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review 2019-01-31 19:05
Judy Fong Bates: Midnight at the Dragon Cafe
Midnight At the Dragon Cafe - Judy Fong Bates

I liked it, but I think it would be hard to love. The novel felt like a memoir, to the point where I found myself wishing that Fong Bates had simply written more directly about her childhood. I found it so hard to connect with Su-Jen/Annie, the main character, who observes the people around her without doing anything, without even reacting. I don't think it was Su-Jen's character to use her voice, but she could have shared how she felt with the reader. I know, the theme of the book is "swallow your bitterness", but it would have been nice to know how Su-Jen felt about what she was suppressing. I guess it's arguable that she was suppressing her feelings from her own self, too. I guess?

 

Everything else about the book is delightful. My heart ached for Su-Jen's father, who sacrificed everything for his family, who worked so hard even into old age, who knew what his white customers thought about him but didn't let himself be hurt by them. And for her mother, who was just so unhappy, whose life had been changed for the worse by her move to Canada, who could feel happiness within reach but who had to sacrifice that happiness, for her family. And even for her brother, who was just a few years too old to be fully Canadian and free from the old traditions like Su-Jen was. And I loved Charlotte and her quirky family so much.

 

I would love to read more books about first-generation immigrants. This book was completely worthwhile, and despite my frustration with its main character, I would recommend it.

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review 2018-11-28 03:06
THE LIBRARY ON The EDGE OF THE WORLD by Felicity Hayes McCoy
The Library at the Edge of the World - Felicity Hayes-McCoy
 

 

 THE LIBRARY ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

 Felicity Hayes-McCoy

paperback, 368 pages

Published November 14th 2017 by Harper Perennial
ISBN:  0062663720 (ISBN13: 9780062663726)

 

 

 

 

 

Things start a quiet confusion while Hannah tries to figure out her life after divorce and moving back to her small, rural hometown. Then chaos when she starts renovations on her house and the community finds out they are losing governmental support for the library and seniors.
I am a library lover to begin with. Set that in Ireland, I am in heaven. This was a fun read. Some of the crotchety characters and the description of the landscape were great. Hayes-McCoy usually writes non-fiction about the Dingle Peninsula where this book is set, so she knows the area well. Her words bring out the beauty of the area wonderfully. Hannah's character was a little too stubborn for me, at first. But as I continued with the story, I soon realized why.

 

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review 2018-11-28 03:01
The Birchbark House - Louise Erdrich

THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE

Louise Erdrich

Hardcover, 224 pages

Published May 13th 2002 by Perfection Learning (first published 1999)
ISBN:  0756911869 (ISBN13: 9780756911867)

 

 

This is my first Louise Erdrich book. A middle grade chapter book that is well written. Erdrich includes a mini glossary at the end with Ojibawa pronunciation and meaning. I enjoyed having the Ojibawa language being used, rather than just English. The use of the language made the culture come through more when Erdrich describes landscape, ceremonies, and her characters became more complete. There is a section on small pox which may be a little bit harder for a middle grade reader, but Erdrich deals well with the main character's reaction and how the adults around her deal with the experience. I would definite recommend this, especially for parents who are trying to expand their kids' reading into diversity and different cultures.

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review 2018-11-28 02:55
HAT by Renee Paule, illustrated by GR Hewitt
Hat - Renée Paule,G R Hewitt

HAT

written by Renee Paule 

illustrated by G R Hewitt

Paperback, 36 pages

Published May 2018 by RPG Publishing

099350986X (ISBN13: 9780993509865)

 

The colors that G R Hewitt used in the illustrations is great. A lot of colors, more muted rather than overly stimulating bright.

Paule describes each hat with shorter and longer words, which makes it a wonderful book to help young readers to learn some "big" vocabulary words, without making it feel like work. I really enjoyed the book, and the little comprehension test that she includes at the end.

 

 

***This book was won in a Booklikes giveaway held by the auther, in exchange for a fair review. ***

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text 2018-10-31 03:35
Reading progress update: I've read 92 out of 352 pages.
The History of Bees - Maja Lunde

I'm putting this one on hold, actually, it's been on hold. I am having difficulty connecting to any of the characters and story lines. (All story lines are at a different time periods). I really thought I would like this book.

The story line follows bees, from farmers who built beehives and depended on bees, to people who hand pollinated flowers and more to ensure they bloomed and produced food since bees were extinct. I'm big on gardening, so i do love my bees and other pollinators flying around my yard. So I don't think it's the story itself. It is translated, but it seems to be a decent translation. But, the going back and forth between time frames and characters seems to be bothering me. Each section is short, but there's like 5 time frames the author is switching to and from. Kind of difficult to get to know the characters and follow each story line.

 

 

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