#IMWAYR JANUARY 15, 2018




#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

Here in our home in Oliver, BC, I'm writing in front of the living room window. The brightness of the snow compensates for the grey overcast sky. As dusk settles into dark I am struck by the quiet of this place and realize I have internalized this peace. Small towns might have their limitations, but in this deep winter calm and respite from the rest of the world, they are piddling. Monday we return to the hum of background noise that is the city. I am missing my family there, but at the same time, sad to be leaving here. Tomorrow I will run around like a chicken without its head cleaning up things I should be doing now, but I'm sitting here, having finished a draft of this post, a glass of wine at my side, and revelling in this moment of being right with the world.

CHAPTER BOOKS


Not For Sale by 


4 stars
I read the sequel to this last year and loved it so much that I've been meaning to read this one ever since. Cyrus and his brother, Rudy, are happy in their house in the city and don't want to move. But their parents aren't working as often as they once were and they need to downsize.
Cyrus comes up with a plan to stop the sale of the house. It almost works.
What appealed to me in the sequel was the fabulous characters Sarah Cassidy has created, and I ended up loving them even more now.
If you have readers who are fans of Laurel Snyder's Charlie and Mouse, but are ready to move on to a bit more challenging material (the publisher states that the reading level is for children from seven to nine) this series will appeal. This is a warmhearted family that will make you laugh and love with them.


MIDDLE GRADE & YOUNG ADULT NOVELS




4 stars
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate


Katherine Applegate writes, "In Kek's story I hope readers will see the neighbor child with a strange accent, the new kid in class from some faraway land, the child in odd clothes who doesn't belong, ... I hope they see themselves"
She certainly succeeded.
In my teaching career I worked with different children from different places. It wasn't till I spent time immersed in a different culture and language that I began to understand what it might be like for them. This books unveils the trauma and culture shock new immigrants deal with.




5 stars

I absolutely adore these characters!




5 stars






4 stars





ADULT NONFICTION 



4 stars
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown & Karen White (Narrator)

I am deeply inspired by Brené Brown’s work. This book motivated so much, that I have decided to make vulnerability my personal word for the year. I hope it will enable me to build stronger connections to my family, friends, and people I meet and work with. I'm going to have to purchase my own copy.

CURRENTLY

I'm listening to The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standosh. I'm still reading Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough by Doug Saunders for book club, and have just started Cast No Shadow, a graphic novel by Nick Taplanasky and Anissa Espinosa.

UP NEXT


I now have a pile of graphic novels to focus on for the Cybil awards. I'll start listening to whatever audiobook becomes available next. 


PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS


#MUSTREADIN2018 3/25 - 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2018 1/12 - 1 in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 1/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 10/333


#IMWAYR January 8, 2018

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

I haven't been blogging for over a month due to illness. I've hardly been reading because I just couldn't focus. The 'plague' grabbed me by the throat and held me down for at least two weeks. I thought I was finally recovering and then it got worse. Three days before Christmas I dragged myself to my doctor. I had developed a secondary bacterial infection all over my head and left with a prescription for antibiotics. Within 24 hours I was starting to feel almost human. I really only got my reading mojo back about a week ago, so while many of these are recent reads and others are books from December.

I'm hoping you all had fabulous winter breaks. What I really wanted for Christmas was family portraits and my partner managed to organize us all and made it happen. Here are the two of us with our gorgeous grand babies.




PICTURE BOOKS

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC's (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell


This is the best alphabet book I have read in ages, maybe even forever. A cat runs away from home and ends up having madcap adventures. It’s wordless with nothing but the letters and brilliant illustrations to help readers figure the story out. I’m definitely getting a copy of this to add to my collection.

Life Without Nico by Andrea Maturana & Francisco Javier Olea (Illustrations)



This picture book deals realistically with the loneliness of separation and loss. When Maia’s best friend, Nico, has to move away, she is overwhelmed with a feeling of emptiness. Over time this dark and empty hole is filled with a new kitten, new friends and new experiences. When Nico does eventually return, she experiences new kinds of worry.
This is a beautiful book to use when children are dealing with grief and loss whether it’s temporary or permanent.

INFORMATION

Miguel's Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote by Margarita Engle & Raúl Colón (Illustrations)


I read this book because I want to read everything Margarita Engle writes. Raúl Colón’s illustrations bring her poems to life in this biography. I am now fascinated by Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. I now also want to read the famous novel. Thanks the the author’s note in the back matter, I’ve put a specific translation on hold at my library.

Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive! by Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Ann Thompson


If you want to be raising your children to be critical thinkers, every house and classroom from grade two up should own a copy of this book. It will probably help the adults in your house and your community to learn to identify hoaxes more easily too. I admit that I had to work hard in some of these sections to figure out what stories were false.

MIDDLE GRADE

The Best Man by Richard Peck & Michael Crouch (Narrator)


This was the sweetest coming of age novel I've read in ages and just might be my favorite Richard Peck novel. This family is right up there with the Penderwicks and the Fletchers.

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley 


This is a book about love, friendship and secrets. The Montgomery clan is gathering at the original home for the death of the matriarch and waiting to see who will be picked to head off, when the red moon rises, into the Okefenokee swamp in search of a magical alligator named Munch. Blue Montgomery has been abandoned by his father in the middle of this. He ends up overcoming his anger, bonding with his cousins and befriending a member of their arch enemies’ clan, Tumble Wilson. Changing their families destinies is going to be up to them. 

ADULT & YA

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale (Editors)

If you haven’t read this and it isn't on your to read list, it should be. This collection of voices from modern Indigenous women across North America is inspiring and enlightening. Here are a few snippets:

Because history moves like a fever and heat down through the arteries of generations
Because PTSD to the family tree is like an ax
Because colonization is the ghosts of buffaloes with broken backs
Because today only burning flags could be found at the ghost dance of my people
from Stereotype This by Melanie Fey

You are allowed to cry
You are allowed to scream
But you are not allowed to give up.
If you ever need a hero
Become one.
from Dear Past Self by Isabella Fillspipe

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home (Mennonite #1) by Rhoda Janzen & Hillary Huber (Narrator)

Sue Jackson wrote good things about this book and I have a friend who was raised Mennonite so when I saw it was available as an audiobook, I downloaded it. It was a delightful listen full of love and self deprecation. I laughed out loud throughout and learned a fair chunk about what growing up in this faith is about. I'm looking forward to hearing what my friend thinks of it.

Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese & Tom Stechschulte (Narrator)


I will read anything by Richard Wagamese because as uncomfortable as I might get in the middle of his work, I am always completely satisfied by the end. In this novel he takes us into the world of Franklin Starlight, a young man who was abandoned by his father after his mother died in childbirth. He was raised by a good man who kept their secrets. In this narrative Franklin takes his father, Eldon, into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner. On their journey those secrets are revealed.

Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1) by Lisa See & Janet Song (Narrator)




This is my first Lisa See book. It won't be my last. The reason I read historical fiction is to understand the past and other people's experiences of historic events. This novel spans considerable geography and time. Because of the action of their gambling father, two sisters are forced to marry two Chinese Americans and left to flee Shanghai and the invading Japanese army on their own. When they make it to America they are interned for a number of months. Eventually they are united with their American family and build a home there. Although this book does not have a 'happy ending' the writing is just gorgeous.

CURRENTLY

I'm listening to Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown, and am reading with my eyes, Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough by Doug Saunders for book club, and have just started Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate.

UP NEXT

I hope to finish Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky and Anissa Espinosa, Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr, and Dear Martin by Nic Stone while we are spending a winter week or so at our home in Oliver, BC. My next audiobook will be The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. When I arrive back in Vancouver I will be focusing on reading a pile of graphic novels for the Cybil awards.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2018 1 in progress

#MUSTREADNFIN2018 2 in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 1/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge 5/333

#MustReadIn2018: Fiction, Nonfiction and Indigenous Authors


Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That, hosts #MustRead. If you have a "want to read" list on Goodreads (or somewhere else) that goes on forever, then you might be interested in joining for 2018. All you have to do is choose any number of specific books on that list, and do your best to read them all.


I couldn't manage to winnow my list down to a manageable number this year so I've taken a lesson from other readers and changed things up. I have three lists of books that I plan to read from this year. Of course I will enjoy other serendipitous reading of books that catch my fancy. I like my new approach to these lists because it keeps me focused at the same time as it permits me to read with some flexibility. 
The two lists here include a fiction and nonfiction list that I plan to read from. The other is a more flexible list of books by Canadian Indigenous authors that I plan to read at least 24 books from. You can see that list here. I'm also working on a Must Read Picture Book list but will see where that one goes.

I'm hoping to read at least 25 books from the following fiction list.




  1. Ban This Book by Alan Gratz 
  2. Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1) by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
  3. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip M. Hoose 
  4. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo 
  5. The Daybreak Bond by Megan Frazer Blakemore 
  6. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  7. Diamond Boy by Michael Williams
  8. A Dirty Job (Grim Reaper, #1) by Christopher Moore
  9. Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta
  10. An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
  11. The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish
  12. Eugenia Lincoln and the Unexpected Package (Tales from Deckawoo Drive #4) by Kate DiCamillo
  13. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  14. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow 
  15. Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth
  16. The Grave's a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley
  17. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  18. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate,
  19. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 
  20. I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
  21. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  22. The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens
  23. The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage, 
  24. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  25. Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
  26. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  27. Moon Shadow by Erin Downing
  28. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  29. Once by Morris Gleitzman 
  30. The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz
  31. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
  32. Restart by Gordon Korman
  33. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  34. The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
  35. Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz
  36. Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard (Peter Nimble, #2) by Jonathan Auxier
  37. Sunny by Jason Reynolds
  38. The Theory of Hummingbirds by Michelle Kadarusman
  39. Thousand Star Hotel by Bao Phi
  40. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  41. Under Suspicion (Friday Barnes #2) by R.A. Spratt
  42. The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  43. The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
  44. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  45. What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein
  46. Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend
  47. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  48. Wish by Barbara O'Connor
  49. You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
  50. Zero Repeat Forever (The Nahx Invasions #1) by Gabrielle Prendergast


From this list of Nonfiction titles I plan to read at least 12



  1. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel A. van der Kolk
  2. Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism by Daisy Hernandez
  3. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  4. Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters by Robert Probst
  5. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli
  6. Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World by Kelly Jensen
  7. The Hunting Accident by David L. Carlson
  8. The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King 
  9. Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy by Manjusha Pawagi
  10. Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough by Doug Saunders
  11. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer 
  12. The Rose That Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur
  13. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari
  14. The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home by Arlie Russell Hochschild 
  15. Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating 
  16. Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration of Girls Being Themselves by Kate T. Parker
  17. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein
  18. Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD by Roméo Dallaire
  19. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 
  20. Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Update On My Reading goals for 2017: MustReadIn2017 & Others

Carrie Gelson at There's a Book for That, hosts #MustRead. If you have a "want to read" list on Goodreads (or somewhere else) that goes on forever, then you might be interested in joining for 2018. All you have to do is choose any number of specific books on that list, and do your best to read them all.  My original lists for this year are here. This is my final update for 2017.


In 2016, I managed to read all the books on my must read list. Alas, this is not the case for 2017. In fact, since the last checkin, I finished a mere three books from my fiction list. I read nothing from my nonfiction list. I might have finished more of these but was too sick to read or even listen to books throughout the month of December.

This is what I finished since our last update.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

This book was pure fun. It’s set in the Regency period in England. When Annis’ father is killed in France, he leaves her and her Aunt Cassie nearly destitute. Annis soon figures out that her father was a spy and is determined that she will become one to avenge his death. When she is rejected, their new maid, Millicent, helps disguise Annis so she can use her dressmaking magic to earn a living. The book is full of twists and turns and clever humour. Although this book didn’t wow me like Jones' Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, (a book that is truly exceptional) I’ll read a sequel if she writes one.

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud & Emily Bevan (Narrator)

Lockwood, Lucy, George, Holly, and Quill Kipps discover the cause of 'The Problem.' The how and why ghosts are invading our realm is caused by an individual with a lot of political clout. This puts the crew in peril as the perpetrators decide to retaliate by murdering them all.
As satisfying and wonderful as this book is, I can't bear to think that it is the last in the series. I'm just not ready to say goodbye to these fabulous characters. Since this fictional world isn't really completely cleaned up, I'm not giving up hope that there might be at least one more to come.
Perhaps the rumoured TV series will be enough, but I doubt it.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

This is a sweet coming of age romantic fiction that follows the formula set out in romantic Korean dramas. Teen romance is not my favourite genre, but I ended up enjoying this anyway. Thankfully there isn't excessive amounts of angst or heavy breathing. The diverse collection of characters is endearing in spite of, or perhaps because of their flaws. The only somewhat snarky relationship ends up getting resolved positively. I adored the relationships between Desi Lee and her father, and you will too.

I started but abandoned Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I didn't hate it. The font was just so tiny. I even tried it on my device but whatever the format was, I couldn't increase the size.

In spite of not completing all the books on this list, I don't consider it a failure. Once I started reading from my nonfiction list, I became interested in reading more nonfiction and ended up reading at least 15 adult information books last year. Ideally I had hoped to read at least one a month, and even though I didn't get to all the ones on my list, I still read more adult nonfiction than I did the year before. That's a win, right?

The fiction titles from my list were mostly fabulous.

Not only is The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas the best book on the list, it's probably one of the top three books I've read all year. I loved it so much that I purchased a copy since I know I will reread it at least one more time.

Other books that I thought highly of include (in no particular order)

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick

My favourite nonfiction title was When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanith. I also enjoyed Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Ann Lamott and Spin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on Its Head by Clive Veroni.

Other Reading Goals:



I had plans to read 50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors to celebrate 150+ years of Canada but only finished 34. There were many wonderful picture books on the list. I ended up purchasing two copies of We Sang You Home by by Richard Van Camp & Julie Flett; one for each of my grandbabies. The best part of this personal challenge was discovering some stunning writers. I highly recommend Nobody Cries at Bingo by Dawn Dumont. (Upon finishing it, I read just about everything else she has published.) The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline was dark and profound. Medicine Walk and Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese were stellar reads. The Break by Katherena Vermette is another dark and memorable read. I know that one of my reading goals for next year will be to read at least another 25 adult titles from this category.

I finished all the Chocolate Lily titles for which I was a juror. I appreciated this opportunity to read many different kinds of books by local writers.

Finally, I challenged myself to read at least 333 books this year. I ended up reading 398. I think this indicates that while I didn't finish everything on my lists, I still managed to get in a lot of reading this year!

#IMWAYR November 27, 2017


#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

I'm having problems with Goodreads keeping track of my read dates. I need this fixed so that I remember all the books I read in a week. It has been over two weeks and I really hope it is fixed soon. It's driving me crazy!

There is less than one month to Christmas. I am realizing that it is highly unlikely that I will achieve all my reading goals this year. I don't want to even think about Netgalley. 

Here is a picture of my two grandbabies hanging out together this week. They had a lot of fun, and we enjoyed watching them. 



BOOKS FOR BABIES

5 stars
Hello Lamb by Jane Cabrera

Ada (my 5 month old granddaughter) and I have been reading this book a lot this week. As soon as she sees the face on the cover she gets excited. She reaches out and wants to get as close as possible to the images and turns to look at me weirdly when I get into the animal sounds while reading. We are both enjoying this series!

3 stars
What's On My Head? by Margaret Miller

I thought Ada would love this one, and while it is ok, it isn't either of our favourite reads this week. Perhaps it is because many of the faces are cropped so that not all of it is showing. I have to work really hard to keep her entertained with this one.

4 stars
Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton

Ada and I have been reading this book a lot too. It's not her favourite but it's ok. I like the rhyming text, and she seems to appreciate it also, but Ada is more into faces these days. She does seems to get a big kick out of the cats saying meow!

GRAPHIC

4 stars
All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

I enjoyed this coming of age graphic novel. Imogene, whose family are involved with a medieval faire, decides to give up being homeschooled and go to middle school. Once there she has to learn to navigate the social minefield and figure out who she wants to be.
This book would be great paired up with Real Friends by Shannon Hale.

MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS

4 stars
The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner

This is an important book. Zig and his mother are in trouble ever since his missing father has stopped his support payments. They end up homeless and living in a shelter. His mother won't tell him why his father can't help them out. Zig starts out geocaching, certain that Senior Searcher is his father, since Zig is known as Zig Jr and his father was Zig Sr.
I love how Kate Messner shows us that all is not as it seems behind the faces of the people we see. It is especially significant for teachers to read this and understand that our students have secret lives we can't begin to imagine.

YA & ADULT NOVELS

4 stars
Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

Well, this was fun. It’s set in the Regency period in England. When Annis’ father is killed in France, he leaves her and her Aunt Cassie nearly destitute. Annis soon figures out that her father was a spy and is determined that she will become one to avenge his death. When she is rejected, their new maid, Millicent, helps disguise Annis so she can use her dressmaking magic to earn a living. The book is full of twists and turns and clever humour. Although this book didn’t wow me like her Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, (a book that is truly exceptional) I’ll read a sequel if Kelly Jones writes one.

4 stars
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn & Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator)

This novel is based on the true story of a spy network created by Louise de Bettingnies (code name Alice Dubois) during WW1. It is told alternatively through the voices of Lily, Alice's preferred name, and a young American, Charlie St. Clair, who in 1947, has come in search for her missing French cousin. Her research has taken her to Lily. The two discover they have a similar enemy. At over fifteen hours, this was a very long listen. It was also very intense, so I had take regular listening breaks. There was one very horrific section that I skipped completely. Thankfully the ending, however schmaltzy and expected, made up for it.

4 stars
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré & Tom Hollander (Narrator)

I am a hard core le Carré fan so when this became available, I just had to listen. It isn't as intense as the previous spy novel, or as some other le Carré spy novels, but it was delightful to be back in that world. I would have been happier with more of George Smiley, but I am still content.

CURRENTLY

I'm listening to Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I'm in the middle of Boundless by Jillian Tamaki and have started reading #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women.

UP NEXT

I will read You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins, and hope to get to Lost Girl Found by Leah Bassoff, a book on my must read list. I'm trying to see if anything on my must read list is available in audiobook format from my local library.

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 26/36

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 7/12

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 32/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 51/51

Big Book Challenge 4/6

Goodreads Reading Challenge 393/333


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