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review 2016-12-31 01:47
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Ellen Forney,Sherman Alexie

This is one book that I feel like I missed out on reading during my high school years, and I’ve always been sad about it; I’ve even owned a copy for at least 3 years, and I still wasn’t able to read it until recently, so finishing this was somewhat of a personal accomplishment for me. Not because it’s such a hard book or anything, but because this is a recent classic that I’ve been wanting to read for so long. It feels especially close to me, because while I am very much not related to any Native Americans, my grandfather lived in Spokane, WA for almost all his life, and he even lived on the Spokane reservation with his girlfriend for a large part of his later life, so it’s interesting to get a sense of the place my grandfather called home.

 

First, I have to say that this book is lovely. It’s about a boy named Junior who lives on the Indian reservation in Spokane, and he decides to go to the “white” high school to try to build a future for himself. I was able to read through it quickly because it’s a pretty easy read and it is so, so entertaining and hits on some very real, true-life events that were inspired by Alexie’s own life. It’s wonderful that this book is out there for teens to read when they’re feeling like an outsider, because the main character is pretty much the ultimate outsider in a lot of ways and reading about his feelings about that and how he deals with it is somehow comforting.

 

What makes this Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian a success is the fact that it covers everything. It’s funny and yet incredibly heartbreaking, reflecting real life in a way that most stories don’t even come close to, which I think is a reflection of its large autobiographical influence. It comes across as honest and genuine, which is something that is lacking in fiction sometimes, and which YA fiction especially needs. The illustrations are an added bonus and give further insight into Junior’s character and his overall mood at the time he’s “writing” his diary entries. They’re incorporated well and I loved reading Forney’s explanations for why each illustration was done the way it was.

 

There’s a reason why this is such a classic, and I don’t know what I can say that others haven’t, except that I personally liked this a lot and think it belongs on the must-read lists of everyone, because it is such a powerful, wonderful story.

Source: www.purplereaders.com/?p=2527
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text 2016-07-05 06:15
My May Reading (and why this post is so late)
Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
Divergent - Veronica Roth
The Choice - Nicholas Sparks
Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) - Orson Scott Card
The Scorch Trials - James Dashner
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney
Where Sea Meets Sky - Karina Halle
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Vision in Silver - Anne Bishop
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #1) - Ann Brashares

I am so behind in my blogging!!  I've got three major posts to write and they all need to be done ASAP as they are all late.

 

My household had a dreadful problem with mysterious middle of the night internet usage that led to everyone being ordered to turn their devices off whenever they walked away from them for more than an ad break's length of time so that we didn't go over our data limit and in order to keep track of who was using the Internet when.  The next problem happened when it was decided that our password needed to be changed to eliminate the possibility of a hacker getting into our system in the middle of the night.  For unknown reasons after the password was changed our modem extender was no longer recognised by our devices, which meant that internet usage was restricted to only one end of the house (unfortunately, not the end I tend to sit in).

 

With all these problems and restrictions I got out of the habit of logging on to Goodreads and Booklikes every morning and started eschewing the trials of trying to use the Internet for the fun of continuing a large cross stitch project that I put aside about five years ago.  Now that the mysterious midnight internet surfer has been foiled and the extender has decided to behave itself again I've gotten back into my old 'internet all day, every day' habit, but I hope to continue on with doing my craft projects.  There's enough time in the day for three hobbies, right (reading, wiritng, and sewing)?  With the occasional day off from one activity to focus more intently on another?  Anyway, that's what I'm going to be attempting for the rest of the year, which will mean slightly less time on the Internet.  So, while I will continue to review every book I read (that's a lifelong goal), I won't be around to comment as much as I have previously been.  So please don't think I'm ignoring any of you, I will reply to your comments/questions/messages, it just might not be today.

 

Anyway, to the books I read way back in May.  May was a pretty good month for me, 13 books, although that did include two DNFs which ended up being the last two reads of the month which caused mixed feelings of disappointment that the month ended on a sour note and relief that I was done forcing myself to read books I wasn't enjoying.  You can find links to my reviews of those books below.

 

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, you can read my review here

 

2. Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth, you can read my review here

 

3. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, you can read my review here

 

4. Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card, you can read my review here

 

5. The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, #2) by James Dashner, you can read my review here

 

6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, you can read my review here

 

7. Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle, you can read my review here

 

8. City of Bones  (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare, you can read my review here

 

9. Vision in Silver  (The Others, #3) by Anne Bishop, you can read my review here

 

10. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Sisterhood, #1) by Ann Brashares, you can read my review here

 

11. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare, you can read my review here

 

12. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, you can read my review here

 

13. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, you can read my review here

 

My Reading Stats for May

 

  • 13 books in 31 days, that's an average of 0.41 books per day
  • 5135 pages in 31 days, that's an average of 165.64 pages a day (that's quite an achievement!) and 395 per book
  • 13 books with an average rating of 3.3 stars
  • My fastest read was Vision in Silver, 400 pages in less than 24 hours.  It was such a fantastic book that I could probably repeat that performance every time I read it (which I will do every year or so as it's likely this series will become my all-time favourite series)
  • My best is a no-brainer, clearly it's Vision in Silver.
  • My worst is also pretty clear.  I may have more than one single star read of the month and two DNFs, but the award has to go to the book that will stick with me (in the worst way possible) for the longest - Lolita.  Even now, two months after I finally finished it (not the first time I tried to read it, but that's a whole other story that you can read more about in my review) some of Humbert's words/ideas still make me shudder.  As soon as I finished  I immediately had to start reading a happy book to try to erase those horrible images.

 

Well, that's another month done, now immediately on to June's post as I'm running a bit behind with these things.  Talk to you all later and have a great day.

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review 2016-05-17 14:00
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie,Ellen Forney

17/5 - I know barely anything about American Indians/Native Americans (not even what they would choose to be called, I'm going to go with what Alexie referred to himself as), and most of what I do know is probably not true seeing as it came from Avon romances from the 80s and 90s. I know my ignorance is going to be showing, but as I write this review I'm going to try very hard not to come across as racist too.

This was a really quick, easy read helped along by a 2.5 hour wait at the doctor's clinic today. I was a bit horrified by the descriptions of life on the reservation, when I first started reading I had to check the publishing info because I couldn't believe those conditions were current, they sounded more like something I would have expected of the 50s. I've only met one American Indian, he sold me a dream catcher in a little store in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. That's the extent of in person contact I've had with American Indians, so the only way I can attempt to understand their situation is to compare it to the way Indigenous Australians have been treated. Australian Aborigines have been battling to win back the rights to their own land for decades now and while it may never be completely over, there have been major steps forward. Despite government programs in place to change things Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders continue to have the lowest average life expectancy, be more prone to alcoholism and domestic violence, and have lower literacy rates. I assume American Indians suffer from similar problems in a higher proportion to the rest of the population of the USA. Where I'm going with this comparison is that I'm not sure I understand why American Indians would continue to live on a reservation that they were forced onto in order to get them out of the way while the Europeans waited for them to die. Many Aboriginals were forced onto church missions during the 20th century, but most of them have now left them to live where they choose - either in urban environments or small, remote settlements of their own choosing. Why haven't the American Indians done the same?

I didn't know this was semi-autobiographical, including his medical problems, despicable treatment by his peers, move from the reservation school to Reardan, and alcoholic father and that knowledge makes some of the events of his life that much more dreadful. A number of times during his depictions of life on the reservation I just couldn't comprehend how people could treat another person that way, especially the adult triplets. It was mind-blowingly horrible and I just wanted to shake those MEN and ask them what the hell's wrong with them. It actually reminds me of a Bowling for Soup song, 99 Biker Friends, which is about wishing a whole ton of really large men would come along to help the group beat up a guy who abuses his girlfriend (see how he likes it) - Chuck Norris, the A-Team, Bruce Lee, the 'dudes' from Danger, Danger (whatever that is), 50 Cent and a couple of prison guards are all mentioned as good possible members for the 'beat up the abusive asshole' team. I wish those triplets could meet Bowling for Soup's team, get a little of their own medicine.

I'm glad I finally got the chance to read this. I first added this to my to-read list because it's included in the official 1001 Books to Read Before You Die book. When I first came across this book I didn't know anything about the controversy surrounding the it or the fact that it was banned by numerous American school boards, but now that I've read it and am aware of everything swirling in the background I have to shake my head at those stupid school boards. To stop teenagers from learning more about the situation that their fellow teenagers from another culture survive through all because of a little bit of foul language (what, the school board/parents think the kids don't hear these words in every day life anyway?) is just ridiculous. These boards need to get a clue and start listening to more than just overly outraged parents! Okay, I've waffled on for long enough now. This really is a great YA book that everyone (young, old and in-between) needs to read someday before they die
.

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text 2016-05-03 15:00
Top Ten Tuesday: May 3, 2016
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Ellen Forney,Sherman Alexie
Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
Matilda - Roald Dahl,Quentin Blake
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

 

Ten Child/Young Adult Characters You’d Love to Revisit as Adults

 

Attempting to put this list together has shown me how very few books I’ve read with child or young adult protagonists whose adult lives I never see. Or whose adult lives I would care much about, honestly. I don’t think I’ll make it to ten, but here goes:

 

Junior, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I would really like to know if everything Junior went through turned out OK. Did his education off the res give him the leg-up he was hoping for? Did his dad ever deal with his drinking problem? Did his family ever catch a break?

 

Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. For the sake of this list, I would like to imagine they didn’t die. How long would it have taken them to realize they made a terrible mistake and that declaring undying love for someone and tying yourself to them for life before you’ve even finished puberty (or known them longer than a week) is really, really dumb?

 

Matilda Wormwood, Matilda by Roald Dahl. You just know Matilda grew up to do amazing things. Did she keep her powers? Did she outgrow them? Did she grow up to be the world’s coolest librarian or did she start writing her own books? Personally, I’d like to think she grew up to be much like Mara Wilson, the actress that played her in the film.

 

Sophronia from the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. Thanks to the series being part of the Parasol Protectorate universe, we do see a couple of the girls all grown up. But what about Sophronia? A whole series of her adventures as a badass secret agent would be so much fun, and I would love to see her meet other characters from the Parasol events (besides the ones she went to school with).

 

Eleanor and Park from the eponymous novel by Rainbow Rowell. JUST TELL ME IT WORKS OUT. Theirs is perhaps the only adolescent romance I’ve ever rooted for in the long term.

 

Well, I think that’s the best I can do. It’s a bit of a conundrum: if an author creates a really compelling character, it’s natural to want to see more of them. And yet, if they tell the story right, they rarely leave me feeling like I need more. Sometimes a great character is great specifically because their story arc fits perfectly, and I simply don’t need anything else.

 

(Original Top Ten Tuesday concept, topic, and logo via The Broke and the Bookish)

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text 2016-05-02 11:45
May 2016: Reading Plans
Divergent - Veronica Roth
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Ellen Forney,Sherman Alexie
The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman
Marked In Flesh - Anne Bishop
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #1) - Ann Brashares
The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Watchmen - Dave Gibbons,John Higgins,Alan Moore

April was a good month for me, I didn't have a single sick day and I read eleven books.  My final April book lasted two days past the end of the month, unfortunately, but it's finished now and I hope to never think of it again *shudder*.

 

Hopefully May will mean a return to more uplifting books, looking at this month's challenge list I don't think that will be a problem.  Like last month I won't get started on May's books until tonight, the 2nd, also like last month (and every month so far this year) I didn't manage to actually read all the books I challenged myself to read.  I only have nine on this month's list, but as most of them are library books I doubt whether I'll actually be able to get all of them, not even considering whether I'd actually be able to read them all in 29 days.

 

May: My Free-Read Month (my self-imposed Jan-Apr challenges have ended or been temporarily paused and I can once again visit the library)

 

1. A Romance Set in the Future - Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth (others may say this isn't a 'romance' per say, but it has an element of romance, or at least it appeared to from the movie and I wanted to read it and it was already on my 'to read' shelf and I now own a copy, so therefore it's a 'romance'), 489 pages (read from May 2-5)

 

2. A National Book Award Winner - The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 229 pages (read from 5-7 May)

 

3. A Book from the Library - The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman, 384 pages (read from 7-10 May)

 

4. A Book that is Published in 2016 - Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4) by Anne Bishop, 399 pages (read from 10-12 May)

 

5. A Book - City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare, 485 pages (read from 12-15 May)

 

6. and its Prequel - Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare, 479 pages (read from 15-18 May)

 

7. A Book that Takes Place During Summer - The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Sisterhood, #1) by Ann Brashares, 294 pages (read from 18-20 May)

 

8. A Book with a Blue Cover - The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Phillip Pullman, 397 pages (read from 20-23 May)

 

9. A Book about a Culture you're Unfamiliar With - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, 324 pages (read from 23-26 May)

 

10. A Graphic Novel - Watchmen by Alan Moore (might have to change this one as I can't get it at my library or Amazon, will have to think about it)

 

Anyone want to take bets on whether I'll get all the way through this list, or how many I will actually read?  I reckon six from this list and another two or three sneaky impulse pickups from the library that aren't actually on the list (although, considering how extensive my 'to read' shelf is any book I do pick up will likely already be on that list).

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