After what I would consider a seriously long reading hiatus, I think I’ve once again been bitten by the reading bug; something I am truly thrilled about and even more excited to share with you! I think this might even turn into a new series!
As an English teacher, the last thing I wanted to do at the beginning of my mat-leave (a time where sleeping and showering were rare luxuries) was pick up a book. Somehow the years of analyzing literature and reading books for a purpose rather than for pleasure had weighed on me; I lost one of the greatest joys, the joy of reading. I know, this sounds lame and kind of “teachery” of me, but it really was sad. That is until recently.
After teaching English and literature for a number of years, I’ve become very open about what constitutes reading. As a lit major, I was taught to think of reading as a study of literature (fiction), but after studies in media and a few years of teaching, I’ve opened my eyes to a whole new world of reading. And because of this, I am happy to say that I read everyday. In fact, I am sure you all do too! Well if you’re reading this, then you’re reading! In the digital world we live in today there is an abundance of “literature” available to us at our fingertips and while it may feel like reading online articles, magazines, cookbooks, memoirs, blogs or scanning through pictures (and captions) on Instagram is a colossal waste of time, I’ve begun to look at these activities as contemporary forms of reading. So, when I say that I’m reading (a process I hope is continuous, fluid and ongoing) I am talking about a lot of different things, not just novels.
I am reading again! And I love it!
So, a celebration of my own rekindled love of reading and out of a nagging desire to tell the whole world about these fabulous finds, I am going to share a few favourites that are currently residing on my nightstand, kitchen counter and coffee table (ottoman).
ON MY NIGHT STAND: This is Happy by Camilla Gibb (a memoir)
You know when you find a book that actually pulls you out of the quicksand that is your couch and makes you want to go to bed and dive back into it’s world. This is that book!
Camilla Gibb’s This is Happy is a book I just can’t stop talking about. It’s the book I stop to read passages out of to my husband. It’s the book I tell my mom she needs to read and the book that’s hit me so close to home I had to close it for a night to stop a flood of tears. Gibb’s memoir is like listening to an old friend reveal elements of her life to you over a glass of wine; you are saddened by her sorrows, depressed by her periods of darkness and when she experiences triumphs you too are triumphant with her.
A uniquely modern take on the coming-of-age story, Gibb’s opens up on struggles of motherhood, mental illness and our inherently human desire to build a nest for our little eggs.
ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER: Three Times a Day by Marilou & Alexandre Champagne (a cookbook)
While frantically pushing my stroller through Chapters hoping to get as much of my Christmas shopping done as possible before my little one realized he was still in his stroller and wanted to make it known to the world, I was literally stopped in my tracks by the beauty that is the cover of this book. Yes, the old cliché don’t judge a book by its cover is so wrong! If we are talking about “books” in the modern sense of the word and photography, design or sheer beauty have anything to do with your judgement, then yes, judge those books by the cover my friends because this beauty is not just a countertop accessory.
After snapping a quick photo and sending it to my husband with the caption, “huge hint,” I was obviously stunned and surprised to find this book as a gift under the tree. By new years there were so many post-it notes on the pages of this book, I just stopped tagging and started cooking.
I’ve made three recipes in six days and every single dish has been simple, delicious and beautiful. Yes, beautiful! I feel like an artist every time I plate a dinner dish and I can’t wait for the sun to still be up during dinner, so I can capture some of these beauties in natural lighting.
Husband and wife team Marilou (cook, author, blogger) and Alexandre Champagne (photographer), creators of Trois fois Par Jour, began their blog in 2013 and the English edition of their cookbook was published in 2015. This cookbook is homage to the culinary arts, filled with stunning sun-drenched photos of recipes and ingredient details. Flipping through the pages of this book is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. It’s beautiful to look at, has inspired me to create new recipes, and Marilou’s “tried and true tricks” have worked wonders in my kitchen.
ON MY COFFEE TABLE: How to be a Parisian Wherever you are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas
I’ve left this one out on the coffee table, because for me this is social reading; reading that you can do with someone. This compilation reads like a series of articles, making it perfect for casual reading/glancing and a few laughs with friends. It truly is a secret to be shared.
In How to be a Parisian Wherever you are, four friends (from Paris, obviously) collaborate to demystify some of the secrets and unveil the flaws of a coveted and classic figure, the Parisienne. The Parisienne, which simple means; a female from Paris has been something of a lifestyle icon for years. But what is so interesting about this figure is how North Americans have interpreted and adapted her into our own culture. In a sense, the Parisienne has become a character and Paris an idea (ideal).
Confession: I knew this was not a novel, a textbook or something linear, so for some strange reason I started at the back. Yes, I read this book backwards! Anyways this light and refreshing take on what has become an iconic character, the Parisienne, will make you laugh, rethink how much makeup you actually need, consider throwing out your blow dryer and seriously accept you for you, no matter what age you are. So, if you thought a book like this was going to give you tips on how to perfect your Parisian pout, well it will, but it will also give you a history of this “slightly aloof pout” alongside a nod to feminism and it’s roots.
Well that’s all for now! I hope you too will enjoy some of the books that are floating around our little house as much as I have.
Happy Reading !