Thanks to Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts for this meme!

Well, August has been another tough month. Portland had another heat wave (which thankfully wasn’t as bad as the one earlier in the summer) and a day where the smoke from the forest fires were bad. And then my phone was all wonky for most of the month and I couldn’t blog.

I did have one additional post since the IMWAYR/ July Review and that was my recap of my Season of Baldwin Reading Challenge.

I had a hard time connecting with people even though they were supposed to be my people. (In this case, I mean either the LGBTQ+ community or being around other Filipino.) I did get to support a few Filipino owned businesses so I was glad I did my part.

Then, there was one day at work when a guy shouted at me since he didn’t want to wear a mask! I wish people would just get it through their heads that we’re in a pandemic and that we all have to do our part if we want to overcome it.

But, one thing that really made me happy in August was that I got to visit a new library which you could read about here.

The end of the month, I started to feel slightly better just knowing I could say goodbye to August.

So far this year, I’ve read 312 books. The breakdown is:
18- Adult novels
19- Adult non-fiction
28- Graphic novels
49- Middle Grade novels (Goal: 52)
229- Picture Books and Board Books
9- Young Adult novels

of which
68- Nonfiction Picture Books (Goal: 104)
37- Audio Books

And since I haven’t been reviewing the books I’ve been reading, I’m going to share books I’ve read so far that were on my #MustReadin2021 list. (There are at least three titles that were on the list that I somehow didn’t write reviews for!)

I Am Frida KahloI Am Frida Kahlo by Brad Meltzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest installment in this wonderful inspiring series for kids. I’m sure readers will be enthralled by Frida’s life, creativity, and determination!

The Year of the DogThe Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d been meaning to read this for awhile now since I love the Where the Mountain Meets the Moon series and enjoyed most of her other books as well and am such a fan of the Book Friends Forever podcast. This was like getting to visit with old friends even though you may never have actually met in person. In addition to seeing how their friendship began and getting to read an entertaining story with Asian characters, I enjoyed the sort of behind the scenes glimpse of becoming a writer and where ideas come from.

Hilo Book 7: Gina---The Girl Who Broke the WorldHilo Book 7: Gina—The Girl Who Broke the World by Judd Winick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another exciting installment that tackles ongoing grief and having to shoulder unasked for and unwanted responsibility. I’m curious as to where this arc will lead and how many more books there will be in the series.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon, #3)The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Kay O’Neill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series has been a delightful discovery and I love recommending the books to readers who want to be totally seeped in a world of quiet magic.

Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World (Aristotle and Dante, #2)Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was ecstatic to be able to read this sequel to one of my favorite books of all time. It’s incredible to fall in love with a book and have the words enter your being. This book comes out October 12th and I know I’ll be rereading it by listening to the audiobook. Skate for Your Life

Skate for Your Life by Leo Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am such a huge fan of the Pocket Change Collective series and I think every middle school and high school libraries should carry them. They’re basically long essays about experiences specific to the person writing about it. In Skate for Your Life, Leo Baker shares their story falling in love with skateboarding at a young age, pursuing it as a career and the obstacles it presented to them as gender-queer nonbinary person.

ContinuumContinuum by Chella Man
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am such a huge fan of the Pocket Change Collective series and I think every middle school and high school libraries should carry them. They’re basically long essays about experiences specific to the person writing about it. In Continuum, Chella Man shares his story living in the intersections of his multiple identities as a Deaf, genderqueer, trans-masculine, Chinese, and Jewish person.

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the CountryThe Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I remember hearing this poem for the first time and how I was immediately taken in by the words and filled with a sense of promise and possibility- like listening to a sermon I had nothing but praise for- that I instantly put it on repeat. Reading a poem in one’s own voice as opposed to listening to the poet or a good orator is a different experience.

This was part of my Inaugural Poems Reading Challenge which you can read here: https://thechroniclesofachildrensbook…

Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children's LiteratureWild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5. I’d been meaning to read this for awhile and am glad I finally did. It had interesting trivia and behind the scenes info about KidLit creators. But the format felt too bloggy (which is understandable since the writers are/were all bloggers) and made me crave more. And, surprisingly, considering how snail paced the publishing world sometimes feel, some parts felt outdated already. The best thing about this book, though, is that you’re bound to get some great recommendations!

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an AdultWild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has been on my TBR for awhile now and I read this back to back with Wild Things! Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature by Betsy Bird, Julie Danielson, Peter Sieruta. Both books take on the world of kidlit and their creators but this one focuses more on his experiences reading or rereading the books he loved to his kids or the books he’s been meaning to read. What’s almost unforgivable is that he didn’t read Anne of Green Gables- and chose not to read it although he did start it- so that has completely soured whatever positive associations I had with this book.

The Book of DelightsThe Book of Delights by Ross Gay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of essays was- for lack of a better word- delightful! I actually got to hear Ross Gay speak at a bookseller’s conference before this book came out and listening to it on audio book with him narrating it took me back to that time. Although subjective to his particular tastes and experiences, a lot of the readers can find themselves enjoying the things he writes about. Or thinking about why it may or may not be a delight in their lives. I enjoyed recommending this when it first came out (in 2019) as a balm for the dark and troubling times we were experiencing. Now, I can recommend it as a reminder to look for the light and for the delights in these difficult times and as a reminder also that better days are ahead if we just work together.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My antiracist book for this month is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

It focuses on the problems within the criminal justice system especially for BIPOC and the poor. It’ll definitely get you angry. I admit it’s scary to think how many people believe truly evil and racist things and the extent of what they’ll do to keep their sense of power and entitlement.

I’m intrigued about the film adaptation.

I ended up donating to the Equal Justice Initiative after finishing Just Mercy.

Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caste is an eye-opening reading experience reframing American racism jn a way that may be more universally understood through the lens of the caste systems in India and during the Nazi regime. It is not an easy read because of all that has transpired and continues to happen to this day. For me, the lynching done by the dominant caste (which they also celebrated and marketed through the selling of postcards depicting scenes of these atrocities) are not really products of the past but have just taken on a new form via the police brutality- often recorded- that have killed many Black men- and despite evidence to the contrary, the perpetrators are hardly ever held accountable for their actions. It’s almost like a public warning of “This is what we can do since we are the ones in power.” Naturally it is not all police who do this but those who get away with it are usually those of the dominant caste.

Reading Caste during this time when a white gunman shot and killed 8 people in Atlanta was really chilling because even the fact he was captured alive when other suspects who have done far less- or even nothing at all- have been mistreated and/or killed- not to mention his hate crime was explained partly by him having a bad day- is unnerving.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy Reading!


5 thoughts on “My Reading Week #IMWAYR- September 6, 2021 / August Review

  1. I hope the heat has lessened, Earl. We continue to have the nineties here in Denver, still waiting for cool! You’ve shared so many great books, some I’ve loved, some still on my list, like the new Aristotle and Dante! Thanks for the reminder of what I need to read! Have a lovely week ahead!

  2. You have a lot of fabulous books on your list today Earl. I was gobsmacked by Caste. Parts of it were just brutal to read, but I kept telling myself that if people could live through this, the least I can do is read about it. The new Aristotle and Dante is on my list. I think I will wait and listen to it since that is how I read the first one. I have adored everything of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’ that I have read.
    I’m sorry that cretin yelled at you about the mask. We had a bunch of covidiots block off access to hospitals in their antivaccine protests. It’s so frustrating!

  3. It’s wonderful to see you back! I understand what you mean about not connecting with “your people”—something I’ve noticed myself lately is that, even with facets of ourselves that are pretty nuanced and take up a lot of space, so to speak, they’re still just parts of ourselves, and if someone shares them but not anything else, we’re actually not that likely to connect. And that is ENRAGING about the person at work—I was about to go on a COVID rant here, but I figure you’ve seen plenty as is.

    You’ve read so many great books lately! The Year of… books by Grace Lin are wonderful—the third book, which is called Dumpling Days (which obviously doesn’t fit in with the other two), is one I’ve re-read several times! And I am SO excited for Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World—just one more month until the release date! Continuum sounds like a great read, and Just Mercy and Caste sound incredibly eye-opening. And it’s embarrassing that I STILL haven’t watched Amanda Gorman’s inauguration reading—if I have any spare minutes before bed today, I will! Thanks so much for the great post!

  4. It makes me happy to hear that the new Aristotle and Dante book is good! I love the first though I know some found parts of it problematic, but I have yet to read #2.
    My son is reading HiLo right now (he is on #5), and he is loving it as much as I do. Gina’s book may be my favorite–glad you liked it too.

    Happy reading this week!

    P.S. I feel you on the masks. I’m getting so tired of people fighting it….

  5. I’m so sorry that August has been such a tough month. I’ve been out of the loop most of the summer, so I hope we can all be back together again through this fall. I’ve missed keeping up with this group. My kiddos have ADORED the HiLo series and they keep re-reading it. I also enjoyed Just Mercy and learned a great deal! I really, really need to catch up with Aristotle and Dante. Thanks for the shares, Earl!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s