In my time with CBR I have reviewed very few children’s books. Mostly its because I don’t have many kids to read to so my exposure to and enjoyment of children’s books is limited. But I do have a wonderful coworker who read Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type to her own kids a few years ago. When we were having lunch together shortly thereafter she told me about it and when I expressed delight at its conceit she bought me my own copy for my birthday, and that is how I, a childless woman in her mid-thirties came to receive Doreen Cronin’s book.
Friends, I do love this book. So, for International Children’s Book Day (April 2, 2020) I’m treating myself to a review of it. In these beautiful watercolor pages is the story of farm animals in revolt! The cows have found a typewriter and use it all day. Farmer Brown is a tidbit annoyed at it but doesn’t mind too much. That is until the girls start to use their typewriter skills to make demands. When their demands aren’t met, they go on strike. Eventually their sister chickens join them. Farmer Brown has to figure out what to do about the strike, and sends his offer with an intermediary duck, who has plans of its own.
There is something about cows on strike and using typewriters of all things to communicate that just makes me laugh. The artwork of the book, done by Betsy Lewin, is beautiful. I can heartily suggest this to any children’s book reader out there. If you want to experience me reading the book, perhaps you want to make your way over to the Cannonball Facebook group on April 2nd.
Just under the wire, I’ve finished my fifth Read Harder Challenge. I’ll be doing the 2020 challenge (I spent awhile today sorting out which books I’ll be reading for half of the tasks. But first: my Read Harder Challenge 2019 completed tasks
I’ve missed the cutoff for CBR11, but I did read one more book which fulfills task 7: read an #ownvoices book for Mexico or Central America for Read Harder 2019. I revisited Like Water for Chocolate and while it is both better than I remembered, it is also less satisfying.
I read this in high school, closer to its publication 25 years ago. It was my first foray into magical realism and I didn’t quite know what to make of it at the time. In the intervening two decades I’ve expanded my reading (looking at you, Allende) and now my brain knows how to process the story more easily.
I don’t know how I feel about the resolution here. I never felt any connection to Pedro and Tita as a couple, or really to Pedro at all. So as much as I was invested in Tita, I never really sunk into the entirety of Esquivel’s narrative, even though it is so much more than just these two. The descriptions of life, and food, and home in this book are worth the reading – as are the recipes spread across the chapters which are broken up to match the months of the year.
One of the weird things about me is that I *enjoy* attending
graduation ceremonies. I can understand why others don’t like attending them –
they can be very long and require us to sit in uncomfortable locations but
there’s something about watching people I love accomplish something and be
recognized for it that makes my heart happy. Because I’m a human full of
contradictions I hated attending my own graduations. All of them were pure
Wambach lays out in this short work her eight-point plan, her rules, for empowering women and engaging in team behavior (don’t fall for being the token at the table, don’t fall for the false competition we are put into with each other). Each point is couched in a story from Wambach’s life and experience on and off the soccer field. The rules are simple and forward facing, and the entire tone is positive and inspiring, and easy to start incorporating into daily practice.
Create your own path
Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.
Those of you who have been reading my reviews for the past several years know that I have both depression and anxiety, and while I’m taking meds and seeing a therapist it doesn’t always mean that I’m necessarily feeling well. Often, I feel like shit. Like many, many people I use certain rituals to keep my head on straight and one of them when I’m feeling poorly is to go see what Lin-Manuel Miranda had tweeted for his Gmorning/Gnight tweets of the day. Other times I came across them in the wild, lurking in my feed waiting to pick me up, putting a little pep in my step, a little reassurance from my pocket that I was not alone in this big scary thing called life.
When it was announced last year that Miranda and Sun had teamed up to produce a curated collection of the “best” pairs from the past several years (seriously, he’s been tweeting these since at least 2014) I knew I needed to get my hands on it. Then, as life goes, I let it slip my mind vaguely knowing that there was an escape valve of Miranda’s Gmorning/Gnight tweets waiting for me when I needed them.
Well, I needed them.
NTE’s review was perfectly timed for me. Ah, yes, this is what I need right now.
It might feel simplistic, what can possible be conveyed in 140 (or 280) characters that is going to matter this much to people, to me? So much. Miranda writes these for himself as much as for those of us who read them (and Sun does a commendable job catching their essence in his illustrations) and they are little nuggets waiting to reassure, inspire, uplift, and keep you from feeling alone and defeated.
This one is my favorite, the one that makes me cry spontaneously every time:
First, as someone who suggested The Hating Gameto literally anyone requesting a romance recommendation in the past two and a half years I feel the need to send an apology out into the universe for Sally Thorne – I never wanted you to feel so much pressure for your next book. That being said, I’m so glad you were able to work through it and produce this, your sophomore outing. It is very worth the reader’s time and another example of the kind of contemporary romance I’m happy to read and extol its virtues.
99 Percent Mine is a friends to lovers romance. Darcy Barrett has travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him as his best friend at age 8. When Darcy and Jamie inherit their grandmother’s tumble-down cottage they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy has no intention of staying to see the project through, she’s working at the local biker bar to make enough money to finance her next trip overseas and away from her family, troubles, and her desire for Tom who remains off-limits – this time due to an engagement ring on another woman’s ring finger. But when Tom shows up to lead the renovation (and with her passport MIA) Darcy’s sticking around.
It may not be apparent from the plot summary, but this is a romance with some built in high stakes. Darcy has a heart condition that she hasn’t been taking care of and it informs her past with her brother and Tom as well as her present. Thorne writes frankly about navigating life with a chronic illness. The other high stakes item is Tom’s personal history that has led him to feeling the need to be perfect at all times to be accepted, to be good enough. Darcy is also struggling with some career issues, feeling as though she peaked at 20 when she won a photography prize and has since shuttered her wedding photography business after a truly terrible wedding shoot. She is carrying around a lingering sense of failure and having to settle for ‘good enough’ in her late 20s. These are themes that resonated for me.
Thorne delivers on characters with real weight and fleshed out backstory. It is also a similarly limited cast of characters, with the grand majority of the narrative taking place with just two characters, although this book does bring in a more side characters who are important to the plot moving forward as well as filling in character details for our main pair. This one isn’t quite The Hating Game, but it is still really quite good, AND FUNNY, even if the last chapter or two felt a little tonally off (but I am a fan of the epilogues!).
This book was read and reviewed as part of the charitable Cannonball Read where we read what we want, review it how we see fit (within a few guidelines), and raise money for the American Cancer Society.
I started this challenge late in the year – a test to myself to see if what I had already read could fill in the categories. I did okay, but could not complete the challenge. I’ve left it open for myself and continued to fill in books that complete the tasks as I read them. Any book read in another year is marked as such.
My Read Harder Challenge 2018 is complete with 24 hours to spare. I appreciate that these 24 tasks push me to consider what I am reading, and give me a way to prioritize my choices. Below are all the books which I have read as of December 30, 2018 in attainment of these various goals.
I haven’t decided if I will continue with Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge in 2019. I know that I will be working towards Reading Women’s 2019 Challenge though. We’ll have to see what the new year brings.
I apologize now, this review will not really be a review. It is more a love letter to the community at Cannonball Read.
Of the ten books we had to choose from for the So Popular bingo square, I had read most, but not all. The ones I haven’t read I don’t care to (looking at you, Divergent) so I was thinking about re-reading Eleanor & Parkto go with last year’s re-read of Attachmentsor maybe The Martianto see if I still had a book crush on Mark Watney. I wrote up my #cbr10bingo list with a couple options and went about scheduling the books that were already on my to read list for the year.
But then I realized that what I really wanted to do was revisit the book that led to our having Cannon Book Club in the first place. MsWas had floated the idea at the end of 2014 about possibly having a book club. When I read Station Eleven the first time I knew that this was a book that needed a book club experience, and I loved it enough to step a little bit further out of my comfort zone (I had just organized my first book exchange for the site, even though we’d had one the previous year) and volunteer to do it. This book grew me as a person in ways I would never have expected when I picked it up at the end of January 2015.
The stories in Station Eleven ask you to think big thoughts: what can you do? What do you do if you know you have a matter of hours left to live? How do you survive? What mark can you leave behind? Do you even get to choose? What are the benefits of remembering? Of forgetting? While I was reading this time I knew what was coming, so I wasn’t as caught out by Mandel’s ability to distract me and send the reader flying in different directions or timelines than anticipated, but her style and mechanics still held together a finely drawn world which is eerie, unsettling, and full of tension waiting to be released. There were moments so exquisitely written, nuance settled deeply into the pages, that it in some ways felt like coming home.
I still love this book, and I love the togetherness it helped inspire. I look forward wholeheartedly to our FIFTH year of book club next year where we’re planning to tackle Good Omens and who knows what else. My most heartfelt thanks to all the people who make Book Club and Cannonball Read possible, I am so very lucky to have all of you in my life.