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message 1: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
Welcome June! It is hard to believe that the summer is almost here. It has been a bit quiet on the site lately so I think everyone has been enjoying the warm weather!

We wrap up our TBR month... although perhaps this should be an ongoing thread as we pick through our TBR shelves for books that have been sitting for a while!

The June monthly read is Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada if you feel like joining in for some reading and discussion.

Don't forget to add your suggestions for the July read in the monthly reads thread!

Have a great day!

message 2: by Allison (new)

Allison | 1928 comments Hi! Getting a quick GR hit in before leaving for work... I intend to win the lottery this week, so that should increase my participation again.

Still working on -- and nearly done -- Tomboy Survival Guide. I can't say enough! It is amazing. So honest and real and just down to earth. I'm in love with Ivan E. Coyote in the same way I love Barack Obama and Carol Off. In love with their competence, intelligence, and kindness. Imagine that dinner party!?

Also deep into What Happened, half in audio (read by Hilary herself) and half in paper. Another great read. The chapter on gun control had me misty-eyed. I just CANNOT BELIEVE she isn't President, given the alternative. The book has made me feel emotions I worked hard to suppress after the election. That hurts.

Had a great first book club (in real life!) meeting mid-May. We read Orphan Train. While it wasn't the best book I've ever read, was great to start conversation that meandered through history, movements and to other books! Lotsa fun.

message 3: by Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (last edited Jun 01, 2018 05:02AM) (new)

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments Allison wrote: "Hi! Getting a quick GR hit in before leaving for work... I intend to win the lottery this week, so that should increase my participation again..."

Me too, Allison, me too. It's so nice to hear from you bright and early this week. I've been missing your comments!

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments Who can believe it's June already!? As @Susan mentioned, it's been so quiet in this group lately. Maybe National Indigenous History Month will spark some conversation.

My audiobook this week was The Great Alone, which I thought was just okay for the first half, but came to love by the ending. I am now listening to Circe and it is fantastic!

In print, I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and now I'm finally getting back to some Canadian content with The Birth House. I'm also reading The Color Purple in snippets here and there on my phone.

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments Allison wrote: "Had a great first book club (in real life!) meeting mid-May. We read Orphan Train. While it wasn't the best book I've ever read, was great to start conversation that meandered through history, movements and to other books! Lotsa fun. "

Wonderful news! Conversation is what book club is all about. My main concern about the books chosen is always how they will affect the more reluctant readers in the group. My book club has had some of its most passionate discussions about books that we loathed.

message 6: by Story (last edited Jun 01, 2018 05:46AM) (new)

Story (storyheart) Good luck to all you future lottery winners and happy weekend to all. June has started out quite chilly here on the west coast.

Not a lot of reading done here this week as I'm wrapping up a big contract. My Canlit read, still in progress, is a poetry collection by Margaret Atwood Morning in the Burned House.

I also read Property: Stories Between Two Novellas which was a mixed bag. The first few stories were wonderful but then got duller as the collection went on.
For my books in translation challenge, I read and enjoyed Often I Am Happy.

message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan | 743 comments Happy Friday!

This week I finished The Perfect Nanny, which was a good read, and Men We Reaped, which was a sad but very affecting memoir.

For the Great American Read, I am currently reading Looking for Alaska. It is fine but I'm not loving it entirely. A friend is also reading it and she has a 13-year-old who has already read it, and my friend is freaking out about some of the content. Hearing her ongoing reactions has been amusing. I told her I was reading Jackie Collins when I was her daughter's age, so John Green is tame by comparison!

I also have just barely started reading The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which I think is going to be very interesting. I saw this recommended in the wake of the 2016 U.S. election as a way to better understand the current moment south of the border.

message 8: by Petra (new)

Petra | 682 comments Good morning!

@Allison: it's nice to see you hear so early today. Hope the work routine is settling in now? Good luck on that lottery win. Hubby is trying for it, too, so my loyalties are now split between you both.

@Allison hikes the bookwoods: it's great to hear that Circe is a good audio and a good story. I will check out that version.

I haven't commented here for a couple of weeks. I threw my back out and then we had family staying with us for a week. Not much reading time in either event, although family was a lot more fun.

I've finished the following:
The Voyage Out - this is the second of Virginia Woolf's books I've read and I think I'm a fan. Both have been great reads.

Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" - this is an important story to tell. And such a sad one, too, in many aspects. I hadn't before given thought to those brought over at the tail end of slavery and who had memories of their home in Africa, wanted to return but weren't given that opportunity. Their lives were never the same and they were always living in a land that was not their home.

The Summer Book - I enjoyed the character of the grandmother, as well as the relationship between the grandmother & the granddaughter. This isn't so much a novel but a collection of short stories, I thought.

I also finished listening to Dune. Technically, this is a reread as I read it in high school but I'd forgotten so much of the story and mixed up so much of what I remembered that it was mainly a new story. I really enjoyed it.

I'm now reading The Mother by Pearl Buck and listening to Notorious Nineteen.

message 9: by Heather(Gibby) (new)

Heather(Gibby) (heather-gibby) | 428 comments Happy Friday, we are in for a rainy weekend here in Winnipeg, time to get some reading in!

Everyone's positive coments on Circe have made me move it up my TBR list.

I am currently reading A Newfoundlander in Canada: Always Going Somewhere, Always Coming Home for my I2 Bingo square,( a book involving travel) I have been a longtime Great Big Sea fan, and this is a really fun and quick read.

message 10: by Elinor (new)

Elinor | 207 comments We are enjoying a trip to the mighty Peace River country of northern Alberta. It is so beautiful up here, and the days are so long -- the sun doesn't set until about 10:30 p.m.
I finished Song of Batoche, my May TBR selection, just under the wire, and my review is here:
Since that was a fairly depressing book, I'm going to read a palate-cleansing mystery next!

message 11: by Shannon (new)

Shannon White | 198 comments This week, I finished The Last Neanderthal. My review is short so I'll copy it here:
The opening of this book was riveting and the writing superb. Had it closed the same way, I would have given it 5 stars.

For me, The Last Neanderthal was an interesting and unique read. I think readers need to have some interest in science/anthropology to truly appreciate how well written this book is. If you don't think about the parallels and comparisons Cameron makes between modern man and neanderthals, the story will seem a little uneventful. If you are able to appreciate the underlying analysis, the book really is quite brilliant.

With oh so many books out there to read, The Last Neanderthal presents a unique option for those voracious readers who are maxed out on WWII stories. :)

Now I am into The Life She Was Given. A few girls from my bookclub have read this and given it rave reviews. I am just 10% in but enjoying it so far.

My bookclub is currently conducting our nomination process and I am really excited by the list we are voting on. Can't wait to see what makes it through.

TGIF all.

message 12: by ✿✿✿May (new)

✿✿✿May  | 671 comments Allison wrote: "Hi! Getting a quick GR hit in before leaving for work... I intend to win the lottery this week, so that should increase my participation again.

Still working on -- and nearly done -- [book:Tomboy..."

@Allison, glad to have you back on the Spine Crackers!! You have been missed! And yes, we all have to win the lottery this weekend, then we can do reading full time while travelling to exotic places, LOL!

message 13: by ✿✿✿May (last edited Jun 01, 2018 10:45AM) (new)

✿✿✿May  | 671 comments Happy Friday everyone!! It finally feels like summer!!

@Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺, I really loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time! I also have a signed copy of The Great Alone (thank you @Susan!) and have heard great reviews. You must be following somewhat the PBS Great American Read, based on what you have lined up ;)

This week I finished The Dry for my in-person book club and One Half from the East in paper as well as Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening in audio. I liked all three, but the last one I highly recommend! I had no idea what women in Saudi Arabia had been going through just to drive, even risking imprisonment!!

Currently reading The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes, another light read for the patio.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments May wrote: " You must be following somewhat the PBS Great American Read, based on what you have lined up ;)"

I am! Trying to fit in some of the books on the list that I've not yet read.

message 15: by Mj (new)

Mj Shannon wrote: "This week, I finished The Last Neanderthal. My review is short so I'll copy it here:
The opening of this book was riveting and the writing superb. Had it closed the same way, I wou..."

@ Shannon, would be curious to see the original book list put forward for book club ideas for 2 clubs I'm in if you're ok with sharing and it's not too time consuming for you.

message 16: by CynthiaA (new)

CynthiaA (bookthia) | 91 comments Hi CanCon Readers!

Yep, it's June, and now I spend a lot of my spare time in my garden, which means my reading is even lower than before!

I am still plugging away at The Colony of Unrequited Dreams I am liking it, but it isn't a "I've GOT to read NOW" book.

I have The Pearl That Broke Its Shell on the go with my Kobo, about half way finished. I hopefully will get to finish it this week as my husband and I are travelling to New York State, Southampton and Queens.

@Alison-hikes-in-the-woods I LOVED loved loved The Birth House Interesting story -- within weeks of finishing it, I found myself helping a woman deliver her (premature) baby in a trailer park in Northern Ontario. I was so glad I had read The Birth House, it really helped me concentrate on what was required. It was a scary night but it turned out ok in the end.

Happy reading, All.

message 17: by Mj (new)

Mj @ Cynthia A - great story about your unexpected experience as a midwife. Glad everything worked out well. Have fun on your trip next week!!!

message 18: by Ann-Marie (last edited Jun 01, 2018 05:23PM) (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments Hello All!

@Allison - I felt the same way about Tomboy Survival Guide. And you have most definitely encouraged me to bump up What Happened on my list. Not to get all political... but I feel like we have our version of Clinton/Trump happening in the Ontario election right now. My kids were watching the debate last week and asking "who's the Trump guy between the 2 women??" ;-(

@Allison - you have had some great reads! I felt the same about Great Alone.

@Cynthia - The Pearl that Broke its Shell - it's on my summer list, picked it up recently at a used book sale.

@Elinor - that sounds like an amazing trip!

I haven't had much chance to read lately but did just finish up Sing, Unburied, Sing.

On audio I was slowly working on The Art of Hearing Heartbeats for my in person June book club & I finished this week. Unimpressed. But like you are all mentioning - sometimes dissatisfaction makes for the most conversation.

I had a long drive to a funeral yesterday so listened to a lighter audiobook, Flat Broke with Two Goats: A Memoir of Appalachia this weekend. It's been on my TBR for ages and will count as a BINGO checkmark.

Hoping to get into A House in the Sky this wkd

Hope you all find some reading time this weekend!

message 19: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
Hi everyone, I am slow to posting today after a busy day at work followed by the final Grimsby Author event of the season which was Paula McLean talking about Love and Ruin and Katherine Ashenburg with her novel Sofie & Cecilia. McLean is such an engaging, enthusiastic speaker who clearly loves to write and is passionate about her characters. Ashenburg is a 73 year old who just wrote her first novel which is historical fiction that I need to read and research!

This week I finished listening to Emily of New Moon and have about 15 more minutes of Emily Climbs. having loved Anne of Green Gables, I am enjoying the similarities and differences in the Emily series.

I also finished reading One Story, One Song by the beloved, late Richard Wagamese. His personal stories shed so much insight into his life and his writing. they are heartfelt, honest and it is heartbreaking to read of his experience yet hopeful to read about his resilience and strength.

in the vein of Anne of Green Gables, I also received an advance reader copy of Marilla of Green Gables. it was an interesting take on Marilla's young life before Anne. It is written by an author from North Carolina who incorporated a story line from the underground railroad. I want to research a bit more to understand how likely this story line is and how much of a role PEI had in the escape of slaves from the south. I enjoyed it and it seemed a bit like a guilty pleasure.

I will listen to the final novel, Emily's Quest next, am reading Still Water, the sequel of Still Mine by Amy Stuart and think that I will start Sofie and Cecilia.

We have a busy weekend planned so i am not sure how much reading that I will have time for.

message 20: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
@Allison - i started reading Clinton's book before the Toronto event and then have not finished it. I have been in line for the audio version forever so must be coming up soon. Good to see you hear bright and early!

@Susan - i am chuckling at your comment about Jackie Collins. I remember grabbing a copy of Riders thinking it was about horses and getting a very scintillating education as a young teen who was into horses. My mom was pretty open about my reading but I never admitted to that book until many years later!

@Petra - I hope that your back is feeling better!!

@Shannon - it was interesting listening to how much research Claire Cameron put into The Last Neanderthal. If you are interested, please post about your book club process in the book club thread. I am sure many of us would like to hear about it!

@Cynthia - the story of you being the midwife is one that I need to hear next time we meet!

@Ann-Marie - what did you think of Flat Broke? that was the book that the author lashed out about my balanced review and did not appreciate my constructive criticism.

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments @Susan, that’s horrible about your review of Flat Broke.... I remember reading the review when you posted it. It’s too bad the author reacted in this way.

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments I just wanted to mention for anyone planning the audiobook Circe, it gets a little confusing when the characters Telegonus and Telemachus are introduced. My knowledge of Greek mythology doesn’t extend to the lesser gods and demigods so I really have to concentrate to keep these two straight as the pronunciations are quite similar.

message 23: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Thanks for the warning, Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods. I'm on ch. 3 of the audio and was just starting to feel some name confusion. Time to review our demi and lesser gods?

message 24: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments @susan - that's interesting, I'll have to read your review. I'm 50% thru and am less than impressed but it's an easy read. I find her POV very privileged & blame filled which is ironic since the theme of the story is supposed about cutting back & responsible, sustainable living... We'll see if the back half improves. Based on her "character" in the memoir it does not surprise me that she lashed out.

[I just re-read my post above and it appears my sentences merged -- it's A House in the Sky that's long been on my TBR list, not Flat Broke... Will have to log in on my laptop to adjust]

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments @Storyheart, I’ve done a quick Google here and there just for backup on some characters as they come into the story but I don’t read too much because I don’t want to come across anything that would spoil the plot for me!

message 26: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) I was listening to it in the middle of the night, Alison (couldn't sleep) so I tried (and mostly failed) to remember the names. I never thought about plot spoilers but you're right...

message 27: by Mj (last edited Jun 02, 2018 07:02PM) (new)

Mj Hi Everyone,

So pleased to see the heat and humidity in particular finally lifting in Ontario and making reading a way more comfortable thing to do! Can't believe that some of you have experiencing and continue to experience floods and snow!! So hard to believe.

I read The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg and absolutely loved it. It was filled with lots of warm vibes and pleasurable reading. While I wouldn’t bill it as literary fiction, the three primary characters are as fleshed out and well described as many characters I have been introduced to in award winning literary novels. This book would be considered mainstream and the author is a best setller - not surprising if this book is any indication. You will need to suspend your plausibility checker so it is NOT recommended for those do don’t like to do that. It was just what I was looking for - a wonderful and surprisingly inspirational feel good read.

I also finished a non-fiction book called Micmac by Choice: Elsie Sark--An Island Legend by M. Olga McKenna It is the biography a an English woman who marries a MicMac chief in the early 1800’s and moves to PEI to start a life with him, raise a family and support his aboriginal community. I found it very interesting to read about a time and culture so long ago and such a strong female leader.

Just realized I finished Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi a week ago for a book club and foregot post anything about it. It’s a six generation historical fiction beginning in Africa with each chapter featuring a member of each generation for two different families. I enjoyed the format and the story. Most members also enjoyed it but some really wanted to read more about what happened in the various characters' lives. I was fine with the more limited information. I thought the characters were well developed in a short space and was ok with the brevit because I really appreciated seeing the full lineage and reading about six generations. The geneology provided was a big plus that I kept referring to. It was a good book club choice.

Have a number of new books on the go.

Happy Reading everyone.

message 28: by Louise (new)

Louise | 1171 comments I'm on vacation for 2 weeks! Home with puppies and since the mom is doing all the work right now, that still leaves me time to read.

I've been a bit disappointed lately with books that have a lot of hype, yet I'm discovering some hidden gems which is fun.

One of my disappointments was Heart Berries: A Memoir and the other was Sing, Unburied, Sing. The former was surely therapeutic for the author to write but was really of no interest to me. And the latter, well.....let's just say magic realism isn't my thing. Both books were well written but just didn't grab me.

Then I picked up a little book. The Prank: The Best of Young Chekhov, another NYRB classic that I LOVED. I had tried reading Chekhov before and stopped after the first few stories, but this collection was uproariously funny. It was a good palate cleanser for me after the weary and dreary of my previous reads.

Now I'm reading another NYRB classic gem Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. which is also thoroughly enjoyable.

For my next audiobook I'm wavering between Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? and Telex from Cuba. Has anyone read either one?

message 29: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) @ Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods, here's the cast of characters for CIRCE from Madeline Miller's website.

Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺ (allisonhikesthebookwoods) | 1643 comments Thanks @Storyheart. Will check it out. I finished the book last night, relaxing with some colouring and an audiobook after the kids were in bed. Loved it!

message 31: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) Wow, Alison...that sounds like an excellent way to enjoy some quality weekend time.

message 32: by Emmkay (new)

Emmkay | 252 comments Hi everyone - I think it’s been weeks since I’ve posted, but I’m relaxing and reading people’s updates and very much enjoying it. Have been having a busy time at work and at home, and though still reading, have been streamlining where I can so not really participating here. I’m giving a pass, I think, to Bingo and other challenges, in order to focus on just reading whatever comes to mind when I can.

@Mj, I thought Homegoing was an excellent read! Although the modern tying together at the end didn’t grab me as much.

@Louise, I sometimes find ‘hyped’ books the hardest to read, because of the disappointing gap between expectations and experience. Sorry to hear Sing Unburied Sing wasn’t for you. I don’t usually care for magic realism, but liked it there. Was glad to have persisted past the gruesome opening scene...

I’m not sure what exactly I’ve read since last checking in, but among others in the last while I finished Scarborough, which I really liked and think more people should read, and also The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery and Paris, which wasn’t really for me despite my interest in food and travel.

message 33: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) I just finished the very enjoyable "Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader and it made me wonder...what are your favourite books about books?

message 34: by Ann-Marie (new)

Ann-Marie | 158 comments @louise I felt the exact same way about Sing Unburied Sing. AND since it was an express library read with $1/day overdue fines, I had to pay for being 7 days late... just couldn't move quickly w that book.

message 35: by ❀ Susan (new)

❀ Susan G (susanayearofbooksblogcom) | 3567 comments Mod
@MJ - I really wanted the stories to link up in the end but other than that enjoying Homegoing.

@Louise - congrats on the new puppies!! so exciting for you. i found Heart Berries a difficult read also. Almost poetic in some ways but raw.

@Emmkay - those books are both on my TBR list.

@Ann-Marie - that is funny! i consider fines as a donation to the library but my husband doesn't love it when he checks out books for me and I return them late.... lol

message 36: by Mj (last edited Jun 03, 2018 06:38PM) (new)

Mj @ Emmkay - Great to hear from you. I've missed your comments and insight. Understand being too busy with minimal free time for personal choices. When work and home get busy at the same time, it gets really crazy!! Hopefully, you've got a nice relaxing holiday planned in the near future.

Totally agree with your comment to @ Louise about "hype" in books perhaps raising expectations to a level that can't be met, thereby pretty much guaranteeing disappointment. Haven't read Sing, Unburied, Sing yet but have it in hand. AlsoScarborough has been on my possibility list for a while and I hope to read it 2018.

Not sure what your near future holds but it would be great to read your thoughts on our June's Monthly Book Club choice - Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada if you have time.

Take care and enjoy your reading choices!!

message 37: by Mj (last edited Jun 03, 2018 07:03PM) (new)

Mj @ Emmkay & @ ❀ Susan :) - The great thing about reading is that we each can really enjoy a book but have quite diverse opinions on different parts of a book.

My interpretation might be wrong but I "think" what you didn't like about the ending @ Emmkay was that it was "sort of tied together at the end in a too neat package" while @ Susan you didn't like the stories "not" being linked in the end. Both reasonable but very different perspectives on the ending. (I could be wrong in my interpretation.) My own perspective of the ending is different from both of you. I felt the stories were linked at the end - the horrors, the fire, the water etc passed down through generations....but I didn't NOT like this ending or consider it too contrived, I thought it was a good reflection of how his/herstory is passed down to future generations and becomes part of each succeeding generation his/herstory. Felt the ending and bringing it all together was well done and a realistic summary of what happens in families that share their his/herstory. :-)

3 Takes and Interpretations - All Valid and Personalized - Vive La Difference!!

message 38: by Emmkay (new)

Emmkay | 252 comments @Mj, yes, that’s one of the fascinating things about debriefing a book. I certainly did enjoy Homecoming a lot but for me the final chapter was less of a draw than the preceding ones. And I can’t wait to see what folks think of Indigenous Writes :-).

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