’ve mentioned my interest in this hobby in previous Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge posts. Autumn is the perfect time of year to play around with this, especially when I’m photographing the marvellous autumn landscape.

Stocking Up on Treats. Every store that sells food will have some candy that’s dairy-free, but it’s always fun to visit specialty shops and, before this pandemic happened, various food fairs/festivals to stock up on fancy vegan chocolate and other hard-to-find treats that are safe for my milk allergy before winter hits. (I get the winter blues, so having small things like this to look forward every X number of weeks helps my mental health).

Nature Walks. Autumn is my last hurrah for long nature walks until spring, so I spend as much time as I can outdoors before (this part of) the world freezes and everything is coated in ice and snow.

Nuit Blanche. This is an outdoor, overnight, free art show in Toronto that features the work of (mostly) local artists. You can find everything there: robotics, concerts, dances, interactive art displays, live theatre, light shows, and so much more. One year the city was even “attacked” by zombies. (Nobody was actually harmed. My spouse and I saw dozens of folks dressed as zombies who were roaming around and groaning dramatically every so often). I’m officially inviting all of you to come check it out online on between 7 pm on October 3 and 7 am on October 4 if you enjoy this sort of stuff. The programming is wildly different every year, so I can’t even begin to guess what they’ll have this time!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

It was difficult to narrow this list down to only ten books. There are so many great stories coming out this autumn that I ultimately decided to give this a Young Adult spin.

(photo unavailable)

1.The Forest of Ghosts and Bones by Lisa Lueddecke

Publication Date: October 1

Why I Want to Read It: The idea of acid rain freaked me out a little when I was a kid. While I’m not sure if the rain in this world is quite like that, I’m curious to find out.

2.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam 

Publication Date: October 6

Why I Want to Read It: Unexpected blackouts are scary but also fascinating.

We Hear Voices by Evie Green book cover. Image on cover is of a silhoutte of a child standing next to a roaring fire that is much taller and bigger than him.

3. We Hear Voices by Evie Green

Publication Date: 

Why I Want to Read It: It’s normal for a child to have an imaginary friend, but generally they aren’t as violent as this one. I have no idea where this blurb is going with this idea and hope it’s a creative one.

Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar book cover. Image on cover is of girl sitting on a stylized shore while looking out to sea at a boat filled with immigrants.

4. Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar,

Publication Date: October 6

Why I Want to Read It: I haven’t read many picture books about immigration before. It will be cool to see how its written.

A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey book cover. Image on cover is of two girls sitting on a picnic blanket eating food.

5. A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey

Publication Date: October 6

Why I Want to Read It: I’ve often wondered what it would be like to work in, or better yet own, a bakery.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen book cover. Image on cover is of boy reading a book and of mermaids swimming in the background.

6. The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Publication Date: October 13

Why I Want to Read It: The protagonist’s love of fairy tales grabbed my attention immediately, and I only wanted to read it more after the blurb mentioned him having a secret.

My Heart Underwater  by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo book cover. Image on cover is of young girl cupping her chin with her hand and looking elsewhere thoughtfully.  

7. My Heart Underwater  by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo  

Publication Date: October 20

Why I Want to Read It: This book covers so many topics I find interesting, from coming out to immigrating. I think it will be a great read.

 

8. Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett

Publication Date: November 17

Why I Want to Read It:

 

Patience & Esther by SW Searle book cover. Image on cover is of two Edwardian women kissing romantically.

9. Patience & Esther: An Edwardian Romance  by SW Searle

Publication Date: November 17

Why I Want to Read It: I rarely read romances, but this one looks good. It’s always interesting to see examples of how LGBT+ people lived in the past.

This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes book cover. Image on cover is of an old house with one window lit up on a foggy day.

10. This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes

Publication Date: November 17

Why I Want to Read It: There’s something about late autumn to late winter that makes me even more apt to read ghost stories than usual.

 

A Photo Essay of Toronto in September

Each month I share photos from one of the parks in Toronto to show my readers what our landscape looks like throughout the year. This is the eighth instalment of this series. Click on February, March, April, May, June, July, and August to read the earlier posts. It was  13 Celsius (55 Fahrenheit) and slightly cloudy during this… Read More

A Review of A Bit of Pickled Pumpkin and Other Short Horror Stories 

Title: A Bit of Pickled Pumpkin and Other Short Horror Stories Author: B.A. Loudon Publisher: Self-Published Publication Date: September 12, 2019 Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Contemporary Length: 45 pages Source: I received a free copy from the author. Rating: 3.5 Stars Blurb: Review: In this collection of stories, all is not what it seems…Broken… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Rubber Duckie Book Covers

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl I don’t know about all of you, but I’m sure in the mood for lighthearted and dare I say slightly silly conversations at the moment. For example, did you know there are dozens of books out there that feature rubber duckies on their covers? I have no idea how… Read More

Why I’m Starting My Light Therapy Sessions Earlier This Year

I am not a doctor, and this post is not intended to be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare provider to see if light therapy lamps are right for you. Last winter I talked about how much light therapy helps me with my winter blues. When I stopped using it during our… Read More