I have a jam-packed edition of Kate’s Favourite Things for you this month, because when I’m on holidays I have the time to soak a lot up – especially books! To save time and space, I’ll spare you a personal review of each book (I’m linking to Chapters so you can find them), but rest assured that if it’s on this list, I recommend it! (I read – and abandoned – a few which didn’t make the list, so believe me: I am discerning!)


The Vacationers – Emma Straub (I didn’t like the characters at the beginning but ended up enjoying the book)

At the Water’s Edge – Sara Gruen (author of Water For Elephants)

The Good Girl – Mary Kubica (a great thriller – see how long it takes you to figure out the ending!)

In the Unlikely Event – Judy Blume (though I wasn’t as crazy about it – or her – as some readers are)

We Are Not Ourselves – Matthew Thomas (long, but so worth it)

Where They Found Her – Kimberly McCreight (twisting and turning suspense)

The Hand That Feeds You – A.J. Rich (another fantastic suspense story)


Up Ghost River – Edmund Metatawabin (memoir which includes native residential school horror – not easy to read, but important)

Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job, Kill It In Your Career, Rock Social Media  – Aliza Licht (DKNY PR Girl)

I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time – Laura Vanderkam

A few of points I loved from that one:

  • When looking at life balance, think 168 hours, not 24 (i.e. how does your whole week look, not just one day?)
  • Data shows that people claim to work more hours than they do (honest overestimation or exaggeration?), which does no favour to women eyeing their fields, being given the impression that there’s truly not enough time to work and have a family
  • Vanderkam makes a great point about being “strategically seen”. With home obligations you may not be able to go to every happy hour or conference, but it’s an investment in your career, especially personal relationships, to make yourself available occasionally – even if it requires a babysitter or juggling of other commitments
  • “Whatever you do, make time for people, and the investment will come back to reward you down the line.”
  • We live in “a world that views sleep deprivation as a sign of importance”. Not me. If you are not ill or responsible for the personal nighttime care of another human being, get your sleep. It’s more important than anything else.


Inside Out (in theatres, family – you’ve probably already seen it)

Minions (in theatres, family – I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. Entertaining and lots of historical references for the adults to pick up on)

Trainwreck (in theatres, DO NOT take the kids)

Woman In Gold (pay per view – this one was very moving)


Fitbit bracelets

While the students who gave me Chapters gift cards at the end of the year were probably envisioning that I would use them for books, I actually picked up some brightly-coloured Fitbit bracelets so I could take off the blah-looking standard bracelet and give my fitness some punch! ($34.95 for set of three, shown above)

Super Genius Reading 1 (Game)

This is the only freebie I’m recommending this month. One of a line of educational card games made by Blue Orange, Super Genius Reading 1 is a learning tool for parents and teachers to use. This one (in a durable little box) focuses on Dolch sight words, and comes with instructions for four different variations of the game, which can be also be adapted for different numbers of players. My girls absolutely LOVED it (I think the fact that I sat down and played it with them for review purposes may have increased their motivation) and my seven year old asks for it often. I will definitely be using it as a fun way for kids in my class to practice their sight words this year, and in fact I wish I had enough for multiple groups to play at the same time. (You can also get other reading games, as well as addition and multiplication – perfect if your child’s teacher has suggested they work on any of these skills.)
I hope there was something here to interest you this month! Now I have to get back to my reading and movie-watching!

Disclosure: Super Genius Reading 1 was sent to me for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.

2 comments on “Kate’s Favourite Things – August 2015”

  1. I'll have to check out these books. Thanks Kate!

    I stopped reading "In the Unlikely Event"… It reminded me of what I didn't like about her Margaret book from back in the day.

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