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.)

Around the house Diversions Health Politics Reading

June 2022

And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days.

James Russell Lowell

I seem to always love the idea of planning but then, stress hits and my most well-worn response is avoidance. I plan to get things done and then they don’t and the next thing I know it’s bedtime and well, that’s about it really.

Yesterday (June 4) there was a “Daily Jay” on the Calm app about “time confetti“; about how little things add up to disrupt your plans and goals and break up your day and cause irritation. Prioritizing is definitely not something I am good at – but it’s comforting to know I am not alone and that there are so many external factors influencing this that I have no control over at all. Thankfully my work is one of those places that really is not there when it’s not supposed to be there. I don’t get messages on my personal phone etc. So that’s terrific. Work is also flexible enough that when I need to take breaks during the day, that’s fine, the work day doesn’t have to be precisely 9 to 5 but also understands that work is not all consuming.

white background with lots and lots of little coloured pieces of paper
confetti 😉

Okay – so back to trying to plan, think about what’s important, not necessarily going off on all sorts of new and fun directions. I mean, new and fun directions are great. But I don’t have to follow the path RIGHTNOWTHISVERYINSTANT. I can make a note, and follow up later.

One of the ways I thought I would do this would be to think of big themes for the month and if something pops up that fits into the theme – yippie! and if not, and it looks cool, I can make a note and maybe use that to come up with another month’s theme.


There are some easy ways for my brain to group things and also a few topics I want to learn more about which themselves have lots of subheadings so the big overall groups are:





SELF focus for June:

❶ schedule – a day

❷ mindfulness – being present

❸ health – menopause

Schedule: I’m trying to figure out what I would like “a day” to look like. Three different days actually: in-office work day, WFH work day, non-work day.

Mindfulness – just something I’m always working on; whether it’s a bit of reading about stoicism, the Calm app, yoga. Something.

Health – read the damn menopause book. That time is creeping up slowly but surely and I really want to be sure I have some sort of idea about what’s going on. We don’t talk about this stuff enough and I need to learn.

Also move more. I have an appointment with a specialist about weight management and stuff also.

OTHERS focus for June:

❶ reading – neurodiversity

❷ support – volunteering? politics?

The idea here is to not lose myself in my own little bubble. The Ontario election annoyed me to no end – the lowest turn out in years, maybe ever? WTAF?!? The cons killed people during the pandemic no less than if they had pulled a trigger on a gun and you will not be able to convince me otherwise. And they were rewarded with another majority? @#(P YPVDLI but rather than retreat to the safety of my world with only my people in it I want to do more.

Concrete tasks here:

① deliver egg cartons to the food bank

② bring black take out containers to the farmers’ market for re-use

③ chat with Laura about how to _do something_ about the politics stuff that’s frustrating me

④ read this: recommended by a friend:

Picture of book titled NeuroTribes

HOME focus for June:

❶ minimalism – organize/declutter

We live in a fairly large house. The problem with this of course is that we acquire enough stuff to fill the large house. And then some. This will really probably be the focus every month for HOME but key tasks for June:

① Lisa’s Stuff – organize jewellery; what do I want to keep; offer the rest to family / friends and then sell / donate what’s left

② Q’s Stuff – a big goal for the entire summer is to get everything out of Q’s rooms and really clean and maybe repaint them etc. So we’ve got to start whittling his stuff down too

③ Art – hang more of the art I love and offer up the stuff we no longer adore. This has already started which is great.

NATURE focus for June:

❶ birds – pigeons

❷ tree – northern red oak

Y’all know I’m weird right? I wanna learn more about birds and trees but I keep going off on all sorts of tangents and, while fun, it’s really not sinking in. So, thanks to a random chat with the wonderful Abby, I fixated on pigeons for June. I know nothing about pigeons but they’re everywhere. So I’m gonna learn about pigeons.

A stack of four books about pigeons
Sometimes I wonder what the librarians might be thinking…

Same with trees. There are a bazillion trees out there. So overwhelming to know where to start. But we just planted Tom in the fall – Tom is the name we gave to our northern red oak (Quercus rubra) – so that seemed like a good place to start.

Tom – June 5 taken from the balcony