I’ve read a bit over 30 books so far this year, some books I have really liked, some I didn’t care for. I have been worrying that having a numerical goal will make reading less of an enjoyable experience - there are streaks of a competitive nature within me, that keep peeking out occasionally, and that’s not what I’m about. Or at least, that’s not what I want to be about.
But I set the goal at the beginning of the year for 202 books, and currently, I’m still on track for that. I haven’t been stressing out over books, but sometimes I notice myself thinking I just want to finish a book, and add it to my tally. Something I want to be mindful of, I don’t just want notches in my bookshelf, I just love reading and exploring different books.
In the past two months there have been a few books that have really stood out:
Two books by Becky Chambers. The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet, and To be Taught if Fortunate. So far, Becky Chambers has written a couple of my favourite books - both of these. They’re all unique, but similar - the world building, and the storytelling, and the character development, and the subtlety of some of the choices are just so wonderful I have a couple of her other books hanging around the house just waiting to be read, and I’m eager for more, but also hesitant to read them all too soon.
Literally, I have had both of her other books in my house, and I haven’t been able to open them - I want to wait. It’s a weird delayed gratification thing, but oh well.
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. This was the second young adult book I have read by Elizabeth Acevedo, and it was just marvelous. She brings a story I’ve never heard before - a teenage parent navigating high school, love, and following her dreams (while still being largely rooted in reality.) I feel like the story is told with such love for each character, I always leave her books feeling connected to them somehow.
I also have read her work in a combination of audiobook/paperbook/e-book format. Elizabeth Acevedo narrates her own work, and I think that definitely makes the whole thing even more wonderful. Her speaking voice is beautiful and full of the depth of feeling for each character.
Know My Name by Chanel Miller Where do I begin with this book, it is a memoir of Chanel Miller, formerly known as Emily Doe, after being sexually assaulted on the Stanford Campus by Brock Turner. I remember reading the Victim Impact statement thinking how fierce and powerful Emily Doe’s words were - and that definitely continued in Know My Name. It offers insight into what it looks like to navigate the justice system as a survivor and what it looks like to be at the center of such a media firestorm.
Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me by Anna Mehler Paperny An up close and personal look at depression and suicidality from a reporter who lives with it. The authour wove her experiences with the Canadian (and specifically the Ontario) mental health system, with the system as a whole - looking at different treatments, hospital stays, interviewing doctors and researchers around North America about depression and neuroscience. As someone who has had experiences with the mental health system, albeit not in this province, I found her insight and honesty so important to understanding others going through the system, or understanding why people would choose not to.