It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 7/2/18


On the blog:

In reading:

artificial condition

My favorite read of the week was Martha Wells’s slim sci-fi novel, Artificial Condition, the second in a projected series of four novels about a rogue AI who calls itself Murderbot. I don’t think this is a good stand-alone, but once you read the first novel in the series, All Systems Red, you’ll probably be hooked and want to read this one. I really admire what Wells does in these novels–they’re so fast-paced and action-packed that at first glance, they would seem to be all plot, and yet character development and world-building are equally well done. It’s hard not to fall in love with the incredibly endearing AIs at the heart of these books or wish for many more stories set in this complex and rich world.

heart berries

Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir, Heart Berries, packs a punch. It’s the length of an afternoon read, but I couldn’t read it in an afternoon. It’s simply too painful to read. It’s a memoir about intergenerational trauma (Mailhot is a First Nations writer from Canada) that feels so immediate and unfiltered and yet it’s so artful and crafted. As a reader, I would have liked less of the man (much of the memoir is written as a letter to the man she’s in a relationship with, written from a mental institution she checked herself into) and more of, well, just about everything else. Mailhot is fiercely intelligent, incisive, direct, and painfully self-critical. What the rest of us may think to ourselves and keep inside, she writes about.  It’s a necessary book, I think, and one that is likely to resonate with many readers.


Dogtown is a book based on the National Geographic TV documentary series set at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Each chapter profiles a different dog, and while the stories aren’t always easy to read, they do have happy endings. There are black and white photos of each dog. Could be a good title to include in a high school classroom library if you have students who are interested in animal rescue. There are also brief profiles of many of the humans who work at Dogtown, including some of the trainers who share how they work with the dogs.

louise undercover

Another phenomenal graphic novel from Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault. Gorgeous art, gorgeous writing, and a thoughtful story, sad but still hopeful, of a boy whose father is an alcoholic and how this has broken his family.


My son and I just finished Pete Hautman’s Slider as our read-aloud, and it’s fun AND manages to deal with some weightier thematic material. David is obsessed with competitive eaters and accidentally overbids–WAY overbids–for a hot dog that was infamously only half-eaten by one of his heroes in an eating contest. He meant to charge $20.00 to his mother’s credit card, but ended up charging $2000.00, and the only way he can see out of trouble is to enter and win an eating contest himself. My son was very engaged by the competitive eating plot but also very interested in David’s relationship with his younger brother, Mal, who has autism. The family dynamics were interesting, though it seemed unrealistic to me that a family wouldn’t pursue some kind of therapeutic help or supports for a child with autism. Thank goodness David has a clue and can think to get the poor overwhelmed Mal some headphones and sunglasses to reduce sensory stimulation.





12 responses to “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 7/2/18”

  1. Scott Avatar

    Reading Robin McKinley’s Rose Daughter. An exquisitely-written retelling of Beauty and the Beast that inspired me to work on my garden more. Marvelous fantasy. Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning is an absorbing, brutal fantasy novel. Remarkable characters and heroine. Intriguing insights regarding Navajo culture. Not for the squeamish. Added Heart Berries to TBR.

  2. lindabaie Avatar

    The Martha Wells books sound good. If only I can carve out enough time! Thanks for sharing Slider, too, will put them both on my list!

  3. Lisa Maucione (@DrLMaucione) Avatar

    I enjoyed Slider. I thought David was a great character and the topic, competitive eating, is unique.

  4. Akilah Avatar

    I just put Louis Undercover on hold at the library. Thanks for the rec; it wasn’t on my radar. Also, I am glad you are getting some adult sci-fi reading in!

  5. cweichel Avatar

    Heart Berries is ready for me to pick up at my local library. I’m looking forward to reading Louis Undercover soon. I adore anything Isabel Greenberg is involved in am currently reading The One Hundred Nights of Hero.

  6. Shaye Miller Avatar

    Ugh. Don’t know what happened, but I somehow just erased a huge comment. Aaaanyway, I was saying that I did purchase All Systems Red last month. I always seem to enjoy a good sci-fi book/series and I’m surprised I don’t read more of them. Looking forward to this series! I’m also wondering if you think Dogtown would be a good read aloud for my five. Of course, my 4 and 7 year old often move around and even leave the room while I’m reading to the older three, so there’s no telling if they’ll be there for the whole thing. lol Hey, let me know next time you’re in town so we can get together. Have a great reading week, Elisabeth!

  7. Ricki Ginsberg Avatar

    I never got to Slider, and it is great to hear that it makes a good read-aloud. I like books that balance fun and serious. Thanks for sharing your review of it.

  8. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    Heart Berries and the Martha Wells books sound good. Thanks for the post!

  9. Michele Avatar

    Slider was the only one that was familiar to me this week! It’s been on my list for awhile. I need to get to it!

  10. Kellee Moye Avatar

    I’ve never read a Hautman book, but I have always wanted to….. Maybe I’ll start with Slider.

    Happy reading this week 🙂

  11. Myra GB Avatar

    I loved Louis Undercover – so beautiful, I thought. Loved reading your thoughts about Heart Berries – been reading a whole LOT of memoirs and adult novels recently. Will probly add that one to our stack for next year when we do A Year Of Women Reading Women in 2019. 🙂

  12. carwilc Avatar

    I always find really interesting and totally different book recommendations on your blog I don’t really like scifi, but feel like I need to read more of it, so maybe I will hunt down the ALL SYSTEMS RED series. Are they YA or adult? I also have wanted to read SLIDER for awhile. I just finished GRENADE, the newest book by Alan Gratz. I heard him speak at the Scholastic Reading Summit in June (next year is June 27th). It’s a WW2 novel, set on Okinawa. A pretty graphic war novel, really shows the human side of war. I kept wishing it had been around when my sons were in hs.

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