#IMWAYR June 27, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 

It's been mostly a better post Covid week. Although my energy levels come and go, I have managed to get the garden under control (for now at least.) 

On Sunday my brother and I celebrated our birthday at his house with a wonderful meal and wonderful company. 

A number of years ago I read Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King. I thought it wasn't realistic because I couldn't see American women putting up with losing their hard won right to control their own bodies. 

To all my American friends and family, I ache for you. 

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 


Bear and the Whisper of the Wind
by Marianne Dubuc πŸ March 1, 2022

I am a hardcore Marianne Dubuc fan. Her soft illustrations, rendered in pencil, coloured pencil, and watercolour, take me into worlds of enchantment. This one fills me full of ideas for a quilted wall hanging.
Although Bear lives a comfortable satisfying life, one day he gets the the urge to leave and explore the world. Along his way he makes new friends. He also experiences terrifying events before he finds a new place to settle into again.
In a note from the author, Marianne Dubuc writes, "Sometimes life forces us to move, whether physically of mentally. It's important to let ourselves be guided by this ebb and flow, remembering that everything will be fine in the end and that there is always a comforting corner of the world to find."


Abuelita and Me
by Leonarda Carranza & Rafael Mayani (Illustrator) πŸ April 12, 2022

Just Wow. Thanks to Lisa Maucione @Literacy on the Mind for introducing this book to us. I picked it up because I thought it would be a lovely feel good story about a grandparent/grandchild relationship. It is, but it doesn't shy away from darkness either. A young girl and her abuelita have wonderful times inside, but when they go outside, they experience racism in many different ways. After one scary incident on the bus, the girl doesn't want to leave the house. Abuelita helps her to process the experience until she is strong enough to take the bus again.
This book packs an emotional wallup!

NOVELS


Worser
by Jennifer Ziegler January 1, 2022

Kirkus calls this "A lexical story of emotional evolution." I wish I had come up with that line for this book. 
Give me a character I can love with my whole heart, and I will love that author forever.
I read Worser in one sitting. William Wyatt Orser, named Worser in his primary years, is a nerdy kid with a passion for words and wordplay. His life has recently fallen to pieces. His mother had a stroke and his artistic, creative Aunt Iris, the antithesis of his academic mother, has come to stay and look after all of them. The last straw is when the school library is closed after school due to budget cuts and Worser has no place to go for respite. 
Luckily Worser discovers a used book store near his home and makes a deal with the grouchy proprietor so he can hang out at a back table and work on his 'masterwork,' a collection of his thoughts on words. Because of the closed library, the school Literary Club ends up needing a place to meet. Worser negotiates with the owner to give them a home at the book store. Worser's acceptance by the group is the beginning of a new life for him. In the end he ends up with a new nickname, Worder. 
If you like books that are full of heart, you will love this one. 
I've been thinking about why this book resonated so much with me. I think it's because I had to learn to live with family members who faced traumatic injuries and never returned to the people they were before these events. Although I was much younger than Worser when my father was injured, and my mother was still around, this book shows authentically what it is like to learn to grieve for what has been lost and deal with this new person in your family. 


The Marvellers
 by Dhonielle Clayton &
Khadijah Khatib (Narrator) May 3, 2022

Thanks to Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers for the heads up about this one. I read that it is similar to Jessica Townsend's Nevermoor series and since the next one in that series won't be available til 2023, I thought I would give it a go. 
There are a lot of similarities! Ella Durand is the first of her kind to attend the Arcanum Training Institute because she has the unique power of conjuring. She has to face outright racism and micro aggressions because of this. Morrigan Crow from Nevermoor also attends a magic school  and faces discrimination because of her power. 
I liked The Marvellers well enough. By the end of the book it looks like Ella might have overcome most of the resentment of students and staff because of her differences. I liked the strong family relationships. I liked her friendships with Brigit and Jason. I liked the incidental diversity of the school. I like how this book has a satisfying ending, but hints at what is to come in the sequel. As a knitter myself, I was entranced by Brigit's magically inspired knitting. As a quilter, I couldn't get my head around that these were called quilt blocks. Dhonielle Clayton's world building is remarkable. I can see potential prequels to elaborate upon the bits of history that are introduced here.
I wish I had felt more emotional connection to the characters. They are people I like and even admire, but I never felt invested in them. Maybe my attachment to them will grow in other books in the series. 

ADULT NOVELS 


Satellite Love
 by Genki Ferguson
 πŸ March 2, 2021 

"Satellite Love is a heartbreaking and beautifully unconventional debut novel about a girl, a boy, and a satellite--and a bittersweet meditation on loneliness, alienation, and what it means to be human."
This blurb is a good overview of this book, but doesn't come close to acknowledging the complex and multilayered weirdness of it.
It's set in Japan in 1999. The girl is Anna. She's been bullied for years by classmates at school. She lives mostly alone with her grandfather who has some kind of dementia. The boy, Soki, is new to school. He is the only person in the book Anna has some kind of real conversation with. She has a crush on Soki, but he has a crush on another girl in their class. So, all of that is within the realm of the ordinary. 
Then it gets weird. One night while stargazing Anna chances upon a satellite and focuses her attention on it. The satellite in turn seems to be infatuated with Anna. At one point in the novel, Anna manifests the satellite into Leo, a kind of invisible friend.
The story is told through the perspectives of these three main characters.
I tried at first to listen to the book, but that format just didn't work for me. I began to read it, but got Covid and for two weeks couldn't focus on much with my eyes - especially not something as unique as this book. When I started reading again, I ended up skipping ahead to read the ending. After than I had to read the whole book. It's not an easy read. I agree that it is an examination of loneliness, alienation, and what it means to be human. It's also a dark descent into madness. This could by a YA title. 

CURRENTLY

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel  πŸ
Zero Repeat Forever by Gabrielle S. Prendergast  πŸ

UP NEXT 

The Boy Who Failed Show and Tell by Jordan Sonnenblick
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Body by Bill Bryson

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 12/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 11/18 

Canadian Authors 35/100 one in progress

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 12/25

2022 Big Book Summer Challenge 2, one on the go 

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 146 /250

#IMWAYR June 20, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 


While I'm not yet back up to my pre Covid energy levels, I am hardly coughing at all these days! My garden is almost under control. If the rain ever holds off, I'm pretty sure that I will finish weeding the out of control areas just in time to start all over again. 

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 

5 stars

A Blue Kind of Day
by Rachel Tomlinson & Tori-Jay Mordey (Illustrations) April 5, 2022

This is an important book that addresses childhood depression. It is gorgeous to looks at. Tori-Jay Mordey's artwork fills readers up with empathy for Coen's experience of being blue. I appreciated the author's note in the back matter on childhood depression and helping children deal with emotions.

This is a beautiful book that celebrates the freedom of summer holidays in the Brooklyn neighbourhood where the author grew up. Its full of joyful energy that took me back to wild carefree summers of my own youth in the small town where I come from.

NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS 

5 stars


Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
by Jeanne Walker Harvey & Loveis Wise (Illustrations) February 22, 2022

I knew nothing about Alma Thomas (or Loveis Wise, the illustrator of this book) until reading this picture book biography. Jeanne Walker Harvey introduces readers to Alma Thomas, an African American artist who taught art to children in Washington DC. When she was 70, she began to focus on her own art. She was the first black woman to have her own show at the Whitney Museum in New York City and to have her work chosen for the White House collection. I love how Loveis Wise's artwork integrates Alma Thomas style into the illustrations for this book. 
I encourage everyone to do a google search of both their work.

ADULT NOVELS 

4 stars

The House in the Cerulean Sea
 by T.J. Klune &
 Daniel Henning (Narrator)
This sweetly sappy gay romance absolutely delighted me. Linus Baker, a caseworker at the Department of Magical Youth, ends up on a month long top secret assignment at Marsyas Island Orphanage. While he is there he falls in love with the ocean, the island, the children, and Arthur Parnassus, their caretaker.
While this is a satisfying light read, it's full of important messages about the consequences of othering people who are different from us.

ADULT NON FICTION

5+ stars

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives
 by Matt Richtel
March 12, 2019

This is an intimate, conversational, overview of the evolving science of how our immune systems works. Richtel integrates the science into the stories of four individuals. 
The most important thing about this book is how readable it is.
He talks about the immune system within the contexts of the AIDs crisis, the consequences of overusing antibiotics, the role of autoimmunity and allergies, and cancer treatments.
Readers will learn a lot from this book. The most important takeaway about how to build a strong immune system is to eat food that gets dropped on the floor. Getting a proper sleep and avoiding stress are equally important. Also, smoking is bad, bad, bad. 
He shows how dangerous our overuse of antibiotics is, explaining that, "Bacteria are passing back-and-forth among themselves a genetic code that allows them to fend off attacks from antibiotics. In fact, bacteria that are under attack from antibiotics can effectively call out to their fellow bacteria for help (Send me some protective genetic material!) and the resistance can be transferred."
In the last chapter he talks about what our immune system has to teach us about living our lives. There are important messages about accepting and celebrating diversity. "Our survival, as individuals and as a species, is best served by cooperation. This may sound obvious, but civilization, even of late, has been dominated by the push and pull of our competing instincts to cooperate and alienate, to see what people share in common or prey on what divides them. The lesson of the immune system is that the better able we are to find common ground, the more allies and weapons we have to contend with a greater, common foe."
Highly Recommended!


Clarence Louie is Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band near where I live. I read this book to learn more about him and the Syilx people, the original inhabitants of this land. In his thirty six years as Chief, he has worked hard to create meaningful, well paying jobs for his people. His business focused leadership has paid off big time.

The band website states:
"The Osoyoos Indian Band currently has 540 members. Because of their work ethic and our diversified investments, unemployment on the reserve is not only less than 3%, but 20% of these band members are in senior positions.
Over the last 6 years, OIBDC group revenues have increased 70% and now sit at $28.2M spanning thirteen different lines of business. Commercial leasing (38%), tourism (20%) and construction related services (14%) contribute the most to OIBDC’s bottom line."

Although I don't see myself as belonging to any group, my grandmother was Menomenie from Wisconsin. Because of this, I've been reading about Indigenous history here in Canada and the United states since my 20's. I only mention this because much of the history Clarence Louie writes about isn't new to me. What is new is what this history means to him and his world view. I also appreciated learning more about the specific history of Syilx here in the valley, and the Osoyoos band in particular - especially with regards to the shameful reserve debacle.
This book is about Louie's perspective of leadership and how the band has come to this remarkable measure of success. Louie believes in the healing power of work. I wondered a bit about his focus on full time employment because I have friends and family with mental and physical health problems who can't manage this - it ends up making them sicker. Yet I see a lot of validity in his thinking - especially with regards to his statement that when you hit a certain age you should either 1. have a full time job, 2. be going to school, or if you can't do either of those, 3. be in counselling. After finishing this book I'm pretty sure that he would be able to make accommodations for people like my friends.
I have a few other quibbles where his focus seems to be one sided, but absolutely none of it takes away from what Clarence Louie has accomplished. Ultimately he's become a master of manipulating business and capitalism on behalf of the people he loves. It's a remarkable legacy.

CURRENTLY

Satellite Love by Genki Ferguson  πŸ

The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton

UP NEXT 

Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel  πŸ

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 12/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 11/18 

Canadian Authors 32/100 one in progress

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 12/25

2022 Big Book Summer Challenge 2  

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 141 /250

#IMWAYR June 13, 2022

 Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 



This summer I'm once again joining Sue Jackson and others to participate in the 2022 Big Book Summer Challenge. Click on the link if you want to know more about this fun event. I have a list of sixteen books that I may or may not get to this summer. You can have a look at it here.

As I write this on Sunday, it is day thirteen, and I'm still dealing with Covid. The line on the test that confirms positive is fading, so I'm optimistic that it won't last forever. I am feeling better, but my respiratory tract system is out of control and small bits of work exhaust me. These days, while napping is my favourite pastime, I do sneak out into the garden to pull weeds for short intervals and do the odd bit of housework. Thankfully my partner is the main cook around here. 

I did manage to find the time and energy to make an apron for my daughter in law whose birthday was last week. I will send it off to her as soon as I can leave the house. 


Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 

A special thanks and shoutout to Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf for introducing these first two book to me.

4 stars

Every Little Kindness
by Marta Bartolj (Illustrations) October 12, 2021

This wordless book gobsmacked me from the get go. The art work is brilliant. It's mostly sepia toned with significant bits in red. Following these bright splashes of colour is important because it provides clues for where an act of kindness has been and where it will go next. I like how acts of kindness are inspired not just by being on the receiving end, but also by watching kindness in others. 

Making new friends is challenging for most of us - even in the best of times. For Violet, it's even harder. She is infatuated with Mira, a popular girl in her class. As friendly as Mira is with her, Violet can't get over her own anxiety and shyness to invite Mira to have adventures with her. Even when she crafts a special valentine for Mira, it's not certain that Mira will ever get it.
I love the sweetness in this book. It's a perfect mirror for queer children and any of us experiencing our first crush.

Thanks to Beth Shaum @ A Foodie Bibliophile for the introduction to this one.

Gibberish is the perfect picture book to read at the beginning of a new school year: especially if you have new language speakers in your class. As someone who once taught English as a Second Language, I highly recommend it for all teachers. If I was still working, I would read it to the staff at our first group meeting.
Dat, a young boy, heads off to school in a place where he doesn't know the language. Everything sounds like gibberish to him. On top of that, People can't seem to get his name straight. It's all overwhelming for the young boy
. Then a young girl takes him in hand. She invites him to play with her and, as she befriends him, ends up helping him learn this new language.
The imagery in this book is absolutely brilliant. Vo reveals Dat's experience by portraying the speakers of gibberish as black and white cartoonish characters, while Dat himself is shown more realistically in colour. While his emotions are shown clearly, the reader has to work a bit harder to unpack those of the rest of his cartoonish classmates. As Dat's comprehension of this new language increases, we see glorious colour and realism emerge all over the pages.
Young Vo shows Dat's world transform across the span of one day. It is really my only quibble with this book. I know it's only a metaphorical day, but I worry that children might think that learning a new language is easier than it really is.


This is a lovely story about a girl (Jyoti) and her grandmother (Sita Pati). They live in different countries and speak different languages, but the love between them overcomes those barriers. At first Jyoti and her family visit with Sita Pati in India. Then Sita Pati visits Jyoti in United States.
The title of the book comes from Tamil words of parting the author's grandmother taught her to say, instead of goodbye. Enjoy this book trailer. 

Each night before I go to sleep I set the timer and listen to an audiobook. Focusing on the book while I nod off keeps my brain from getting caught up in worrying about the things that otherwise keep me awake.
The book has to be one I have already read, and one without any terrifying bits in it. I've discovered that many of Pratchett's Discworld novels are perfect. Some nonfiction works too.
In The Wee Free Men, Tiffany Aching manages to rescue Wentworth, her little bother, and Roland, the Baron’s son, from the Queen of the Elves. It is a gripping adventure wherein a talking toad, the Nac Mac Feegles, and a frying pan play important roles in the rescue. The remarkable thing about Wee Free Men is that I have now read or listened to it more times than I can remember, and with each read, even when I'm half asleep, I find more to marvel at.   

ADULT NOVELS 


Kate Quinn pretty much had me from the first paragraph of this book. I was fascinated by her fictionalized portrayal of the life of Mila Pavlichenko. Pavlichenko was a Russian Sniper during WW2. After recording at least 311 official kills, she was part of a congregation of Russian students who were sent to the United States to try and encourage that country to engage in a second front against the Germans. Once there she was taken under the wing of Eleanor Roosevelt.
I got so caught up in her story I forgot about what is now happening in the Ukraine. Upon reflection I can't help but acknowledge that how we see stories of war and the participants, really depends upon whose side we are on.

ADULT NON FICTION

5 stars

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
by Merlin Sheldrake May 12, 2020

Merlin Sheldrake is frigging brilliant.
Not only is this book full of fascinating information about fungi, it is a delightfully entertaining read that's easy to digest. (pun intended) Listening to it read by the author is an absolute treat. He fills the narrative with nuances of emotion, especially wry humour and excitement.
This book is mind bending in multiple ways. (again, pun intended) The scope of what he takes on in this book is almost overwhelming. Even though I knew a bit about systems theory and fungal networks, my head nearly exploded trying to rid myself of old notions of how the world works and fit a new world view into it.

If you are only going to read one nonfiction title this year, make sure it's this one.

CURRENTLY

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel

Satellite Love
 by Genki Ferguson  πŸ

Rez Rules by Chief Clarence Louie πŸ

UP NEXT 

Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 12/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 9/18 one in progress

Canadian Authors 31/100 two in progress

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 11/25 one in progress

2022 Big Book Summer Challenge 1  one in progress

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 135 /250

#IMWAYR June 5, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 



Well, it finally happened. My cousin and I, even though we wore our N95 masks, picked Covid up at a celebration of life last weekend.  My sister, who was with us, managed to escape the bullet. Six days in and I am still testing positive. The worst of it is that it has triggered my asthma which will take some time to get back under control. I sure am glad I have had all my vaccinations. I shudder to imagine what this would be like without them. 

Aside from that I had a wonderful time with my women friends in our three bedroom cabin on the beach. I got no reading accomplished while with them except for listening to a bit of Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett before going to sleep.

I was visiting with the grandkids for a couple of sleeps before the weekend and enjoyed reading with them. I did nothing for the first few days of Covid, but I've managed to read a bit with my eyes and my ears since then.

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

PICTURE BOOKS 

3 stars

The Blur
 by Minh LΓͺ & Dan Santat (Illustrations) May 03, 2022

I get why this might be a popular giveaway at graduation. However, unlike Oh, the Places You Go! by Dr Seuss, which I have read to children of many ages, this one feels focused on adults and older readers. My five year old granddaughter wasn’t interested at all.

NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS 

This book provides a vignette from Yo-Yo Ma's Bach Project, a two year endeavour to connect people through music. In this instance we see him playing at the Mexican/United States border in Texas. It is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated. 
Extra material in the back matter tells us more about Yo-Yo Ma, the project, and Petunia, his cello. If you are like me, you will want to go and listen to the music as soon as you are done reading. 




My granddaughter and I are huge fans of Mercy Watson. I had to explain about drive in movie theatres back in the day when I was young. Aside from that we both laughed and laughed at Mercy's exploits. Alas there was no hot buttered popcorn waiting for us when we finished.

My granddaughter and I enjoyed this third adventure at The Fabled Stables. It's a story about belonging and attachment. With Fen claiming that caretakers don't stay forever, Auggie is worried that he might have to leave. The two of them end up chasing after a new beast, a Shibboleth. It leads them to the lair of the nasty Rooks. After the Shibboleth swallows Auggie whole, it's up to Fen to save the day.


This is a lovely tale about community. Cress, her mother, and younger brother have to leave their warren and move into an apartment in an old tree. There is much going on: grief for the father who went out one night and didn't return, wild precarious adventures, making new friends, and becoming part of a loving community. David Litchfield's artwork is glorious.

NOVELS


Once I started this book, I couldn't stop. It's a coming of age tale that includes a murder mystery. It's told from the perspectives of Todd, the ghost of the murdered young boy, and Georgia, a girl who becomes fascinated with the case. Both are queer kids finding it almost impossible to fit in. Georgia is sure she has seen Todd somewhere before. I found it interesting that while it's a murder mystery, Georgia does not try to be a detective. She still ends up discovering what happened to Todd and why. 
Tamaki's depictions of winter will have you going and putting a jacket on.


I'm always excited when Ms. Yingling gives a book 5 stars because I know it will be brilliant. 
This is the kind of historical MG novel I love best. While set in modern times, it educates readers, through the story telling of the grandfather, about what it was like to be Chinese American across the span of the last 100 years or so. There is also a solid story line relevant to the characters experiences today. Lisa Yee's characters deal with just the right amount of conflict that ends up getting resolved in a healthy manner. There is a bit of a mystery to solve. I appreciate how it shows us both overt and covert racism across all eras.

Klara is a highly observant artificial friend. The story is told from her perspective. In the first part of the novel, she waits in the shop taking in the world around her while waiting to be picked by a girl or boy. Then she is chosen by Josie, a young girl with a strange sickness. Being solar powered, Klara sees the sun as a kind of mystical being who can be convinced to heal her.
I was completely mesmerized by this book. It's a book that examines relationships, childhood, love, and what it means to be human. Yet that ending was brutal. Klara is a character I won't be able to forget.

CURRENTLY

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel

Satellite Love
by Genki Ferguson  πŸ

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

UP NEXT 

Rez Rules by Chief Clarence Louie

Worser by Jennifer Ziegler

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 12/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 8/18 one in progress

Canadian Authors 31/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 11/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 128 /250

#IMWAYR May 23, 2022

Welcome readers! It's #IMWAYR time again, when bloggers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to. 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. These are fabulous places to start your search for what to read next. 

How are you all doing? In spite of the miserable cold weather, I managed to get the vegetable garden planted. When I was at the nursery I also picked up a few flowering plants for the other gardens too. You can never have too much colour in the yard. 
It was a strange reading week for me. I finished a brilliant novel by TJ Klune, and then couldn't get into anything after that. I started listening to a number of books and gave up. I started reading a few titles with my eyes, but couldn't get into them either. Thank goodness I finally found a book that I could connect too. 
Here in Canada we are celebrating the Victoria Day Weekend. It's been quiet since we stayed home and our children did the same. I'm off on Tuesday to Vancouver where I will visit my grandchildren for a couple of sleeps before heading off to my annual Women's Weekend. 

Titles with a 🍁 indicate this is a Canadian or Indigenous Canadian Author and or Illustrator.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.

NON FICTION PICTURE BOOKS 

Shortly after Sundar Paliwal became leader of his village in India, he lost one of his daughters. He decided to honour her by planting 111 trees. Then he convinced the villagers to plant 111 trees every time a girl child was born into the village. He brought in engineers from the city to organize an irrigation system to keep the trees alive in the desert climate. Aloe Vera was planted to protect the trees from termites and other pests. From these plants women created health products to sell. Within a short period of time the community's health and wealth grew. Today more than 25000 trees have been planted. The landscape and lives of girls have been radically altered. 
In addition, through a shared community investment strategy, Sundar Paliwal ensured that each girl would go to school and not be married off until she was 18. 
Rendered in watercolor, gouache, and graphite, Marianne Ferrer's illustrations are just gorgeous. 
Our world needs more people like Sundar Paliwal. 

GRAPHIC

4 stars

Roll With It
by Lee Durfey-Lavoie & Veronica Agarwal October 5, 2021

Thanks to Max at Completely Full Bookshelf for introducing me to this title. 
It is a story about a young girl with anxiety/OCD issues. In spite of this, her new year in middle school starts out well. She makes a new friend, joins an after school club, and seems to be settling in well. Things at home are mostly good. 
On the down side, one of her sisters might be leaving home, and there seems to be some kind of low crawling creature/monster lurking outside the school. As her anxiety increases, she starts to have trouble finishing homework. 
Maggie is controlled by a kind of magical thinking. Upon arriving home from school she engages in a ritual of switching the lights on and off. She carries a 20 sided die with her and rolls it continuously to help her make decisions. Her parents suggest she see a therapist, but despite the evidence, Maggie insists she is fine. By the end of the book, she realizes she needs help and goes to see one 
I liked a lot about this book. I liked that we see how therapy helped Maggie. I liked the inclusion of the role playing game. It took me back to the days when my sons were engrossed in Dungeons and Dragons. (They still play, but now that they are fathers, less often.) I appreciated the incidental diversity in the characters. I also liked the information in the back matter about how the book was developed. 

ADULT NOVELS 


What happens when a not very nice man dies unexpectedly and doesn't want to move on into the afterlife? Read this and discover one possibility: a possibility full of hilarity, sweetness, rehabilitation and romance. 
I did not want this book to end.
I am now an unapologetic fan of T.J. Klune. 
While this is an adult novel, I would happily include it in a high school library. 

I have long been a fan of Joan Didion, but until listening to this collection of essays from her earlier life, had almost forgotten why. That woman could write! Didion made everything she wrote about seem fascinating. She challenges her readers to reexamine our own perceptions of subjects she addressed. Her essay on the media (written in 1968) feels scarily prescient for where we are today. 
Also, the introduction by Hilton Als is a brilliant overview of her life.

4 stars

Okanagan Geology South
by Murray A. Roed and Robert J. Fulton (Editors) October 2017  πŸ

I asked my partner a question about what mountain range we are part of, and he handed me this book. I finished it in one sitting. I suspect that people not acquainted with the area would not be as fascinated as I was to read about the area's geological history and existing features. Being able to make personal connections to the different areas written about made it all come alive. My one quibble about this book is that it was difficult to keep track of all the figures mentioned in the text. I also wish the index was more detailed. 

CURRENTLY

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro & Sara Siu (Narrator)
Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire

UP NEXT 

Cold by Mariko Tamaki
An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by Matt Richtel

READING GOALS

#MustReadFiction 11/24 

#MustReadNonFiction 8/18 

Canadian Authors 29/100

Canada Reads shortlist 5/5 

Indigenous Authors 11/25

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 120 /250