Reading together

As part of Family Literacy Day, I had a chance to read to my daughter in her classroom this morning, which was a nice treat. For us, reading is a nice go-to family activity that we all enjoy.

We’ve been through a lot of picture books. Below are some of our favourites.


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Thoughts on The True History of Chocolate

As mentioned in Reading Non-Fiction, my goal is to share what motivated me to read the books and some thoughts that came from said reading.

I do not remember my first taste of dark chocolate, but somewhere between making brownies with my mom in my tweens and my grade 10 art project on food, I did and there was no turning back. “White chocolate” and milk chocolate have been lost on me since. David knows my chocolate history, so for Christmas 2011, he gifted me a class at Xoxolat with his sister-in-law.

Hodie, the owner, hosts hour-long classes focused on “learning the many facets of chocolate, from the bean to the bar, and tasting samples of different beans, origins, manufacturers, and percentages of cocoa”. Seriously, the best class ever! Afterwards, we had so many questions that we spent another hour chatting with Hodie. She sent us home with a reading list and the invite to email her with any future questions.

One of her recommended books was The True History of Chocolate. Continue reading “Thoughts on The True History of Chocolate”

My Kingkiller Chronicle theories

My wife is all about reading non-fiction these days, but I love me a good fantasy novel. Even a newborn could not prevent me from (gradually) indulging in a new trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicle, which came highly recommended by friends (despite the terrible cover).

Briefly, here’s why the series is notable:

  • The main character is your classic bard. He sings, sneaks, bluffs, and dabbles in the arcane. Not your typical orc-slashing protagonist.
  • It’s written as an auto-biography, with the story gradually catching up to the current time.
  • There are few characters. Contrast with other fantasy series where the characters could fill a phonebook.
  • The author had a plan and is actually sticking to it: 3 days of storytelling, 1 book per day. No filler material to perpetuate the storyline.

There’s a small catch: only the first two books are out so far. The final book, tentatively titled “Doors of Stone”, probably won’t be out until 2015.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, I’ve figured out exactly what will happen, thanks in part to clues left behind by the author in the books.

Art by Marc Simonetti
Art by Marc Simonetti

Continue reading “My Kingkiller Chronicle theories”

Thoughts on The 100-Mile Diet

As mentioned in Reading Non-Fiction, my goal is to share what motivated me to read the books and some thoughts that came from said reading.

This was a fun read for several reasons, but I mostly enjoyed it because we live in the same city as the authors and it made me feel very connected to the story being shared. Since reading the book, I have been encouraged to check out local mentions, like the UBC Farm, and pleasantly surprised at some items that are found locally (e.g. honey). Eating locally seems easy for some items that I like (especially fruit because of our closeness to the Okanagan!) and challenging for others. Community gardens are something I’ve never tried, but it makes me happy that the City of Vancouver supports growing local produce. I have tried urban gardening for the past 3 years with some success and plan to continue.

Continue reading “Thoughts on The 100-Mile Diet”

Thoughts on Tuesdays with Morrie

As mentioned in Reading Non-Fiction, my goal is to share what motivated me to read the books and some thoughts that came from said reading.

While visiting family in the summer of 2010, I discovered this little book lying around and asked my step-mom what it was about. She told me the book was about a guy who had ALS. She said that since  a close family friend had been diagnosed with ALS just a few months prior, reading the book was helping her gain an understanding of the disease and get a realistic perspective of how the disease affects not only the person with it, but those closest to them. Continue reading “Thoughts on Tuesdays with Morrie”

Reading Non-Fiction

Every year I try to read at least 12 books. Up until three years ago, the bulk of my reading was from the fiction section (think Pride and Prejudice, Twilight, Confessions of a Shopaholic). That may have been due to my status as a student for so long and getting into the habit of using my personal reading time for something light and entertaining. Nevertheless, when I watched the movie Julie and Julia, I realized I might be missing out on a plethora of interesting stories, people, history, etc. So, I decided to start my journey into non-fiction by reading Julie’s book, on which the movie is based. Continue reading “Reading Non-Fiction”