The Week in Books #38

Booooooks. The books by donation sale at GIRO was on for two days and I managed to scoop a few that I hadn’t read yet (but found a ton of good copies of books I had already read haha) including graphic novel On Loving Women by Diane Obomsawin, The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong Lee, Pedal by Chelsea Rooney, The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, First They Killed my Father by Loung Ung, and Mothers & Daughters, a compilation of stories edited by Alberto Manguel.

I also ventured out to Value Village and picked up a small stack including Tinman by Sarah Winham, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, and Milkman by Anna Burns.

Due to the Covid situation the annual book sale and fundraiser held at the community hall by my house is cancelled, which is super disappointing because it’s a great place to grab stacks and stacks of books for a pretty modest donation to their literacy fund. Truth be told I still have many books from previous years I haven’t read yet so maybe this is the time to get caught up, haha.

This week I read through a few more of my TBR pile:

1. Love & Courage by Jagmeet Singh. Brutally honest and very vulnerable, this memoir doesn’t actually have much to do with politics and instead shares the conditions of Jagmeet’s (pronounced Jug-meet) upbringing in Windsor, Ontario, and how he eventually came to begin his career in politics. Much of the book is about his struggles with racism during school and the devastating alcoholism of his father during his childhood and its effect on his family. I enjoyed the easy writing style, though parts of his story are very difficult to read. Overall provided a great background of how both he and his brother Gurratan became activists and politicians. I follow both of them on IG and you should too, they are lovely humans! @jagmeetsingh @gurratansingh

In October 2017, Jagmeet Singh was elected as the first visible minority to lead a major federal political party in Canada. The historic milestone was celebrated across the nation.

About a month earlier, in the lead up to his election, Jagmeet held community meet-and-greets across Canada. At one such event, a disruptive heckler in the crowd hurled accusations at him. Jagmeet responded by calmly calling for all Canadians to act with “love and courage” in the face of hate. That response immediately went viral, and people across the country began asking, “Who is Jagmeet Singh? And why ‘love and courage’?”

Google Books

2. A History of Bees by Maja Lunde. This was a unique book told through the eyes of three different characters in three different time periods, so it was a historical fiction, modern day fiction, and dystopian sci-fi all rolled into one. As you may have gathered from the title, it is also about bees. I enjoyed the futuristic chapters the most, but they all fit together beautifully and by the end everything was tied together well. It took a few chapters to really get into it but once things picked up they really got going.

England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honour and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper and fights an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident—and is kept in the dark about his whereabouts and condition—she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought provoking story that is just as much about the powerful relationships between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.

Google Books

3. Bunny by Mona Awad. This book is like the movie Heathers crossed with Alice in Wonderland with a hefty dose of LSD. At times I had no idea what was going on but I loved it anyways. Magical, disturbing, and a biting commentary on the cliquey and elitist world of grad students. It also gave me major high school flashbacks.

Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at Warren University. In fact, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort – a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other ‘Bunny’.

But then the Bunnies issue her with an invitation and Samantha finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door, across the threshold, and down their rabbit hole.

Blending sharp satire with fairytale horror, Bunny is a spellbinding trip of a novel from one of fiction’s most original new voices.

Google Books

Started this weekend: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Last few on the stack to wrap up: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, The Bingo Palace by Louise Erdrich, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.

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