Thanks to Sam for hosting this meme at Taking on a World of Words. This is the first time I have participated. The idea is to answer three questions – What am I currently reading, What did I reccently finish reading and What might I read next?
Current Read: The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard
From Carnegie Website – Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has a brain injury, the result of an assault. Manny was once a child soldier. He is sixteen and has lost all his family. When Manny first sees Alice, she is sitting on the rusty roof of her river house, looking like a carving on an old-fashioned ship, sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. And he is sure that girl has written them. When Manny and Alice meet they find the beginnings of love and healing.
I have only read the first pages. The idea of Alice imitating Biblical poetry reminded me of David Almond’s Billy Dean, who learns language instinctively and is likened to Bede. Although the language in my current read has hooked me, my initial thought was how dark children’s literature can be. In eight or twelve pages, I encountered abuse, abandonment and murder. This was made more poignant by the narration – Alice understands what she is saying, but has difficulty putting her thoughts into words. Superficially, her language sounds naïve, but when you go back over the words and think about what she has said, it hits you full-force. I think the narratorial voices may be the strength of the novel, and am eager to read on.
Next read: ?
There are so many books I might read next. I intend to read the Carnegie list before the winner is announced. The winner is announced mid-June, so with six books still to read, I am short on time. Both Salt to the Open Sea and The Bone Sparrow focus on the plight of refugees. The former is set in 1945, the latter in the modern day.
Series Crackdown kicks off this weekend – this is a ten day readathon hosted by The Bookmoo, which encourages people to read an unfinished series from their bookshelves. Having read Maresi over the weekend, I still have the last book in Abi Elphinstone’s trilogy. However, this will not take long to read, so hardly seems like taking part. If I am up for more of a challenge, I have John Maresden’s six book series. This starts with Tomorrow, when the War Began, which follows a group of teenagers who from a resistance group when the rest of their town is taken hostage at the start of a war. Their agricultural knowledge and familiarity with the land helps them survive and remain hidden.
Book I have just finished: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
The Red Abbey offers shelter to girls from patriarchal societies. Girls are educated, then chose whether to return – empowered- to their former homes, or remain as an apprentice to one of the Sisters. The novel is written as a first person account, as if the reader has found one of the abbey scrolls. Maresi records the events of the previous summer, which began when Jai arrived on the island, hoping to escape her abusive father. The story rolled along, and I loved how deeply Turtschaninoff had thought in forming the religion which is at the centre of abbey life. Check back for my review tomorrow.
Have you read any of these novels? What are you reading next? Please comment below – I look forward to seeing your thoughts.