#IMWAYR April 24, 2017

Hello Everyone! 

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



While I've finished up a number of novels, I have not been meeting my reading goals with regards to the Chocolate Lily titles. I really really meant to finish three from this box, but I've been busy with other things, and you know, life happens.

This photo shows one of the baby quilts I dropped off to be quilted this morning. Finishing up the back of them was a challenge because while working on the wedding quilt, my needle hit a straight pin. The pin was pushed into the cover plate and broke off one of the dodads that holds the plate in place. I had to hold it in place while I finished sewing. I still have 13 more blocks to finish on the wedding quilt. Then I just need to assemble them. As usual, everything takes much longer than I anticipated. My repair person just lives a few blocks away, so I hope to get it fixed soon. 

PICTURE BOOKS

3 stars

Feminist Baby by Loryn Brantz

This is a fun book that outlines the basics of what it means to be a feminist. I've bought two books for my grandchildren to be. I'm a hard core believer that feminism is for everyone, irrespective of gender. So while I liked this book a lot, I wish it had used gender neutral pronouns.



NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel & Melissa Sweet (Illustrations)

This is a must purchase book for anyone who's raising young activists. Clara Lemlich was a union organizer and main initiator of the 1909 general strike in New York City. We can be thankful to her for the many benefits unions have ensured for all of us.
I really love that Clara wasn't deterred from her goals to improve working conditions for young female garment workers like herself. Despite police brutality, jail, and men in the union who didn't think women were strong enough, she never gave up.
She remains a relevant role model for our time.

3 stars
My House is Alive: The Weird and Wonderful Sounds Your House Makes by Scot Ritchie

The book takes us through the different sounds a house makes at night. The cartoonish illustrations show a young boy's imagination at work at the same time as he learns the science behind what is causing many different noises. It might be helpful for children who are afraid of the dark. 


NOVELS

4 stars
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia Sisi & Aisha Johnson (Narrator)

If you have not met the Gaither sisters, you are living a deprived life. Somehow I had missed the second in the trilogy, but am delighted to have caught up. Williams-Garcia has created a memorable family full of such real people that I expect that I'll run into them on the street and chat about the old days. I am fascinated by Delphine's relationship with her mother and her father. As an eldest child myself, I sympathise with her in her dealings with her younger siblings. I've been there. Williams-Garcia immerses us in the tension, the urgency and the contradiction of the late 60's and early 70's.  Watching this family live through a time in history that I remember, although I was here in Canada and ensconced in university, is another thing I love about this book. I am desperately hoping there will be a number 4.

4 stars
Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson CL

This book reminded me a lot of Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. In this book, four children spend two weeks of the summer sailing on the pacific coast. They camp out on Whalebone Island for three days by themselves, and end up in the middle of more adventures than they bargained for.
This is a classic adventure story that would make a delightful read aloud. It's got ordinary children dealing with, for the most part, ordinary challenges. All these characters are authentic individuals. The adults are ideal supportive role models.
I'm not crazy about the cover, but I really enjoyed the novel.

ADULT NOVELS

4 stars
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett & Hope Davis (Narrator)

I don't have words to talk about this book here and now. While reading it I made many connections to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Maybe it's because it has been so long since that book, but Patchett's novel felt superior. Perhaps it's that there is so much going on at both macro and micro levels. The setting, her characters, and the situation are so convoluted and complex. I was gobsmacked by the ending.
I wish I could write as brilliantly about it as this review in the New York Times.
  

CURRENTLY

I put my copy of Pandas on the Eastside in a safe place when we had toddlers visiting last week, and I can't figure out where it is. It is guaranteed to be where both little and my old fingers can't find it. I'm reading Last Chance Island by Norma Charles and listening to When Friendship Followed Me Home. It feels a lot like Bridge to Terabithia. I'm going to be really ticked off if there is one more death in this book.

UP NEXT

We have an election going on here in British Columbia, and I am out working for the party of my choice. I have to carve out some time to get in some reading so I'll hold off on getting my sewing machine repaired until later in the week. I'm committing to read The MIssing Skull by John Wilson, Heart of a Champion by Ellen Schwartz, and The Griffin of Darkwood by Becky Citra.

How has your week been?

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 9/36 

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 4/12

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 11/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 40/52 2 in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge 138/333

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#IMWAYR April 17, 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. The adult version of this meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. The kidlit rendition is hosted by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

I got in more reading this week, and still managed to finish a second baby quilt. Ok, they are not quite finished, but I did go shopping and purchase fabric for borders that I anticipate finishing within the next couple of days. I also managed to get some housecleaning done and pruned my rose bushes. I have the scars to prove the latter. I hated these roses when we first moved in to this house, in part because they were in such a sorry state. However, since I've started pruning and feeding them, they are starting to look glorious. It reminds me all over again of the importance of weeding and feeding our library collections.

BLOG POSTS THIS WEEK


PICTURE BOOKS

5 stars
Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev & Taeeun Yoo (Illustrator)

This is just the most beautiful book about inclusion. I love the refrain that highlights different aspects of friendship.

That's what friends do:
lift each other over the cracks
brave the scary things for you
never leave anyone behind
give you directions if you need them
Taeeun Yoo's illustrations show us diverse characters with diverse kinds of pets. This is a must purchase kind of book!

5 stars
Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol

I love this book so much and think children will appreciate it too. They might even learn why sometimes adults need a little quiet space. The illustrations are both gorgeous and hilarious at the same time!




NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS

4 stars
Adrift at Sea: A Vietnamese Boy's Story of Survival by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Tuan Ho & Brian Deines (Illustrations)

I've been wanting to read this book since I first read about it. I've read other accounts of Vietnamese people's horrific escapes from Vietnam, and across my teaching career, I've taught their children and grandchildren.
Brian Deines illustrations are gorgeous. Skrypuch and Ho's story is compelling and frightening. I especially appreciate the photographs and additional information about Ho's family in the backmatter.

NON FICTION

5 stars
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

This book is on my #MustReadNF2017 list. I think someone told me it wasn't nonfiction, but it was already on my list and I didn't want to change things up. I'm glad I left it there. This story of Alice, a woman with early onset Alzheimer's, is a perfect example of how much truth can be revealed through fiction. After my mother's traumatic brain injury, we lost who she was, but understood that on some level, she was also still there. Had I read this book while she was alive still alive, it would have given me so much more appreciation for her.

3 stars
South and West: From a Notebook by Joan Didion, Kimberly Farr (Narrator) & Nathaniel Rich (Narrator)

It was interesting to listen to these sections from Didion's notebooks written in the 1970s. It reveals a sense of time and place that lends understanding to what we see today. I appreciated the latter section where she looks at her own affluent upbringing. I am looking forward to now reading Where I Was From.

POETRY

5 stars
Even This Page is White by Vivek Shraya

Just WOW! I read and reread numerous sections. I scribbled down phrases, lines and whole poems.
I discovered knowledge hidden from me because of my white privilege. I'm so grateful for this. Mostly I'm grateful to realize that "...being an ally is ultimately learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable."



NOVELS

3.5 stars
The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

I was intrigued by the first paragraph of this book and continued because I was fascinated by the magical realism aspect of it. Unfortunately there is a mean girl component that is compounded by jealousy over a very nice boy. I nearly abandoned this one when the teen angst ratcheted up. Then I went and read the end. (Does anyone else do this to determine if a book is worth reading?) Anyway, I appreciated the ending enough to go back and finish the book!

3 stars
Shot in the Dark by Janet M Whyte

I liked a lot in this book, not the least was all the information about goalball, a sport for blind people. The protagonist, Micah, is a 13 year old kid with uveitis, an eye condition that causes blindness. He's also a goalball player. Micah seems to deal with the usual adolescent issues, but his vision impairment exacerbates them. Luckily he has a supportive family, and Cam, his mobility specialist, who helps him maintain his independence and act as a mentor at the same time. Micah's issues with other people, and how they are resolved are authentic and positively handled.
My only concern, and here I must acknowledge that I finished reading Even This Page Is White just prior to starting this, is that Micah and his mother are depicted as people of colour at the start of the book, and the author is white. I wish I understood the purpose of this. It makes me uncomfortable.

5 stars

Duke's Den by Becky Citra

Becky Citra has created a beautiful collection of complex multicultural characters and placed them in my neighbourhood. How could I not love it?





4 stars
Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green

I'm kind of a sucker for novels in verse, but this is exceptional anyway. There are many miracles to behold in this one summer when Bailey and her younger brother, Kevin, are left with their unknown grandmother in a small community near the ocean. Their parents are at a marriage counselling camp in an effort to save their family. There is much to love about all these beautifully flawed characters. I especially appreciate how much Bailey learns about friendship and family and how complicated it all is.

CURRENTLY

I'm listening to State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. I'm reading Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast.

UP NEXT

My next audiobook will be When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. I plan to read Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel. Then I'll be digging into my Chocolate Lily box to read more from there. Planning what I would read helped last week, so I'm committing to read The MIssing Skull by John Wilson, Adventure on Whalebone Island by M. A. Wilson, and Last Chance Island by Norma Charles. I've got three more picture books to finish up too.

How has your week been?

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 9/36 1 in progress 

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 3/12

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 11/50

Chocolate Lily (CL) 38/52 1 in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge 132/333