100 Books I Love

books

David Bowie (RIP) 100 favourite books are making the round of the internet and when I read it my first thought (after admiration for a fellow voracious reader with excellent taste) was that I wasn’t sure I could name 100 of my favourites, at least not without help. I adore books and reading and completely agree with Bowie when he says that his library “is his one treasured possession he would take to a deserted island” but ‘favourite’ is tricky. Favourite right now? Or favourite when I read it? Does it include excellent, important books that I’m glad exist and that I enjoyed reading for their quality of prose and thinking or just books I love? Does it include my favourite reference books? My most loved cookbooks?

Anyways, this is what I came up with:

1. The Passion, Jeanette Winterson
2. Nights at the Circus, Angela Carter
3. Like, Ali Smith
4. On the Road, Keroac
5. Euphoria, Lily King
6. The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
7. Ulysses, Joyce
8. The Waves, Woolf
9. Missed Connections, Sophie Blackall
10. Orlando, Woolf
11. Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
13. The Lacuna, Kingsolver
14. The Poisonwood Bible, Kingsolver
15. The Waste Land, T.S.Eliot
18. Fall on your Knees, Anne Marie MacDonald
19. Hotel World, Ali Smith
20. Alligator, Lisa Moore
21. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
22. Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy
23. Slaughterhouse Five, Vonnegut
24. The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
25. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
I didn’t spend a ton of time thinking but that was as far as I got before consulting Goodreads.
28. Poetry of Blake
29. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
30. The Way the Crow Flies, Anne Marie MacDonald
31. Picasso, Stein
33. Atlas of Remote Islands, Judith Schalansky
35. The Odyssey, Homer
36. Island, Huxley (yes, I liked it better than Brave New World)
38. The Hours, Michael Cunningham
39. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
41. Poetry of Neruda
42. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold
43. Written on the Body, Jeanette Winterson
44. Gut Symmetries, Jeannette Winterson
45. The Accidental, Ali Smith (this is my dream book – the one I wish I had written)
46. The Shipping News, Annie Proulx
47. Waiting for the Man, Arjun Basu
49. Little Women, Louisa May Alcot
50. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin
51. The Sandman Series, Neil Gaiman
52. Howl, Ginsberg
53. Rubaiyat, Omar Khayyam
54. Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
55. Three Views of Crystal Water, Katherine Govier
56. The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
57. Catch 22, Joseph Heller
58. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullogh (this was one of the first ‘adult’ books I read)
59. Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
61. Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
62. Othello, Shakespeare
64. Wild, Cheryl Strayed
65. The Apothecary, Maile Malloy
66. The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
67. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein
68. The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
69. A Softer World, Joey Comeau
70. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
71. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
72. Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
73. The World According to Garp, John Irving
74. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving
75. My Favorite Things, Maira Kalman
76. Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich
77. Poetry of Maya Angelou
78. The Sound of the Waves, Yukio Mishima
80. The Tempest, Shakespeare
81.  The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbary
84. Original Bliss, A.L. Kennedy
85. Clouded Leopard, Wade Davis
86. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
87. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Johnathan Safran Foer
Now it’s getting hard…
88. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
89. Poetry of Basho
90. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
91. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
92. Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
93. The Man who Planted Trees, Jean Giono
94. Paradise, A.L. Kennedy
95. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
96. The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
97. Love in the Time of the Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
98. The House of Spirits, Isabelle Allende
99. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
100. A Moveable Feast, Hemmingway

 

In a lot of ways the list is skewed because I love some authors so much that everything they’ve written I like better than most books but I didn’t want the list to be comprised only of Vonnegut, Meg Wolitzer, Ali Smith, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett, Virginia Woolf and Barbara Kingsolver so there you go.

 

Books I haven’t read yet that I think will probably make it:
Books I would have added at other points in my life:
And a few that I just can’t stand:
  • Moby Dick
  • Heart of Darkness
  • DaVinci Code
  • Blindness
  • Infinite Jest
  • A Confederacy of Dunces
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

2015 in Pictures

This has been an ongoing problem since I started blogging in 2001 – I generally have more adventures than time to write about them. But last year was spectacular so I don’t want to forget it. I saw the northern lights for the first time – hanging out on top of a mountain all night in the Yukon – and I narrowly missed seeing the Southern Cross while we were hiking the Inca Trail in Peru. I drove on an ice road and did two speedy drift dives through narrows in BC and Washington. I made it (barely) up to Dead Woman’s Pass at 13,700′ and down to about 130′ underwater to see Gorgonian corals, but most of the summer was spent on the road – either on my motorcycle or camped on the ground beside it. Between commuting, camping with the Rainier Ravens and going on a couple of trips with Matt, I put a lot more miles on my bike than I have in a while (plus met some amazing people) and ventured down the Oregon Coast, near to Mt. Adams, around Crater Lake, over to the Olympic Peninsula and through Joshua Tree National Park.

I also got a job I loved, hit publish on my 500th blog post, made a coffee table, and cooked up an incredible amount of delicious food. I had set a goal for myself of eating less meat last year and inadvertently became a vegetarian again – except for a handful of meals I found I just didn’t want meat. In addition, I’ve been trying to cook as much gluten-free food for Matt so our tastes and dining habits have changed pretty significantly but we still had fun reviewing a lot of cookbooks last year. We ate some truly incredible meals in Lima then closed out the year by buying a home in Seattle and moving into our lovely blue house in the last few weeks of December. Phew! I crossed so many things off my life list that I’m tempted to sit back and take it easy for a while but knowing me that won’t last long.

Here are my favourite photos from 2015:

Dive boat

Egmont

Early in the year (so early I almost forgot), I went on my yearly dive trip to Skookumchuck Narrows – one of my favourite places – with Porpoise Bay Charters and my Vancouver dive crew -some of my favourite people. We revisited all of our favourite sites and had a bit of a more exciting time than we intending surfacing at night in the middle of the channel. Skookumchuck means ‘strong water’ and it’s not a place you want to be too far from shore or the boat. Afterwards we warmed up with port and cheese and the telling of tales.

Yukon

Northern Lights 2

Northern Lights

Yukon

Yukon

I am only beginning to understand the nuances of night photography but what I experienced in Dawson City couldn’t have been captured on film anyways – bright colours streaking and dancing across the sky, then dipping below the horizon only to come back around and surprise you. Most Inuit have some folklore around the northern lights being spirits of the dead playing ball with a walrus head or skull and it was not hard to imagine this at all. One of the most profound experiences of my life.

More photos from the Yukon

Red Irish Lord

Boat Street Cafe

Vegetarian

Austin

Sisters

My sister and I are slowly exploring the US on little city breaks – for my birthday it was Austin and we had an absolute blast. Between cocktails, food trucks, cocktails, live music and more cocktails, there was maybe more laughing than remembering but that’s just fine with me. Next year we’ll go to Memphis, Nashville and Chicago.

Austin

More on Austin

Jellies

Jellies

Riley

Ever since my sister and I went to the Oregon Coast last year, I’ve wanted to take Riley down to play on the beach. Oregon is so civilized that dogs are allowed off leash on all the beaches and there are just no sad dogs to be seen anywhere. Riley literally played until she couldn’t stand up anymore – she looks drunk in this photo! – while Matt and I celebrated our anniversary drinking Champagne on the sand.

More on the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

A few weeks later I was back down on two wheels although I didn’t actually get down to the beach.

More on the Oregon Coast

Field table

Outstanding in the Field

It has been a life dream of mine to go to Outstanding in the Field but I have always put it off because of the expense. Matt surprised me with tickets for my birthday and I can’t say it’s a great deal in terms of value but the food was excellent and we had a lot of fun wandering around the farm and meeting new people.

More on Outstanding in the Field

School of Rock

Matt joined a band program with another friend with ours so for the first time I had the opportunity to see him perform on stage instead of on our couch!

Ravens' campout

Hurricane Ridge

Hot tub

Summer really ramped up in August where I felt like I was on a motorcycle trip every weekend. Lucky me! The Ravens (my motorcycle group) put on a spectacular camp out event where we had about 50 women join overnight to Port Townsend on their bikes. I’ve done some camping on a bike before but certainly not on the Ducati so it was a fun project to get it all loaded up with gear. We camped out in the trees, road up to Hurricane Ridge, went to a drive-in movie, had a hot tub and basically the best time ever. These women are incredible. I can’t wait until next year.

More photos from the Ravens’ Camp Out

the Dream Roll

Dream Roll

Another, larger camp out was happening the following weekend so some friends and I headed down for that and luckily brought our rain gear because that was some of the wettest riding I’ve done in a while. The countryside was beautiful and the roads were amazing but I had to keep reminding myself that it was August and not October. That’s summer in the Pacific Northwest, I suppose!

More photos from the Dream Roll

Painted Hills

Crater Lake

In September some friends and I had planned to ride to Glacier National Park but sections were closed due to snow so we headed south and went to Crater Lake in Oregon instead. It was still incredibly cold on some of the mountain roads and as the roads got dark and full of deer we pulled over earlier than we had intended. The views didn’t disappoint though – the lake is deeply blue and serene and the ring road needs to be done (despite crappy pavement and an abundance of RV’s).

More photos from Crater Lake

Nevada

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Desert

I thought I might have had enough of women’s motorcycle camp outs but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ride through the desert to Babes Ride Out in Joshua Tree (now in its third year, it is one of the inaugural events that are inspiring all the others). Some friends and I flew to Vegas and rented Harley’s – well, I rented a Bonneville but that’s another story – rode down to the campground, pitched tents and then got up and road almost all the way to L.A. on some very sweet roads. In the morning we got up early to ride through the park and take a look at the strange looking Joshua Trees. Amazing trip. Next year Matt and I will go to a co-ed camp out in Moab, Utah.

More photos of Babes Ride Out

Lima

Lima

Lima

Maido

Lima

Cusco

Peru

Sacred Valley

Cusco

Inca Trail

Macchu Pichu

There’s not much I can say about Peru yet…I’m still processing it (and Matt’s still processing photos). We went to Lima to eat and we ate exceptionally well at the 4th, 14th and 44th best restaurants in the world – Astrid y Gaston, Central and Maido – then flew to Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude before hiking over the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Despite all the photos you’ve ever seen, being there is absolutely magical with the clouds coming in and out and hiking for four days to get there made it a prize well deserved.

More photos of Peru

Degan

Finally sitting still, on the stoop of our new home. This winter is going to be a quiet one but here’s to 2016!