Tag Archives: books

Five Favourites (List 6)

Here are five of my current jams:

1. Favourite iced tea: Chocolate rooibos iced sun tea

Chocolate iced tea?  Nope, you’re not dreaming. Take a chocolate rooibos tea blend and sit it in the sun for two or three hours, strain it, and set it in the fridge overnight. It’s as easy as that. Yum!

2. Favourite logic puzzle: Cool circuits

We love logic puzzles in our family, and this award winning one is challenging but fun. Click here to see a video of how it’s played. 

3. Favourite YouTube channel for learning German: Easy German

My daughter would like to learn some German, but it’s hard when you don’t have many opportunities to practice. So I’ve been focusing mainly on teaching her how to cook German recipes, as well as on German culture.

I’ve been enjoying the often hilarious channel Easy German. A couple of weeks ago we made the German pancakes in this video

4. Favourite adult book: Stephen King’s “On Writing”

This is the memoir and writing craft book we selected for our book club, and we are nearing the end of it. Though a bit of an older book, the advice is still very relevant. It surprises me that much of King’s writing philosophy is the same of mine.

This is one of my favourite quotes from the book:

“The idea that creative endeavor and mind-altering substances are entwined is one of the great pop-intellectual myths of the time…Hemingway and Fitzgerald didn’t drink because they were creative, alienated, or morally weak. They drank because it’s what alkies are wired up to do. Creative people probably do run a greater risk of alcoholism and addiction than those in other jobs, but so what? We all look pretty much the same when we’re puking in the gutter.”

King writes about this issue coming from his experience as a former addict and alcoholic.

Click here to see some tongue in cheek writing tips from King.

5. Favourite children’s book: “What Happened When We All Stopped”

This poem about living in harmony with nature has been animated and is narrated by Jane Goodall in this video. There is a link you can click to download a version under the video. “Help turn the whisper into a roar.”

What’s your jam these days?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

July 2020 Bookish Resolutions Wrapup

-I read one book for the Mount TBR challenge. Click here to read about it.

-I read one memoir this month.

“Rosalie Lightning” by Tom Hart

This is a memoir in graphic novel form about the unexpected loss of Hart’s daughter shortly before her second birthday. It was a challenging read for me, but then books about the death of a child always are.

For a preview, click here.

-I wrote well over 250 words five days a week.

-I limited my social media time.

-I read 5 creative nonfiction essays per week. Here are my favourites:

From the UN, a photo essay of pandemic pictures from around the world.

“Is it the end of travel as we know it? Should it be?” by David Gillett

Many people are musing about how travel will change after Covid-19. Gillett also addresses this issue.

Favourite quote:

“The potential for smaller and smarter crowds in the places I visit is welcome. But I need to look in the mirror and examine myself as well. What do I contribute when I travel? What do I take? Is there some balance to my explorations, something more meaningful than simply the online purchase of carbon offsets?”

Something we should all think about.

“I’m Black. I’m male. Give me the benefit of the doubt, please” by Daniel Reid Newall 

Newell writes about the racism he has experienced.

Favourite quote:

“At the end of the day, when you see my Black face, all I ask is to be given the benefit of the doubt. Treat me with kindness, dignity and respect, in any order. I think they call it being inclusive.”

“From now on, I am the weak link in pandemic chain letters” by Nancy Wood

I can totally relate to Wood’s essay, as I break chain letters too, because I don’t like imposing on others: 

Favourite quote:

‘Of the “thanks but no thanks” notes I received, one in particular resonated because it helped me clarify what I dislike about chains. “I hate to be a party pooper,” my friend wrote, “but I truly don’t do chain letters. … I hate imposing on others.”’

“I’m a visible minority in Toronto but didn’t feel like one until I wore a mask” by Ian Leung

Leung writes about the experience of wearing masks in Asia vs. wearing masks in Canada.

Favourite quote:

“In truth, wearing a mask is a sign of solidarity; its strength comes from numbers, from the collective action, from the many willing to take a small sacrifice and inconvenience for the well-being of strangers in an unsung and unheroic fashion.

Wearing a mask is not just a proven tactic to fight the spread of disease, it’s also a symbol: it shows the world that you care, both about yourself and those around you. I am wearing a mask now so one day we won’t have to.”

“Am I a ‘Karen’?” by Chelsea O’Byrne

O’Byrne muses if she is a Karen, which is “an entitled white woman who wants what she wants.” O’Byrne feels like she’s a Karen, even if she is fighting injustice.

The concept of a “Karen” has been examined in the news lately, and it one that I ponder too.

“People watching from my mother’s park bench” by Tamara Levine

My dad liked to people watch, and so I enjoyed reading this essay.

Levine buys her mother her own park bench on her 80th birthday, as people watching on benches is her favourite thing to do.

Favourite quote:

“It went like this: 1. Choose a particular passerby, pair or group. 2. Notice their expressions, their posture, their gestures. Take note of gender, age and so on. If they are talking, you listen for snippets of conversations. Listen for tone. Notice who talks more, who interrupts. 3. Invent a story of what is going on. If you’re with a co-conspirator, invent as you go along, each of you adding tidbits as the story unfolds. Facts are not required, just some keen observational skills and imagination.”

“What I read to my mother on her terrible, horrible, no good, very last day by Juanita Giles

As her mother lays dying of Covid-19, Giles reads her three children’s books over and over.

Favourite quote:

“I ended up choosing three books to take with me that second day: Todd Parr’s The Goodbye Book, and Kathryn Lasky’s Before I Was Your Mother. And of course, Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I figured those three books sort of ran the gamut for the day Momma and I were about to face, so I packed them along with my mask, my gown, my gloves, and my hand sanitizer, and tried to prepare myself.”

-I read 5 picture books per week. Here are my favourites:

“The Eagle Feather Story” written by Francois Prince and performed by Mark Barfoot; pictures from the community

I had the pleasure of being able to not only read but also listen to this interactive book in both English and the language of the Dakelh (Carrier) Peoples.

The eagle feather is sacred to the Dakelh Peoples, and those who have an eagle feather are to be respected. In this book, the eagle shows how feathers are earned, and gives feathers to several animals for their acts.

“Tanna’s Owl” by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley; illustrated by Yong Ling Kang

The book is based on Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley’s experience of raising an owl. Main character Tana raises Ukpik the owl after her father gives the owl to her. Owls are considered magical because they bring land and sea together.

“Encounter” by Brittany Luby; illustrated by Michaela Goade

Fisher and Sailor meet in 1534. Despite their differences, they are able to find common ground.

The book is  a reminder that Jacques Cartier and his crew were visitors when they arrived in North America, and there is a focus on Stadaconan knowledge.

“The Little Book of Big What-Ifs” by Renata Liwska

The book explores many different what-if questions, often opposites, e.g., “What if you can’t think of anything?” vs. “What if your imagination runs wild?”

“Sterling the Best Dog Ever” by Aidan Cassie

Sterling the dog wants a home, so he disguises himself as a fork, but when he sees the family eating with hands, Sterling figures that he needs to be something besides a fork.

I laughed through the entire book!

Bonus:

Click here to access an article that has a list of Canadian children’s writers who have shared readings of their books—some picture books, some not—online.

-I attended several writer’s events online.

“Three Things to Consider When Writing a Memoir” with Alison Wearing

This workshop is part of Eden Mills Writers Festival series of mini workshops.

Access that workshop as well as others by clicking here.

“Music for Tigers” with Michelle Kadarusman

This webinar is available until October 16. The book is a fictional book about helping surviving Tasmanian tigers. in reality, Tasmanian tigers have been declared extinct, yet there is a belief that some still survive.

This year Hillside Festival was free online the weekend of July 24-26.

I watched Evelyn Lau read poems from “Pineapple Express”, Joy Kogawa read an excerpt from “Obasan”, Chelene Knight read from her hybrid memoir “Dear Current Occupant”, Madhur Anand read from her half biography half memoir “This Red Line Goes Straight to your Heart”, and Karen Solie read from her book of poetry “Caiplie Caves”.

All of them impressed me and made me want to read their books. So far I have secured a copy of “Dear Current Occupant”, which I will write about in August’s wrapup.

-I spent at least one hour a week working on one of my many guided journals.

-I blogged one time a week, and I even wrote an extra blog post yesterday.

-I wrote about 10 objects for my “Cabinet of Curiosities” object diary.

This month I focussed on my spoon collection.

Bonus: Sharing a picture of my snake’s tongue, blooming, which is a rare thing

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

Six Degrees of Separation: From “How to do Nothing” to “In the Palm of Your Hand”

I first heard of the Six Degrees of Separation challenge last month from my critique and book club partner Bev. Thanks Bev! It sounded like so much fun, especially because there are so many possible connections to make, that I decided to participate this month.

The challenge is hosted monthly by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest.

The rules summarized from the website:

“On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.”

“Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the Linky section (or comments) of each month’s post. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your chain in the comments section. You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees.”

Here is my “six degrees of connection”.

The book that starts it this month: “How to do Nothing” by Jenny Odell

I’ve not yet read this book, but I’ve wanted to for a long time. I’ve currently placed it on hold at my local library.

From my library’s website: “A galvanizing critique of the forces vying for our attention–and our personal information–that redefines what we think of as productivity, reconnects us with the environment, and reveals all that we’ve been too distracted to see about ourselves and our world. Nothing is harder to do these days than nothing. But in a world where our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity. doing nothing may be our most important form of resistance. So argues artist and critic Jenny Odell in this field guide to doing nothing (at least as capitalism defines it).”

When I was a child, I had the ability to do nothing—and it was one of my favourite things to do—but I have found that it has waned over time. I am currently rediscovering this skill. And yes, it’s become a skill, the ability to resist all the calls of you to be doing “something”, especially something productive.

I’ve been doing a lot of reconnecting to the environment lately. Bee balm, from one of my nature walks

“The Art of Noticing” by Rob Walker

This is one of my favourite books, and I’ve done several of the exercises from it.

This book “will help you to rediscover your sense of joy and to notice what really matters”. For me that is sometimes doing nothing, which is where I made this first connection.

“The Art of Bev Doolittle” by Bev Doolittle

I focussed on the word art, and I thought of another of my favourite books. I love Doolittle’s pictures, as they are all puzzles. Trying to figure out what is camouflaged in each picture is pure joy.

“Sneaky Art: Crafty Surprises to Hide in Plain Sight” by Marthe Jocelyn

Continuing to focus on the word “art”, I chose this next book. I won this book, and I have actually done several of the activities in it. The art installations are meant to be displayed publicly.

I know that one of the art installations my daughter and I did brought great joy to a neighbour in a much needed time. 

“Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature” by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, and Peter D. Sieruta

Here I connected “wild” to “sneaky”. It’s a book that is on my TBR list, and hopefully I can read it as part of the Mount TBR challenge.

From the book jacket: “…this book chronicles some of the feuds and fights of the children’s book world, reveals some of the errors and secret messages found in children’s books, and brings contemporary illumination to the fuzzy-bunny world we think we know.”

“Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words” by Susan G. Wooldridge

“Crazy” connected to “wild”. This is also one of my favourite books, and I have done several exercises from it. 

From the get go, the book is magical. Consider the opening paragraph: “Poems arrive. They hide in feelings and images, in weeds and delivery vans, daring us to notice and give them form with our words. They take us to an invisible world where light and dark, inside and outside meet.”

“In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop” by Steve Kowit

Which takes me to the last book, related by the theme of poetry.

I forget who recommended this textbook to me as one of the best guides about creating poetry.

From the back cover: “If you long to create poetry…that is magical and moving, this is the book you’ve been looking for. In the Palm of Your Hand offers inspiring guidance for poets at every stage of the creative journey. It is a book about shaping your memories and passions, your pleasures, obsessions, dreams, secrets, and sorrows into the poems you always wanted to write.”

Another magical book.

Well, there you have it, my journey from “How to do Nothing” to “In the Palm of Your Hand”. Thanks for joining me. Hope you are able to go to the original blog post and check out some of the other entries, which are sure to be just as compelling.

Like this challenge? Maybe you’ll join in next month.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

Word Jar

Do you keep a list of your favourite words? I first heard of this idea from Karen Benke in her book “Rip the Page”.

In the book “Journal Sparks” by Emily K. Neuburger, I decided to try the “Tiny Poems” exercise. In one variation Neuberger suggests that you use a word jar filled with your favourite words. Perfect. I printed out and cut up a list of some of my favourite words and then made a word jar.

Then Neuberger recommends you draw 1-3 words and write a poem between 2-30 words using those randomly drawn words.

Here is one I came up with using the words “sparrow” and “rasp” in a 16 word poem:

Sore throated sparrow

Rasped through the notes in his repertoire

Attracting the “wrong sort” of bird.

I choose most of my favourite words based on their sounds, not their meaning. For example, I love to say the word “broth”, and the word “tumble” almost always finds its way into any story I write.

What about you? What are some of your favourite words?

Bonus: If you want to get your kids thinking about their favourite words early, I recommend the book “The Word Collector”. To learn more about this book, watch this video of author Peter H Reynolds talking about his book. The book is also a great read for the young at heart.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

What to do when you are stuck in writing…or just plain bored

Our trip to Germany has been cancelled. My daughter’s camps have been cancelled. And it’s hot—oh so very hot. It figures that the summer that has been postponed by Covid-19 would also be oppressively hot.

Nothing to do but to regroup and find other things to do besides sitting around all day on our devices. 

Here are some of the things my teen daughter and I have been up to:

  • Writing Games

There are a wide variety we like to use including “The Storymatic” and “The Writer’s Toolbox”.

Susanna Leonard Hill also has some great “What’s the Story?” cards. Click here for more information.

The possibilities are endless. Last time we did a writing exercise, my daughter even decided to combine some of “The Writer’s Toolbox” prompts with some of the “What’s the Story?” cards.

  • “How to Have Creative Ideas: 62 exercises to develop the mind” by Edward de Bono

This book encourages creativity and lateral thinking through exercises built around picking random words.

The latest exercise we did was to find out connections between random pairs of words. For example, I paired bee and publicity. The connection? Both create a buzz.

  • “The Art of Noticing: 131 Ways to Spark Creativity, Find Inspiration, and Discover Joy in the Everyday” by Rob Walker

These exercises are designed to help you see the world anew and find out what matters to you.

One exercise that my daughter and I did recently had us walking around the block and periodically looking up to see the world from a different point of view. It’s amazing how I rediscovered things that were there all along, but that I had stopped noticing a long time ago. 

  • “Journal Sparks: Fire Up Your Creativity With Spontaneous Art, Wild Writing, and Inventive Thinking” by Emily K. Neuberger

This book has been a recent favourite. Yesterday I drew with a non dominant hand, and this morning I illustrated a map of yesterday’s activities.

  • Magnetic Poetry

Here’s one my daughter did.

All of these exercises are appropriate to break out of a creativity rut or to entertain your teen (and older children).

Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

“Life is Good with Books I Love” Challenge

I had two friends who invited me to participate in two different Facebook challenges at roughly the same time, so I turned it into my own creation, which I called the “Life is Good with Books I Love” challenge. Now the problem with the challenge was I was only supposed to post the pictures of the books with no explanation. <Gasp> Asking writers to not talk about their favourite books is like…well, let’s just say that it is a different sort of challenge. So I thought I could at least blog about it. So here they are, the seven books I chose and why.

Day 1

“Embers” by Richard Wagamese

I blogged about what this book meant to me earlier this year. I’ve been turning a lot to books that soothe my soul in the past year or two, and I found this one to be so magical that I bought it. For excerpts from this amazing, soul soothing book, click here.

Day 2

“Loving vs. Virginia” by Patricia Hruby Powell; illustrated by Shadra Strickland

I had never heard of the story of this interracial couple who fought to decriminalize interracial marriages until last year. This beautiful novel in verse, which was eye opening for me, alternates between Richard and Mildred Loving’s viewpoints.

Read this article for some of the background of the case and for some books, including this one, that tell the story.

Day 3

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Last week I wrote about how I am reigniting my love for my garden, and this is the book I mentioned in that post.

First published in 2003, the book has had a resurgence in popularity. Read an interview with the author here, in which she talks about the current pandemic situation and hope for the future. 

My eye popping poppies

Day 4

“Light a Candle” by Godfrey Nkongolo and Eric Walters; illustrated by Eva Campbell

Before he became the president of an independent Tanzania in 1962, Julius Nyerere had the idea of lighting a candle at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and this did indeed happen after he became president. The book is the story of the Uhuru (freedom) torch.

My father was born in this country before it became independent and when it was called Tanganyika (Territory), and so I have always had an interest in the country.

Click here to read what I had to say about the book in a previous blog post.

Day 5

“A Many Splendoured Thing” by Han Suyin

This novel about Eurasian Suyin and her English lover Mark provided comfort and insight in the early years of my marriage, while I was living in Beijing. The author Han Suyin was half-Chinese and half-Belgian, which gave her a unique perspective on bicultural and biracial relationships.

Day 6

“Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

A gift from my bestie, this book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in 1992.

If you don’t have time to read it right now, this article contains an excellent summary.

Day 7

“The Art of Bev Doolittle”

I love optical illusions and I love nature, and Doolittle’s art combines both. I fell in love with her art when I was a young woman. 

Watch this video for examples of her pictures.

I could likely do this challenge for a year and then some, so there were many books I left out like my childhood favourites “Anne of Green Gables” and “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. 

What books would you put on your list? Leave me a comment below.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

Reconnecting with my Garden

It’s hard to believe that I graduated 20 years ago with my diploma in horticultural technology. I did work in a greenhouse for over two years after graduating, but life had other plans for me. Instead of continuing in the industry, I got married, relocated, did some teaching for a while, then some writing, had a baby, became the primary caregiver of my father…After my father passed away, we decided to buy out the rest of my siblings and settle down more permanently in my parents’ house. Along with the house we inherited my parents’ garden.
Although I had been trying to gradually revamp the garden over the years, it’s become somewhat overgrown. OK, in some areas it could be considered to be jungle like. I have told people that the chaos of our property reflected the chaotic nature of my life over the years of caregiving.
But there’s also something else going on. My thesis in college was on xeriscaping, also called water wise gardening. I am not too fond of plants that are big water suckers. I’m not talking about the plants you grow for food. I mean other culprits like some grasses and many flowering annuals. So I always took a hands off approach: whatever wanted to establish itself naturally on my property, I figured was what was most suited for my property. I didn’t have to invest a lot of time and energy and especially water in their care.
Though this might be true, there is a challenge with this philosophy. There are many plants that will take advantage of this way of thinking. Those are generally the invasive and non native plants that reproduce quickly and tend to overtake those that are less aggressive. So, if I want my wild strawberries to thrive, much as I love my forget-me-nots, I realize that I will have to cull some of the flowers and let them flourish in non wild strawberry plant areas instead.
I will never get rid of the wildness of my property totally. But I don’t want to become overwhelmed with it either. Balance is key.
My teachers at college always told us that we need to “use it or lose it”. That is, if we didn’t use the knowledge we learned we wouldn’t remember it. I can confirm that this is very true. In many respects, I feel that I am starting from the beginning again. But beginner’s mind isn’t always a bad thing.
My current jam is the app called Seek by iNaturalist. (I like it better than iNaturalist itself.) You can take a picture and fairly soon it will identify what plant you have in your garden. It will also identify animals and even insect damage. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but no technology is perfect. Still, I have made so many fascinating discoveries. This morning, for example, I discovered I have something called “enchanted nightshade” behind my shed. It’s probably not the sort of nightshade you know, but a rather more innocent variety.
I was always interested in the healing nature of plants, which is something that I never studied at college, so I am learning about that aspect. I have discovered that I do have healing plants like motherwort in my garden.
I am also striving to be more conscious of what is native to my area. I was gifted some perennials that are native, which I have planted. My foamflower has already bloomed!

Foamflower


One of the books I am learning from is “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I love this philosophy: “…in Native ways of knowing, human people are often referred to as ‘the younger brothers of Creation.’ We say that humans have the least experience with how to live and thus the most to learn—we must look to our teachers among the other species for guidance…They’ve been on the earth far longer than we have been, and have had time to figure things out.”
A garden—like life—is always a work in progress. It’s a great place to learn not only about nature, but also about yourself.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

5 Things to Try if You are Stuck in a Creativity Rut

This past week I read this great article about writing in difficult times. This is my favourite part: “So resist the urge to judge yourself harshly for however you’re handling these days. Give yourself credit for any small, positive steps. And give yourself permission to try something new, even if it seems silly and pointless.”

People are reacting very differently to this pandemic. Some writers are saying they’ve never been writing more while others are saying they cannot write a word. Personally, I am writing a lot. However, what I am struggling with is reading as many books as I used to. Perhaps I’ve exchanged my reading time for my writing time?

Whatever boat you are in, these are some of the things I am doing to motivate myself creatively.

I am writing a story with someone else.

This was not my idea. It was suggested by another student in my creative writing class, but I jumped at the idea. One of us starts a story, writes for 15-20 minutes, and then the other continues the story. We work on the story until we decide that it has run its course.

It’s challenging to continue to write a story someone else has written, and I have learned so much. Also, I am writing stories in genres I would not normally do, which is a lot of fun. I highly recommend this activity.

I am watching baking shows.

I don’t do a lot of baking anymore, but I have started to watch baking shows with my daughter. Right now we are on season 2 of “The Great Canadian Baking Show”, but we have also watched a couple of seasons of “The Great British Baking Show”. I am amazed at the creativity of the bakers! If you get 10 writers in a room with one prompt, you’ll get 10 different stories, and it’s the same with bakers: if you get 10 bakers in the room with the same instructions, they will come up with 10 different baked goods. 

Watch this great interview of the hosts and judges of season 2 to give you a taste of the series.

I have joined a book club.

OK, it’s only a book club of two, but it’s with one of my writing partners who also happens to be a prolific book reader. We are meeting online once a week after we read a couple of chapters to discuss the book. Our first book is “Open Heart, Open Mind” by Clara Hughes.

I make sure I move my body.

Whether it’s taking a walk everyday or getting out in the garden, this is very important. Plus I get some of my best ideas at these times. I am also trying new forms of exercise like qoya. Give it a try! You never know what you like.

I am trying new recipes.

This week was the first time we ate garlic mustard. Garlic mustard is an invasive weed, but it’s also edible, and so since I was already pulling the plants out of my garden, I decided to see how they tasted. Yes, they are bitter, but you can boil it for about 7-10 minutes if you want to cut down the bitterness. We don’t though. So far I have found the tastiest way is to put the greens in an omelette. We have tried many different (non garlic mustard) recipes recently—I am trying to get my daughter involved as much as possible—including oat bread, sloppy joes, and this yummy and healthy version of date squares.

Garlic mustard and dandelion omelette with back bacon and garlic

Tip: The Brian Henry course I am currently taking is the most fun course I have had in a long time. I’ve made some connections while also learning a lot.

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler

Five Favourites (List 2)

It’s been a while since I have done one of my lists. Here we go, my five favourites of the week.

-Adult book: “Chop Suey Nation” by Ann Hui

I grew up loving Chinese food. My favourite Chinese restaurant was the now closed Tien Sun Inn. Two of my favourite dishes were egg rolls and Cantonese chow mein.

So imagine my surprise when I first went to China in 1996 where I discovered that the Chinese food I loved in Canada is not at all like the Chinese food in China. That food I ate as a child? Well, it was invented by Chinese people who lived in North America. 

I love the different flavours and foods in China. So much so, that I no longer eat at North American Chinese restaurants. I am grateful that with the influx of mainland Chinese people, many of the flavours I loved overseas can now be found here. 

Still I really enjoyed reading this book, in which the author talks about the history and current day situation of what she terms “chop suey” restaurants, which includes her own family’s history. Hui asked “Why is there a Chinese restaurant in just about every small town in North America?” and the result is this delicious book. It made me long for my childhood favourites again. What about you? Do you have any favourite Chinese food, North American or not?

-This gift of gnomes

I realized when I got this gift that I have a soft spot for gnomes. Not that I am going to set them up in my garden or anything…

This article about why it’s so hard to get rid of books. 

I love especially this observation: Books “are not impersonal units of knowledge, interchangeable and replaceable, but rather receptacles for the moments of our lives, whose pages have sopped up morning hopes and late-night sorrows, carried in honeymoon suitcases or clutched to broken hearts. They are mementos…”

-The wine, Cox Creek Cellars Inc.’s Back Home black currant wine

One of my neighbours kindly gifted me this black currant wine. It immediately brought back memories of my childhood, when my mom would make me my favourite jelly, yes, black currant jelly, from the fruit on our bushes in the backyard. I wasn’t too sure about this wine the first time I tasted it though, especially because I am not a big fan of red wines. However, it tasted much better the next day when I had another glass, and I am now a convert! It’s a local wine, and the winery uses local fruit, some of it grown on their own farm.

-The movie “Hugo”

A few years ago I read the book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, and I loved it. I learned a lot that intrigued me, particularly the concept of the automaton

Though the main character Hugo is a fictional character, another character, Georges Méliès, is not. 

Normally I would say that a book is better than the movie, but in this case the movie was superior in one way: you were able to see some of Méliès’ work. Méliès’ was a filmmaker, and he made many films including the first science fiction movie, “A Trip to the Moon” (1902). Have you seen it?

Do you have any favourites to share this week?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2020 Linda Schueler 

Five Favourites (List 1)

I love lists. I especially love recommended book lists. I am sure that the local librarians must know when I have read another recommended list, because the section containing my library holds blossoms. One of the book lists that I enjoy reading is my critique partner’s list of books that she reads every week. I usually find something that I want to read.

I also love lists in the style of Gretchin Rubin’s “5 things making me happy this week” and Courtney Bemorewithless “Weekend Favourites”, so I have decided to start making my own lists. Mine will be five favourites of the week.

So here we go, my first list.

Five Favourites

Adult Book: “Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related”

This moving memoir written by Jenny Heijun Wills is about being born in Korea but adopted by a white family in Ontario and then reuniting with her Korean family. 

Having recently decided that I would be concentrating more on creative nonfiction rather than children’s writing, I have been reading a lot of memoirs. This is one of the better ones. I especially appreciated the structure, a series of short vignettes.

This memoir won the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. You can read more about the memoir here.

Movie: “This Beautiful Fantastic”

A librarian who is an aspiring writer has to put her garden in order or vacate her home. So many things I love are present in this movie: libraries, books, writing, horticulture, gourmet food. Best of all, I laughed. A lot. Then I cried.

Game: “Magic Maze”

I appreciate that my local library now has a selection of games that you can borrow. I can add to the diversity of our fairly large selection of games without making another sometimes disappointing purchase. It’s nice to be able to try a game out to see if it would work for our family before purchasing it.

This cooperative game, for ages 8+ and between 1-8 players, was nominated for the 2017 “Spiel des Jahres”, an international contest.

It’s fun, but it also makes you really think at times. Sometimes my brain hurts; that’s how hard I am concentrating to get my moves correct. Below is a picture of a game that I played by myself.

Article: “How a rocking chair can help you heal”

I am going to be using my mom’s rocking chair more often after reading about the health benefits of using one.

Food: Pistou Sauce 

In the restaurant I went to on Saturday, instead of using hollandaise on their eggs benedict, they used pistou sauce. Yum! But what is pistou sauce? It’s similar to pesto, but there are no pine nuts. As well, cheese is not required. Why have I never heard about this? I am planning on making this version at home. 

I really enjoyed making this list! I think I will make this into an occasional series.

What about you? Do you have any favourites of the week that you would like to share?

Shoe’s Sunday Stories

@Copyright 2019 Linda Schueler