Posted in books, diverse books, historical fiction, kidlit, middle grade fiction, Uncategorized

Children’s Books Week: The Birchbark House

Today’s book is The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. I haven’t read this book (as I don’t read much middle grade fiction), but it is on my list because it sounds fascinating. The Birchbark House has been described as the Native version of Little House on the Prairie, which I loved as a child. And it’s a full series, so you can more fully get into the world of an Ojibwe girl, with this book taking place around the year 1847.

Here’s the Goodreads link for more information on The Birchbark House and the rest of the series: .


Posted in book review, books, diverse books, Uncategorized

Short Fiction Weekend

This was a short fiction weekend for me. It was a nice change of pace. I have never checked out a comic book from the library before, but I saw Saga, Volume One in the library and decided to check it out. Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan, has gotten a lot of rave reviews and I can now see why. It is a fun comic book, though I only recommend it for adults. While it’s a comic of adventure, there are serious story lines within. My only complaint is there were at least two incidences of offensive dialogue.

The other short fiction of this past weekend was the award winning novella Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I am not a huge science fiction and fantasy reader, but that appears to be another theme of this weekend. This was a fun SFF ride through space and with aliens.  The second book in the series comes out soon and I plan to read it as soon as possible. I highly recommend this one, and not just for adults. This book is great for those seeking diverse/inclusive stories as it features a black girl and by a black author.

One of my frequent complaints with books is that the story might drag in places or I just think it needed tighter editing and some parts of the book cut out entirely. The beauty of comic books and novellas are that there isn’t really space for drag or unnecessary parts.

Posted in book review, books, diverse books, Uncategorized

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My first book read in 2017 (for myself and not my 4 year old) is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I saw this book at the library at the end of last year and decided it would make a good first read of the new year. I checked out a 25th anniversary edition, which made it a bit more attractive and reminded me  I need to read more books that are not new releases.

It is the story of a boy (though young adult or older teen might be better terms, “boy” is how he is referred to throughout the book) who has a dream that leads him on a spiritual and adventurous journey. The book has a big lesson and some smaller ones in this parable. The Alchemist is good and mildly inspirational to me. I think it would have had more personal impact if I was in my late teens or early 20s. I am in my late 30s and married with a young child. So, I am not exactly in the stage of life to pursue my dreams in a big way or even feel excited about an adventure. I mostly want a bit of peace and to settle down.

However, even an old (in spirit probably more than age) and unadventurous person can find things for them in this book. And the beginning of a year did turn out to be an excellent time to read this book, as this is the time for goals and thinking of how a person wants to go forward in the new year (and in life in general). The lessons I took were to be open to what is around me, live in the present (which is harder for me since I am a planner and really want live more in the future), listen to my heart (as the books says or as I think of it “listening to my instincts”), and have courage (which has never been my strong suit).

While I think this is good if you or someone you know is looking for inspiration (like a recent or upcoming high school or college graduate) this is a good one, it is also a fun fantasy novella.

If you are looking to check off categories for a reading challenge, this book is a novella (less than 200 pages), it is a translated book (originally published in Brazil), and it provides a diverse/inclusive perspective since Paulo Coelho is Brazilian.

Posted in book review, books, diverse books, historical fiction

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I read Another Brooklyn immediately following Upstream by Mary Oliver. That was an accidentally wise choice. Mary Oliver is a poet, so Upstream essays felt lyrical. Well, Another Brooklyn was written in a similar sort of dreamy style, though it’s a novel and not an essay collection. It’s basically a book of someone reflecting on the past. That past involves a mother and a group of friends and Brooklyn. It’s a short novel and I just flew through it. It’s the kind of novel that I particularly enjoy: it’s historical fiction, the MC is a girl, and it is well written in dealing with what it’s like for a girl growing into a woman. I gave it a solid 4 stars on Goodreads and recommend reading it.

Posted in book review, books, diverse books

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The last book I read is Juliet Takes a Breath. It’s a coming of age tale involving a gay Latina who travels from the Bronx to Portland, Oregon as a summer intern for a famous white feminist. The book is funny, human, inspiring, and educational. This is a book that more people should be reading and talking about. The characters are well written, the story is interesting and enjoyable to read. Frankly, I’m not sure why it’s not getting the buzz that some less worthy books are getting. I highly recommend reading it and plan to buy it for Christmas gifting this year.