It’s the last day of 2018 and I’m up before the rest of the family, although that’s no mean feat. Its 10:00 am! I’m glad some of us are enjoying our winter holiday from school and work and that’s a good thing.
It’s a good thing to be awake too, because the coffee is on and I get to enjoy some quiet reading time. Right now I’m reading The Things We Wish Were True. Its engaging, alternating between various point of view characters much like my current writing project.
Maybe more than this particular book its the habit of reading, (or is it an addiction to escapism?) that has me waking up and picking up a book. Cause honestly, it sometimes feels a bit like pouring that first cup of coffee in the morning or sneaking into the kids Halloween candy after they’ve gone to bed (shhhh!)😊. Addiction is a fairly strong word though, so maybe let’s just call it ‘the love of good things.’
Last year I managed to immerse myself in ‘good things’ enough times that I read 50 books. I know! Think of how many barre classes that could add up to; how many binge sessions watching something or other on Netflix. What can I say? I have no regrets. I love stories and maybe I was so immersed it saved me from excess trips raiding the kids Halloween and Easter stashes. See? We are all happy😊.
For you ‘non-readers’ out there you might be wondering, “Does this woman not have a life? Does she keep a tally beside her bedside table or what?” Well…I’m about to blow you non-readers away: we’ve got apps for that, haha. Two reader’s apps that I’m on are Goodreads (see my complete list of books read in 2018 here) and Litsy. Litsy is a bit more interactive and a cross between Instagram and Goodreads, but I like how you can keep lists on Goodreads and I use it more often.
Here are my top picks from those books I read in 2018 via random category at no one’s discretion but my own 😉:
Joy’s Pick for Memoir: Precious Cargo: My Year of Driving the Kids on School Bus 3077. Although I mainly read fiction I decided to pick this book up after meeting the author. Craig's a great speaker, writer, human. And married to a social worker so obviously makes good choices (haha...much like me and my husband!) Precious Cargo takes place in my home town (Calgary, Alberta) so its fun to know the names and streets and communities the author is talking about.
Joy’s Pick for Canadian Fiction: The Break. Okay, the act of putting this book list together made me realize how many stories centre around violence against women, child or vulnerable animal. The Break is right up there on that account so you’ve got to be strong to read it. Regardless, you should read it: the state of violence against Indigenous Women in Canada is horrendous and appalling. This particular story is balanced with beautiful and lyrical language, strong female characters and HOPE.
Joy’s Pick for Contemporary Young Adult: Optimists Die First. This will be no surprise to anyone who follows me: I am a devoted fan of Susin Nielsen and wish to all good things that one day I'll get a chance to learn about storytelling from her. She’s a master at conquering life's sadness with humour and wit and so I deeply admire her…even though I’m not an optimist!
Joy’s Pick for Fantasy Series: The Lunar Chronicles. I DEVOURED this series; started Cinder on audio and then bought the rest back to back on kindle because bookstores aren’t open at midnight when you finish one book and NEED, no MUST start the next. Alas, first few books are better than the last, but isn’t that almost a staple in YA fantasy?
Joy’s Pick for Middle Grade: The One and Only Ivan. Yup, almost every book on this list is a tear-jerker. My personal philosophy is: if a book does not make you feel anything than it might not be worth reading. That’s me though. This book was a recommendation from my 9 year old daughter and it’ll kick you in the gut. But again, it’s lovely and real and this one definitely has a happy ending😊.
Joy’s Pick for WW2 Story: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I read three WW2 books in 2018 and three in 2017. I’m choosing Bitter and Sweet because every other WW2 book I read in two years takes place in France. They were all super good (and many had fabulous female protagonists! Shout out to The Alice Network who may have took it otherwise) but it was a nice change to see how the war impacted people on the other side of the globe. This book centres around the internment of Japanese Americans.
Joy’s Pick for Suspense: I’m recommending Fierce Kingdom for this category although I’m pulled toward The Child Finder for sure. Fierce Kingdom happens all within one day so the tension stays high. As a Mom it felt incredibly real and relatable.
Joy’s Top Pick if you Really Want to Ugly Cry as early as Page 2: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Intersectionality of poverty and racism, yet the main character is incredibly loveable. You can’t help but love this one.
If you happen to pick up (and read) any of these books I’d love to know what you think.
Wishing everyone a 2019 with loads of good stories, the odd Barre class (or two) and perhaps a stolen chocolate to sweeten the deal along the way. Happy New Year!
What's an Unblog?
I've been told that blogs need to be updated regularly and consistently. So let's be clear: this is not a blog.