I haven't participated in #IMWAYR for the couple of weeks because I was occupied with family events. There were birthday parties and father's day celebrations. I managed to get a few blog posts written in spite of having my granddaughter with us for a week. Then my sister was here house hunting and helped me celebrate my birthday. (I discovered that I am one year younger than I thought) After she left I got the garden weeded and almost under control (for now.) We have a week or so before my other son brings our grandson for a visit. In the meantime, it's back to renovations for us.
While I didn't have time to read as much as I usually do, what I did get to was mostly brilliant! I have been focusing on reading Indigenous authors for Indigenous History Month here in Canada, but I also read a couple of big books for the big book summer reading challenge. So far I've read some amazing titles.
On an exciting note, my little local library is now open for curbside pickup. I just got a notice that some of my reserve books are ready for me to come and collect, and a couple more are in transit!
Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian Author and or Illustrator.
Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.
BLOG POSTS IN THE PAST FEW WEEKS
Swift Fox All Along by by Rebecca Thomas & Maya McKibbin (Illustrator)
Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem by Kate DiCamilla & Chris Van Dusen
Northwest Resistance by Katherena Vermette, Scott B Henderson (Illustrations) & Donovan Yaciuk (Colorist)
A young girl meets her indigenous relatives for the first time. Based on the author's experience, this shows her anxiety and eventual acceptance of this part of who she is. This book had me thinking about what it must be like for all the 'scooped' children who undertake to connect to their heritage. You can read my full review here.
This is the story about a boy who finds a toy horse. He keeps it and lies to his family about where it came from. He names the horse Wind. At first everything is good. He loves playing with Wind and telling his parents all about their adventures. Then he starts seeing missing horse pictures, and begins to feel guilt and remorse.
Floyd Peterson wants you to acknowledge that he is more than just a monster. At the same time as this is humorous, it's also about accepting our differences.
I loved this story of adversity and friendship. To be upfront, I am a hardcore fan of this series. Each book is like a visit with old friends. In this one, I appreciated finding out how Baby and Eugenia Lincoln are getting on. I probably say this about each new character Kate introduces us to, but I do believe that Stella and Horace have found a special place in my heart. You can read my full review here.
This is the third volume in the A Girl Called Echo series. The collection focus on the lives of Echo, a young modern day Metis girl who travels back in time to meet with Louis Riel and others during the conflict between Canada and the Metis people in the mid 1800's. You can read my full review here.
Lucy Knisley's first autobiographical graphic novel for the younger crowd is as important and wonderful as her adult novels. Moving from the city to the country was hard on her eleven year old self for all kinds of reasons. She has to get used to the new man in her mother's life, learn to look after chickens, get along with two step sisters, and deal with her math disability. Here is a story that will resonate for younger readers wherever they live. I especially appreciated the additional information and photographs at the end of the book.
This is a story of coming home, healing, and moving forward into a new world. It addresses historic oppression and injustice. Readers are made aware of different ways of knowing the world, especially with respect to land ownership and use.
Hazel Ellis returns home to the reserve to stay with her mother after completing her post secondary degree. Both of them are grieving the death of their father/husband who died of cancer a short while ago.
In the process of learning more about her father and the history of her family and people, Hazel reconnects with her culture and makes connection to the spiritual world. She discovers that her father was keeping secrets and set a plan in motion, that however well meaning, will have catastrophic consequences for all people if let come to fruition.
It’s up to Hazel and her unwilling partner, Nanabush, to do the right thing and save them all.
Hazel’s relationship with Nanabush, her capacity for moving in and out of different realms, and the perspective of Nanabush himself, put me in mind of Celia's Song by Lee Maracle. Maracle's characters inhabit a landscape wherein past, present and future, and physical and spiritual realms exist simultaneously. So do McBrides.
Karen McBride is an indigenous Canadian. This is her first novel. I am looking forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.
In spite of being terrified at times, I loved this book. It’s got some fabulous strong characters to admire and care about. I especially appreciated learning the history of the Night Witches.
This tells two beautiful love stories against the backdrop of World War I. I loved the characters and appreciated all the details about the war. I knew something of the hospitals for traumatized soldiers from reading Pat Barker's Regeneration Trilogy. It was fascinating to learn more about the roles of women at the time. In spite of this being an historical novel, it felt relevant for today, especially since one of the love stories introduces us to a black soldier in a black regiment. I was terrified for him.
I loved the integration of the Greek Gods and Goddesses and the connection to music.
I appreciated the historical notes at the end of this as much as I loved the story itself.
Martha Wells is just brilliant. I can't believe she can keep coming up with new scenarios for this character. It's such joy to read about Murderbot's slow transformation as he figures out how he fits into the rest of humanity. I usually read these in one sitting. I would have been riveted once again but had my three year old granddaughter visiting. I really love that kid, so I forgive her for interfering with my reading life, but still...
If you are not a Murderbot fan, I feel really sad for you.
This is a collection of weird, wonderful, dark and disturbing short stories. I didn’t really understand all of them, but each one compelled me read more. I loved the conversation between Thomas King and Margaret Atwood in the back matter.
While searching the attic Edie and her friends discover a secret box. Inside are photographs and letters from someone named Edith who looks a lot like Edie. Edie surreptitiously attempts to get her parents to reveal more about how she got her name and who this other Edie is, but they remain silent until she confronts them straight on.
All this happens against a backdrop of realistic friendship drama.
As Edie learns about her Native American heritage, we discover that a government agent took her mother away from Edith just after she was born and put her up for adoption. We learn that the apprehension of Native American/Indigenous children was a common occurrence in the fifties, sixties and seventies. Even though this is set in America, it's a relevant and important story for Canadians. Here in Canada we call these apprehensions The Scoops.
It's such a common story that you might know people who were victims of this process. In the small town I grew up in I went to school with Indigenous kids who were 'scooped' and adopted into white families. My hairdresser and her brother were 'scooped' from their Indigenous Canadian family and adopted by a white couple in California.
Deborah Hopkinson integrates compelling fictional characters into the true story of Dr John Snow's identification of a poisoned well as the cause of the Broad Street Cholera epidemic. Eel is a homeless young teen who works different jobs to save up money for a secret purpose. When, on the cusp of a cholera outbreak, he loses his steady day job through no fault of his own, he ends up working as Dr Snow's assistant.
Readers will hardly be aware of how much they are learning about science as they become absorbed in this riveting historical drama.
I especially appreciated the extra information in the back matter.
Given that we are living through a pandemic, this is a timely read.
I'm reading a nonfiction title, The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power by Desmond Cole. Sara and the Search for Normal by Wesley King is the fictional novel I have on the go. I've just started listening to Rick by Alex Gino.
As soon as I pick up my library books I hope to get to A Matter of Malice by Thomas King. Then eventually I'll get to my book club books, Nanaimo Girl by Prudence Emery and Don't Stand So Close to Me by Eric Walters.
PROGRESS ON MY READING GOALS
Big Books Summer 2020 3/10
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors: 15/25
100 books by Canadian Authors: 95/100
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 195/333