Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Live List

Twice over the past couple weeks I've had people ask me what was on my bucket list. The first time I said I didn't have one and the second time I went into a little more detail about why I don't have one. Basically I think the term is depressing. I understand why people use it and that it can help spur people on to do fun/amazing things in their lives. Now this is JUST me but I find it depressing to think about what I want to do before I die, like it's a giant hourglass and I quickly need to accomplish things before it runs out.

Instead I propose we all have a Live List. Things that help us to live our lives to the fullest every moment we get a chance to. Put skydiving down on that list because you want to LIVE the experience of free-falling, not because you want to cross it off on a list before you die. And then go back and do another dive because you want to re-LIVE that feeling!

To some I'm sure you don't see the difference between a bucket list and a live list but to me it's all in the way it's thought about. When I was much younger and people asked me where I wanted to travel to most in my life I used to say 'I want to see the Sphinx before anymore of its face falls off or it won't be how I picture it', not 'I want to see the Sphinx before I die'. Or when I learned to scuba dive it wasn't because it was on my list of things to accomplish, it was because I wanted to see what life looked like at the bottom of the ocean and to feel the sensation of loosing control over my environment. Basically I want to LIVE these experiences and make them a part of who I am today. I want them to help mold me into a different person who sees and appreciates the world in a different way.

Part of my live list has always been to see as much of the world as I possibly can. I love learning about new cultures and always feel like I bring away so much from each trip.  The other main part of my live list is to volunteer as much as I can for as many charities as I can. Each charity I encounter I learn something new and feel like someone touches my heart in a new way.

My list isn't as easy to write out as a bucket list but instead feels like an ongoing group of things that help drive me to learn and grow in new ways. Next up for me? I'm going to LIVE this birthday to the fullest with cupcakes, yes...plural ;)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

April & May Book Reviews

Once again I'm behind in posting my book reviews. But then again I haven't really posted anything of late so it's not a surprise!


1. Devil In The White City - Erik Larson:  I really enjoyed this book. It was a good way to learn about two stories that were intertwined about the World Fair and about a serial killer. I learned a great deal about the Fair and about the genius architects who put it on. Amazing piece of history that I knew nothing about!

2. Big Fish - Daniel Wallace:  Now I should state that this is one of my all time favourite movies. The character of the father reminds me so much of how my Grandfather used to tell us stories that the movie made me sob uncontrollably. Now the book was sweet but so much shorter and leaves one with an unfinished feeling. Still, it was a nice little story that everyone could enjoy.

3. Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe: HAHA! Just reread my notes on the book and it simply says 'long winded'. I found the book to go into such great detail at times that I found myself skipping lines (which I hate doing). It was one of my 501 books so it had to get crossed off.

4. Behind The Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo: I really enjoyed this book but was shocked when I got to the end and finally realized it's non-fiction! The books follows the lives of several people who live in a shanty town near the Mumbai airport. It's truly incredible to realize how different their lives are from ours and how corrupt their government can be.

5. A Cold Day in Paradise - Steve Hamilton: I decided to read more from this artist after I so thoroughly enjoyed his book The Lock Artist. This story follows an ex-police officer who has turned private investigator and gets mixed up investigating a murder that turns personal. It still has the twists and turns you expect his writing to have but it does not compare to The Lock Artist.


1. The Bone Cage - Angie Abdou: I found this to be an interesting read based on the lives of two Olympic hopefuls. I grew up with a girl trying to make it on the Olympic swim team so remember her LIVING at the pool mornings, evenings, and weekends. The story follows a swimmer and wrestler as they train and compete and still try to have lives in between. A decent read from an Albertan author.

2. Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye: This is the story of the conception of the New York Police Department. That alone may not make it sound exciting but it's focuses on their struggle to gain respect and acknowledgement all the while trying to solve the murders of Catholic children. I enjoyed the book and thought it told of an interesting time in history. I do enjoy books that take some fact and build a good piece of fiction around it.

3. Deadlocked - Charlaine Harris: What can I say? It's typical Sookie. I feel obligated to read this series until it finishes but at this point I'm getting tired of the characters and a storyline that really doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Charlaine needs to wrap this series up already.

4. Divergent - Veronica Roth: This is a very Hunger Games-ish series so it's no surprise at it's success. I found it to be very enjoyable with some original ideas. This will be a very popular series that I can definitely see becoming a movie down the road. It is set in the future where people, at age 16,  need to choose factions to live in and lead their life according to the rules/beliefs of that faction. It means possibly leaving your family behind as well as everything you learned/believed as a child. Needless to say there's going to be issues with this type of way of running a society as not all factions are going to get along and you follow the main character as she uncovers a major plot to undo some of the factions. Read it!

5. Insurgent - Veronica Roth: This is the 2nd book in the series. I don't want to give up anything in case you haven't read the 1st one so I'll just say you continue on following the character and her fights and discoveries at the fall of their society as they know it.

6. Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K LeGuin: This story is a classic sci-fi book that was on our 501 list. It's an interesting look at the future where many plants have formed a huge collective agreement and send out emissaries to work with new plants on joining their agreement to trade information, ideas, items, etc. This is about one emissary sent to a planet and his attempts to get the leaders of that planet to listen to his offer or partnership. He's met with many struggles in attempting to deal with people that struggle to believe he is what he says. There's many original ideas and concepts to the book that make it worth a read.

7. The Forgotten Affairs of Youth - Alexander McCall Smith: Now I really enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's books but I'm finding the Isabel Dalhousie series to be getting a tad boring. He's starting to use the books to get so philosophical that I'm finding it dry. The books used to introduce more exciting characters but he seems to have phased those out in favour of long-winded philosophical discussions. I may just have to put this series to bed.