#IMWAYR January 9, 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.

My partner and I remain ensconced in the winter wonderland of Oliver, a small town in the Southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It's been bitter cold. I planned to walk every day here. The best I've accomplished is every other day, and mostly for only a half hour or so. 

Still, I've had a stellar reading life. And I've been writing too. 

BLOG POSTS THIS WEEK


PICTURE BOOKS

4 stars
The Last Tree by Ingrid Chabbert & Raúl Nieto Guridi (Illustrations)(Netalley)

I've gone through this a couple of times and am still kind of wondering what to write about it. Guridi's illustrations are paradoxically dark and joyful. Chabbert's text is similarly contrary, being a combination of despair and hope. I'll get a proper review done this week some time.



NOVELS

Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick
5 stars

This was the first book I finished this year and the first book from my #MustReadIn2017 list.
I've never read a Sonnenblick title that wasn't superb. He creates characters so authentic, you can see them living next door to you. 
In this novel, a young teen, Claire, is hanging out with her father one Saturday morning when he has a stroke. She manages to do everything she needs to do to make sure he gets the necessary treatment to mitigate its effects. This punctuates the start of a painful and challenging year. Sonnenblick shows us the family as it attempts to cope with the ramifications of this event. While each member reacts differently, ultimately they manage to discover more about each other, and pull together to support the father and one other.
I read this title more critically than I might otherwise because I have lived with having to support a damaged parent, both as a child and as an adult. As I read the sections about the father recovering from his brain damage, I couldn't help but measure it against the reality of my mother's trauma and the experiences of all the TBI patients I met at our support group.

I should never have doubted Sonnenblick's ability to get it right.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale (Netgalley)

3 stars
I wanted to like this because it's written by the Hales for heaven's sake! I have loved everything else this dynamic duo write. Maybe my expectations were too high. I take personal responsibility for some of my problems with this book, since I have no background knowledge of Ryan North's Squirrel Girl Comics, don't read Marvel comics at all, and acknowledge that I am not the target audience. It's just, I had a such a hard time actually getting into it. There is a frenetic, scattered, squirrely quality that interrupted my ability to focus on the narrative. Lisa Maucione's comments last week encouraged me to persevere so I didn't abandon it. Eventually I became engaged and wanted to find out how the story would end.

Steeplejack (Alternative Detective #1) by A.J. Hartley
4 stars

I stayed up late in bed one night to finish reading this. (FYI, I don't do this very often because I've learned that reading in bed is guaranteed to leave me with little sleep.) I just absolutely had to find out how it all ended. Hartley's world of Bar-Selehm is a brilliant combination of medieval and modern. It's both dystopian and Dickensian in how it mirrors the present day life of squalor and poverty found around the world today. I am impressed by the cast of complex and diverse characters. Anglet Sutonga is a strong young woman who comes from a very humble background. Coalescing events force her into taking on dangerous foes within the existing establishment, as she tries to solve the murder of her new climbing apprentice. This is a book loaded with suspense, action and all kinds of plot convolutions.

Nobody Cries at Bingo by Dawn Dumont


5 stars
The power in family and community acceptance and love are the most important elements I took from this brilliant, semi autobiographical, first novel by Cree author, Dawn Dumont. 
It doesn't hurt that it is screamingly funny. 
Her narrative is imbued with such abundant tenderness, that it's one of those profound coming of age books I want everyone to read. 
It's the first book I finished from my goal of reading 50 books by Indigenous Canadian authors this year. I will most definitely read more of Dumont's work. 
Fans of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie and If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth will enjoy this.

CURRENTLY

I'm working on Spin: How Politics has the Power to Turn Marketing On Its Head by Clive Veroni. I forgot my reading glasses in Vancouver and the font is very small so I'm not making much progress. I'm still listening to The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox. I can't believe I haven't finished even one audiobook this week! We've had much company around the house and with us on our walks. I finally started (again) The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan. 

UP NEXT

I plan on beginning The Break by Katherena Vermette. Other than that, I'm hoping to listen to Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa before it expires from my device. That's not looking good given my progress this week so far. 

PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS

#MUSTREADIN2017 1/36

#MUSTREADNFIN2017 1 in progress

50 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 1/50

Goodreads Reading Challenge 5/333


23 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard of Nobody Cries at Bingo, but I've added it to my list, I love your goal of reading more Indigenous Canadian writers. I don't think I've been to Oliver in years, and only in the summer - hot, hot, hot!

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    1. It's not hot now! We are slowing adjusting to moving from the larger center of Vancouver to eventually moving to Oliver. There is the issue of leaving that huge library system that I will weep to have to part with. Otherwise I'm so impressed by what a vibrant arts community thrives here.

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  2. You've already read so many books this year!

    I've decided to read only 80 books this year, because of increasing academic and co-curricular pressure......

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    1. You can only do what you can do. I bet your brain will be absorbing a whole lot anyway!

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  3. I'm excited about Nobody Cries at Bingo! Adding this to my list right away. I am always looking for middle-grade and YA titles by Native authors. I am very excited about your project this year of reading more Indigenous authors and hope to add liberally to my own TBR list as I read your reviews. I think I've only read one book by Sonnenblick. I should remedy that!

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    1. Oh yes to Sonnenblick! My original goal was 150 books by indigenous authors, but I knew I couldn't accomplish that. I will have that goal in the back of my mind, but celebrate when I hit 50!

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  4. My students loved Sonnenblick's books, but I haven't read one in a long time. I'll put this one on my list, Cheriee. Thanks for the others, too, especially Nobody Cries At Bingo. I don't think I'd know about it without your recommendation.

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    1. You are very kind Linda. I can't wait to read more of Dawn Dumont. I fell in love with Sonnenblick's writing initially because his boys are so authentic and beautiful, kind of like Jason Reynold's characters.

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  5. Thank you so much for including your list of blog posts from the week! No matter how hard I try to keep up with everything, I know I miss a lot of blog posts.
    I haven't read Squirrel Girl, but I have a feeling I'll be feeling the same way as you.
    I really need to read the Sonnenblick book. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. I've come to the conclusion that even now that I am retired, it is impossible to keep up with all the posts I want to. I don't even always manage to read the nerdy posts! I'm so sad about Squirrel Girl.

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  6. So glad that there is another Jordan Sonnenblick book to look forward to!

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    1. Yup, and it is a fabulous as all his others.

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  7. The cover of The Last Tree just sucks me in! Thanks for sharing it! :)

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    1. I know! I am looking forward to reading more of their work.

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  8. I was curious how you would end up feeling about Squirrel Girl. I did enjoy the quirkiness of it. I have to admit that I found myself skipping over the footnotes later in the book because I just wanted to find out what was going to happen. I haven't given it out to any students yet so I'd be interested to know what they think.

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    1. I really wish I could hand over a copy to a couple of students for their feedback. I ended up skipping over those late on also. I think that is why I could eventually finish it.

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  9. Falling Over Sideways is on my To Read list. Looks awesome as do the rest of your titles! Have a great week!

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    1. It's a great read. Enjoy your week too Jana.

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  10. I am loving the look of The Last Tree - I love dark picturebooks - I did note that it's not going to be out until April of this year - I marked is as to read in Goodreads so I won't forget. I do have NetGalley, but I hardly ever use it, as I really can not abide reading books, especially picturebooks, digitally.

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    1. It can be either or for me. I loved the Max books on my iPad because they looked so glossy. The actual books seemed flat. I also like being able to take screen shots of bits I want to highlight.

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  11. I don't know The Last Tree but it sounds like something I would want to read. Nobody Cries at Bingo also sounds good to me. Thanks for sharing. So glad I came over here.

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    1. I'm glad you came too Alex. Please find and read Nobody Cries at Bingo. I'm sure it will be in my top ten bythe end of the year.

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  12. Steeplejack is one I read pretty much straight through. I found it to be a fun one. I will definitely look for Nobody Cries at Bingo. Thanks!

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