It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 7/30/18

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On the blog:

In reading:

gentleman in moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow is already a very fat novel, but I would have been happy had it been twice as long. The plot didn’t sound altogether compelling to me: a Russian aristocrat is condemned to house arrest for life in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Surely there must be more? But that was quite enough of a canvas for Towles to explore the human condition. This was a novel that I sank into almost immediately and enjoyed reading slowly, to prolong the experience and put off the end and the inevitable book hangover. When I was adding it to my GoodReads list this morning, I read the loveliest and most apt description of it: “leaves you feeling expansive and engaged in life.” Exactly so.  A novel to admire for its erudition and craft as well as a novel to fall in love with for its characters, warmth, and good humor. One of my Top 10 reads of the years for sure.

poet x

Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X is a tremendous YA debut, a verse novel about a girl finding her way and saving herself through poetry. I loved Xiomara’s fierce voice, and Acevedo is a strong poet. I always love verse novels (look at all that white space!), but this one is filled with really good poems too. I have a feeling this is a book that is going to disappear from my lending library because it’s going to be loved too much by someone to let it go–and that’s always a good thing.

notes on a thesis

If you have a PhD (especially in literature) and the whole experience made you just a little bit cynical, Notes on a Thesis is the book for you. It’s a graphic novel about Jeanne, a teacher in France who decides to quit her job and complete a PhD with a thesis on Kafka. She doesn’t have funding, but she’s certain she can get it done in three years and cobble together enough part-time work to support herself. You all know where that’s heading. So much in this book made me laugh in recognition, but there is also something rather sad and exploitative about the whole experience of academia.

when we were alone

A powerful story by David Robinson of a conversation between granddaughter and grandmother that explores a particularly shameful piece of American history: the treatment of indigenous children at residential boarding schools. Not an easy topic for a picture book, yet Robinson manages to make the story accessible and comprehensible to young readers. It is also a story about strength, empowerment, and love. Julie Flett’s artwork is wonderful.

rabbit listened

The Rabbit Listened has an important message for how we can best help those who are struggling: be present and listen. I don’t always love picture books that are so clearly meant to be didactic, but this one worked for me.

marigold and daisy

Do we need another humorous picture book about the trauma of no longer being an only child? Maybe not, but Marigold & Daisy is a delight. I laughed out loud several times.

fish and the cat

The Fish and the Cat is a wordless picture book about a curious cat pursuing a fish who is determined not to be caught. You have a take a few leaps of faith here: I confess that I was mildly bothered by the fact that the fish is flying around without any water. But it’s charming and lovely (though what’s up with the cat’s nose??)

a dog with nice ears

How I love Lauren Child’s Charlie and Lola picture books. A Dog with Nice Ears is everything I’ve come to expect from the series–it’s clever, creative, laugh-out-loud funny in parts, and has such a satisfying ending.

12 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #imwayr 7/30/18

  1. Thanks for sharing about A Gentleman in Moscow. I don’t read much adult lit these days, but this one looks incredible (and with a rather HIGH Goodreads rating, especially considering how many reviewers have read it). I’d love to read Notes on a Thesis, too. Three years? :O HA! Sounds like hubby and I would really enjoy that humor. And LOL I remember reading of people’s dismay over the cat’s nose in The Fish and the Cat! I’ll have to check that one out soon. Have a great week, Elisabeth! Looks like we may be headed to Texas unexpectedly, so I REALLY hope you and I can arrange a coffee date after I get back and we get settled into the new semester.

  2. A Gentleman In Moscow has long been on my list and you’ve made me want to read it now! I also have the Poet X on the list. There are so many that I want to read! When We Were Alone is not at my library. I have requested they order it, but no luck so far. Thanks for all, Elisabeth!

  3. You make me want to read A Gentleman in Moscow – searching for it at the library today! I also read Poet X this summer and LOVED it! I love knowing your reading suggestions!

  4. I’ve read Marigold & Daisy, which I thought was pretty cute, but the rest of your books this week are new to me. Now that I’m back from my vacation, I’m ready to get back to the library and start finding all these awesome books. Have a wonderful week!

  5. Funny, I hadn’t heard about A Gentleman in Moscow, but recently I’ve had so many people request it at the library, the holds waitlist for it is incredible, so, your review is just another reason for me to add myself to the list!

  6. So glad you enjoyed The Poet X! It is one of my 2018 favorites and it’s been really popular with the teens at my library. I hadn’t heard of When We Were Alone, but it sounds incredible so I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. I had The Poet X here from the library with a huge pile of books I couldn’t finish. I guess I will have to try again, or add it to my must read list for next year. I like to have an adult book on the go all the time and have added A Gentleman in Moscow to that list. There are so many reserves on this book at my local library, that it will be a while before I get a copy. (Even the large print edition has 48 holds)

  8. I love When We Were Alone. David Robertson is becoming a favourite of mine, I just read the second in his YA trilogy (series The Recokner, bk 1 Strangers, bk 2 Monsters). He is from Winnipeg, and we have similar history in Canada as far as the residential schools and attempts at cultural genocide that were the subject of the book. I was happy to see the illustrator Julie Flett’s work is featured in this year’s Global Read Aloud, as it means Robertson’s book is included as well as Nicola Campbell’s (who is originally from the area that I teach in British Columbia).

    I still have to get to The Poet X, that one looks so good, and A Gentleman in Moscow, which is completely new to me might get on a list as well. Thanks for the post.

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