Recent Reads and Golden Finds

Sunflower and bees.

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #37! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a week of mostly sunny days with thunders, lightning and rain on Tuesday night. Daytime high temperatures ranged from 22C to 27C (72F to 81F) although cooler in the morning and evening. The parks are still full of green trees and beautiful flowers like the flowers I feature in this post.

It was also the week before Canada’s Federal Election. Election day is on September 20. I went to cast my vote first thing in the morning on one of the advance poll days. There was no line-up. It felt good to get this important action item done.

One of my neighbours called and asked me to go for a walk with her. At 80+ years of age and living alone, B is active and sharp as a tack. She talked, I listened and we did a 3.2 km (2 miles) walk. She’d like to walk with me again next week.

The rest of the week went well. I cycled most mornings, saw herons at a conservation area, took several walks, played disc golf twice, completed my mind and body exercises, chatted with my family and friends, and did house chores, reading and writing.

Recent Reads

I’m pleased to contribute to the #WhatsOnYourBookShelf challenge, co-hosted by four lovely bloggers Donna, Sue, Jo and Debbie.

I use the Toronto Public Library 2021 Reading Challenge categories to read widely and discover new books, authors, and genres. You can see the full list of books I’ve read and the categories I’ve met so far this year on my Books in 2021 page at the top of my blog.

My recent reads by author’s last name include:

  1. The Outlander – Gil Adamson
  2. Lock & Key – Sarah Dessen
  3. The Giver of Stars – Jojo Moyes
  4. Lily and the Octopus – Steven Rowley
  5. Peace by Chocolate – Jon Tattrie (non-fiction)
  6. The One We Fell In Love With – Paige Toon

I was pleased to discover Jon Tattrie and Paige Toon who were new to me. If I were to rate this batch of books, on a 5-star scale, I’d give 5 stars to Peace By Chocolate, 4.5 stars to The Giver of Stars and 4 stars to the other books. I linked the book titles to GoodReads.

While both The Giver of Stars and Peace by Chocolate are excellent stories of human resilience, compassion, kindness, love, family, friendship and community, I give an extra 0.5 point to Peace By Chocolate because it’s a true story of a family of Syrian refugees who settled in a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada.

The book is an easy read at about 200 pages. Does chocolate play a role in the story? Yes, Peace by Chocolate ships worldwide (this is not an affiliated link).

Golden Finds

Inspired by Cee’s Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC#14) and Terri’s Sunday Stills Colour Challenge – Harvest Gold or Citrine, I took photos of a few golden bronze art objects and flowers that are in the gardens.

Mural by unknown artist.
Mural by unknown artist.
Marlin sculpture by Andrew Posa, 1987.
Marlin sculpture by Andrew Posa, 1987.
U.V. Ceti by Andrew Posa.
U.V. Ceti sculpture by Andrew Posa, “Dedicated to Edward Isaac Richmond, architect, 1908-1982. A kind man who shared his love of beauty.”
'Cherokee Sunset' Back-eyed Susan flowers.
Black-eyed Susan flowers.
Citrine Coreopsis flower.
An Autumn Beauty sunflower.
An ‘Autumn Beauty’ Sunflower is a showy mixture of colours including golden yellow, bronze, brown, and burgundy.

Shared with #LifeThisWeek.

So how did your week go? What’s on your bookshelf?

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100 thoughts on “Recent Reads and Golden Finds

  1. Denyse Whelan Blogs September 17, 2021 / 8:04 am

    Lovely catch up Natalie. I loved that you and your neighbour got to go for that walk. My Dad, 97, was a great walker and would always enjoy that with a friend. Sadly he is dependent on his walker now and becoming quite vision impaired but he still “gets outside” at least once a day. Your art in public places was so good to see and the flowers too. I have my post ready for Sunday Stills and have relied heavily on nature. Good going to get in and vote early. Denyse


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 5:42 pm

      Kudos to your Dad who still gets outside at least once a day. My neighbour is an active person. She said the issue is as she ages, her friends keep dying so unless she makes new friends, her social circle gets smaller and smaller. I volunteer to check in on my older and living alone neighbours during the pandemic. I usually do it by phone. She took the initiative to request a walk together. We have another walk planned this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Denyse Whelan Blogs September 23, 2021 / 4:50 am

        Thank you for sharing your post as part of Monday’s Life This Week. I do enjoy seeing my blogging friends’ pop in with a post to share and a comment too. Always appreciated. Next week, the optional prompt is View. I hope to see you there too. Take care, Denyse.


        • Natalie September 23, 2021 / 9:31 am

          Thank you, Denyse. I hope to see you soon. Have a great day!


  2. Maria September 17, 2021 / 8:13 am

    Those temperatures sounds lovely. I don’t need it to ever get warmer than that. It sounds like you had a great, well balanced week. I like how you always make time for nature and exercise, as well as good books. Wonderful! At the moment, the rest of this semester I reckon, I’ll mostly read school books about children with special needs. Maybe I should add some other books as well 🙂 Thank you for the coffee!


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 5:55 pm

      I like the current temperatures, too, Maria. I spend my 24 hours/ day on: Health (morning), home (afternoon), leisure (evening) and sleep (night). It works for me so far. The type of books you read aligns with your current career and studies. Maybe you’ll have time for leisure reading during school break or holidays or when your children are older. When I was busy at work, I used to read humour books or comics for fun and de-stress. Thank you for your comment. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maria September 18, 2021 / 4:01 am

        Thank you Natalie! Enjoy your weekend!


  3. Betty September 17, 2021 / 8:24 am

    Nice post! Love the art, the nature, and the book reviews. Most though, I am happy to read about your 80 year old neighbor. You’re a good commercial for living well!


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 6:19 pm

      Thank you, Betty, for your comment. My neighbour is very good at keeping herself active mentally, physically and socially. We have another walk planned for this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. leannelc September 17, 2021 / 8:40 am

    Hi Natalie – how nice of you to share your time with your elderly neighbour. She would have appreciated the exercise and the company I’m sure. Lovely flower photos and interesting sculptures this week.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 8:06 pm

      Hi Leanne, I was glad to be present for my neighbour. She enjoyed our walk and we have a date to walk this weekend. Thank you for sharing your informative post with #weekendcoffeeshare. Have a great week!


  5. Jill Weatherholt September 17, 2021 / 8:42 am

    I always love to take a peek at your bookshelf, Natalie. We have similar taste in books. Your photos are beautiful. Lately, I’ve seen sunflowers everywhere! I think the universe is trying to tell me something. Enjoy your weekend!


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 8:13 pm

      Hi Jill, Sunflowers are such uplifting flowers when they’re in bloom. Soon they’ll be replaced by mums here. I hope your writing is going well with some time for you to relax, too. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Alison September 17, 2021 / 8:52 am

    Hi Natalie
    You have some beautiful photos of flowers and sculptures
    How nice you can walk with your neighbour
    I’ve read Giver of Stars which I loved but not the others so I’ll put those on my list
    Thanks 🙂


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 8:17 pm

      Thank you, Alison, for your comment. My neighbour enjoyed our walk so we have a date to walk again. Have a great weekend and happy reading!


      • Alison September 17, 2021 / 9:31 pm

        Thanks Natalie 📚🍷


  7. Dan Antion September 17, 2021 / 9:36 am

    I love the bright photos, Natalie. Recent arrivals to my bookshelf include Teagan Gemeviene’s latest Journey – “Doors of Attunment” – “Well, Nobody’s Perfect” by Bradley Lewis and “Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” by Miriam Hurdle. – These should keep me busy for a while.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 8:24 pm

      Dan, Thank you for sharing what’s on your bookshelf. I recognize two of the authors that you mentioned via blogging (Teagan and Miriam). I’ll visit their blogs to learn more about their books.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. September 17, 2021 / 9:40 am

    Lovely photos and yellow is one of my favourite colours in the garden. Sunny here and not like autumn yet.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 8:31 pm

      I’m glad to share flowers in one of your favourite colours in the garden and that it’s sunny where you are. The weather continues to be nice here this weekend. I think I’ll go out to take photos of some hibiscus flowers that I’ve seen. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Janis @ September 17, 2021 / 11:22 am

    The only book on your list that I read was The Giver of Stars, which I enjoyed. All the What’s On Your Bookshelf? lists people have been sharing are adding so many books to my TBR list… I need to read faster! Lovely pictures of flowers, Natalie. It’s hard to believe they will be covered in snow in a few months where you live.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 8:41 pm

      Hi Janis, My TBR list is also growing with the WOYBS challenge. So many good books, not enough time for reading. I look forward to seeing the vivid colours of fall foliage before winter arrives.


  10. Retirement Reflections September 17, 2021 / 1:18 pm

    Hi, Natalie – Thank you for joining us at What’s On Your Bookshelf? I haven’t yet read any of the titles that you have mentioned. But, Peace by Chocolate looks very intriguing. I just read some other reviews about this book and it looks like a truly inspirational story. Thank you for sharing this.
    BTW – You were very lucky to have had such a breezy voting process. Our including standing outside iin the hot sun while out-of-towners were allowed to breeze in front of us without election cards. It was very disorganized and very frustrating!


  11. Cee Neuner September 17, 2021 / 1:30 pm

    Great sculptures and flowers in your post. Thanks for playing along 😀


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you, Cee, for hosting PPAC. I enjoy participating.


  12. September 17, 2021 / 2:56 pm

    Have added the chocolate book to my to-read shelf on Goodreads. Sounds very good. Will share it with the online book club for consideration when we select our October title. Thank you for sharing.

    That mural is so pretty. It almost looks like a mosaic. Or mixed media. I appreciate the hardy black-eyed Susans you shared, too. I bought some – a neglected pot of them discounted at Walmart – but they are struggling. Wish fall temps would arrive and maybe they would take off.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 9:08 pm

      You’re welcome, Leslie. See my reply to Donna’s comment above for more information about Peace By Chocolate. I hope your book club would select it and find the story heartbreaking and heartwarming.

      I’m glad you like the mural and black-eyed Susan flowers. Hope your flowers will do well. Soon there will be a lot of mums and pumpkins here.


  13. smkelly8 September 17, 2021 / 3:12 pm

    You’ve enticed me with Peace by Chocolate. I tried to find it but couldn’t. Perhaps it’s only available in Canada. I hope I’m mistaken.

    Great photos as always.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 9:39 pm

      I hope you can find Peace By Chocolate in bookstores or libraries. The story was made into a documentary and a film, both received very good viewers’ ratings. Please also see my reply to Donna’s comment above for more information and related news links. I think you’ll find the story relevant especially with your experience tutoring Afghan students.


  14. Thistles and Kiwis September 17, 2021 / 4:09 pm

    Gorgeous selection of gold things – especially the flowers. Interesting to see your book choices too – the ‘chocolate one’ does sound interesting.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 10:17 pm

      Thanks, Barbara. The flowers that I featured in this post are doing well in the gardens. Soon they’ll be replaced with mums and other autumnal plants.


  15. Jennifer Jones September 17, 2021 / 5:42 pm

    Hi Natalie, I love your golden photos. I’ve put Peace by Chocolate in my list. It sounds like a story I’d like. I’ve read the JoJo Moyes book and enjoyed it.


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 10:19 pm

      Hi Jennifer, Peace By Chocolate story was also made into a documentary and a film, both received very good viewers’ ratings. I hope you read the book and enjoy it.


  16. Michele Somerville September 17, 2021 / 7:46 pm

    Loved the pictures, especially the large sunflower at the top of the post. Kudo’s to you for taking your neighbor up on her willingness to walk with you and on looking for new reads. I am not always that adventurous in the reading department. I think I will add Peace by Chocolate to my list to read soon. Popping in with my post on Coffee Shares, etc. Best and blessings, Michele


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 10:28 pm

      Thank you Michele for your comment. I hope you read Peace By Chocolate and enjoy it. The story was made into a documentary and a film, both received very good viewers’ ratings. When I read the book, I thought of the recent Afghan refugees and wish every one of them similar success.


  17. Kirstin September 17, 2021 / 11:10 pm

    How sweet of you to walk with your neighbor, I bet she had great stories. Love your photos of the flowers at the end. So pretty


    • Natalie September 17, 2021 / 11:39 pm

      Yes, she had great stories. We planned another walk this weekend. I hope to see more pretty flowers on our walk.


  18. Debbie September 18, 2021 / 4:12 am

    Natalie your post is a great mix of news, books read and yellow colours. I love sunflowers and yellow flowers in general. Thanks also for joining us for #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge too, your books are a mixed bag and I like the variety you read.


    • Natalie September 18, 2021 / 10:33 am

      Thank you, Debbie, for hosting WOYBS. I like variety and aim for it every day. The yellow flowers are such cheerful flowers, aren’t they? Autumn is arriving here next week. I look forward to seeing the vivid colours of fall foliage. I hope Spring is treating you with many nice flowers in your garden.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Writing Sparkle September 18, 2021 / 10:00 am

    As always, the photograph you shared are lovely! Your recent reading list is impressive. I am working on “The Wards of Faerie” by Terry Brooks. My schedule hasn’t been very forgiving for my reading appetite lately. Anyway, thanks for the virtual cup of coffee. Hope you have a great weekend.


    • Natalie September 18, 2021 / 10:38 am

      Thank you, Shari, for stopping by. Your book sounds intriguing. I hope your schedule settles down soon so you have more time to relax and read. Have a great weekend!


  20. Julie September 18, 2021 / 10:36 am

    Peace by Chocolate sounds interesting! I’ve heard good things about it.


    • Natalie September 18, 2021 / 11:48 am

      It’s a good true story that has been made into a documentary and a film, both received very good viewers’ ratings. When I read Peace By Chocolate, I thought of the recent Afghan refugees and other refugees, and wish everyone similar success.


  21. Gary A Wilson September 18, 2021 / 11:00 am

    A stunning collection of golds and yellows Natalie. I’d love to visit U.V. Ceti sculpture by Andrew Posa in particular – it just appeals. Thanks for sharing.


    • Natalie September 18, 2021 / 11:51 am

      You chose a great sculpture, Gary. U.V. Ceti looks different depends on where the sunlight hits it. The meaning of the sculpture is good, too. I included a link in case anyone wonders what U.V. Ceti means.


  22. Lydia C. Lee September 18, 2021 / 4:19 pm

    You really plough through the books each month!! That last sunflower is gorgeous!


    • Natalie September 18, 2021 / 5:06 pm

      Thanks, Lydia. I aim for a book per week. I actually can read more than 1/ week but have at least one gap day in between each book.


  23. csuhpat1 September 18, 2021 / 10:39 pm

    Such great art. Thanks for sharing it and nice reads. I am reading Neon Girls-A Stripper’s Education About Protest and Power. The interesting thing is that it is true and takes place in North Beach in San Francisco about 20 years ago.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 8:08 am

      Your current read sounds intriguing. Have a great weekend!


  24. Diana September 19, 2021 / 1:39 am

    Thank you Natalie for the coffee and your wonderful photos! The black eyed Susan is especially pretty and I love the sunflowers too. The sculptures are amazing! I also appreciate you sharing what you have been reading. One day I will get back into reading more novels, it takes me forever to get through one. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!! ❤


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 8:22 am

      Thank you, Diana, for your kind comment. Soon the sunflowers and black-eyed Susan flowers will be replaced by mums as autumn arrives next week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Give Chloe and Murphy a few extra pats from me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 8:22 am

      Thank you, IM. Have a great weekend!


  25. Antoinette Truglio Martin September 19, 2021 / 7:40 am

    What beautiful autumn flowers and colors. It is such a lovely way to segway into a new season. Thank you for the tour.


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 8:24 am

      Thank you, Antoinette, for your kind comment. I think the ‘Autumn Beauty’ sunflower is a good candidate to transition from summer to fall.


  26. Jackie September 19, 2021 / 8:34 am

    September has been a glorious month! It is becoming my favourite time of year.


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 8:50 am

      Yes, September is a pleasant month. The weather forecast calls for a nice autumn so we’ll see.


  27. Terri Webster Schrandt September 19, 2021 / 11:37 am

    You hit the jackpot today with your links and beautiful images of events going on in your area, Natalie! Like you, we got some much-needed rain and it has brought autumn colors quickly here. Love your reading list, very eclectic! Those sunflowers are awesome, and the golden sculptures are so elegant. Enjoy your week ahead. September into October is always my favorite time of year!


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 12:26 pm

      Thank you, Terri. September and October are usually beautiful here thanks to the fall foliage. The cooler temperatures and less humidity are also great for cycling which I like to do. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Astrid September 19, 2021 / 2:52 pm

    Congrats on having cast your vote! I am so glad you had the opportunity to do this at an advance point and there was no queue.

    Peace by Chocolate sounds like an amazing read, I’ll check it out too.


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 3:02 pm

      Thank you, Astrid. It was a good week overall. I hope you get to read Peace By Chocolate and let me know what you think afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Carol anne September 19, 2021 / 3:15 pm

    great to catch up with you natalie! You’ve had a pretty busy week! I will be participateing in this weeks weekend coffee share too!


    • Natalie September 19, 2021 / 4:07 pm

      Thank you, Carol Anne, for your visit and comment. If you’d like other Weekend Coffee Share bloggers to see your post, please link back to my post (pingback in WordPress) and/ or enter the InLinkz link-up by clicking on the blue button at the end of my post. Have a nice weekend!


  30. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 September 19, 2021 / 11:27 pm

    Hi Natalie, great to catch up and thanks for contributing to Whats On Your Bookshelf? I always enjoy seeing what others are reading. Your photos are always wonderful and glad to see you participating in #SundayStills. Life has been very hectic for me so I’ve been a little MIA lately. Hopefully that will change soon. Have a great week! #lifethisweek


    • Natalie September 20, 2021 / 8:01 am

      Thank you, Sue, for stopping by. I hope things fall into place soon for you to feel less hectic. Have a great week!


  31. Jo September 19, 2021 / 11:53 pm

    Thanks for contributing to what’s on your bookshelf. Loving the gold – yesterday in a town called Bargara, a few hours north of where I live, behind a field of sugarcane was a field of sunflowers. It was beautiful.


    • Natalie September 20, 2021 / 8:03 am

      Field of sunflowers is beautiful to see. I hope you took loads of photos and share some on your blog. Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Joanne September 20, 2021 / 3:58 pm

    Peace by Chocolate sounds like a wonderful book. My son and I read a graphic novel about Syrian refugees that were resettled in the United States and we found their story just fascinating.


    • Natalie September 20, 2021 / 4:58 pm

      It’s a good true story. I think of the recent Afghan refugees when I read Peace By Chocolate and wish everyone of them similar success like the Syrian family in Peace By Chocolate.


  33. Suzanne September 20, 2021 / 4:42 pm

    Love the sunflowers Natalie. At the moment, I am reading a collection of books brought from my local hospice shop where I once worked. Though, I am going to treat myself to new books once the shops open here in Auckland. Will be fun trying to find them in our temporary place of residence.


    • Natalie September 20, 2021 / 5:00 pm

      Suzanne, It’s good you have books to keep you company. I hope the restrictions in Auckland ease soon and your temporary place of residence is comfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie September 24, 2021 / 12:59 pm

      Thank you, Cee. This is a nice surprise. Have a great weekend!


  34. Prior... October 31, 2021 / 11:48 am

    Great idea to use the library’s suggestions and love your golden finds – artsy and cheery post!


    • Natalie October 31, 2021 / 12:27 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Toronto Public Library offers excellent services and book suggestions. I’m glad you loved my golden finds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Prior... October 31, 2021 / 1:11 pm

        Someday when all this pandemic stuff wanes – I hope to visit Toronto again and maybe swing by the library 📚📚☀️


        • Natalie October 31, 2021 / 6:06 pm

          That would be lovely. I hope your previous visit to Toronto was enjoyable.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Prior... October 31, 2021 / 8:13 pm

            Hi – went in 89/90 and then sometime around 98 (sister lives near st Catherine’s ) and then again in 2019. And then I have been close – within an hour – many times –
            And wish I had gone into the city more- love Toronto’s vibe


            • Natalie October 31, 2021 / 8:26 pm

              It’s great to hear you love Toronto’s vibe and had been to the city a few times. I explore the city centre almost every day and always discover something new and interesting.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Prior... October 31, 2021 / 10:48 pm

                That is so cool – I’ll keep you posted if I make it there in the next few years – but with the pandemic it seems not likely for a while


                  • Prior... November 1, 2021 / 12:58 pm

                    Ok – it is a deal! It might not be until 2024 – but let’s loosely plan maybe meeting up at a cafe or a cool place downtown


                    • Natalie November 3, 2021 / 9:47 am

                      Sounds good, Yvette. Stay safe and well.

                      Liked by 1 person

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