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January Reads // 2017

*Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury -- Although I found this slim book in the LHEA (Langley Home Educator's Association) library to use for teaching kids economic principles, this is a subject I feel I know very little about, so I picked it up for myself. My kids are still young and really only understand money as gifts, and pay for chores. I know nothing about the history of economics, and although understand, generally, a few principles, I knew this would be a good primer. It was! I learned a lot from the 1-5 page chapters, easy-to-digest "Uncle Eric" book and went on a mission to read all of the ones I could find this year. See below for #2.

*The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp -- This book is Ann's long-awaited sophomore book, after 1,000 Gifts. Although I don't typically enjoy Ann's writing style, I find I struggle to slog through the flowery and repetitive language, I do love her content, which is what matters most to me anyway. This book was quite a bit more emotionally driven than her first book, but had a great message at it's core-God will use you in your brokenness. We have example after example and Ann shares deeply about her own individual and family tragedies, and how God used those things to empower her to minister to others. If you like Ann's popular blog (that raised over $1,000,000 for Syrian refugees!), you'll probably love it.

*Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown -- I have heard this book be recommended by so many bloggers and podcasters you'd think it was their personal manifesto. I can see why. This book is engaging, interesting, and it cuts the BS and I am generally always in need of this reminder that I can't do All. The. Things. Basically, have priorities, not 'maybes' (if they're maybes, they're "nos"), give your self a ton of margin, and be non-negotiable about it. I think most leaders-in any capacity-would get something out of this book. Worthwhile, anecdotal, and well-designed.

*Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi -- This is my book club's pick for February, and guys, I loved it. I read very few novels, so when I do, I want them to be powerful, and this one was. I am astounded that this is her first book, it is so well written, imaginative, and the details and structure fit the story like a glove. This story starts with two half-sisters in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and details the family trees of each woman as one is given in marriage to a British slaver, and the other is put on a slave ship and brought to America at the turn of the 18th century. It is quite graphic due to the content of the story, but it's written beautifully and I couldn't wait to get to the next character ('down' a branch in the family tree on either side). This author is only 26 (!!), I can't wait to see what she does throughout her life. Definitely a 4 star book.

*What Would Thomas Jefferson Think About This? by Richard J. Maybury -- This is the second "Uncle Eric" book I read this month, about the history of the founding father, Thomas Jefferson, and his ideals for the newly minted republic that he helped form. A large chunk of the (small) book was about language inferring Statist vs. 'Other Side', which I found really interesting. I think I chose an excellent time in my reading career to be reading this type of material, based on what's going on in American politics, while living in Canada, two drastically different worldviews, though day-to-day they look so similar. Good stuff.

*Wenjack by Joseph Boyden -- This short novella was a story about Chanie Wenjack, based on true events but written through the eyes of him and the forest animals watching over him as he escapes a residential school in Ontario, Canada in 1966. Although there is some controversy about Boyden since he released this book, I found the story so worthwhile, though the story is ultimately one of deep tragedy. I am trying to read quite a number of First Nations material to learn about the Indigenous peoples of where I now live. It is also required in BC schools to learn about First Nations peoples, and the kids and I did an extensive study in the Fall. If you have any other books in this vein that you can recommend leave them in the comments!


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