April/May Books

My reading has really slowed down this spring, so here is a combined post of April/May books

How to Raise a Wild Child — This book from Scott D. Sampson is about how to foster a love of nature in children. I feel like this could have been an interesting magazine article, but at book length, it felt far too repetitive. It was as though the same 6 ideas got repackaged in different forms throughout the book. I also found a lot of the guidance are not so focused on nature, but could be applied much more generally to nurturing curiosity and being autonomy-supportive. Which is all fine and dandy, but I think I was hoping for something a bit more specific.

Jonny Appleseed — This is a novel that reads like a memoir. Indigenous author Joshua Whitehead has said that some of it is drawn from his own experience. Jonny is a two-spirited Indigenous man who grew up on the rez and eventually makes his way to Winnipeg. The story jumps between his youth and the present day, depicting some very hard experiences, but with moments of joy too. The novel was very readable, and a window into lived experiences almost entirely orthogonal from my own. Some beautiful writing, especially about Jonny’s relationship with his grandmother. 3.5/5.

Unsinkable (Titanic, #1) — I read this juvenile historical fiction to my shipwreck-obsessed kiddo. We follow four teenagers from different walks of life, and their various hijinks aboard the ship. In this first instalment, we start with the ship in Belfast, and get to the day before it sinks. The author, Gordon Korman, was a favourite of mine growing up, and this is a good read-aloud choice: snappy dialogue, short chapters, interesting interpersonal dynamics to discuss afterwards.

Lincoln in the Bardo — This first novel from George Saunders is a very different kind of book. It is set in a Washington, DC cemetery the night after Lincoln’s son Willie was buried. The premise is rooted in historical fact — Lincoln apparently visited the crypt for several nights after his son was buried, holding the body. But from that nugget of truth, we get a ghost story, meeting characters from across the centuries who are in the bardo — a liminal space between life and death. Interspersed with each ghost’s first-person account, we get historical references (some real, some made-up). I found the structure a bit discombobulating at first, but once I wrapped my head around it I enjoyed it very much.

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