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September Titles (2016)

checking out my new amazon treat! 

Last month and this month were good to me in the book department. My time of watching TV voraciously (catching up with my 3 favorite shows once they're on netflix, and watching all of Parenthood in one summer) is over and I am back turning to books in every spare moment. Surprisingly, this month went to a lot of history all across Canada. Funny how one can find the right books at the right time. Lukka will be learning all about BC history this year in (home)school, so reading a few of these books were so helpful even from a homeschooling perspective, let alone enjoyable to read on their own. Here's my September reads:

*Vancouver Island Scoundrels, Eccentrics, and Originals by Stephen Ruttan - This quirky little book was one I had seen while on vacation on Vancouver Island and it seemed like a fun little history lesson, complete with photos, odd stories, and few pages (170+). I picked it up at our library and I thought it was so interesting. I know very little of the history of British Columbia, and this certainly was an entertaining intro. The stories were well-written and seeing the old pictures of people and places helped tremendously to add character and setting. I liked it so well I thought I'd write to the author and tell him we're planning on reading a bit of it aloud in our homeschool. This year Lukka has to learn about BC's history, and a number of these stories are a perfect fit.

*In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth & Reconciliation edited by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail - I really learned a lot from this anthology of essays from authors (both native and non-native) across Canada retelling experiences involving First Nations issues and people. Just this year in BC the ministry of education has begun to include much more First Nations curriculum/topics in every grade, signaling good things for reconciliation between First Nations people groups and the general population who may or may not know of the horrific pasts of many tribes. Of course, in thinking of my own country, I see Canada light-years ahead. Each essay in this book had a different tone, conflict, and theme and through all of those different sets of eyes I gained a lot of knowledge. I enjoyed it!

*Bent Hope by Tim Huff - This book is a collection of Toronto's street kids' stories told by the man who ministered to them. They are raw, tragic, and at times, horrifying, but sitting at the end of each chapter is a deep sincere love by the author that one day, these kids would know the love God has for them. It's both deeply troubling and deeply hopeful. A book like this is what needs to be shared in youth groups, and older children's lives along with frank discussions on things like abuse, cyclical problems like mental illness, financial and spiritual poverty, and solutions that honor the God who loves the 1 out of the 99 so much He goes looking for them. Thankful a friend of mine let me borrow this book, as I don't know I would have come across it otherwise.

*Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist - This is a book full of short essays that mostly center on the themes of peace, grace, slowing down life, and margin. I appreciated the encouragement Niequist offers but didn't find anything new or mind-blowing. Mostly, this is a quiet book that helps give you permission to do what you want with your life. If you're a woman, you may feel like you need permission to take care of yourself without feeling guilty. Shauna is trying to give you back that power. Though this is a quick read, and a gentle book, I didn't find it very fluid, and sometimes the sections didn't  feel that different, even though there were 5 or 6 of them. This could be a really lovely book for some, but it was a shoulder-shrugger for me.

*I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam - In this book, Vanderkam takes her 168 Hours log idea, presents it to high-earning women (over $100K/year), and maps out how they spend their time, and how they really do have it all, it just looks different than what you'd think. I sort of take issue with this idea because although I'm high on efficiency and productivity, I need a lot of down-time to rejuvenate, and I just didn't see much margin in these lives, though they are in powerful or interesting careers and are able to spend quality time with their kids. I hope at some point she decides to study women that feel more aligned to the average-"jo", those who make much less, single mothers, women who have children who have special needs, etc. This book feels too much like a niche book. A small, riche, non-margin niche. I appreciate what she's trying to do-to empower women to go for the big jobs AND the family, but honestly? It made me tired FOR these women. I'll take my simple life, one-income, and plenty of whitespace. I hate to say I think this book backfired for me.

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