Robin Hood

Will you come with me, sweet Reader? I thank you. Give me your hand.

Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

The May block for my Happily Ever After stitch-a-long was Robin Hood and I noticed something, I’ve never actually read it. I’m sure I watched the Disney version as a kid, and I know the basics of the storyline, but when I actually try and think about Robin Hood the first thing that comes to mind is the Dr. Who episode from a few years back. Obviously I had to pick up an audiobook copy of Howard Pyle’s version. My overall impression was that it was pleasant enough but kind of forgettable. To be fair that might have more to do with the narrator, maybe I’ll try reading again someday.

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Happily Ever After Stitch-a-Long Robin Hood

Anyhow, enough about that. On to the cross stitch!

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Tomboy Survival Guide

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote

Well, the first book on my Evergreen reading list was Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide. This memoir is written as a series of vignettes from Coyote’s past. I honestly think this is a strong contender for my favourite book of the year. Coyote is referred to as a storyteller and man-oh-man does that description ever fit. They have this conversational tone to their writing that makes me feel like I could just drift away into whatever it is they’re talking about. Coyote and I have had vastly different life experiences and yet I found their life stories very relatable, they have this way of getting right down to the core feelings of a given situation.

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Not Even Gonna Try

I’m just going to say it. It’s been almost a year since my last post. I could give you a long list of excuses but I won’t. I will say this though, I really missed blogging and I’d like to ease myself back into it. What better way to start than with this year’s Evergreen Challenge? You might recall I’ve been been attempting to read my way through the list Evergreen Award nominated books for the past few years (2014, 2015, and 2016). The nominees for 2017 are:

  1. Tomboy Survival Guide, by Ivan Coyote
  2. The Spawning Grounds, by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
  3. Serial Monogomy, by Kate Taylor
  4. The Name Therapist, by Duana Taha
  5. Middle-Aged Boys & Girls, by Diane Brcuk
  6. How Can I Help, by David Goldbloom and Pier Bryden
  7. The Hidden Keys, by André Alexis
  8. Five Roses, by Alice Zorn
  9. Carry Me, by Peter Behrens
  10. The Break, by Katherena Vermette

The first one I picked up was Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide, I’ll be posting my thoughts on it soon (hopefully it won’t take an entire year!).

They Left Us Everything

Another Evergreen book update. I just finished Plum Johnson’s They Left Us Everything. It covers the year and a half or so after the death of Johnson’s mother as she works to clear out the family home and prepare it for sale.

It was an interesting read, but it was one of those books where I just could not relate at all to the people in it. I would say that Johnson comes from a relatively privileged background, the family home was full of family artifacts that could be traced back for centuries. Her family was full of prominent people doing important things and leaving behind solid records. They lived in that huge lakefront home for well over five decades, some of them were born, married, and buried there. There was just such a wealth of family history for her and her siblings to go through. I don’t know if it was jealousy or what, but as I was reading this I kept thinking I don’t really care.  There was a lot that Johnson (at least in my view) almost treated like a burden, but that I think I would see as a blessing. I will admit that she seems to change her tune towards the end, but by that point I didn’t really like the person I was reading about. I know that makes me sound callous, but that’s just how I felt.

Maybe this is a book I would have appreciated more if I encountered it at a different stage in my life, but reading it now I simply didn’t care for it.

All Saints

I’m just going to come out and say it: I’m not a fan of short story collections. So it was with some trepidation that I approached my next Evergreen read, All Saints by K.D. Miller.

And for about the first half of the book I dreaded every minute of reading it. This book is comprised of ten short stories, all of them are connected in some way to All Saints, a fictional (I assume?) Anglican Church in Toronto. I was indifferent to most of the stories (perhaps even a little bored by them) but there were two  that I flat out hated – I’m sure they had their artistic merit, but the characters were unlikable and they ended up in awfully  depressing situations. The turning point came towards the end, I actually quite enjoyed the last three stories. This was when things started to come together and I started to appreciate the way Miller crafted the collection as a whole.

This is the kind of book that garners all sorts of literary acclaim, and deservedly so. But that’s not why I read, I read books because I enjoy them or want to learn something or find them interesting, and this book just didn’t do any of that for me. I certainly would not prevent anyone from picking it up, but I also would not recommend it either.