Happy National Book Lovers Day

Books are the best. Truly. Better than wine. Better than running water. Aside from my family, there is nothing I love more than reading. My bookshelf is stuffed with everything from Chemistry textbooks & Sociology journals to Berenstain Bears picture books. My e-reader is jam-packed with my favourite Urban Fantasy & Romance series. As a shy, socially awkward introvert, meeting a fellow book lover is practically a transcendent experience. Books teach us so much – from new languages to DIY plumbing, empathy or self-confidence – there is nothing we can’t learn from the right book.

I’ve noticed a lot of folks on social media talking today about the books that have changed their lives after a single read. I doubt there is anyone who loves books that couldn’t point to that *one* book that forever changed the lens through which they view the world (for me it’s Frank Herbert’s Dune and Carol Shields’ Unless). However, I want to make a case for the everyday books that don’t make your head spin and shake the foundations of your beliefs. Instead, I want to celebrate all the so-called ‘forgettable’ books I’ve glommed over years without needing to debrief and decompress afterward.

A lot of romance readers are super-readers, consuming more books in a month than most people read in a lifetime. Before having kids, I easily read over 250 books a year. This high level of consumption is just one of the reasons the romance genre is denigrated. There’s a pervasive assumption that ‘formulaic’ romance novels can’t be in any way profound and therefore are less worthy than other literature.

This is, of course, utter bullsh*t.

Like all genres, there are romance novels that can change your life, and ones that simply entertain you for a few hours. The thing is, even the ‘fluffy’ books that I inhale faster than a plate of brownies have changed my life for the better. These books mean I can escape the real world where women’s emotions and desires are looked down upon and immerse myself in a world where they are constantly celebrated. Where love is a valuable priority. I experience different cultures, careers, personalities and emotions. I surround myself with adventure, opportunity, and happy endings. This has had a huge impact on my sense of self-worth and my ability to empathize with others.

While it’s easy dismiss a lot of romance novels as forgettable, their collective impact on me and probably millions of other readers around the world, is is anything but.


Rio 2016 – some fun facts about Olympic women’s soccer

The 2016 Olympics officially kick off today, but the first games of the women’s soccer tournament actually started a couple days ago, and already the women are kicking butt and breaking records – three records, to be exact!

Team Canada’s Janine Beckie scored the fastest goal in Olympic history by tapping in a pass from Christine Sinclair in just 20 seconds in their game against Australia. Unfortunately, Canada also set a record for the fastest red card when Shelina Zadorsky was ejected in the 18th minute. Still, my beloved Team Canada managed to beat Australia 2-0 in a dramatic match that had me chewing off my fingernails. That same day, Brazil’s Cristiane set a record for the most goals scored by a player in women’s Olympic soccer, bringing her total up to 13 (tied with Denmark’s Sophus Nielsen, who set the men’s record in 1912).

Here’s a few other interesting facts about women’s soccer:

  1. Women’s soccer was only introduced into the summer Olympics in 1996. Men’s soccer has been included since 1900.
  2. The US Women’s National Team has won gold four times.
  3. In the men’s competition, the players must be 23 and under, with three players allowed to be older. No such age restrictions exist for the women’s game, meaning the top players in the world are currently competing.

What sports are you most looking forward to this Olympics?