Guest Post #6 – Carina from Canada shares her Book Read ‘Round the World Experience

Lost on Planet China = Purple Pin
Journeying from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Utrecht, The Netherlands
Distance Traveling = 3733 mi. / 6007 km.
Distanced Traveled to Date = 12030 mi. / 19360 km.

Guest Post #6
Carina from Canada

Judith at Leeswammes’ Blog is still awaiting her package from Carina at Reading Through Life, but since there are no spoilers in Carina’s guest post, it’s time to share her experience! Carina has a regular feature on Reading Through Life called Reading Roots in which she interviews bloggers about their early reading influences and experiences. She also just recently finished a month of Ramadan reading where she featured books by and/or about Muslim Culture and Religion. Judith also has a wonderful blog that features her weekly Book Bloggers Abroad posts where she interviews book bloggers from around the world. Make sure you stop by both of these blogs because they are fantastic!


Hello! My name is Carina, and I blog over at Reading Through Life. I’m a 20-something Canadian book blogger and high school teacher, living and working in downtown Toronto.
I’ve been blogging for just under a year now (my “blogoversary” is at the end of December), and I’m having a great time meeting people and being exposed to books that I likely would never have known about. I blog about a lot of different things, but I generally keep to the topics of books, reading, and literacy – which includes everything from book reviews (most of what I do), read-a-thons, read-a-longs, challenges, theme months and events (such as Ramadan Reading), and discussions about various topics, including literacy education and reading engagement.

From Carly in the UK:
One day, I got a package in the mail. It was actually kinda funny, because it had SO MUCH packing tape holding it together. See?


I have to say, I was bowled over by the great things that Carly sent me! There was just so much of it, I wasn’t expecting that. (It also made for a really hard act for me to follow!) Here’s what I saw as soon as I opened up the package:

As you can see, there’s two different books: the one for the event (Lost on Planet China), and another (Girl, Interrupted). Here’s the funny thing – Carly knew nothing about me going into this, and somehow managed to buy me the book of one of my absolute favourite films of all time! Also, I’ve never read it before. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I’m seriously looking forward to it. Such an awesome choice, Carly!


Inside the bags you see pictured above, there was even more awesome stuff. Let’s start with the contents of the bookstore bag – Jane Austen things! I have, strangely enough, never read anything by Jane Austen, even though I have a specialist degree in English literature. (Strange, no?) Even with that, though, I absolutely adore women writers, and I loved the things that Carly sent – a postcard of “Jane Austen in Bath” (a pseudo-map with pictures, quotes, facts, and places related to Jane Austen), and a mini-book of “Jane Austen in her own words”. They’ve encouraged me even more to finally get around to reading some of her work!


Next, I will show you the contents of the Bath bag (and no, it didn’t contain bubbles and Epsom salts). Instead, it was full of awesome tourist-y things! From left to right, top to bottom, here’s a list of the contents in the picture:


1.    a Souvenir Picture Guide to Bath, World Heritage City
2.    what seems to be a leather bookmark (?) from Bath, with a crest and two small etchings of Pulteney Bridge and Royal Crescent
3.    a Pictorial Map & Guide to the City of Bath
4.    a postcard of Bath Abbey (West Front)
5.    a postcard of the Roman Bath
6.    a postcard of The Royal Crescent
Finally, here’s the letter that Carly sent to me. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the paper and envelope are this really cute light blue!


Here are the questions she asked me, and the answers!

1. Have you seen a bear? A WILD bear? Please tell me you have or my vision of Canada will be crushed forever.

I’m really, really sorry, but I’m going to have to crush your vision. I have never once seen a bear outside of the zoo (though my boyfriend has seen a bear in a conservation area in British Columbia, though that’s not much “wilder” than bears in a zoo). HOWEVER – I have seen a deer and a moose up close, right by the road on my way north to go camping! Is that good enough?

2. If a friend was visiting Ontario and asked you advice on where to stay, what restaurant to eat in and what bar to drink in – where would you recommend?

It would depend a lot on where exactly they were staying and how much money they had to spend. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that they’re coming to Toronto and have unlimited supplies of cash. (Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?) Actually, that only really applies for the hotel, the other two recommendations are pretty inexpensive.
a)    stay in the Royal York. I’ve never been inside their rooms, but the building is absolutely gorgeous and so is the food that I’ve eaten (once!) in the dining room. They also have afternoon tea on weekends, which I haven’t had the pleasure of trying yet, but I imagine that it’s divine.
b)    eat at Fran’s. There are two different locations (both downtown), and they’ve been a local pillar for 70 years. It’s traditional pub food and all-day breakfast with a mix of other things, open 24 hours, and an extremely popular hangout for students, the after-hours bar crowd, and pretty much anyone else. Have the apple pie.
c)    drink at C’est What? It’s downtown, and they have a ridiculously awesome menu full of local craft beer (35 different ones on tap alone!), international whiskies, and a variety of Ontario wines.

3. What are your thoughts on Justin Bieber? Do you have Bieber fever?

My thoughts can be summed up in one word: ick. I simply cannot wrap my head around the thousands of people who scream and chase after this young boy – especially the adults! He’s a child, people! I have no objections to his music, though I usually try to avoid most pop and thought he was a girl the first time I heard him sing.

4. What’s your favourite attraction in Ontario and why?

I would probably say that Niagara Falls is my favourite “attraction”. It’s gorgeous, and there’s tons of stuff to see and do, no matter when you go! There’s even a bike train from Toronto during the summer months, which I’ve taken, that allows you to spend a day or whole weekend riding around the area checking out all of the beautiful scenery and everything else.

Sent to Judith in the Netherlands:
I spent a good couple weeks compiling things to send to Judith ... but you’ll have to wait and see what she got! I didn’t take any pictures before mailing off the package, but I can tell you that it includes a lot of local flair and a bit of a sneaky item that has to do with her location in a very roundabout way.
Thanks so much to Carin for organizing this event! It’s been so much fun.
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