So because of the insanity known as Summer Reading Program/Club in the world of public libraries and, not to mention being pregnant, moving out of our apartment and into my mother-in-law’s while my husband and son have moved to Michigan, I’ve been busy. Or so dead tired that even reading during my “breaks” has lost its lure. So my reading these two weeks has waxed cold. But, I’ve decided that I will try to make up some of this slack to meet my Reading Resolution 2017 goal by joining Bout of Books Read-a-Thon in August. By then, I will be in Michigan having worked a month at my new job and both Theo and Ryan will be in school. Perhaps I can make up the gap between my Resolution and reality then.
The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman and read by Suzanne Toren
My only qualm with this book is I never know which part I’m getting until I’m in it. Is it the zoological part or the occupation story of Poland? I somewhat wish it was purely one or the either. I was fascinated by the occupation story of Poland as my great-grandmother was Polish, but they migrated (and were Catholic) back around the turn of the century. However, to imagine that Poland was merely to be a lebensraum for the Germans post-war so it had to be “German-ified” is rather hard to bare.
Ackerman basically uses the memoir of Antonina, wife to Warsaw Zoo’s keeper, Jan Zabinski, to tell the story of Poland during WWII. However, this includes quite a bit of information. She discusses the German belief in zoos, genetics, the Warsaw ghetto, how Jews pretended to be Aryan, and more. It’s a lot of information with the main thread stringing all of the hodge-podge together being Antonina. I’m almost done and I like learning the tidbits I have.
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
This book was chosen because it is on the 2017-2018 Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List. Read more about this list here. Unfortunately, I remember Debbie Reese critiquing Gemeinhart’s treatment of the Indians, particularly in relation to his treatment of the Chinese, in this Western. You can look into her critique here. (Side note: reading Reese’s critiques can sometimes sear your soul, and I say this especially as a white female, BUT it has been so helpful in becoming a better librarian. We can talk all day about how you can be TOO PC, neutral, etc. but sometimes what it all boils down to is being cogitative on how people other than you are being treated repeatedly and how it can hurt after centuries of such treatment. You can still read these “not recommended” books but your reading of them, especially with little ones, can be an avenue to discuss why we don’t call people those words or why her treatment of that girl wasn’t proper. This is what Gemeinhart did with the Chinese in this book but failed to do with the unnamed Indian tribe he dealt with.)
Joseph has lost his family–all but his horse–to death. The man who takes him after his father dies decides he will sell Joseph’s horse. Joseph doesn’t know it until it’s too late. So he goes on a wild chase to find his half-Indian pony, Sarah. There is a lot of adventure and the story is very high-paced. A good book for kids who like suspenseful tales. Since I’m not really into Westerns or horses, I struggled to finish this book.
The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War by Arkady Ostrovsky
A timely publication and a timely read for me. I’ve been wanting to understand why Americans have this dislike for Russia, especially with it melding in our affairs. This book sums up pretty clearly the ideological differences between us countries. It has also helped to clear up the differences between fascism and communism. I, for some reason, thought the two were synonymous. They can be and, as Ostrovsky makes clear, Russia had a melding of the two ideologies. Generally, however, fascism is just high nationalism and communism is nationalism plus all things run by the state.
My struggle was mainly with the whole scandal surrounding our recent US election and Russia. I understand a little clearer because of this book why Russians, especially those who are partial to “the way things used to be in USSR and with the KGB,” would support President Trump: his attitude in regards to profiting are pretty cut-throat. In other words, if he likes you, then you’re good. If not, adios. However, President Trump IS NOT A COMMUNIST. Thankfully. But I can see why people would call him a fascist.
I’m only half way finished with this book.
Alas, the booger is gone. We will be apart for a little over a month, but I hope to over that time FaceTime in some book reading. These were a few books we read prior to the final pack-up and departure:
Dylan the Villain by K.G. Campbell
Theo LOVED this book.
Blocks by Irene Dickson
Theo also really loved this book.
123 Dreams by Kim Kranas
He enjoyed this book a lot.
I Will Not Eat You by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Scott Magoon
Theo did not like this book. I thought with the dragon being named Theodore he would be sold on it. Nope. I think it was a bit more scarier than he is ready for.
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex Smith
I finally had a chance to read this to him and he liked it enough to ask for it again and again.
So what are you reading?