Monday, December 31, 2018

Books Read December 2018: 289-317

Pictured: 5-star Reads from December

289. Dear Fang, with Love by Rupi Thorpe **** (postal book swap; my review)
290. This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila ***** (postal book swap; my review)
291. What Unites Us by Dan Rather **** (postal book swap; my review)
292. What I Saw and How I Lied *** (postal book swap; my review)
293. Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires **** (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
294. Insomnia by Marina Benjamin ***** (review copy; my review)
295. A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard **** (interlibrary loan; my review)
296. How to be Safe by Tom McAllister **** (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
297. The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon *** (library book; my review)
298. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin **** (library eBook; my review)
299. Sula by Toni Morrison ***** (personal copy; my review)
300. Eliza Waite by Ashley Sweeney ***** (personal copy; my review)
301. The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel **** (Kindle eBook; my review)
302. Sweetland by Michael Crummey **** (Kindle eBook; my review)
303. The Emissary by Yoko Tawada **** (interlibrary loan; my review)
304. Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross *** (postal book swap; my review)
305. The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose ***** (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
306. The Best American Food Writing 2018 ed. by Ruth Reichl **** (Kindle eBook; my review)
307. Travels in Alaska by John Muir **** (personal copy; my review)
308. Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth **** (Kindle eBook; my review)
309. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer ***** (personal copy; my review)
310. An Amish Second Christmas by Beth Wiseman et al **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
311. Census by Jesse Ball *** (library book; my review)
312. The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews ***** (print galley; my review)
313. The Tent Peg by Aritha Van Herk **** (personal copy; my review)
314. The Sometimes Lake by Sandy Marie Bonny *** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
315. Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay **** (Hoopla eBook; my review)
316. Wilder by Claire Wahmanholm ***** (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
317. When We Leave Each Other by Henrik Nordbrant *** (library copy; my review)

December is always the catch-up month for books I couldn't review earlier. 289-292 and 304 are from a postal book swap that occurred throughout the year; 317 is one I somehow left out earlier this year.

Total books read: 28

Audio: 2
eBook: 10
Print: 16

Review copies: 3
Tournament of Books longlist: 5
Canada/Alaska 2018: 10

Canada and Alaska 2018 Reading Roundup

I read so many great books for my personal reading challenge to read Canada and Alaska in 2018! Thanks to Casey, Lindy, Rachel, and Shawn for stellar recommendations for the year. I didn't get to everything but read widely in location, genre, and era. What a great year!

Just a selection of the books I read in 2018

Alaska: Fiction
Eliza Waite by Ashley Sweeney
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! By Jonathan Evison
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis
The Woman Who Married a Bear by John Straley
The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

Alaska: Non-Fiction
The Alaska from Scratch Cookbook by Maya Wilson
Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd by Karsten Heuer
If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth
Leaving Resurrection by Eva Saulitis
Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban
Travels in Alaska by John Muir
Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie
Unlearning to Fly by Jennifer Brice

Canada: multi
Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada by Will Ferguson

Canada: British Columbia
The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant
Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot
Home to Woefield by Susan Juby
The Quiet by Anne-Marie Turza
Republic of Dirt: A Return to Woefield Farm by Susan Juby

Canada: Yukon
Being Caribou: Five Months on Foot with an Arctic Herd by Karsten Heuer
The Tent Peg by Aritha van Herk

Canada: Northwest Territories
Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay

Canada: Nunavut
Annie Muktuk and Other Stories by Norma Dunning

Canada: Alberta
The Sometimes Lake by Sandy Marie Bonny

Canada: Saskatchewan
Born Hutterite: Stories by Samuel Hofer

Canada: Manitoba
Annie Muktuk and Other Stories by Norma Dunning
The Break by Katherena Vermette
Hutterite Diaries by Linda Maendel
I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby
Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen by Mary-Ann Kirkby

Canada: Ontario
Bear by Marian Engel
And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier, translated by Rhonda Mullins
Brother by David Chariandy
The Change Room by Karen Connelly
The Honey Farm by Harriet Alida Lye
Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese
Matty Matheson: A Cookbook
The New Farm: Our Ten Years on the Front Lines of the Good Food Revolution by Brent Preston
This Accident of Being Lost: Songs and Stories by Leanne Simpson

Canada: Quebec
The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel

Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador
Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
Sweetland by Michael Crummey

Episodes where some of these books are discussed in more depth:
Episode 109 - Stuxnet Pancakes with Scott Danielson
Episode 110 - The Accidental Love Episode with Casey Stepaniuk
Episode 118 - Reading Envy Readalong: To the Bright Edge of the World 
Episode 121 - Love, Lust, Loss, and Longing with Casey Hampton
Episode 123 - Godlets and Forests with Lauren Weinhold
Episode 124 - Mush Creatures with Lindy Pratch
Episode 125 - Strong Tea and Suspicious Penguins with Luke Burrage and Juliane Kunzendorf
Episode 130 - All the Jennifers with Fern Ronay
Episode 132 - Whimsy and Density with Anna Baillie-Karas
Episode 134 - A Pastiche Romp with Ruth(iella)
Episode 136 - Six Pack with Elizabeth 

Reading Challenge for 2019: Back to the Classics

For one of my reading goals in 2019, I'm going to participate in the Back to the Classics Challenge organized by Karen from the Books and Chocolate blog. You can sign up through March 2019, and the rules are on her blog. There are 12 categories but you get to choose how many you want to accomplish. I found potential titles for each but my actual goal is 6, and if I do more than that, even better.

Some of the possibilities from my own collection

I learned about this challenge when chatting with Ruth(iella) on Episode 134 of the Reading Envy Podcast. Ruth is an inspiring reader because of how many classics she reads!

I will indicate if I own these books. I tried to start with books already on my shelves, or books that would intersect with my other reading goals for 2019.

1. 19th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1800 and 1899.
(I went with titles on my TBR list.)
Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane
The Woman in White or The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Middlemarch by George Eliot

2. 20th Century Classic. Any classic book originally published between 1900 and 1969. All books in this category must have been published at least 50 years ago. The only exceptions are books that were published posthumously but were written at least 50 years ago.
Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann (Hoopla)
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (own)
The Fire This Time (1963) by James Baldwin
Manservant and Maidservant (1947) by Ivy Compton-Burnett (own)

3. Classic by a Woman Author.
Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann (Hoopla)
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (own)
Manservant and Maidservant (1947) by Ivy Compton-Burnett (own)

4. Classic in Translation. Any classic originally written in a novel other than your native language. You may read the book in your native language, or its original language (or a third language for all you polyglots!) Modern translations are acceptable, as long as the book was originally published at least 50 years ago. Books in translation are acceptable in all other categories as well.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (because I’ve never read it)

5. Classic Comic Novel. Any comedy, satire, or humorous work. Humor is very subjective, so if you think Crime and Punishment is hilarious, go ahead and use it, but if it's a work that's traditionally not considered humorous, please tell us why in your post. Some classic comic novels: Cold Comfort Farm; Three Men in a Boat; Lucky Jim; and the works of P. G. Wodehouse.
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (own)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos
All About H Hatterr (1948) by G V Desani (would fit reading Asia goal)
A Handful of Dust (1934) by Evelyn Waugh (own)

6. Classic Tragic Novel. Tragedies traditionally have a sad ending, but just like the comedies, this is up for the reader to interpret. Examples include The Grapes of Wrath, House of Mirth, and Madame Bovary.
Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert (own)
The Man who Watched Trains Go By  (1938) by Georges Simenon (own)

7. Very Long Classic. Any classic single work 500 pages or longer, not including introductions or end notes. Omnibus editions of multiple works do not count. Since page counts can vary depending on the edition, average the page count of various editions to determine the length.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (own)
Middlemarch by George Eliot

8. Classic Novella. Any work of narrative fiction shorter than 250 pages.
The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling (goes with Asian reading goals)

9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean). Includes classic set in either continent or the Caribbean, or by an author originally from one of those countries. Examples include Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (United States); Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Jamaica); or One Hundred Years of Solitude (Columbia/South America).
Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (Kindle)
The Fire This Time by James Baldwin (1963)
The Popul Vuh (new translation by Michael Bazzett)

10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia). Any classic set in one of those contents or islands, or by an author from these countries. Examples include Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz (Egypt); The Makioka Sisters by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japan); On the Beach by Nevile Shute (Australia); Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria).
All About H Hatterr by G V Desani (1948)
The World of Suzie Wong by Richard Mason (1957 - Hong Kong)
Love in a Foreign City by Eileen Chang (1943 - Taiwan/China)
Old Filth by Jane Gardam

11. Classic From a Place You've Lived. Read locally! Any classic set in a city, county, state or country in which you've lived, or by a local author. Choices for me include Giant by Edna Ferber (Texas); Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (Chicago); and Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (Germany).
Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

12. Classic Play. Any play written or performed at least 50 years ago. Plays are eligible for this category only.
A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen (I have the audio too!)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Review: The Word for Woman Is Wilderness

The Word for Woman Is Wilderness The Word for Woman Is Wilderness by Abi Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Full disclaimer - I asked the publisher (Two Dollar Radio) for an advanced copy of this book because it fit in so perfectly with my Canada-Alaska reading goals for 2018. It doesn't come out until March 2019 in the states but has been out in the UK in 2018.

This is a novel, but is written in such a creative non-fiction style that I had to keep reminding myself that the author's name is Abi and that this is a fictional account. There are charts, maps, packing lists, and photos that all lend an incredible realism to the narrative. The character of Erin is also a filmmaker so at times there are transcripts of interviews or soliloquies that add another layer to the story.

At the core is a philosophical novel, exploring the idea of wilderness through the experience of a young woman venturing from England to Iceland, Greenland, and finally ending up in Alaska not far from where Chris McCandless ventured out. (In fact, the book seemed to be so directly in response to Into the Wild that I stopped and read it before continuing.) The author and/or the narrator want to understand why the wilderness and its exploration seems to be something held to be masculine, and to prove it doesn't have to be. She confronts the ideas espoused by Jack London, Jack Kerouac, Thoreau, Ted Kaczynski (this one was a difficult surprise but makes a lot of sense in the end), etc. In some ways it claims wildness as unique to women, and there are some delicious statements about this near the end that I can't quote here since I have an uncorrected proof.

I was surprised that the author didn't include any female adventurers. It is true that many explorers are male, but not all. What about Margaret Murie, the fearless mother of the Alaskan frontier? Or women who are most at home in the wild, from Kira Salak to Annie Dillard to even Mary Oliver? It felt at times that these women and their writings might be a stronger defense to the idea of women being the wilderness than a 19 year old, but that might be my "old age" talking (I am 40.)

Still, I can tell from the author's acknowledgements (I always read them, don't you), and the way she titled chapters after items from Ursula K. Le Guin and female scientists, that she has these voices in her head, but narrowed down to the handful she did on purpose.

This was a great read right after I had read Travels in Alaska by John Muir, Kings of the Yukon by Adam Weymouth, and Into the Wild by Chris McCandless, because the solitary male (who isn't in fact by himself) "discovering" the wild is all sorts of problematic in any century, and it was an antidote to read this book afterwards. It is immersive, thought-provoking, and a unique reading experience to be sure.

View all my reviews

Monday, December 24, 2018

Review: Kings of the Yukon: One Summer Paddling Across the Far North

Kings of the Yukon: One Summer Paddling Across the Far North Kings of the Yukon: One Summer Paddling Across the Far North by Adam Weymouth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I squeezed in another book for my year of reading Canada and Alaska (and this book travels to both since the Yukon River extends through Alaska and Western Canada.) I was expecting more of a travel narrative about the author's canoe trip(s) up and down the Yukon River in 2016 and 2017, but this is almost exclusively about the king/Chinook salmon. It reminded me a lot of another book entirely about fish that I read, never expecting I'd read another: Cod by Mark Kurlansky.

To be fair, is there any other area so closely tied to a single species for its livelihood?

I felt the author was strongest in his reporting of facts (economics and trends of fish, history of fishing in the region and worldwide), not very good at describing the landscape, and started to make connections I wish he'd spent more time on (identity without fish, regulation as a form of cultural erasure, etc.) It is decent and current but not the best non-fiction Yukon account I read this year.

View all my reviews

Reading Envy 139: Stocking Stuffer (Best Reads of 2018)

I put out the call for the best books you read this year, so this episode is a combination of my favorite reads in 2018 and the books you liked best. Not all books are published in 2018 since that's not how most of us read. And thanks to Casey for the episode title idea.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 139: Stocking Stuffer (Best of 2018).

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Books Discussed:

Elizabeth (Episodes 33, 61, 136)
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

Dominic (@Literary.Libations in Instagram)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoesvksy

Jenny’s top reads in Literary fiction
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro (discussed Episode 110)
White Tears by Hari Kunzru (discussed Episode 110)
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (discussed Episodes 86, 111, 116)
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively (discussed Episode 127)
The Overstory by Richard Powers (discussed Episode 130)
Normal People by Sally Rooney (discussed Episode 132)
This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

Casey Stepaniuk (Episodes 107 & 110)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Jeff Makala
The Shakespeare Requirement by Julie Schumacher (mentioned Episode 129)

Jenny’s top reads in Canada/Alaska fiction
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper (discussed Episode 132)
Annie Muktuk and Other Stories by Norma Dunning (discussed Episode 134)

Ellie Shatterlings (Shatterlings on Instagram)
Brother in Ice by Alicia Kopf

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Magareta Magnussen
10% Happier by Dan Harris.

Jenny’s top reads in Canadian/Alaskan non-fiction
I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby (discussed Episode 130)
Being Caribou by Karsten Hauer (discussed Episode 136)

Laurie  (@DrYapYapi in Instagram)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine CapĆ³ Crucet
Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert

The October Country: Stories by Ray Bradbury

Jenny’s top reads in Non-fiction: Memoir
The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy
Becoming by Michelle Obama

Sara (Episode 122)
Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
The Man Who Spoke Snakish by Andrus Kivirahk

Jeff Koeppen (Episodes 93 and 116)
Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon (discussed Episode 116)
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (discussed Episodes 86, 111, 116)
Educated by Tara Westover
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking

Jenny’s top reads in Non-fiction: nature
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams (discussed Episode 112)
Rising by Elizabeth Rush (discussed Episode 131)

Lauren (Episodes 97, 123, 133, 138)
Dune by Frank Herbert
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

Marion (@kammbiamh in Instagram)
Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Jenny’s top reads in general Non-fiction
Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks (discussed Episode 127)
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay
Buttermilk Graffiti by Edward Lee (discussed Episode 119)

Ruth (Episodes 33, 67, 134)
Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant

Steve Richardson
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Jenny’s top reads in Poetry
Virgin by Analicia Sotelo (discussed Episode 115)
When My Brother was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz (discussed Episode 116)

Karen (Episodes 4, 15, 51, 66, 101, 114)
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
You Think It, I’ll Say it by Curtis Sittenfeld

Casey Hampton (Episode 121)
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Maria Rilke

Jenny’s top reads in Young Adult lit:
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (discussed Episode 131)
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway (discussed Episode 136)

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Circe by Madeleine Miller
Kin by Kealan Patrick Burke
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

Nadine (Episode 129)
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Luke and Juliane (Episodes (Episodes 17, 32, 37, 44, 69, 125)
The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
Rosewater by Tade Thompson

This list in PDF form

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