Two More Reading Challenges

I have found two more reading challenges to sign up for this year. Both compliment my 2017 reading goals.

2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge

2017 Diverse Reads bannerHosted by Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales and Shelly @ Read, Sleep, Repeat, the purpose of this challenge is to “encourage the reading and support of diverse books and marginalized voices, and therefore this challenge hopes to help you read more diversely in 2017!” I remember seeing this challenge back in December, but I totally forgot about it when I wrote my looking forward post. Thankfully January hasn’t ended and there’s still time for me to complete this month’s mini-challenge. The monthly challenges are one of the reasons why I like this challenge in particular. I plan on reading a book for this challenge and reviewing it for Naz’s Read Diverse challenge. Here’s my reading list (subject to my reading mood whims. Throughout the year, I hope to find more new releases/lesser known books to read):

  1. JanuaryWhen the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (based on/inspired by diverse folktales/culture/mythology)
  2. FebruaryShadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older (POC/biracial/multiracial MC – Latinx)
  3. MarchHandbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (disability – club foot)
  4. April More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (mental health – depression)
  5. MayAmina’s Voice by Hena Khan (religious diversity – Muslim)
  6. June and JulyWhen the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemoreIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, Nevada by Imogen Binnie (sexuality and gender identity – trans)
  7. AugustOne Half From the East by Nadia Hashimi (non-Western setting – Afghanistan)
  8. SeptemberSanaaq: An Inuit Novel by Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk (Own voices – Inuit)
  9. OctoberA Two-Spirit Journey: The Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby (Intersectionality – LGBT+ and Indigenous)
  10. NovemberThe Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (Diverse retelling – lesbian Little Mermaid)
  11. December -TBD (2017 release)

Newbery Reading Challenge

Newbury Reading ChallengeI stumbled upon this challenge via Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf. Hosted by Julie @ Smiling Shelves, this is a points-based challenge, where points are awarded for each Newbery medal winner (3 pts), Newbery honour book (2 pts), and Caldecott book you read (1 pts). I’m aiming for the first level – L’Engle (15-29 points). I’m undertaking this challenge because I think it will help me with my goal of reading more classic children’s literature.

Between these two and Read Diverse, Canada 150, and Diversity Bingo, I think I’m all set for challenges! I suppose it’s about time I update my 2017 Challenges page… What reading challenges are you undertaking this year?
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Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Didn’t Get To

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I have historically been slow to read ‘new’ releases. I find there can anywhere from one to three years between me adding a yet-to-be-published book to my TBR, and actually getting around to reading it. One of my general priorities this year is to read more front list titles. 2016 gave us a lot of great releases that I have heard so much about, but still haven’t read. Here are 10 2016 releases I want to catch up on this year (links to Goodreads).

If I Was Your GirlEvery Heart a DoorwayThe Charmed Children of Rookskill CastleThe Girl From Everywhere

  1. The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert (5 Jan)
  2. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (16 Feb)
  3. The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox (15 Mar)
  4. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire (5 Apr)
  5. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (3 May)
  6. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (31 May) – currently borrowing from the library
  7. The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville (9 Aug)
  8. The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman (13 Sept) – currently borrowing from the library
  9. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (4 Oct) – won a copy from Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf
  10. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin (4 Oct) – currently borrowing from the library

When the Sea Turned to SilverWhen the Moon Was OursThe Evil Wizard Smallbonethe last days of new parisBefore the Fall

Have you read any of these books? What books from 2016 do you still want to read?

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7 Books to Look Forward To in 2017

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The prompt for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “books I’m looking forward to in the first half of 2017.” I don’t go searching for books that haven’t yet been released. My TBR is long enough as it! A book usually makes it onto my list if it’s received positive buzz from a blogger whose tastes match mine, or if it’s an upcoming release from a favourite author. Turns out I have seven books from 2017 on my TBR. Coincidentally, they’ll all be released in the first half of the year. 🙂

Top 10 Tesday 2017 releases - cover images

  1. Minds of Winter by Ed O’Loughlin (Feb. 4) – Historical fiction surrounding the emergence today of artifacts from Sir John Franklin’s 1845 voyage (the one where everyone died and the ship was lost until a couple years ago).
  2. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Feb. 21) – Conclusion to the Shades of Magic trilogy. I can’t believe we’re already at the end!! Feels just like yesterday that I was enchanted by A Darker Shade of Magic.
  3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Feb. 28) – If you read about books online, you’ve probably heard of this one. YA own voices novel inspired by Black Lives Matter.
  4. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (Mar 14) – Middle grade own voices novel about a Pakistani-American Muslim.
  5. Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (Mar. 28) – Picture book by one of my favourite author/illustrator teams.
  6. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (May 2) – Scifi. Sounds like an excellent follow up to the Southern Reach trilogy.
  7. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee  (Jun. 20) – I love these kind of covers… Best to just copy the description for this one: “An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.” I’m not really a romance person but this sounds like fun.

Are any of these books on your TBR? What 2017 releases are you looking forward to?
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Top 10 Tuesday: Recent TBR

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 Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR

Whoaaaa, my first time participating in Top 10 Tuesday :O I don’t expect this will become a regular thing, as I usually don’t feel creative enough or that I have enough books to list, but this one seems doable (and I have an idea for next week!).

I’ve already added 21 books to my TBR shelf since the start of 2016. This may be the year things finally spiral out of hand (AKA my TBR shelf holds more books than my read shelf). For this list, I’m counting the past two months as ‘recent’.

  1. National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape PhotographyMy favourite kind of photography. I want to be able to do justice to the Middle-earth landscapes of NZ!
  2. The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew – A memoir by a local figure, I was eyeing it while working at the bookstore in December. 
    • When his father was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer, Winnipeg broadcaster and musician Wab Kinew decided to spend a year reconnecting with the accomplished but distant aboriginal man who’d raised him. The Reason You Walk spans that 2012 year, chronicling painful moments in the past and celebrating renewed hopes and dreams for the future. As Kinew revisits his own childhood in Winnipeg and on a reserve in Northern Ontario, he learns more about his father’s traumatic childhood at residential school.
  3. On the Shores of Darkness, There is Light by Cordelia Strube – I recently requested some ARCs because they don’t add any weight to my suitcase and give me something to work on while travelling! The cover caught my eye and the local setting encouraged me to hit request.
    • Harriet is 11 going on 30. Her mixed-media art is a source of wonder to her younger brother, Irwin, but an unmitigated horror to the panoply of insufficiently grown-up grown-ups who surround her. She plans to run away to Algonquin Park, hole up in a cabin like Tom Thomson and paint trees; and so, to fund her escape, she runs errands for the seniors who inhabit the Shangrila, the decrepit apartment building that houses her fractured family. Determined, resourceful, and a little reckless, Harriet tries to navigate the clueless adults around her, dumpster dives for the flotsam and jetsam that fuels her art, and attempts to fathom her complicated feelings for Irwin, who suffers from hydrocephalus. On the other hand, Irwin’s love for Harriet is not conflicted at all. She’s his compass. But Irwin himself must untangle the web of the human heart.”
  4. The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue – Another book I spotted at work last month. Sounds like my kind of story.
    • Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.
  5. English Passengers by Matthew Kneale A recommendation from my best friend. Usually our tastes differ but this sound likes fun. The ship factor enticed me the most.
    • In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania. His travelling partner, Dr. Thomas Potter, unbeknownst to Wilson, is developing a sinister thesis about the races of men. Meanwhile, an aboriginal in Tasmania named Peevay recounts his people’s struggles against the invading British, a story that begins in 1824, moves into the present with approach of the English passengers in 1857, and extends into the future in 1870. These characters and many others come together in a storm of voices that vividly bring a past age to life.
  6. I Have a Bed of Buttermilk Pancakes by Jaclyn Moriarty – One of my favourite YA authors. She’s Australian, and I hope to run across the book (an adult fiction novel not readily available in Canada) while I’m there.
    • Cath Murphy, second-grade teacher, was feeling awkward and foolish, but she also felt this: quirky, cocky, small, funny, wicked and extremely blonde. As her mother liked to say, all meetings with new people, even locksmiths or seven-year-olds, can make you a little afraid. She was about to meet her new class and she had just met the new teacher: Warren Woodford.However, Cath Murphy has yet to meet the Zing family…
  7. The First World War by John Keegan – Planning to finish this before NZ, treating it as my foundation book for WWI. I like to get an overview of a topic, then delve into the specific that I’m interested in (in this I’d like to learn more about the Canadian role in WWI and the role of the war in Tolkien’s life and writing).
  8. The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert – This one sounds like a delicious story. I like the cover as well.
    • “The Children’s Home is a genre-defying, utterly bewitching masterwork, an inversion of modern fairy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass, in which children visit faraway lands to accomplish elusive tasks. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, Jamesian stream of consciousness, and neo-gothic horror, to reveal the inescapable effects of abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque – as well as the glimmers of goodness – buried deep within the soul.”

  9. Drown: A Twisted Take on the Classic Fairytale by Esther Daleno  – Could be wonderful or terrible. “The Little Mermaid” is my favourite Hans Christian Anderson story, so I want to check this out.
    •  “Belonging to a race that is mostly animal with little humanity, a world obsessed with beauty where morality holds no sway, a little mermaid escapes to the ocean’s surface. Discovering music, a magnificent palace of glass and limestone, and a troubled human prince, she is driven by love to consult the elusive sea-witch who secretly dominates the entire species of merfolk. Upon paying an enormous price for her humanity, the little mermaid begins a new life, uncovering secrets of sexuality and the Immortal Soul. As a deadly virus threatens to contaminate the bloodstreams of the whole merfolk race, the little mermaid must choose between the lives of her people, the man she loves, or herself.

  10. Diving Belles by Lucy Wood A Goodreads generated recommendation based on Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
    • Straying husbands lured into the sea can be fetched back, for a fee. Magpies whisper to lonely drivers late at night. Trees can make wishes come true – provided you know how to wish properly first. Houses creak, fill with water and keep a fretful watch on their inhabitants, straightening shower curtains and worrying about frayed carpets. A teenager’s growing pains are sometimes even bigger than him. And, on a windy beach, a small boy and his grandmother keep despair at bay with an old white door. In these stories, Cornish folklore slips into everyday life. Hopes, regrets and memories are entangled with catfish, wrecker’s lamps, standing stones and baying hounds, and relationships wax and wane in the glow of a moonlit sea. This luminous, startling and utterly spellbinding debut collection introduces in Lucy Wood a spectacular new voice in contemporary British fiction.

    Have you read any of these? What books recently added to your TBR are you most looking forward to?

    Some Books I Own But Haven’t Read

    I don’t own a lot amount of books. A rough estimate puts the total shy of 300 (a lot being totally subjective, of course…). I give careful consideration to each book I purchase. I don’t usually buy a book without having read it first, exceptions being for authors I already admire. Most of these purchases come when long-held notions of “Hey, I thought I might read that someday!” or “Haven’t I heard good things about this?” meet bargain prices. Because I own relatively few books that I haven’t read yet, I don’t feel any need yet to start getting through them. However, because I bought these books on a whim with no planned intention to read them, they often slip from my notice. They get lost on the physical shelf, or I forget to add them to my virtual shelf, and a book not on my Goodreads TBR may as well not exist. I started storing unread purchases in a crate under my bed, so I can easily pull it out and see what’s waiting for me. (This crate also contains library books.) A few of these unreads I’ve already added to my 2016-maybes shelf. No pressure, but I don’t want to let them languish forever 😉 

    1. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang – Bargain book. A pretty little thing recommended by Andi.
    2. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden – Used book from a store where I had a credit. Was on my Indigenous authors TBR last year.
    3. The Lexicographer’s Dilemma by Jack Lynch – Bargain book. Author familiar to me from my History of English course.
    4. The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America by Langdon Cook – Bargain book. I like these kind of food books.
    5. The Bird’s Nest by Shirley Jackson – One of the few physical books I purchased while in Japan. Never got in the mood for it.
    6. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald – See above.
    7. Japanese Portraits by Donald Richie – Bargain book.
    8. Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo – Ahh, this one’s a bit different. Bought from Shakespeare and Co. in 2010. More of a souvenir than a book I really want to read.
    9. Little, Big by John Crowley – A rare book shopping therapy purchase! Meaning, I wanted to go to a bookstore and buy something without preplanning. I believe Neil Gaiman likes this one.
    10. Beowulf by Seamus Heney – Bargain book. I’ve never read the whole thing through.

    This post evolved out of a little debate with myself over whether I should take up Andi’s Read My Own Damn Books challenge. I see a lot of bloggers write about how they own far too many unread books. Thankfully this is not yet the case for me, so in the end I decided there wasn’t really any reason for me to take on that challenge 😛 Are you more like me, or do you have a daunting TBR at home?