Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: How I Decide What to Read Next

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.

A black and white sketch of an owl wearing glasses and reading a novel by candlelight Figuring out what to read next is pretty simple for me.

The Toronto Public Library allows patrons to place holds on up to 30 ebooks at a time.

Their hold limit used to be capped at 20, but I wrote them a friendly email and they soon changed that policy. This might be a story future generations tell about me to explain what Aunt Lydia was like. Ha!

I don’t always digitally queue up for that many books, but I almost always have holds placed on at least a dozen or two of them.

Some books are more popular than others, especially if they’re new releases, and therefore have much longer waitlists. I might wait a few days for one title but a few months or longer for something highly anticipated that just came out.

I keep track of roughly when books should arrive and request new ones to fill the holes when I notice that a future month looks like it won’t have a lot of arriving ebooks for me. Let’s just say that my to-read list is a long one.

This system has been especially helpful this year when socializing in person and going to my favourite places hasn’t always been advisable or even possible.

What I read depends on which books have arrived lately. Everything I request is something I’m looking forward to reading, so their order of arrival doesn’t matter too much in most cases.

Occasionally, I buy ebooks as well. There are some authors and stories that I’m too excited to possibly wait months for!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Halloween Treats

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

A pumpkin tin filled with candy corn. Tin cutouts of a pumpkin's eyes and mouth are sitting next to the candy on a linen tablecloth.Okay, so that title wasn’t super bookish. Let’s amend it to be My Favourite Halloween Treats While Reading.

Sometimes there’s something to be said for snacking on festive foods while reading something spooky.

My mind has decided that all orange foods are vaguely Halloween-ish. It’s made the same association with crunchy stuff like apples, celery, and popcorn because they’re foods I tend to eat more of during the cold half of the year in Ontario.

Everything else should be fairly self-explanatory, I’d imagine.

  • Apple Cider (the non-alcoholic kind)
  • Popcorn
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Orange Sweet Peppers
  • Celery
  • Jokerz (a chocolate, peanut, nougat, and caramel candy bar that’s similar to Snickers)
  • Cleo’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Candy Corn
  • Skittles

Due to my food allergies and intolerances, I can’t eat many of the most common candies and other sweets that are sold at this time of the year. This has taught me to be grateful for what I can eat as well as for all of the awesome allergen-free substitutes out there.

Happy Halloween to everyone who celebrates it! I love this holiday and am still coming up with ways to celebrate it this year.

What are your favourite snacks to eat during Halloween season or during the cooler portions of the year in general?


Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Earliest Memory

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.

I’d forgotten this, but it turns out that WWBC had this same prompt last year! I talked about eating apples that were still attached to the apple tree in our front yard then, so I’ll talk about our tire swing this time.

A baby sitting in a tire swing
Baby Lydia in a tire swing.

If you’re unfamiliar with this sort of toy, know that they’re made from old tires that are no longer fit for traditional things like driving. My thrifty, environmentally-conscious uncle made the one you’ll see in these photographs!

A tire swing meant for young children is cut open lengthwise to create a safe pouch for little ones to sit in.

If you’re small enough to fit into it, you may still need a grownup or older child to push you.

I have such happy memories of gently being pushed back and forth as I sat in it.  The specific adults in question are hazy but always warm and attentive. Sometimes my parents no doubt did it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if other relatives took turns as well.

I was the first grandchild on one side of the family, so there were lots of older kids and grownups around who relished playing with a little one again.

A preschooler swinging in a tire swing
Swinging by myself like a big kid.

Those early experiences gave me a lifelong love of swings. There’s nothing like the sensation of riding in one. It almost feels like you’re flying if you go fast and high enough!

This memory probably formed when I was a tad older than the age I was when I took tiny bites out of apples that I couldn’t quite manage to pull off of the tree.

My family moved away from that house when I was about four, so this was a very early memory no matter which one technically formed first.

I’ll end this post with one final tire swing photo so that you will all know there was a time when my first brother and I were small enough to fit into a tire swing together. (Someday I’ll gush about my other sibling and other relatives in their own special posts, too. Everyone is equally loved in our family. 🙂 )

A young girl and her infant brother cuddling together in a tire swing
Tire swing cuddles

This sibling of mine is about six feel tall now and has his own kids to chase around!  It’s a joy to see him make his wife and kids laugh. He can find the humour in anything.

He also gives the biggest, nicest bearhugs you can possibly imagine.

Looking at this photo makes me yearn for the day when I can hug him and everyone else in the family again. Someday the U.S. and Canadian borders will reopen and that will happen.

I’ll leave it up to him to reveal his identity or remain anonymous depending on what he prefers.

But look at those little munchkins. What a sweet moment in time.


Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s prompt was a little tricky for me because it’s been a while since I’ve received a memorable book recommendation. I can be a bit picky about what I read, so I definitely don’t blame anyone for that. It’s just hard for some folks to figure out my tastes well enough to recommend things I end up loving.

These recommendations were all hits, though! They’re loosely arranged by how old I was when they were first recommended to me.

Title and Author: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)
by C.S. Lewis

Who Recommended It: My uncle sent this entire seven-book series to me when I was in elementary school. I adored it immediately.


Title and Author: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Who Recommended It: I believe my fifth grade teacher recommended it during or after we did a history unit on the Holocaust. Anne’s stories about living in hiding as well as the truth about what happened to her gave this era a personal touch that made it easier for my young mind to grasp the horrors of it all.


Title and Author: Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe by Edgar Allan Poe

Who Recommended It: My ninth grade English teacher. She didn’t recommend this specific book, but she did an in-depth unit on his work in general that turned me into a lifelong fan of his stories.


Title and Author: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Who Recommended It: A book display at my high school library. I knew nothing about this author or tale, but I thought I’d give it a try. Jane won me over from the beginning.


Title and Author: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Who Recommended It: A high school study hall teacher. She had a shelf filled with books for us to read if we’d finished all of our homework. I picked this title out from it and was mesmerized from the first page.


Title and Author: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Who Recommended It: My aunt. She had a large personal library that I was allowed to borrow books from while she was away at college and later graduate school, and I believe this was one of the titles she thought I’d particularly enjoy. Yes, she was completely right.


Pile of opened books stacked on top of each other Title and Author: The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison

Who Recommended It: A librarian at the local public library if my memory is correct. I’d mentioned enjoying Beloved, and she immediately told me to read this next. I’m glad I listened to her!


Title and Author: Indian Horse  by Richard Wagamese

Who Recommended It: A coworker. I asked him for recommendations of Canadian books at some point after I moved up here, and this was one of his ideas.

Title and Author: The Stone Angel  by Margaret Laurence

Who Recommended It: The same coworker who recommended Indian Horse. I enjoyed both of these titles.


Title and Author: Annabel  by Kathleen Winter

Who Recommended It: A display of new Canadian books at one of the Toronto Public Library branches. I borrowed it with no knowledge of who the author was and had a great time reading it.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Why I Like Rereading Books

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.

An autumn leaf lying on the page of an opened book. The book and a cup of coffee in the background are both sitting on a wooden table. Yes, I changed the topic a little this week because I’m firmly on the side of rereading books.

Rereading books is something I tend to do in spurts. I’ll either do a lot of it or not much at all, and my reasons for doing that are simple.

Reason #1: There’s something deeply comforting about stepping into a story when you already know what’s going to happen to it. This is even more true when life is uncertain or when I’m feeling worried or sad about something.

Reason #2: Sometimes I pick up on things I didn’t remember about the characters or plot before, especially if its been a long time since I read that particular story. It’s such a warm feeling to realize that you either missed out or forgot about a small part of the storyline that makes the whole thing feel even better.

Reason #3: Rereading is like visiting an old friend and reminiscing about the adventures you had years ago. The familiarity of taking that trip down memory lane makes me smile.

Top Ten Tuesday: Super Long Titles

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl Kudos to whomever came up with this prompt! I’d never think to sort books out in this manner. 1. Among the Missing: An Anecdotal History of Missing Persons from 1800 to the Present by Jay Robert Nash 2. Stories from the Front of the Room: How Higher Education Faculty of… Read More

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Covers with Fall Vibes

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl There’s something about the cozy mystery genre that screams autumn to me. No, every cozy mystery isn’t set at this time of the year, but I recently learned that a surprising number of them are. There are also a lot of cozy mysteries that include the colour orange in… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Non-Fiction Book Everyone Should Read and Why

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. Narrowing down my ideas to only one suggestion was tough. There are many topics I believe all adults should have a good working knowledge of, from… Read More

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… Read More