Bookish Chatter | Rereading and Two Prizes

Hello! I’m so glad that I’d decided to skip Monday’s post because things have been a bit off-kilter around here lately. I’ve had a bevy of sick kids since the end of last week and my daily rhythm has been different because of it. It’s quite all right, of course, but it does make consistency with this blog a bit of a challenge. When I sat down with my notebook to jot down things about the weekend, I realized that I hadn’t read a single word on Saturday or Sunday (other than readalouds with the kids). It’s downright bizarre for me to go a day without reading, even if it’s just a few sentences, but that’s the kind of week it’s been. Nevertheless, I do have some finished books to share with you and some thoughts about the latest round of prize announcements so that you know where my reading will be focused over the next couple of months.


FINISHED THIS WEEK:

The Sentence is the next book in the Erdrich-Along and a reread for me. I LOVED this book when I read it at the end of last year and was nervous that it would be too soon to read it again. Nope. Nothing to worry about there – I LOVED it this go-round too. Set in Minneapolis and mostly during 2020, we get to meet Tookie and share her experiences of the pandemic, her reaction to the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests in her city, and the haunting of the beloved bookstore where she works. Tookie is the best character and has stuck with me since my first reading of this novel. It felt like this was Louise Erdrich’s love letter to readers and people who simply love books — and I love that she was able to work that aspect into her pandemic novel because literature saved so many of us during that time. I also think we got a little insight into the books that Erdrich herself loves to read. Last year I read my library’s hard copy and felt like I missed out when I learned that some of my blogging friends listened to the audio that was narrated by Louise herself. So this year I borrowed the audio from Libby and enjoyed hearing the story straight from the author’s mouth*. But you can’t go wrong with either version!

Will you just look at Kirsten’s sweater, mittens, and hat on the cover of Changes for Kirsten? I squealed when we took this one off the library shelf – I just love it! And I’ll have to say that this is probably the most bonkers American Girl book that we’ve read to date. Not only did Kirsten let a baby raccoon in the house while her mother was away at her aunt’s, but that raccoon started a fire that burned their cabin down! And then, Kirsten and her brother found a dead body one night when they didn’t make it home from the trapline before dark. I repeat: bonkers. But such a fun way to end Kirsten’s story. I’m sad to say goodbye to her books, but have been quite pleased with the Addy book that we started once we finished this one.


TWO PRIZES:

Aspen Words:

The Aspen Words long list was announced this week! I’ve only read one from the list and just one was immediately available through Libby. There are two more on Libby but they have a very long wait. So I’ve decided to get on the waitlist for those that are on Libby and will wait until the short list is announced before I start the procurement process** by completing interlibrary loan requests because my town’s library doesn’t have any of these titles!

The one book that was immediately available to me was Memphis, but I recently heard of some Very Bad Behavior by the author on Bookstagram and I’m not even sure I want to spend my time reading her book? There are too many amazing books I’m hoping to read and new authors I want to support and this situation seems a bit over the top to me. So I’m returning that to Libby now and will consider reading it if it makes the short list. I’m also hoping that my state’s Libby system will get a few more copies of the books that they already have so that the wait won’t be too long! And I’ll be compulsively checking to see if more titles become available as time goes on, of course.

The Tournament of Books:

The Morning News released the brackets for The Tournament of Books that will happen in March. The titles on this list are much easier for me to get because my library has many of them and nearly all of them were already on my TBR. So not as many new discoveries in books or authors, but a fun way to tick off some of the books I’d already been hoping to read anyway. I’m excited to make some progress with this one! Also — this isn’t a prestigious prize like Aspen Words, the Booker Prize, or the Women’s Prize, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun to follow along during the cold and bleak days of March. I already have the brackets printed out and in my notebook, waiting to be filled in as winners are announced.


There’s something about these prize lists that really prime my pump for reading. Not only that, but I adored how Louise Erdrich filled The Sentence with her love of books, and that got me even more excited about tackling some of the hard books on next year’s TBR. I’m hoping to write a post with next year’s reading goals soon and can’t wait to share them with you. Spoiler: my plans include a lot of Toni Morrison and classic Russian literature. 🫖 📚 🥰

I plan to be back on Friday with an update on my stitching. Until then – take good care!


*and yes, I still borrowed my library’s copy of The Sentence despite listening to it on audio because I wanted to include it in my blog picture this week. I’m sure you all understand!

**I am trying not to buy any books until March 8, which is when the Women’s Prize long list will be released. I will only be reading the books from my shelves or that are available through Libby and my public library until then.

23 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | Rereading and Two Prizes

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  1. The Sentence is one of my next reads (first-time read), happy to hear you enjoyed it 2 times!
    I had no idea the audiobook is narrated by the author herself, maybe I will give it a go 🙂 Thanks a lot for sharing!

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  2. Hoping the family is on the mend, and you get some respite. Your blog bubbles with excitement over your tbr list. Good luck with the Russian novels. I read Crime and Puniishment I think over lockdown, oh my I found it hard going.

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I think Crime and Punishment is an especially hard one? And probably very bleak for lockdown!! We’ll see if I’m able to follow through on my Russian goals… I tend to burn out pretty quickly!

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  3. My daughter (#2) has a house full of sickies, herself included! Something nasty is going around! I really loved The Sentence and I am glad to hear it was just as good the second time through! 🙂

    I am still basking in the gentle glow of Winter Solstice!

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    1. Everyone is so sick right now! I hope your daughter and her family recover soon – it’s no fun! I think these Pandemic novels are good to revisit over time — what a reminder about what we went through!

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  4. Yes, hoping the family is on the mend. I remember those days very well when my children were young. Still, you were thinking about books even if you weren’t able to read. Love your devotion to books and your excitement over the various awards. Warms my book-nerd heart.

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  5. I’ll be re-reading The Sentence later this month and hope my experience is as good as yours! I’m sitting out the Aspenwords long list this year – I’ll probably read the short list (and like you, I’m cringey about Memphis … ugh!) and I’m very excited about the Women’s Prize list in March. 2023 is shaping up to be another banner year for books and reading!! (and ugh about your kiddos … hope everyone gets well soon and you stay well!!)

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    1. I think you’re going to love rereading The Sentence, Mary! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts about it. I’m glad I’m not the only one sitting out the Aspen long list – I almost feel like a reading traitor!! But the Women’s Prize is always a top priority for me and I’m looking forward to filling my March reading calendar with the long list!

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  6. I have a copy of The Sentence, must get to that in the next year! Literally every kid I know has been sick in the past month (including my own) so you are not alone. I hope everyone is well by Christmas!

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  7. I’ve never even heard of the Aspen Words prize. You’re a reading powerhouse, Katie!
    I tried Memphis and didn’t get along with it. But a lot of people really liked it.

    I’ll have to check out the TOB brackets! I followed it closely one year, a while back. It’s a fun thing.

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    1. I think you’d enjoy the Aspen Words prize, Laila. There’s a huge focus on diversity of voices and the books are wonderful. I was excited about reading Memphis until this whole brouhaha came to light… and now I don’t want to contribute to the situation in one way or another. And the TOB is SO fun, even though I can never read all of the books before the tournament starts.

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  8. Oh dear. I hope your household gets to feeling better. This is an awful winter for bugs. You are so thoughtful about your reading. I find trying not to buy books is a little like trying not to buy yarn. Thank goodness for libraries.

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