#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.
My partner and I were away in Oliver for a week of resting and relaxing. We missed our babies terribly, but I managed to get some sewing, knitting, and cleaning done there. We had dinners with friends and laughed a lot. Back in Vancouver, first thing after unpacking the car, I ran downstairs to enjoy some snuggle and play time with my granddaughter Ada. She was as happy to see me as I was to see her!
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
This book packs such delightful emotional punch. I love the connection to Little Red Riding Hood and how it upends our stereotype of wolves. I was teary eyed at the happy ending. I went through the book a couple more times and yup, it worked everytime, even though I knew what was coming.
Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli
Just wow! There is so much about this wordless picture book I adore. On the surface it's the simple story of someone (who just happens to be a crocodile) getting up and heading off to work in the morning. Where he works is a delightful surprise.
However, the book is so much more than this. It captures snapshots in time of the crocodile's routines and commute. Each moment is a world of activity to get lost in. On the commuter train you can't help but wonder who all these people and animals are and where they are on their way to. If you look closely at the monkey compound you will notice a lot of very human kinds of behaviour.
Honestly, this turns out to be a not so simple book that you can spend hours pouring over.
And then, there's that ending.
NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS
How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy
Beautiful art is accompanied by fascinating information about the life of an elephant.
I liked it well enough but found it disconcerting at the end with the announcement about a new baby coming. How the heck did that happen? I even went back to see if I had missed a page. Nope. I wish there had been information about how the bull elephants knew when to meet up with the females when mating occurs. After reading that the herd was composed of females and young I wondered how the males knew it was time to leave, and how they would get together again. I guess I will have to do my own research.
The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (HiLo #1) by Judd Winick & Guy Major (Colorist)
This was fabulous! It has adorable characters placed in a science fiction setting. The pages are gorgeously coloured with brilliant action scenes. I love the silliness that is countered with witty remarks, and strong emotional connections between the characters. I am now a fan of Judd Winick’s work and plan to read more! The good thing about being late to the Hilo party is that I won’t have to wait to read more of the series.
MIDDLE GRADE NOVELS
The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh & Dianne Down (Narrator)
I am a sucker for really good, realistic, middle grade novels, especially ones that show us how we can be our best selves.
This is one of them.
It’s quiet and thoughtful although it does have some tense moments. Beatrix is an exuberant character who is passionate about poetry, music, and her relationship with her best friend, S. When that relationship falls apart at the beginning of seventh grade, Bea loses herself for awhile. While hiding from S and her new group of girls, she ends up connecting to Will, Briggs, and other individuals involved in the school paper.
It’s the relationship between Bea and Will (who seems to be on the autism spectrum) that most fascinated me. Where Bea is passionate and spontaneous, Will is analytical and rigid. I appreciate how their ‘friendship’ helps each of them become more self aware. Their relationship is not in any way romantic. That may or may not be where here friendship with Briggs is headed.
Will’s fascination with labyrinths drives much of the plot. It also leads to philosophical understandings for the characters and the readers.
Best of all, it has a satisfying conclusion even though it doesn’t end up the way I expected.
YA AND ADULT NOVLES
Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin & Tom Phelan (Narrator) (MG/YA)
Riley Cavanaugh is gender fluid character whose assigned sex is never identified. Riley is a sympathetic character who is witty, compassionate, and smart. On the suggestion of their therapist, Riley creates an anonymous blog, writing about their life under the pseudonym Alex. The blog becomes an overnight sensation, but someone knows that Alex is Riley, and starts threatening them. Riley's parents don't know about the blog or Riley's gender fluid identity. Mr Cavanaugh, Riley's father, is in the middle of a tight election when the information is leaked and used against him.
I really liked this one. I liked the romantic relationship between Riley and Bec, and friendship between Riley and Solo. Although it is YA, and there is a violent incident near the end of the book, I would comfortably pass this on to students in grades 6 and 7. Ultimately it is a positive book with positive characters that will educate readers about what it means to be gender fluid.
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf & Mark Bramhall (Narrator)
This book broke my heart a bit. It tells of the relationship between two elderly people, Addie and Louis, who have lost their partners. What begins as a way to help each other deal with their loneliness grows into friendship and eventually love. The two of them end up looking after Addie's grandson while the parents are separated. Unfortunately the boy's father is an ass. The book is definitely worth reading, but also frustrating. I plan to read more Kent Haruf. I just discovered that this has been made into a movie. I'm contemplating whether or not to watch it.
Still Life by Louise Penny by Louise Penny & Ralph Cosham (Narrator)
I finally got around to Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache's series.
One autumn my partner and I travelled through the Gaspe Peninsula in Southern Quebec. This novel took me back into that landscape and those towns. If we had had any inkling that the people would be as charming as these characters, we might have stayed.
I’m especially looking forward to getting to know Chief Inspector Armand Gamache better in the next books!
Honestly with all the adult authors I'm getting around to reading, I may just have to devote my entire life doing nothing but reading!
Sammy Keyes and the Dead Giveaway by Wendelin Van Draanen and narrated by Tara Sands is the audiobook I've got on the go. This series is my go to when I've been immersed in intense literature. I'm in the middle of Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar. I didn't put The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman in my book bag so I'll get back to that this week. I'm still taking Palestine by Joe Sacco in small doses. I've just begun This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.
I hope to get to Celia's Song by Lee Maracle and The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
#MustReadIn2018 6/25 1 in process
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 2/25 1 in progress
Goodreads Reading Challenge 67/333