I made it to 76 books in 2018, a mere 74 less than my fourteen-year-old daughter. A few of my favourites…
In the nonfiction category, I loved YourHeart is the Size of Your Fist, by Martina Scholtens. She’s a North Vancouver doctor who worked for ten years in a clinic serving newcomers to Canada. The book was empathetic, poignant, and a window into lives completely different from my own – everything I want from a work of creative nonfiction.
In the world of children’s literature, my two favourites were polar opposites. I loved The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, by Heather T. Smith, which basically rips your heart out, shreds it up a little, and hands it back to you changed forever. And I loved Clara Voyant, by Rachelle Delaney, which is goofy and sweet and leaves you bubbling over with hope for the world.
The following is my 13-year-old daughter’s review of Rachelle Delaney‘s Clara Voyant. I’ve read it, too, and Silence is right. It’s brilliant! But I’ll let her tell you…
Hey all! Silence here! Just finished reading Rachelle Delaney’s newest masterpiece, Clara Voyant. One of my favourites so far this year!
The story follows Clara, a sixth-grader who’s just moved to a new school. Far away from her beloved grandmother, Clara is sceptical about her new neighbourhood from the moment she arrives. With a marketplace full of future-seers and mystics, it’s right up her mother’s alley, but far from her own interests. Arriving at her new school, though, Clara is hopeful, especially after joining the newspaper. She’s excited to become a journalist. Things don’t go as planned, however, and rather than breaking news, Clara ends up with… the horoscopes? Her mother is delighted, her best friend insists it will be great, but Clara knows it will be awful. Then, things get worse. Because what happens when Clara’s horoscopes start to come true?
This was a super awesome book, and I highly recommend it for anyone aged 8-12 looking for a fun read with a great main character. 5 stars!!!
We’ve done some brainstorming and we have WAY TOO MUCH information, but we’re going to pack it into three fun hours at Kits Neighbourhood House. There will be games of the actually fun and non-embarrassing kind, and there will be writing of the practical type, and there will be yogic dance.
Wait, scratch that. No yogic dance.
Pitch writing is interesting because it used to be done more by emerging authors, those looking for their “home” publishing houses. But now, writers are working with multiple publishers at once, and on multiple platforms. That means more pitches for everyone. So, whether you’re an emerging writer or an established one, you should join us.
Plus, it’s fun to talk about writing. What better way to spend a Saturday morning?
I made it to 75 books read in 2017, in the nick of time. Thank goodness I was chaperoning a teen sleepover for New Year’s Eve or I wouldn’t have finished those final chapters.
Is it just me, or do middle grade novels encompass more wisdom than all other books put together? I read some wonderful ones last year, including Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson and The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubraker Bradley. My friend Rachelle Delaney published The Bonaventure Adventures, which made me want to run away to the circus immediately. Another favourite in this category was The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, which squeezed my heart and tickled my science brain at the same time.
In the young adult realm, both Wildman by J.C. Geiger and Nina Berkhout’s The Mosaic had characters that hung around in my head long after I finished reading. (Plus those books have the best covers ever.) One of my last books of the year was one of my most fun reads: Moxie, by Jennifer Mathieu, which also earned my daughter’s adoration.
It’s almost September! My calendar is a mess of kids’ activities and parent meetings and, in a pale yellow colour that seems to disappear amidst the family chaos, my own book events.
I’m thinking of changing my colour to fuchsia.
In case you’d like to mark your own calendars, in fuchsia or otherwise, I’m doing two events as part of Word Vancouver.
At 6:30 pm on Friday, September 22nd, I’m reading from Shadow Warrior at Christianne’s Lyceum as part of a Heroics and Heart evening. Rachelle Delaney and Kallie George are also reading. AND… here’s the best part… you can wear your pyjamas. I know! All book events should occur in pyjamas. Why don’t more people think of this?
At 2:30 pm on Sunday, September 24th, I’m talking Eyes and Spies in the south plaza of the downtown Vancouver Public Library. (I don’t actually know where the south plaza is, but hopefully we’ll all figure it out and end up there together. It can’t be that hard, right?)
Come and bring friends and fuzzy slippers! (To either event. I won’t judge.) I’d love to have friendly faces in the audience.
First, she wrote books set in Moscow and Prague, and therefore had to travel Europe for research purposes. Then, she wrote a book about a circus school, and took trapeze and parkour lessons.
Why on earth am I setting my books deep in the forest in the middle of the Kootenays?
This is entirely bad planning on my part.
But back to Rachelle. Min, Silence, Violence, and I went to her Wednesday night book launch for The Bonaventure Adventures. The Book Warehouse on Main did a wonderful job of hosting. Rachelle was funny and smart as she told us all about her parkour-lesson bruises (at least I only get mosquito bites on my research trips), and the book is fabulous.
I hope L’École Nationale de Cirque has extra lesson spaces for those of us about to launch our own aerial acts…
My writer friend Kallie George will soon be releasing the first book in her Magical Animal Adoption Series, and she’s just launched a new website. It’s the most adorable thing ever. I took the quiz and it turns out that I’m a suitable host for either winged horses or griffyns. (Maybe they like clean bathrooms and freshly ironed linens?)
Once again, this website makes me think I should re-examine my writing choices. My friend Rachelle sets her books in Moscow and Prague, then she gets to go on “research” trips.
Where do I set my books? The Kootenays.
Now Kallie gets a magical animal website. What kind of website quiz could I create? Hmmm… a “would you eat maggots to survive” version? It’s not quite the same!
We are still all about the ADLs around here. Min needs to test ten volunteers, doing two household tasks each. I’m pretty sure this was a trick to get me to clean the bathroom and iron his shirts. I’ll have you know that I am officially, objectively capable of both those tasks, though I lost points for (a) leaving the rag drawer open and (b) propping the ironing board with my chin while I adjusted my grip.
I would like to write the ADLs people to argue that ironing is in fact NOT a necessary activity of daily life. Unfortunately, I was only asked to take the test, not to write the test.
2. Hazard Pay
If no one hears from me for the rest of the week, it’s because I’m hanging out with my one-year-old nephew. He is a funny, happy little guy. But holy busy, batman! How in the world did I write when I had toddlers in the house? Apparently, multi-tasking is no longer one of my ADLs. Wish me luck!