Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Thinking this would be a great beach read, I borrowed Beartown from the public library to read on my kindle. (Yes! You can borrow e-books!) Around halfway through, I realized that this was not a light read. The good thing was that I only reached that point by the time I was already home, (yes, I know, I am a slow reader) so no shocking realizations for me while I was enjoying my time at the beach.

OK, so what about this book? It’s about a small town where hockey makes or breaks the town. In one way or another, the sport has affected each person in town, and not everyone necessarily likes hockey or the things that come about because everyone is so invested in hockey.

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What I liked about the book: the social commentary. It’s amazing. You see how a small town acts when it is desperately trying to survive. All they have is hockey, and if their team does well, people will actually want to come to Beartown. But also: you see the nasty parts. You see people who fail to acknowledge mistakes, who pretend there’s nothing wrong when there is clearly something going on. And  when you remember that the book is set in today’s time, you realize how backwards parts of the world can still be in a rapidly progressive world.

It was very late in the night (or shall I say very early in the morning) when I finished this book.  I couldn’t fall asleep because I had to know what happened next. Despite my lack of sleep, I went to work a little too giddy that day because it had been a while since I stayed up almost all night reading a book and I wanted to tell everyone about it.

Bookish plug: The last time I couldn’t sleep because I needed to finish the book was last year when I was reading the Shades of Magic trilogy by Victoria Schwab.

Portlandia ~

One of my favorite cities to visit is Portland, OR because I never feel the pressure to always be doing something. OK, so I’ve only been to Portland twice: first in 2016 and more recently in 2018. Each time I went, I didn’t have the nagging feeling of “oh, I need to do this” or “I must go here.” That’s not to say that Portland is boring, rather, I feel that it speaks more to the easy-going PNW culture that I tend to look upon with such curiosity.

My agenda: coffee, books, and beer. Yep, just those three things. Traveling to Portland is so simple and relaxing. So here I will list my fave places that made my Portlandia weekend:

Continue reading “Portlandia ~”

The Vorrh by Brian Catling

This one took a little longer to read than my usual. Whenever I leave the world of fantasy, it does take me a while to get back into it. Basically: I took longer to get into the book because I needed more time to process what was going on and how the story was being told. Once I figured it all out, the reading went a lot faster until I finished the book and thought, “what? It’s over already?!”

Brian Catling spent a fair amount of time setting up The Vorrh. I liked the way he introduced each character (and there are many) and how I knew which character was which based on the tone of the chapter. Since there were so many things going on (and characters to follow!), I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. Once I familiarized myself with everything though, the story ended too quickly, and I had to decide whether or not to read the sequel already. (I put it off, as I had to read the month’s book club pick.)

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As I mentioned, this is a bit of a slow read. The Vorrh is a place, so there’s a lot of set up involved. It’s a fantasy novel that doesn’t need to include magical wands and spells (swish and flick) to captivate its readers. I brought and read this book while commuting to the office, and I almost missed my stop a few times because the book was so entertaining and because I had to focus so much to not be confused, oops. Pretty excited to read the next installment.

Random bit: I bought the book second-hand, and the previous owner’s (real???) name is Shadow Edwards. Isn’t that a cool sounding name? Maybe I should label my books with “from the library of …” Would that make me legit, too?