Friday 5 July 2024

It’s been a month since my last post, and that’s due to a combination of factors.  It’s been super-busy with the end of school prep, so more busy on the weekends and less time to read.  I’ve also been reading Silver Birch contenders, which I can’t write about.  I’ve been in a rut for adult books and audiobooks, too, so that was quite a frustrating waste of time.  But the main reason I haven’t posted is because of my cat, Riley, who comes and lays on my lap whenever I sit down.  Well, I can’t very well have him on my lap and type a post, can I?  I blame it all on Riley - he just got up to have something to eat, so I’ll have to make this a quick post! 

The first two weeks of June I spent reading Silver Birch books, then for the next two weeks I tried and failed to get into a few adult fiction titles from home and from the library.  I hate wasting valuable reading time, so on a Friday afternoon that I had off work, I wandered into my favourite used bookstore end ended up buying Less by Andrew Sean Greer, a light, comedic novel about Arthur Less, a failed American writer who, as his fiftieth birthday approaches, receives an invitation to his ex-boyfriend’s wedding.  Unable to decline but also refusing to attend, Less agrees to speak at all the various awards ceremonies he’s invited to and accepts the invitation to teach a creative writing course, all in various parts of the world, making him “unavailable" to attend the wedding.  These romps around the world, including Japan, Germany, Italy, Morocco and India, lead Less to personal discoveries as his birthday nears, arrives and passes.  This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was not, as the cover boasts, “hilarious”, but it was light reading that still had enough substance to keep me reading until the last page.  There’s a sequel, Less is Lost, but I won’t be reading that - Less was good, but in this case, Less was also enough. 

And I just had a book club meeting this morning to discuss Michelle Good’s Governor General Award-winning novel and CBC Canada Reads winner, Five Little Indians. This novel follows five young people after their release from a residential school in BC in the 1960s until they are older adults several decades later.  Having been brutally ripped away and kept separated from their families, each of these children experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of the nuns and priest at their school.  In their mid- to late teens, they were then thrust into the world with nothing but a bus ticket to downtown Vancouver, no money, skills or experiences to help them get on with their lives.  Each young adult copes in a different way, from drinking and drugs to running away to lashing out, but they manage to maintain connections that (mostly) help see them through the worst times.  No one was looking forward to reading this, probably because the last book we read by an Indigenous writer, The Break by Katherena Vermette, was so difficult to read and so utterly depressing, so it was wonderful to hear that everyone loved it.  We all loved the characters, and while they all suffered trauma and developed coping strategies that may not have been the healthiest of choices, we felt for all of them and agreed that there was quite a lot of hope in this book.  It was definitely a great book club choice and I’d recommend it to anyone.

Oh, Riley's back so that’s all for today.  Happy Summer, everyone!  Stay cool and don’t forget to read!

Bye for now... Julie

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