Today is Monday: time to go back to school after two delicious weeks of spring break, and also time for #IMWAYR. It's when bloggers write about the books they have been reading in the past week. I warn you that if you take up reading these posts, you will end up inundated with ideas for great reads. Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Rickie from Unleashing Readers host this weekly event. Check out their blogs for links to the many participants.
It's been two weeks since my last post. The good news is that I have relished these two weeks of spring break. It was both relaxing and busy!
My siblings and I left our families behind, and spent a week together at my house in Oliver, BC, with my mother. Having us all together is one of the things she can now cross off her bucket list of things to do before she dies. We met up with many of our cousins, a few aunts, and Mom had the opportunity to visit with some of her old school chums. We roamed the hills we climbed in our youth, told stories, and even went on a shopping trip. We bought matching outfits and reproduced this old photograph from long ago.
It was an exceptional experience for all of us, and one that I hope you find an opportunity to do with your folks before you get notice that their time is limited.
When family all left, my partner and I did housework and renovations on the house. Then I was blessed to spend up these last few days of break hanging out and reconnecting with two of my cousins in the beautiful city of Victoria BC.
The bad news is that I have hardly had any chance to read. I guess the good news about that is that I won't have bunches to write about. I usually average close to a book a day on holidays, but I only finished five novels and started one other. I've got a pile of picture books that I picked up from our local library, but haven't even opened up the book bag!
Here is what I did complete.
I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Well, that was some read. It took me a bit to get into this story of twins at odd purposes, but when I did, I was hooked. It is a sad, dark read, told from the different perspectives of each twin. It’s a reminder that none of us can ever own the whole truth and that redemption is only possible when we share our piece of it. There is a lot to take away from this story, but this bit below struck me as a profound statement about being human:
"I feel like I'm undercover."
"Me too."... "maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people," … "Maybe we're accumulating these new selves all the time. Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step us, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”
He grins. "Each new self standing on the last one's shoulders until we're these wobbly people poles?"
I die of delight. "Yes, exactly! We're all just wobbly people poles!"
How To Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied by by Jess Keating
I wanted to love this book more than I did. I think that is because I had read a lot of hype about it and my expectations were out of line. Still, this is a great book about a young girl who manages to overcome her fears and anxiety to become who she wants to be. I suspect that many readers will empathize with Ana and her struggle to stand up for herself. (this is taken from my goodreads review)
ZombieBaseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi
I pretty much figure everyone, whether you are a fan of zombies or baseball or not, should read this book. Click on the link if you want to read my full review.
Rain Reign by Ann M Martin
Rose, a high functioning autistic girl, is the narrator of her own story. She is passionate about homonyms, prime numbers, and rules. Rose lives with her alcoholic father and dog, Rain. When her dog is lost in a storm, Rose, along with her supportive uncle, sets out to find him. When Rain is found, Rose is faced with a bigger dilemma.
I loved this book, but it also disturbed me. While my heart ached for all of these characters, I wanted to know more about them. Most especially, I want to know more about Rose’s father. He seems like such a lost soul, someone who might be completely out of his depth taking on the role of parenting a neurotypical child, never mind one like Rose.
My other piddling complaint is that Rose’s voice didn’t always work for me. Initially I got it, but often enough for me to notice, it didn’t feel authentic.
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
Peter Nimble is an unlikely hero – a blind thief who has a destiny to fulfill. It took me a while to get fully engaged in Peter’s adventures. While some of this may have been my inability to hunker down with it, I think part of the reason I wasn’t able to suspend my own disbelief and believe in Peter as a character, is just because his abilities are so farfetched. Readers at school have raved about this book. I see their excitement, and I did eventually get caught up in the suspense and battles, but this book just didn’t grab me in the same way that Auxier’s The Night Gardener did.
Right now I'm halfway through listening to Skink: No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen. Up Next I've got that bag of picture books from the library and Greenglass House by Kate Milford waiting for me.