October 2020 Reading Recap

October started off as a great reading month. With the freedom to read whatever interested me, I picked up some MGBooktober recommendations and really enjoyed Train I Ride by Paul Mosier, Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadano, and Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James.

But as the month progressed and I did my mid point reflection, I realized I wasn’t reading a lot of Canadian or debut middle grade fiction, two areas that are really important to me. When Laurie recommended Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, the following quote resonated with me: “Your actions reveal how badly you want something. If you keep saying something is a priority but never act on it, then you don’t really want it.” If reading and promoting Canadian MG fiction and debut authors were priorities to me, my actions weren’t reflecting it. I adjusted my reading in the second half of the month, and noticed a difference in how I felt about my reading life. I need freedom to read, but with focus on what matters to me.

POSTS

Here are links to the posts I published this month:

5 Spooky 2020 MG Reads Published in 2020

Review of Trapped in Hitler’s Web by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Review of A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi

Review of The Puck Drops Here by Kevin Sylvester

Review of Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono

Review of Hollowpox by Jessica Townsend

Review of Hockey Night in Kenya by Danson and Eric Walters

Review of Hatch by Kenneth Oppel

STATS

I read 18 books in October (above average for me) for a total of 177 books so far this year (below average for me). Of those titles, 5 were 2021 middle grade debut authors (28%), 7 were ownvoices stories (39%) and 6 were by Canadian authors (33%). I read 9 physical books (50%).

FAVORITES

My favorite read this month were Kiki’s Delivery Service, Tilly and the Bookwanderers, A Place to Hang The Moon by Kate Albus, and Treasures of the Twelve by Cindy Lin.

NEXT MONTH

I plan to focus on reading debut authors in November, and sharing those books with you.

September 2020 Reading Recap

By Kathie

I’m terrible for sticking to a monthly reading plan. Every time I try to set goals they either stress me out trying to accomplish them, or make me feel guilty because I didn’t achieve them. So why do I bother? As someone who has an anxiety disorder, I make to-do lists and plans in an attempt to feel like I’m in control of some part of my life. When everything feels chaotic, I know what I’m going to have for supper. When I have too many things on my plate, I have a color-coded chart of my priorities.

But when it comes to my reading life, I rebel Every. Single. Time. I like being distracted by a new release that everyone is discussing. I love when an author reaches out and asks me to read an ARC of their book. I’m delighted when I win a book in a giveaway and when it shows up I want to read it right away. I’m learning that I cannot plan my reading life the same way I can plan other aspects of my life. It needs to be flexible, adaptable, spontaneous, and driven by what I feel like today. As someone who is a bit of a control freak, letting go and giving myself the freedom to read has been one of my biggest challenges.

In mid September, I dropped the reading plans, but decided to bring back reading statistics. I know that there are three main types of middle grade books that I want read: Canadian authors, ownvoices stories, and 2021 debut authors, but restricting my reading to that eliminates many authors I love who don’t fit into those categories. Keeping statistics helps me ensure those books are making up the bulk of my reading, while not tying me down to specific titles or a quota. My reading life becomes like a kite with the freedom to explore the wide open sky, while at the same time staying rooted to the ground and what matters to me.

STATS

I read 20 books in September (above average for me) for a total of 159 books so far this year (below average for me). Of those titles, 4 were 2021 middle grade debut authors (20%), 6 were ownvoices stories (30%) and 10 were by Canadian authors (50%). I read 8 physical books (40%), which means over half of my reading was ebooks. I also bought 5 new books (4 of which I donated to a library or a teacher).

FAVORITES

My favorite reads this month were: Breakdown by David A. Robertson (a YA graphic novel coming in late October), The Sea in Winter by Christine Day (release date: Jan 5, 2020), Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian by Tim Probert (an MG graphic novel released on September 1st), and Hatch by Kenneth Oppel (an MG dystopian novel released on September 15th).

NEXT MONTH

I have quite a few eARCs I really want to read, but we’ll see where the kite takes me.