Book Diversions Reading Review

Bookish – 3 As

My quest to “read my own damn library” began with the idea of reading three books by authors whose names start with each letter of the alphabet.

Turns out I don’t have a lot of A authors but I picked out three:

Leave me by dying by Rosemary Aubert

The Storygraph key words: emotional mysterious reflective slow-paced

A picture of the cover of Leave Me by Dying which shows a rumbled white bed sheet and pillow. The book is being held in Lisa's right hand.

My key words : slow and tedious. 

It was very nifty though for the setting I thought – 1960s Toronto; and he’s a law student in the book so I know lots of the places and that was the only redeeming thing for me really. So much so that I happily put this book, and another by Rosemary Aubert, in a local little free library. Hey! This whole “declutter by reading” thing may actually work.

The Greenway by Jane Adams

The picture shows the cover of The Greenway, a woman's face highlighted dramatically looks out over shadowy people. The book is held in Lisa's right hand.

The Storygraph key words: fiction crime mystery thriller dark mysterious tense fast-paced

My version: British rural mystery. My usual love. Ugh. It was awful. But yippie! Another book out of the house.

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton 

The picture is cover of Ghosts. Primarily a sort of Tiffany-blue with a pencil line image of a lady laying on her front scrolling on a phone. The books is held in Lisa's right hand.

I’m not sure where this came from. Wait – yes I do, I ordered a sweet reads box and it was in that. Anyway, definitely something I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

The Storygraph key words: fiction contemporary emotional slow-paced

My summary: A comedy sort of; a realistic story also. A romance. Definitely not my usual genre. Gosh I loved it. Seriously. Not enough that I would read it again or anything so this one went off to SWCBNOF and there we go, three for three out of the house.

Book Diversions Politics Reading Review

Bookish – Sept 2022

So back in August I said I would finish the library books I already had and then focus on reading some of the actual books I already own.

Because my father teased me in a dream lol

So I finished up:

Introducing Feminism by Cathia Jenainati & Judy Groves

The Truth Will Set You Free – but first it will piss you off by Gloria Steinem

Introducing Feminism was published in 2007 and is a good overview of historical stuff. Also reminded quite clearly that non-white, non-affluent individuals are often relegated to the margins/footnotes. Though there is a fair bit of Black American feminism reflected here there is very little Indigenous or non-western.

Steinem’s book was published in 2019. It’s hard not to feel her energy coming off the page. It’s mostly quotes and little vignettes so a quick read though lots to stop and think about. I would like to read more by her. Any thoughts on where I should start?

Then there was:

This Book is Feminist by Jamia Wilson and Aurelia Durand

Published in 2021 it’s meant for teens and I’m fine with that. I still learned a lot and it was nice to have everything clearly set out without assuming the reader knew it.

There were some good definitions in here including intersectional feminism, womanism, and more. And a constant reminder to look at who is being left out.

And the last of my own little mini intro course on feminism:

Amplify – Graphic Narratives of Feminist Resistance

By Norah Bowman & Meg Braem with art by Dominique Hue, this 2019 book was published by UofT Press and tells the story of 7 different people / groups and how they can be seen as feminist.

This started with the premise that the willful taking on of a feminist political identity is itself an act of resistance. It told the stories (very briefly) of Pussy Riot, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Idle No More, Harsha Walia, and others.

The backlash to feminism always seems to come from conservative governments and their innate fear of change. And just outright selfishness: the fear that giving more to others will mean less for them. Sigh.

as an aside this little exploration of feminism was brought about by trying to read Nora Loreto’s

Take Back the Fight

I’m not gonna lie. It was a tough slog. For how amazing it is to read her stuff on Twitter and what she wrote for The Maple and Chatelaine etc. this was hard. I couldn’t do it. One of the rare times I said “enough, I’m not getting anything out of this especially for the effort going in.” So I took a step back and started from the basics.

And then I picked three random books from A authors, which I’ll write about soon… thanks. love you.

Around the house Diversions Reading

Bookish – Aug 2022

Okay – so I actually had a dream while at the cottage where my dad made fun of my attempts at decluttering by asking when I was going to get around to reading the books I owned instead of reading the ones from the library.

Seriously. *insert eye roll here* I tease myself in my dreams!

So my goal for September is to read three books from A authors on my shelf.

On August 26 I made all my current library holds “inactive.” Well, except for a book on beadwork that the library is still looking for and Vol 1 of The Sandman because Toby is making me watch it on Netflix (and as of Aug 26, I was number 142 on the wait list for 10 copies).

I will finish the ones I have out now and the book of poetry I picked up on August 27 and then no more library books until it feels right.

Birds Diversions In the Great Outdoors Reading

Pigeons – part 1

So one of the books I took out is a little kids book so that was a quick read 😉 Still taught me something though – which wasn’t hard as I really didn’t know anything about pigeons – because I didn’t know that there is no real “breeding season” for pigeons, they can lay eggs at any time of the year.

Pigeon - City Safari
Yes, indeed, I read and I learned!

Q has a “common birds of the GTA” brochure and it says the pigeons in Toronto are mostly rock pigeons. He told me this fact while reading the Pigeons book pictured above – and then tried to argue that this counted as his “reading obligation” for the day. We’ll see about that!

Q calls pigeons “street chickens.” I think he must have heard that on youtube somewhere. Toby calls them flying rats. I mean, it’s not really their fault but I guess they have a bad rap.

This next book (also for ahem, middle schoolers) said they’re sometimes called feathered rats!


I learned that pigeons were once the symbol of Aphrodite – the Greek Goddess of Love.

But the shocking news to me was that pigeons are not native to North America! Although they can be found everywhere in the world (except Antarctica), they descended from the rock dove (columba livia) a species native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa. So really – the pigeon’s we see? They’re all feral (wiki: – have I mentioned lately how much I love wikipedia? I really should have just started there but I really didn’t want to just rehash the wiki entry I wanted to see what I could learn; and it has three citations for calling pigeons “rats with wings.” Sigh)


There are almost 300 different species of pigeons! And most live in the tropics – I mean, given the option, wouldn’t you?

How lovely do these birds look? The Nicobar Pigeon pic came from a blog I found:

The Spice Imperial Pigeon is from


There are some common features of most pigeons/doves (apparently doves = small, pigeon = big; I’m just gonna use pigeon from now on): short necks and small heads; straight, narrow beaks.

And most eat small seeds and fruit though they are very adaptable to whatever can be found in their area. The mostly eat off the ground so long grasses and high crops are not their friends.


The colours can certainly vary – even among the feral pigeons. Here in Canada they’re mostly grey with some white, black or reddish/brown thrown in. In Hawaii though feral pigeons are mostly white; in England, mostly black.

I can’t really tell the difference between a UK and a Canadian pigeon though the Hawaiian one is pretty nifty:

I had forgotten that squab was pigeon. White Kings and Giant Runts are two breeds that are bred for food – an adult Giant Runt can weigh more than a kilo! And up to 1.4kg for a “prime example” (uhm 2.5 to 3 pounds-ish) A regular city feral pigeon is usually less than half a kilo. Or less than a pound.

Other breeds were selected for speed, or acrobatics – no seriously –

Then there are the breeds selected for looks – show pigeons! Fantails, Jacobins, Frillbacks, Capuchines and more. Here’s a screen shot after I googled “show pigeons.”

And then there are the homing pigeons: Aristotle wrote about pigeons being used as messengers and, according to Patent, the news of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo arrived in England by carrier pigeon four days earlier than by horse and ship!

It turns out pigeons really are that smart. They actually do recognize the people who feed them – and some have even learned about impressionism!

Staying together in a flock is for protection – hard for a predator to target an individual. And when they’re all eating together, they’re picking their own stuff and leaving the rest for the others. So if you can picture a bag of bird seed: some will only eat the little dark round bits, another the long light coloured stuff, a third the huge seeds and so on. So they don’t compete against every other pigeon for their food. They kinda share it around. Equitable birds!

Okay, so the kid’s books taught me a whole bunch of nifty stuff. Now to see what I can get out of the other ones…

Book Diversions Reading Review

Bookish – May 2022

What I read in May 2022

I finished three books in May.

Celia’s Song by Lee Maracle

The StoryGraph key words: fiction fantasy emotional reflective slow-paced

I really enjoyed this book. Maracle has a terrific way with words – I find myself transported to another place.

A grandfather in the story said: It is about trust. Talking kept us trusting. Trusting one another secures our sense of hope in the future. Silence kills hope. We have to be vulnerable I think in order to build bonds with other people; to strengthen our relationships. This goes together with listening more too – actually paying attention to what someone is saying without already thinking about what you’re going to say in response.

Jameela Green Ruins Everything by Zarqa Nawaz

The StoryGraph key words: fiction contemporary adventurous challenging reflective medium-paced

Another book that I thought was terrific. It’s a good book for when you want a funny, touching story about accidentally going off to join a terrorist group called Dominion of the Islamic Caliphate and Kingdoms, you know, D.I.C.K. 🤣

Really well done I thought and a good read. And a Canadian author – the standard born in the UK, grew up in Toronto and now lives in Regina type Canadian!

Meetings with Remarkable Trees by Thomas Pakenham

The StoryGraph key words: nonfiction nature informative slow-paced

I cannot remember where I heard about this book. Perhaps the Completely Arbortrary podcast? Or the nature drawing workshop put on by the Lahontan Audubon Society (from Nevada!)? Or maybe the facebook group for Completely Arbortrary fans? I just can’t remember. Sometimes I save notes on the library’s website when I put a book on hold but I didn’t this time – but I wanted to shout out this very nifty feature too.

Anyway, this is literally a book of tree portraits. A sort of world tour of trees that are all found in the UK. I learned that English people really really like yew trees. And there are a lot of really old trees there. And really really old trees can be really really big – like a girth of 10 metres or more! I would imagine that we have some fairly old trees here too but I cannot recall seeing any that are so large. Mind you, I’ve been limited to Toronto for the last couple of years.

As an example, though I found this oak on the BBC online :

The trunk is 13.4m around!

It’s a fun book if you are a little obsessed with trees – but also a huge reminder of the remarkable wealth held in the hands of a small number of people (lots of the trees are on “private” lands and so a bit of a nose-crinkling happened while I was reading.)