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.
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.