#IMWAYR January 1, 2017

Hurrah for a new year and time for future book adventures!


#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.

It was an intense two weeks. I finished up Christmas projects, hung out with family and managed to find time for some fine reading. I am so impressed by those of you who managed to get a post written. I enjoyed reading them. 

I surpassed my goodreads reading challenge of 333 books by reading 351. I'm continuing with the same goal this year since I don't know if I will be reading as many picture books now that I am retired.

I managed to get my #MustReadIn2016 update posted. I'm still working on a list for next year.

PICTURE BOOKS

Me Hungry! by by Jeremy Tankard (3 stars)
This is a fun little story about a cave boy who develops self reliance and builds a new unlikely friendship.

The Darkest Dark by Chris Hadfield and Terry Fan & Eric Fan (illustrations) (4 stars)
What a fabulous story about overcoming your fears and following your dreams. The Fan brothers' illustrations are gorgeous!

NOVELS

Goblins & Goblin Quest by Philip Reeve, Narrated by David Thorpe

3.5 stars
3.5 stars
I've been a fan of Philip Reeve ever since reading No Such Thing as Dragons.  Reeves wrote these two books for his eight year old son. They are loaded with goofy bathroom humor that will appeal to younger boys and girls. (Ok - I admit I laughed out loud once or twice myself) While they are entertaining, they also contain messages about how to live a meaningful life. The stories center on Skarper, a smarter than average goblin. In Goblins, he ends up expelled from his goblin community for questioning its leader. Consequently he meets up with a young boy on his way to saving a princess and becoming a hero, and a group of pseudo magicians on their way to claiming the ancient throne of Clovenstone along with the powerful magic that accompanies it. In Goblin Quest, Skarper and his new friends set off to stop a foreign prince from waking the elves and bringing disaster to the world. These books are filled with all kinds of magical creatures. They contain plenty of action and adventure as well as humour. I'm certain my boys would have loved them when they were younger.  

Wenjack by Joseph Boyden

In spite of conflicting details, while reading this novella I had the sense that this true story of Chanie Wenjack's death while escaping from a residential school, happened long, long ago.
It wasn't until reading the author's notes at the end that I realized that Chanie was one year younger than me. Chanie and others like him experienced horrific abuse and careless extinction while at the same time, I was lovingly nurtured within my family home. The juxtaposition of our two separate experiences served to personalize and accentuate the magnitude of these profound tragedies in our collective history.

Since finishing this book, I've been reading of the controversy about Boyden's background. He is a very gifted writer, but individuals within the indigenous community are questioning his claim to indigenous heritage. It's complicated, nasty and very messy. 

4.5 stars
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu & Erin Mcguire (Illustrations)

This is another of my #MustReadIn2016 titles. I'm thankful it was on my list. It is a beautifully written fantasy about Oscar, a magician's helper. Oscar doesn't understand how to interact with others, but with the mysterious death of Wolf, the Magician's apprentice, he is forced to learn how to function among the people in his community. Thankfully he is befriended by Callie, the healer's apprentice. While their masters are away, the two friends have to find out what is making the children of the nearby city ill, and come up with a cure.

4 stars
 Always, Abigail by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

This is more proof that creating a MustRead list is worthwhile. Abigail is a loveable character who is mad about becoming a pom pom girl with her two best friends now that she is finally in grade six. What she doesn't anticipate is that she is going to learn a lot about what is truly important. The popular group of pom pom girls are shallow and mean. Thankfully, Abigail finds the courage to listen to her heart and discover what true friendship is all about.

4 stars
The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough

I enjoyed this story about a young boy in France at the time of the German occupation during world war 2. His parents, owners of a local bakery, are members of the resistance and Marcel rides his bike around town to deliver messages baked into the bread. Through their similar passion for the Tour de France, a renowned bicycle race, he befriends Daphne, a new girl at school. But Daphne has her own dangerous secret. It ends up on Marcel's shoulders to save her and her family from the Nazis. I really appreciated that this book educates readers about this time in history without being violent and gruesome.

GRAPHIC MEMOIR

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis #1)by Marjane Satrapi, Mattias Ripa (Translator)
This was the last book I finished from my #MustReadIn2016 list. The sequel will be added to my new list. I appreciated this perspective of growing up in Iran during the revolution. I've been fascinated by it ever since my partner worked with an Iranian film maker and we ended up being lucky enough to be invited to cultural events in the the Iranian community of North Vancouver. One of these was a presentation of photographs from the most extensive and almost only photo collection of the revolution. A number of speakers, including women, spoke about their experiences during this time.
If you haven't had a chance to get to Persepolis, it is well worth reading.

INFORMATION

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton (Illustrations)

I've been waiting for this book, or one very like it, to be written for a long while. Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton have created the perfect introduction to the world of microbes. I love the way they put the massive numbers of these microscopic organisms into comprehendible perspective: one drop of seawater has as many microbes as there are people in New York State. I am impressed that they have shown how pervasive and inclusive these organisms are. Sutton's illustrations deftly reveal the multiple incarnations of microbe shapes and size. As an introduction, I am certain that readers will be filled with questions and want to know more about specific details of specific microbes that are only hinted at here. I sure am.

CURRENTLY

I'm trying to listen to Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II by Alan Gratz but am finding it a little too brutal for me. This is a book I will have to abandon for now and find a hard copy to read so that I can skim over the parts that make me uncomfortable. I'm also still having a hard time with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale. I'll give it another go this week and if it doesn't grab me, I'm going to abandon it. I just started reading Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick and am listening to The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox.

UP NEXT

I'm at our home in Oliver BC gazing out at the winter wonderland as I write this post this morning. I've brought SteepleJack and The Bitter Side of Sweet with me. I'm planning to listen to Gifts by Ursula K Le Guin. I thought I would get to some of my Christmas book gifts, but it seems that I left them in Vancouver. 

I hope you all have a marvelous reading week and a year full of beautiful books to fall into. 
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36 comments:

  1. I think the Darkest Dark is a great book - lovely message. I enjoyed the Bicycle Spy. I've loaned it out to students interested in that time period and they've enjoyed it as well. I've started reading The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and I'm enjoying it. It's quirky, but fun.

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    1. I really enjoyed Bicycle Spy because it tells the story of that time without flinching, but highlights the humanity.

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  2. I hadn't heard of Bicycle Spy before. I'm going to have to get a copy for my library. I have lots of students interested in that time period. I keep trying to read The Real Boy, but other books seem to get in the way. I loved Always Abigail. It is one of my favorite reads. Happy New Year!!

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    1. I loved Cavanaugh's This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, so this book was a necessary read. I'm looking forward to reading Just Like Me. The character in The Real Boy seemed to be autistic when I first started reading it. I ended up loving him.

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  3. I have Falling Over Sideways on my TBR, but The Charming Children of Rookskill Castle sounds like something I might want to try on audio as well. I love good middle grades books on audio if they have an excellent narrator. I'm pretty busy doing a read-a-thon these first two weeks of January but am hoping to get some other good reading this month as well. Happy New Year!

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    1. The narrator is so important in an audiobook! They can take a book I might otherwise pass over and make it riveting! I'll look forward to comparing notes with you on Falling Over Sideways.

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  4. So many books to look for, Cheriee. I like the idea of The Bicycle Spy, and others, too. Happy New Year!

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    1. It's a good one Linda. Happy reading in 2017!

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  5. Isn't Persepolis wonderful? Persepolis II also very well worth the read, but my favorite of hers is definitely Embroideries. I really need to read The Real Boy. It's been sitting on my shelf, sadly unread, for ages. I'm excited about a new book illustrated by the Fan Brothers. The story of Night Gardener didn't entirely work for me, but the art was amazing!

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    1. Embroideries is now on my list. The Fan Brothers work is amazing. The night gardener images are amazing, but I had a hard time with the story. I couldn't suspend belief after having learned just how challenging and time consuming topiary really is.

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  6. Enjoy your quiet time in Oliver! Must be beautiful. The Real Boy is a title I often think about even though I read it a few years ago. I adored Falling Over Sideways - hope you like it!

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    1. It's white and the sun is shining. I'm already predisposed to loving anything Sonnemblck writes!

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  7. So many wonderful books. Sounds like you are in perfect reading weather.

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    1. Reading inside while it snows outside, and then walking outside afterwards with an audiobook in my head make for the best reading world.

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  8. I think I had The Real Boy and Always Abigail on my mustread lists 2 years ago but never got to them. I would like to at some point. There's a reason they went on the list!
    I've heard Rookskill Castle is a very creepy read to listen to - one day I'll pick it up.
    I am interested in the World War II time period so Bicycle Spy and Alan Gratz's books are some I'd like to pick up!

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    1. I am worried that Rookskill castle might be over the top, but I listened to both of the very creepy Serafina books by Robert Beatty, so I'm hoping!

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  9. Love that you caught so many of your "Must Read" titles at the end! I'm always so nose-deep in Mock Caldecott and Newbery books at this time of year that it just never occurs to me to look ahead and formulate a Must Read list!

    I absolutely agree with you about Wolf Hollow too. Betty's one-dimensionality was definitely another drawback. Happy reading!

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    1. I'm impressed by those of you who get involved with Mock Caldecott and Newbery. When I was teaching I was always exhausted by the end of the year!

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  10. Cheriee-- thanks for information on so many books! The Real Boy was one of my reads a couple of years ago, and I found it to be a really good read. As Carrie mentioned, I still think of that book often. I'm very intrigued by Bicycle Spy - it sounds to me as if it might be a bit reminiscent of parts of All The Light We Cannot See -- the Pulitzer winner from a couple of years back which also takes place in occupied France in WWII. That's one I'm definitely adding to my list!

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    1. I adored All the Light We Cannot See. The Bicycle Spy reminded me of Honey Cake by Joan Betty Stuchner, another world war two book written for younger readers.

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  11. I'm looking forward to reading The Darkest Dark, based on your recommendation. Congratulations on completing your #MustReadin2016 post. I'm going to check it out!

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    1. Thanks Susan. Chris Hadfield is an extraordinary man.

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  12. I loved Persepolis! I haven't gotten to the sequel yet, but I intend to read it! Happy New Year!

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  13. I hope you give Projekt 1065 another try. I loved it and also Code of Honor, also by Gratz. I teach 6th grade so my boys love these kinds of books - although I know they are not for everyone.

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    1. I really enjoyed Code of Honor which is why I tried Projekt 1065. I hope to try and finish it with my eyes. I think I will handle the suspense and brutal bits better that way.

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  14. The Darkest Dark sounds wonderful. I soooo loved The Real Boy. Persepolis and the sequel are books that stick in my mind. Powerful.

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    1. After all the comments today I am looking forward to more Marjane Satrapi. It looks like there are numerous sequels.

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  15. It's the first I'm hearing of the book Wenjack and all the controversy behind it. Wow. I hope you enjoy Persepolis 2 - I personally liked the first book more than the sequel.

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    1. There was an interesting article in today's Globe and Mail by Wab Kinew, a well known indigenous Canadian, about this issue.

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  16. I really enjoyed Always, Abigail. The Darkest Dark also looks lovely. I'll have to add it to my list of things to find at the library on our next trip!

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    1. Nancy J. Cavanaugh has a remarkable ability to write middle grade fiction that captures that reality.

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  17. I enjoyed The Real Boy. Always Abigail sounds really interesting. I hope to get to it soon. Happy New Year!

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    1. I read Always Abigail because I adored Nancy J. Cavanaugh's This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. If you are looking for writing models for middle grade, that is the book!

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  18. The Charmed Children audiobook is is brilliant--I hope you enjoy it!
    I'm glad you loved Persepolis. It is important and so well done.
    Real Boy is also wonderful. Walden Pond really does publish some amazing books.
    Happy new year, and happy reading this week!

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    1. Thanks - I'm most likely reading The Charmed Children because you enjoyed it, and we tend to have similar tastes in literature.

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