Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Confession of a Dyslexic Bibliophile - eBooks, Regional Rights and More

Confession of a Dyslexic Bibliophile - eBooks, Regional Rights and More

I love reading. In fact it is one of my favourite things to do. I have loved reading since I really learned to the summer between grade 7 and grade 8. You see I have a dual form of dyslexia, it was diagnosed in grade 2 and did testing every 4 years until I entered university to keep up my special needs status. I wrote a piece a number of years back called How I Became a Bibliophile, From Dyslexic to Addict. It was part of a column I wrote in Imprint my university student's paper, called Confessions of a Bibliophile. But I have discovered over the last few years that I really prefer reading electronically. 2011 was the first year I read more eBooks than Physical books. With eBooks I love that I can change the font, the background colour, the spacing. And more. All of these things make it easier for me to read. I also love reading across numerous devices, my phone, my tablet, and my computer. I have a stick of about 18 books on my bedside table I want to read, these books are not available electronically. But I tend not to get around to reading them. There was a second pile on my dresser that I had moved from the bed side table last year. Now I have two stacks, of books I wish to read. One book sat on this pile for almost a year, when the eBook came out I read it twice in a week. The first time I raced through it in two days, and the second I took more time with it. And ended up giving away the physical copy to a friend. I really wanted to read this book, and had started it a few times, but because it was physical and upstairs in the bed room I just kept not getting to it. 

So in this day and age I am surprised when books come out and are only available in a physical format. Or eBooks come out but are only available in the US, UK, or Australia. There are so many authors I love and their books are just not widely available in North America, or if they are only in a physical volume. Now do not get me wrong, there is no shortage of books for me to read. I currently have almost 200 books in my eBook waiting list and close to 40 physical books awaiting a read. But I get so frustrated when eBooks are geo-locked to specific regions.  I probably read 30 eBooks to every physical book at this point in time. The tipping point was a few years ago and the gap just keeps widening.  

Of course it is not like a decade ago where I had a whole table full and covered of books on the go. They now all sit snugly on my phone and my place is kept on the web and I can jump device to device and pick up right where I was. 

Statistics Books Read By Year:
380 - 2017 
272 - 2016 
177 - 2015 
130 - 2014 
88 -  2013
176 - 2012 
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996

I started keeping track of the books I finished reading in October of 1995, and movies watched in January of 1996. I have lists for:

All Books Read by Year
Favorite Books By Year
All Movies and TV Series Watched by Year
Favorite Movies and TV Series by Year

I also do a Top Ten List of books each quarter and for the year. They can be found here. I was also asked to pick a Top Ten Catholic Books I have read, you can find that list here (and occasionally I add a note when I come across something exceptional.)

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Mission Libertad - Lizette M Lantigua

Mission Libertad
Lizette M Lantigua
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819849007
eISBN 9780819849120

This book was on a list of Catholic Teen Fiction that I came across last year. The list highlighted 30 books over thirty days, and included books by authors I had encountered and read before like Corinna Turner, T.M. Gaouette, Lesley Wahl, and Susan Peak. It also had some authors I was familiar with but had not yet read; like Stephanie Engelman, Theresa Linden, A.J. Cattapan and more. In total there were 12 authors profiled across the 30 books. And the list included this book, by Lizette Lantigua. As of the writing of this review I have read 22 of the 30 books highlighted on that list. All the books have received 4 or 5 stars. And I have discovered some amazing authors.

I had no idea what to expect when I began reading this book. And maybe it is the font, or the coloring on the cover but with my dyslexia I had misread the title of the book and held off reading the books until I had read books by almost all of the other authors. I read the title as Mission Libtard, and it took a while before I actually saw the correct title. The book was written with the preteen and early teen market in mind. But I believe it is a powerful story that any reader could appreciate.

This book is a mix of action, adventure, and spiritual quest. The story is tightly written. Once I started reading I could barely put the book down. The historical part of the book, about people who escaped Cuba and went to the United States is a powerful story. This book looks back at a time when Americans accepted refugees and did what they could to help them and protect them. The Cuban spies in this book, I am sure mirrored real life. And the fear of reprisals for family members left behind.

It is the inspiring story of Luisito, a young teenage boy who escapes Communist Cuba in 1979 with his parents. Being the age that I am I remember stories about escapes like his from the news and social studies classes in school. I really appreciated the aspect of the story, where this young man comes to embrace the faith of his grandmother, a faith that had been repressed in Cuba when he left the country. Also the part of the story about smuggling a Catholic relic out of Cuba to bring inspiration and faith to the Miami, and entire US Cuban population was masterfully told.

I really enjoyed this book and the look back to this point in time in North American culture and Catholic history. I look forward to my son being a little older and rereading this book with him. And if more books become available by the author I would love to read them.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Healing from Heaven - Suzanne R. Jamail

Healing from Heaven
Suzanne R. Jamail
Proving Press
Enroute Books and Media
ISBN 9781633371521
eISBN 9781633371545

I will be transparent here. I was a little apprehensive when approaching this book. In fact, if it had not been for the fact of an endorsement by Dr. Kevin Vost I likely would have passed on giving it a read. But a number of people in my circles, and authors I know were talking about this book, so I decided to give it a try. The book was not exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting amore detailed exposition, but the book is more a collection of thoughts, pensée's or reflections. The book can easily be devoured in a single sitting. But like other collections like this one, it is better to go back and forth, flip to a page, or work through it again from time to time.

The sections in the book are:

Be Yourself
The Unknown
Be Like Children
Choose to Enjoy Life
You Are Loved
Accepting What Is
The Importance of Friendships
Dont Give Up
Think Positively about Your Life
Number Your Day's
It Isn't Fair
Be a Blessing
Think of Yourself Less
Are You There, God?
Life is a Journey and God Holds the Map
Let Go of the Past
Celebrating or Complaining
Living His Purpose
Savor Your Steps
Dare to Dream
Declare Your Dreams

The description of the book is: "This is my private journal, written during a difficult period of my life. The economy was poor, business was slow. The recession ravaged my private practice as a clinical psychologist. Thrown overboard into a sea of the unknown and the unstable, I fell into unrest and was plagued with thoughts of "going under," but in my heart, I believed my situation would turn around. In 2013, my office building finally sold. It was located in Flint, Michigan, the crime capital of the United States. It sold for the price of a fully loaded compact car. The financial loss only served to fuel the tidal wave of dis-empowering thoughts that tormented me. Giving up wasn't an option, while it frequently crossed my mind. Surely heaven understood my condition. So, I decided to say yes to life expecting God's favor to lift me above my personal challenges." The book is open an honest. As mentioned this book reminded me of others I have read over the years. In many ways it could be a continuation of the stoic tradition. It reminded me of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, or Life's Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. but with a very clear Christian, Catholic focus. These 40 reflections span a wide variety of topics, and offer serious insight into life, and trusting God. Each reflection is also accompanied by a piece of artwork. The artwork spans from 1500-1885, with the majority from Gustave Doré and the majority of his from the year1868.

Dr. Jamail in the introduction states: "A reader may think all of this comes from my unconscious mind, the vault of dreams, intuitions, and buried beliefs. I don't think so. I believe my book came from our Creator because I asked God to give me a new assignment. At that point, I believe I formed a creative alliance with the Holy Spirit, who spoke directly to my heart." And to be honest that is between the author and God. But I do believe that these meditations will benefit anyone who gives them a read. I know that I am likely to go back and go over them again, at least a few more times.

Three sample reflections from the book are:

Be Yourself

Focus on your unique strengths. God wants you to feel good about yourself just as you are. You are unique. You were made as you are on purpose. You have everything you need to fulfill your purpose. God doesn't make mistakes. The final chapter of your life hasn't been written. Keep a good attitude. Be patient. God is molding you.

In general, you have been a busy person. You are excessively disciplined, perfectionistic, and conscientious. You fear being found inadequate. The unknown is terrifying. Why is this happening? Others are unaware of your plight, for they see you as a super man or woman. But you are ordinary. You are ordinary. The false self, the persona you fabricated to be affirmed and accepted by significant others is being peeled away. You fear intimidation, rejection, and punishment; your outside world can't help you.

Mastering your demons through your intellect isn't possible. It is time to face your true nature. You have something to offer the world no one else can. Your identity is ego-oriented and the dismantling of your life only serves to exacerbate your teetering self-regard. You are thirsty for God, desperate in search of your own true uniqueness. You are on the potter's wheel. God is the potter and you are the clay. Through your trials, He is refining you.


It's easy to have a grateful attitude when life is going smoothly. Challenges, obstacles, and setbacks often trigger a myriad of negative thoughts and emotional symptoms. You feel you are doing something wrong.

You were never promised a smooth journey. But trust God will journey with you. Accept what is. The difficult times will pass. Be cheerful in spirit for God is with you in chaos and calm. Adapt to life with an attitude of gratitude. Dwell on all that is good in your life. Live in appreciation. Heaven knows your needs.


Many of the props have been removed from your life. Of course, this was not of your choosing, but with fewer distractions, you realize you have the essentials to be happy, whole, and to fulfill your life's purpose. You have many small things that make your life wonderful. Your life is being reordered, pruning away the trivial, leaving room for spiritual growth. Placing less importance on contemporary living and self-centered values, you live closer to God. Be more concerned with your message than your money.

As you can see from these samples there is some great content in this book. So give it a chance I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018 - A Reflection

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018 A Reflection

Ordinary time has begun. This is the first Sunday after the feast of the epiphany.  The White vestments from Christmas are put away. We return to green vestments. And the beginning of Lent is just a month away. And after this week, the Sunday Gospel readings move to Mark for the focus of year B.

First Reading Isaiah 1 Samuel 3:3-10, 19
Responsorial Psalm 40 1,3,6-9 Response 7,8
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20
Gospel John 1:35-42

In reading and rereading the above readings in preparation for mass this weekend many thoughts kept coming up. From the first reading the fact that God calls to Samuel three times. But also, that both Samuel and Eli take a few times to realize that God is moving her. And then Samuel responds as Eli has told him to: “Speak, for your servant is listening.”. It made me wonder do I hear God’s voice? Do I listen? Am I willing to listen? Am I willing to follow God’s leadings? I know that God has spoken to me and through me many times in my life. But there are other times where it feels like it has been a long time since I have heard from him. I question is that period of silence because I am not listening? Or is it because God is not speaking?

From there we go to the response in the responsorial psalm: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.” This theme ties so well into the first reading. Saying that phrase in response 4 times. Again, it calls to mind the question of ‘do I mean it?’. Will I do his will? Will I seek his leading even over my own wishes?

The last section of this reading always convicts me. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were brought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” I know that the grater passage is talking specifically about fornication and sexual sin. But each time I read this passage I also think about the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, and therefore questions around am I eating right? Am I getting enough sleep? Am I looking after my body so that God can use it? So that I can be the best version of myself? Those are not easy questions to answer, and as in many areas of life it feels like 3 steps forward and then two steps back. But I must keep moving forward. As I try and teach my children it is not about being perfect, but giving a perfect effort. 

And that brings us to todays gospel. We see Andrew and Simon Peter start following Jesus. And that is still our job today we are to be followers of Jesus. And as Jesus said people should know we are his followers based on how we live. So, learn to live well. And may the Lord pour out his spirit upon you and strengthen you to give him all area’s of your life, and to listen to his voice and follow it.

Related Posts:

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Product Review - Organic Non-GMO Cacao Powder - Viva Naturals

Organic Non-GMO Cacao Powder
2 lb
Viva Naturals

Over the last year I have tried almost 20 products from Viva Naturals as they have expanded into the Canadian Market Place earlier this year. Overall I have been happy with each product I have tried, and many have replaced the previous brand I was using for a similar product. Viva Natural's have been around since 2011, previously as Viva Labs, south of the border. Viva Naturals is working to become an all-around health and wellness company.  They have a wide product range that includes; nutritional supplements, organic food, and beauty products to essentials oils. Their goal is to help you reach your wellness goals. And thankfully now they are expanding into the Canadian market place, with this and other great quality products. I have had the advantage of receiving a number of their products to try at the same time. And I have used many of them by themselves or in combination with each other. I have been impressed with each of them, but enough about Viva Naturals as a company and on to reviewing this specific product the Non-GMO Cacao Powder.  

How I tested this product:
In Smoothies
Breakfast Bowls
Hot Mug of Cacao
On top of frozen yogourt
In Cookies

Product Specifics:
QAI Certified Organic
Non-GMO Project Certified
Source of Protein, Fiber, Magnesium and Fatty Acids
High in Antioxidants
Bold Chocolate Flavor

Great taste

Size of bag
Self-sealing bag

This is a good product. But it is a large bag. After almost a year I still have a good amount left. And the self sealing bag does not hold up over time and it needs to be moved to a different container. But both of those concerns are minor.

As I have stated before over the last few months I have had the opportunity to try 17 different products from Viva Naturals. I have been impressed with them all! This is a brand I trust! These products are now available in Canada currently through the Amazon Marketplace. This is a good product at good price, looking forward to trying more products as they make their way to the Canadian Market.

Viva Naturals Reviews:
Supplements and Nutritional:
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 16 Ounce
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32 Ounce
Organic Ground Flax Seed
Organic Goji Berries
Maca Powder
Coconut Flour: Non-GMO and Gluten-Free
Royal Quinoa Whole Grain
Chia Seeds
Organic Raw Cacao Nibs

Cacao Powder
Krill Oil 1250 milligram
Sweet Almond Oil 16 fl oz
Argon Oil 4oz
Maca Root 500 milligram 
Glutathione 500mg
Vitamin C 1000 milligrams

Essential Oil Difusers:

Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 300ml, Ash Zen Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Pine Tranquil Model
Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser 400ml, Espresso Tranquil Model