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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > THEME of the month for MARCH

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message 1: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
Theme of the Month is new, suggested last year in ideas for improving the participation in this section.

The idea is for everyone to read something along the same theme, and talk about why you chose it for the theme (and a few other questions I'll set) rather than nominate books to a theme and some of us read the winner.

So for MARCH the theme is Regional Books, and you need to choose a book you think or know works in your region, but you don't think travels well.

When you talk about it in March, apart from the normal review-type of thing, I'll ask you to cover things like: what made it special to your region; do you think it was a good representation of your region; why do you think other people outside your region might not take to it, and what do you think might make the story overcome regional barriers.... or something along those lines!

I think it would be good if people said what you intend to read in advance, in this thread, and maybe why it's your choice for the theme, just to help others get used to the idea.

There'll be a BOTM thread for March in the usual way where you'll post your comments and answer the specific questions in the first message in the thread.

THIS IS AN EXPERIMENT!


message 2: by Jemima (last edited Feb 02, 2017 01:30PM) (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
My choice is going to be Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, partly because I have it on my shelf, and partly because I suspect the humour might be too British... but from the comments that have been made elsewhere criticising the change of UK books and tv series to 'suit' US tastes, maybe I'm wrong :)


message 3: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
I'm having trouble with this one. I guess it's hard to think beyond that local view, in many ways! Wondering if some of my beloved childhood classics (or some of the modern ones) about the settling of the American West might fall into this category.


message 4: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 336 comments Connie Brummell Crook's The Hungry Year might chafe some American readers the wrong way, as the family depicted are United Empire Loyalists and some might therefore consider the family as traitorous and their plight as deserved.


message 5: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Trouten Mine would be The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Patterson for the opposite reason. Unfortunately, this book is underappreciated in the region I teach in because of the language Gilly uses throughout the book, and the underlying causes for this. It's an excellent read, and I think that if parents would take the time to read the whole book, rather than make assumptions based on a quick skim, they would see how powerful the message is and that it is definitely a worthwhile book for 5th grade and up.


message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Natalie, I think I'll read that too, since I'm not coming up with my own ideas and it looks like an interesting read.

Of course, first I have to finish with Percy Jackson, a task that's taking too long as I'm not really getting inspired by that one.


message 7: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "Of course, first I have to finish with Percy Jackson, a task that's taking to..."
Are we trying too hard? Do we have 'popular MG series' fatigue?


message 8: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Jemima wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "Of course, first I have to finish with Percy Jackson, a task that's taking to..."
Are we trying too hard? Do we have 'popular MG series' fatigue?"


Maybe so. Part of me wants to know what will happen, but I'm constantly finding myself picking up one of the other books in my pile. Maybe I'll let that be my commentary on Percy, and move on to the Feb. book, which I just got from the library yesterday.


message 9: by Booklo (new)

Booklo | 0 comments Ugh!!!!! I am not sure, I mean like I can't think of anything right now since I am typing to fast on my computer, sorry:( But, anyways, I don't get what you mean by "Regional Books" like do I have to choose a book that I like and not so many people read it before? Out of people's comfort zone??? Please help me because I want read along with you guys because March is a VERY special month for me:)


message 10: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Ame wrote: "Ugh!!!!! I am not sure, I mean like I can't think of anything right now since I am typing to fast on my computer, sorry:( But, anyways, I don't get what you mean by "Regional Books" like do I have ..."

It's a bit of a nebulous concept. It sprung from the discussion of books that seemed to be popular in one country and not in others--Geronimo Stilton, for example, is hugely popular in the US, or at least in my corner of it, but almost unknown in England. Jemima has mentioned various books that are popular in England but most of us over on this side of the pond haven't read or even necessarily heard of.

The trick, to me, is figuring out which books are being read only in one's own area. Using on-line library catalogs from far places is one way to test. If a book is at least 2 years old but doesn't seem to be in the libraries in major cities in Australia or England, it might be "local."

I'm guessing that some of the many excellent books about the immigrant experience in the US might have less appeal overseas.


message 11: by Carmel (new)

Carmel | 73 comments I'm sure it also depends on how the publishers market the book. For example Harry Potter series was almost not published in Australia- but I believe Allen and Unwin were obliged to publish an Australian co-edition because of their relationship with the UK publisher!


message 12: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 300 comments I'm also struggling with it as I often won't know/predict if it is a regional book until I've read it.


message 13: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
Justine wrote: "I'm also struggling with it as I often won't know/predict if it is a regional book until I've read it."

I think I'm in the same boat with Gangsta Granny - but discussing it afterwards is the key, Justine, so don't worry, just enjoy the book. Maybe you'll be the one to set it off on a worldwide craze!


message 14: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 336 comments Not sure if this actually works, as it is both a second suggestion and also NOT really a regional book from my own region. I have just received in the mail and I am liking it very much a wonderful (but relatively little known) British novel by Lois Keith titled A Different Life, about a young British teenager who becomes paralysed in her legs after contracting a mysterious illness. The book is amazing, well written, visceral and both heavy and light at the same time (and the author, who is herself in a wheelchair) obviously writes from personal experience. Now the book is not all that well known, does not have many reviews at all and I do think that part of the reason might be that the entire set-up, the themes, the places mentioned and the like are very British and very much confined to a certain region of England as well. I like these kinds of novels, but others might consider them too local in scope.


message 15: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
That sounds like it might work, Manybooks.

You can make as many suggestions as you want--this is an experiment where we all read around the same theme and then talk about the books. So you can read all your suggestions if you want, and they may help others find a book.


message 16: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 336 comments Rebecca wrote: "That sounds like it might work, Manybooks.

You can make as many suggestions as you want--this is an experiment where we all read around the same theme and then talk about the books. So you can re..."


I think the book really does fit the bill, and is also really quite an amazing read that truly deserves to be better known. I am actually quite pleasantly surprised because the critical analysis book on disability in girls' fiction by the same author (Lois Keith), while interesting, also has too much of an agenda and seems to deliberately ignore books that do not fit her interpretation, Take Up Thy Bed and Walk: Death, Disability and Cure in Classic Fiction for Girls.


message 17: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Brooke (mandarchy) This theme is ironic - I just grabbed a book off my "to Read" list that was available at the library. It's in the top 40 must reads for my region. Unfortunately it's adult fiction. The author that comes to mind though, is Sherman Alexie - he writes both MG and Adult fiction. He is a native American author from my state. I think that people from around the world might enjoy his books, but they might not relate easily to them with out understanding reservation life. He is one of my all time favorite authors though, I am curious if anyone else here has read his books - I am not sure if they translate well outside of American culture or language (American English as well as native).


message 18: by Carmel (new)

Carmel | 73 comments I loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part/time Indian. It's quite a popular YA book in Australia.


message 19: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 336 comments Carmel wrote: "I loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part/time Indian. It's quite a popular YA book in Australia."

I think it it actually more of an issue in some parts of the USA where ignorant puritans and such have wanted it banned.


message 20: by Anna (new)

Anna | 1 comments I'm thinking I might go with The Perks of Being A Wallflower, although I suppose that's cheating since it was a best seller. It's also pushing the boundaries for MS appropriateness. Still, it's a quintessentially Pittsburgh book so I think it counts?


message 21: by Carmel (new)

Carmel | 73 comments Another one I enjoyed- and popular in our school library in Australia.


message 22: by Rebecca (last edited Feb 22, 2017 08:25PM) (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Leone, actually, no, not really appropriate. The only way we can contain authorial adverts is not to allow authors to bring up their own books in such threads. I do, however, encourage you to post about it in the author's section.


message 23: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 300 comments As I am currently in Singapore, I am going to read a local book here Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong by A.J. Low. The publisher focuses on local writers especially those writing stories that Singapore children can relate to, ie it's very specific to Singapore as location and culture.


message 24: by Alex (new)

Alex Lyttle Amanda, I just finished Sherman Alexie's "True Diary" recently and loved it. While I agree with you that most people may not know or appreciate the Spokane reservation life personally, the mistreatment and struggles of aboriginal people rang true to the issues they have up here in Canada too. Great book.

In trying to think of a regional book I'm wondering if I go with something Canadian (too broad a region?) or something more specific to my local area of Calgary. Any other Canadians out there with suggestions?


message 25: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 336 comments Alex wrote: "Amanda, I just finished Sherman Alexie's "True Diary" recently and loved it. While I agree with you that most people may not know or appreciate the Spokane reservation life personally, the mistreat..."

Actually, something regional to Calgary would be great (or something regional to the prairie provinces as a whole). Some of the Dear Canada series might work for that.

I would perhaps suggest Tumbleweed Skies which deals specifically with Depression era Saskatchewan.

Even though I grew up in Calgary (lived there form 1976 when we emigrated from Germany until 1985 when I went to New Brunswick for university), I actually do not right of the bat know any specifically Calgary or actually even specifically Alberta middle grade novels, and thus I will instead suggest the above book (it is a perfect middle grade novel, not too long, with interesting characters and a really good story).


message 26: by Alex (new)

Alex Lyttle Manybooks wrote: "Alex wrote: "Amanda, I just finished Sherman Alexie's "True Diary" recently and loved it. While I agree with you that most people may not know or appreciate the Spokane reservation life personally,..."

Wow... you my friend are a wealth of knowledge... thank you so much!! I will see if I can find Tumbleweed Skies at from the library today. We're heading there to return my 2-year-old's first library book "Peppa Pig and Friends". Nothing like starting your reading career off on the right foot... #ABookIsABook


message 27: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 336 comments Alex wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "Alex wrote: "Amanda, I just finished Sherman Alexie's "True Diary" recently and loved it. While I agree with you that most people may not know or appreciate the Spokane reservatio..."

It is a great novel!


message 28: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
Sounds like people are finding great ideas for March's theme!


message 29: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
I want to read other peoples' regional reads. Everyone knows about California.


message 30: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "I want to read other peoples' regional reads. Everyone knows about California."
Fine by me!


message 31: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Jemima wrote: "Rebecca wrote: "I want to read other peoples' regional reads. Everyone knows about California."
Fine by me!"


I'm going to hunt for a copy of Gangsta Granny :)


message 32: by Booklo (new)

Booklo | 0 comments Rebecca wrote: "Ame wrote: "Ugh!!!!! I am not sure, I mean like I can't think of anything right now since I am typing to fast on my computer, sorry:( But, anyways, I don't get what you mean by "Regional Books" lik..."
Oh, now I get it! Thanks


message 33: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Brooke (mandarchy) I just read Jump Off Creek - I grabbed it from my want to read list and realized that it wasn't children's lit. I think a young adult might like it - but it has some adult content. It takes place in Oregon (I live north of there in Washington). It's historical fiction and has a strong female character. If you have a mature student interested in Pioneer times - it's a good read.

Now I am going to sign off and read children's lit - Ivy and Bean is what is on deck tonight.


message 34: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Amanda, I might take a look at Jump Off Creek. I like those stories of settling the west, and take especial shuddering interest in thinking what it must have been like in the PNW before electric heat and light (yeah, I grew up there. I wasn't wild about the winters!).


message 35: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1299 comments Mod
Ah, the joys of frost flowers on the inside of the bedroom windows :D


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