Etta and Otto and Russell and James


I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I will try to remember to come back.

It’s important to note that I started reading Etta and Otto and Russell and James as a last stitch effort at salvaging some sanity after what is proving to be a very long, and arguably miserable Winter. The result was a delightful mix of magical realism and down right charm. Time has no boundaries and there is never any clear dialogue, yet somehow Hooper bonds you so close to her characters that they have remained on my mind nearly a week after turning the last page.

Turning the last page. Actually, this was the first “real” book I have read in ages. I have been a devoted e-reader groupie ever since purchasing my first device almost 5 years ago. And while I can still preach the benefits of downloading a book in seconds, there was something extra special about reading this particular book off a paper page.

Etta was a school teacher haunted by tragedy who falls in different kinds of love with best friends, Otto and Russell. Time moves back and forth from their youth to present day, where all are now in their eighties. Etta, with the goal of seeing the ocean for the first time, sets off on a journey to walk across Canada. On her way, she meets up with James, a mysterious coyote who both protects and encourages Etta. My only complaint was the severe dive in character development when it comes to Russell, a once integral part of the plot is all but dropped after he goes off on his own. The story is ultimately focused on Etta and Otto’s profound connection and love. It’s best to approach this as a adult fairy-tale of sorts. It doesn’t always make sense, but really, does everything always need to make sense??

Buy the “real” book, have a cup of tea ready and spend a chilly Sunday morning with Etta and Otto and Russell and James.

Buy the book here!

Happy Reading!



Everyone should read this children’s book.

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First off, I would like to be honest and admit to audibly scoffing at adults who prowl the young readers section for their next book. I thought I was above you. Turns out, I’m just as big of a sucker for a charming, harmless story as the rest of you. This book was so much more than I thought it would be- a true masterpiece- one I will be certain to share with my future children.

Wonder is a snapshot of the life of August, a bright 10 year old boy who was born with a severe facial deformity. After living the first decade of his life undergoing painful surgeries and even more painful stares, he is about to begin the scariest thing of all, entering school for the first time with hundreds of not-so-friendly middle schoolers. The story is told through the perspective of Auggie and the other young people in his life. It explores the dual nature in all of us, how we could be so empathetic, while also unintentionally making cruel choices. This is a superb debut novel, and R.J. Palacio deserves all the praise she has received.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you wil try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

“the universe takes care of all its birds.”

Buy Wonder

Happy Reading.

P.s. I’m onto my third book on my list, not sure if I should start Doctor Sleep or Unbroken next? Please help.