Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Didn’t Get to in 2017

Top 10 Tuesday banner
Hosted by The Broke and Bookish

I did this TTT last year so I thought I’d give it a go again this year (especially as this is the last TTT hosted by The Broke and Bookish!). I ended up reading 6/10 of the books on last year’s list. I’ll aim to read at least 7/9 of these books in the upcoming year.

A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue The Glass Town Game The Seafarer's Kiss Beasts Made of Night

  1. A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee – I had this one on hold at least twice but never got around to it. I’ll make a point of reading it for my course on YA literature.
  2. The Glass Town Game by Catherynne Valente – I had assumed I would read it shortly after its release back in September…
  3. The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember – One of my picks for 2017 Diverse Reads.
  4. Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh – Will be reading this for Cybils once it comes in from the library!
  5. Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi – Another book I signed out but didn’t get to.
  6. Zen Training by Katsuki Sekida –
  7. Understanding The Lord of the Rings: The Best of Tolkien Criticism edited by Rose A. Zimbardo and Neil Isaacs – I ended up reading some other books on Tolkien.
  8. Sanaaq by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk – Another pick for 2017 Diverse Reads, by an Inuit author.
  9. Gently to Nagasaki by Joy Kogawa – Memoir by a Japanese-Canadian who was interned during WWII

This turned out to be harder than I thought it would! (Hence why I gave up after nine ^^;) I didn’t really have a strict TBR for 2017. Have you read any of these books? What books do you want to get to in 2018?

Jenna's signature

 

A Delightful Early Chapter Book: Yours Sincerely, Giraffe

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe written by Megumi Iwasa and illustrated by Jun Takabatake

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe coverFormat/Source: Hardcover/library
Published: March 2017 (Originally published 2011 in Japan)
Publisher: Gecko Press
Length: 104 pages
Genre: Speculative fiction – early chapter book
★★★★½    Add to Goodreads button

 

I came across this wonderful little book while browsing new children’s books at the library. The discovery made me fondly recall those days when library browsing was my primary way of finding hidden gems and growing my TBR… Anyway! I enjoyed everything about this book.

Giraffe, feeling bored, writes a letter to which he instructs Pelican to deliver as far away as possible. Giraffe’s letter ends up in the hands (flippers?) of Penguin. The two exchange letters in which they try to figure out what the other looks like, culminating in a humorous meeting. In addition to Giraffe and Penguin, there are cute supporting characters like Whale and Pelican, who have their own independent motives and personalities.

“Pelican was a little nervous. After all, this was his first customer.” (p. 15)

“There were two reasons that Professor Whale was a teacher. Because he was extraordinarily big and because he was extraordinarily old. In other words, because he was, quite simply, extraordinary.

And he was especially extraordinary at spouting. No one could spout like him.” (p. 34)

This book is for young readers and doesn’t have a lot of text. The writing is simple yet creative. Though this is primarily a funny story, there are one or two poignant moments contained within. The doodle-like illustrations enhance the story’s mood.

The Bottom Line

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is the kind of creatively clever story that can delight young and old readers alike.

Further Reading

Jenna's signature

December 2017 Month in Review

December month in review banner

I’m not going to write about December here because I think I covered that in my two year end post. I still wanted to do a monthly wrap-up to review the books I read and the posts I wrote in December, though.

Books Finished

  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Embassytown by China Mieville
  • War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien by Janet Brennan Croft
  • Greenglass House by Kate Milford
  • Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire
  • Tolkien at Exter College: How an oxford Undergraduate Created Middle-Earth by John Garth
  • A Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (read Oct. – Dec.)
  • White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Books Reviewed

Features

Shared on Twitter

Upcoming in August

  • 9 Jan. – Publication of Beneath the Sugar SkyWayward Children #3 by Seanan McGuire (I can’t help but get over-hyped for this one because of how much I loved the first two.)
  • 23 Jan. – Publication of Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (Black biromantic ace MC! I love the cover – happy girl, pretty purple, AND a pun.)

What books, or bookish events, are you looking forward to this month?

Jenna's signature

Wrapping Up 2017, Looking Forward 2018

Wrapping up, looking forward

Welcome to my eighth annual ‘Wrapping Up, Looking Forward’ post. In this post, I like to take a general look back at how I did with my goals in 2017, and set some new goals for 2018.

Posting and Reading Overview

I posted 81 times. I had a vague goal for posting this year, thinking about two posts (incl. one review) a week. I didn’t distribute my posts in an ideal manner, but (factoring in a two month hiatus) I did hit that goal of 80 posts/year! I also wrote 39 review posts, so that just about works out as well. 🙂

I read 85 books, falling short of my goal of 100. I read over 100 books in 2016 so I inspired myself to strive for that goal again this year, lol. Though I realized I would have grad school to contend with, I still wanted to aim high.  This year I will adjust my goal to account for four busy months of grad school (I found two months in the term were hectic, but the first and last month were much more manageable).

2017 Reading Challenge

Jenna has
read 1 book toward
their goal of
100 books.
hide

 

Reading Challenges

  • 5/6 books by Indigenous Canadians  – Almost made it…should have read a different book than The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian 😛
  • 1/4 books about Japanese spirituality   I keep setting this goal but I don’t keep reading these books 😛
  • 6/5 books about/by J.R.R. Tolkien (not including re-reads) – Finally! A success!
  • Read more picture books and graphic novels – This goal went well in the first half of the year but I kind of forgot about it. I think I’ll make it a quantitative goal for 2018.
  • Read more classic middle grade and speculative fiction middle grade – I did read more in these genres than I did last year, so that’s something!
  • Read more non-fiction – I read 17 non-fiction books, which is pretty good for me.
  • Reread more – I reread 6 books. Oh well.
  • 7/12 2017 Diverse Reads Challenge – This challenge consisted of monthly themes. I plan to read the books I didn’t get to in the next couple of months.
  • 15+ reviews for Read Diverse Books – I stopped keeping track of this challenge when I realized the host blog was no longer active, but I am certain I passed the mark.
  • 0/6 Diversity Bingo 2017 – I don’t think I read any books for this challenge… I have noted the prompts that address gaps in my reading and will continue look for books that fulfill them.
  • 2?/12 Canada 150 Bingo – I halfheartedly participated in this challenge. As with the challenge above, I think some of the prompts are interesting and will keep them in mind in the future.
  • 6/15 points Newbery Reading Challenge – Although I didn’t make the goal, I squeezed in two books that I probably wouldn’t have read otherwise.

2018 Goals

My stance on participating in official challenges seems to swing back and forth on a yearly basis. I won’t be participating in any official challenges this year. Two full terms of grad school will limit my reading time. I want to really hone in on my own goals and interests, so I’ll just be setting some personal goals for myself.

  • 7 books about/by J.R.R. Tolkien (not including re-reads)
  • 6 books by Indigenous people raised in Canada
  • 3 books about Japan
  • 20 middle grade speculative fiction books
  • 6 rereads (not including the usuals)
  • 10 graphic novels (does not count towards book total)
  • 2 posts/week (not including hiatuses)
  • 75 books read

My goals are largely similar to 2017. I may think of some more specific targets over the next few months. I plan on taking two two-month hiatuses during the busier times of my semester (February and March; October and November). I’m not sure how I’ll tackle posting then, but I’ll try not to disappear as much as I did last semester. How was your 2017 reading year? What goals or challenges are you undertaking in 2018?

Jenna's signature

 

Cybils 2017 Finalists

Today the 2017 Cybils (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards) finalists are announced! I’m ready to kick into gear in my role as a round two judge in the middle grade speculative fiction category. Mark @ Say What?, Halli @ The Winged Pen, Rosemary @ Mom Read It, Brenda @ Log Cabin Library and myself will deliberate to decide which of the following finalists will be named the category winner:

  • The Girl with the Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
  • A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
  • The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky
  • Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson
  • A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander
  • Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
  • Miss Ellicott’s School For the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

You can read more about each book in blurbs written by the round one judges on the Cybils website. Winners will be announced on February 14. There are 12 other categories (including picture books, young adult, and audiobooks) so be sure to check those out too.

Jenna's signature