5 Spooky Books to Read on Halloween

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Happy Halloween everyone! 

There is no better way to celebrate Halloween than by curling up with a spooky book and diving into the candy you meant to hand out to children. Personally, mini coffee crisp bars have always been my favourite. Here is my top 5 spooky books to read on Halloween (and some of them can even be read in a day!).

  1. Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice

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I was a little torn before I put this book on the list. It is not your typical horror novel. It oddly mirrors the structure of historical fiction, and at times it feels like a very realistic portrayal of life in New Orleans in the 1700s and 1800s, until you remember about the vampires, of course. The moments of horror are frequent, but hidden underneath one vampire’s quest to determine how much of humanity he has salvaged after being turned into a vampire.

2. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

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Have you seen the adaptation on Netflix ? I haven’t (and probably never will because I am a wimp when it comes to horror movies or t.v. series). When I read The Haunting of Hill House two years ago, I was expecting a ghost story, nothing more and nothing less. Instead, I found this novel was a psychological thriller. There are moments of humour meshed with a slow creeping dread. The Haunting of Hill House is a short novel that could probably be read in a day. Continue reading

Book Review: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by: Neil deGrasse Tyson

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We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.” – Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Initial Thoughts: Ever since I was a kid, I was captivated by space. Every time a documentary about space would be on television, I wouldn’t pay attention to anything else. Maybe that’s why my mom thought I’d end up as a scientist instead of a translator.

Summary

32191710. sy475 What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

The Review

I ended up reading Astrophysics for People in a Hurry at the time when the first ever image of a black hole was revealed to the public. I have always been curious about black holes, especially after watching Interstellar (what can I say, I’m a bit of a geek). Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book is meant to be an overview of astrophysics for the everyday  person who isn’t an astrophysicist.

Each chapter of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is meant to give the reader a bite-sized explanation of a certain aspect of astrophysics. I was expecting the book to be quite simple in its presentation of material, but instead I found that I only understood about 40% of what I was reading. Even though the other 60% was lost in translation, I am proud of retaining the 40%. Continue reading

Reading Non-Fiction

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For the longest time, I told myself, “I read novels, and that’s it.” The problem with that narrowminded view is that there are great books out there that are not novels. There are memoirs and biographies, books on science and technology, history and art, and so on.

I began challenging myself to read a few non-fiction books a year to have a bit more variety in my reading habits. It doesn’t hurt to be well-rounded. The non fiction books I read in the past sort of made me believe that I wouldn’t find a non fiction book that was as well-written as a novel.

Life, of course, has proved me wrong since then.

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One of the non-fiction books that completely captivated my attention was Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Yes, it is a reference book and a history book, but it is absolutely fascinating, and it made me angry for not knowing about Indigenous issues sooner.

Continue reading

Book Review: Landline by: Rainbow Rowell

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Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.” – Landline, Rainbow Rowell

Initial Thoughts: After reading Eleanor & Park, Carry On and Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell has become one of my favourite authors. I couldn’t wait to read Landline. I hope to eventually read all of Rowell’s novels.

Summary

18081809Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

The Review

Georgie McCool is a television writer who is just inches away from achieving breakout fame with the television series idea she has been developing for years. Just two days before Georgie, her husband, Neal, and their two kids are supposed to be leaving for Omaha for Christmas, Georgie decides to back out at the last minute in order to keep working on her show. Her marriage is just hanging on by a thread. On Christmas Eve, Georgie finds herself alone, so she ends up going to her mother’s house. That night, Georgie discovers that she can communicate with Neal from the past on the landline. Is this an opportunity to fix their marriage before it even began, or to make sure it never happened?

So, I’ll start off by saying… if you want to start reading books by Rainbow Rowell, Landline isn’t the best way to start. Continue reading

Should Graphic Novels Be Used in Classrooms?

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Yesterday, I saw that the hashtag #Theoutsiders was trending. Apparently, someone asked S.E. Hinton, author of The Outsiders, to consider writing a graphic novel version of her book to draw in more reluctant readers. Hinton promptly replied…

This Tweet prompted me to reflect on how graphic novels should be treated in the classroom. Should they be substitutes for books that are less engaging to the average student? Should they be used as companions to the original book? Or, should they be completely avoided?

I should note that S.E. Hinton is in no way against graphic novels, nor am I.

Continue reading