Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Remember when my daughter asked me to read Harry Potter? Well, that didn’t go so well. I’m still stalled on the second book.

More recently, she asked me to read Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012). This, I am pleased to say, went much better. Wonder is the story of Auggie, a ten year old with severe facial deformaties, as he integrates into middle school. It is told from several points of view, a narrative technique I adore, and is wonderful. It is not schlocky or sappy or suffused with pity. It is full of pop culture references that the kids adore. It is pretty nearly perfect.

And in these troubled times, it has a really great message: always try to be a little kinder than necessary. This comes from J.M. Barrie’s Little White Bird, seems to me to be pretty good words to live by.

Who would like this book? Wonder is aimed at middle grade readers, but i didn’t find it too juvenille or twee. It has great anti-bully messages and is taught in a lot of schools. All the kids in my daughter’s class who I’ve talked to liked the book, so that’s a thumbs up from ten year olds. It is set to come out as a movie in April. I don’t know how it will translate to screen, but then we all know that the book is always better anyways.

Silence

9781608465767-f_mediumThing have been silent around here for quite a while. First for a good reason – I went to Kenya and Tanzania and it was awesome.

Then for a bad reason – the election in the US has hit me hard. Like really hard. I am completely disillusioned with the world. I haven’t read anything non-political since Tuesday and I can’t write.

I’m reading Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit and hoping that will do the trick.

 

The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan was a new-to-me author. I’d heard of him before, but never read him. I’m not quite sure why, as he seems to have gathered quite the accolades over the years. He seems to have been nominated or won just about every prize there is, he’s a contributor or editor of some of the best magazine. In short, he is a big name in write, at least in the UK. So I was thrilled when Willoughby Book Club sent me The Illuminations by him. Continue reading

Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Today Will Be DifferentToday will be different. Today I’m going to do yoga, cleanse my soul, be kinder and more attentive to people, especially those who annoy me. Today I’m going to eat more than my recommended intake of vegetables. Today the laundry will get done, I will make a fun and healthy snack for my child. I will get dressed. In something nicer than jeans.  Continue reading

Girl Up by Laura Bates

Image result for girl up laura batesFor those of you who don’t know, Laura Bates is the brains behind the Everyday Sexism Project and book of the same title. It catalogs all the incidents of sexism we encounter everyday, from the seemingly most innocuous to the more violent and offensive. The Everyday Sexism Project is a wake up call that is both painful and necessary to take a look at. The book, which is now available in North America, is such a powerful and terrifying read. Continue reading

Me and Harry Potter

Image result for harry potter booksFor years – years – i’ve resisted the pressure to read Harry Potter. It’s not that I had anything against the Pottster, it’s just that i was never really drawn to the books. I was a little bit older than most when they first came out and there have just always been other books I’ve wanted to read more. (To be clear, there are still other books I’d like to read more.) Continue reading

Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji

Nostalgia is not your typical Vassanji fare. Quite often his novels move back in time, not so with Nostalgia. It’s a futuristic, dystopian tale – something I never thought Vassanji would do – and it’s pretty great. In spite of it’s setting and time period, it is, in many ways, a classic Vassanji novel. He’s dealing with the same themes – immigration, identity, belonging, but in Nostalgia they are speculatively based instead of factually based.  Continue reading