Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu makes me want to know more about hockey

 

I know pretty much nothing about ice hockey! I grew up in a land where hockey = the kind with rounded sticks and a round ball and is played in a field. Very different kind of hockey.
And to be honest, this book was requested from the library because I saw “Check, Please!” on the Reading The End blog and thought, oh, a comic set in a restaurant? Yes, please!Turned out to be a different kind of check all together. But this comic has now turned me into a…. well, not a complete turnaround into a hockey fan but at least someone who’s curious now about hockey and wouldn’t say no to watching a game!

I love that the main character is a newbie, a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team. Bittle (or Bitty as he’s known) is a former figure skater, a baking aficionado (he makes pies!) and is gay but still hasn’t come out yet. And the teammates he has! There’s Shitty who’s funny and smart and deep. Holster and Ransom are in an amazing bromance. Then there’s Jack, the handsome captain with a sad past and who Bitty has the biggest ever crush on.

Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

It reminds me of manga, mostly because of the way Bitty has such big eyes. And there’s a cuteness to it that I would never associate with ice hockey.

So even if you don’t care an inkling about ice hockey like I do, Check, Please! is a fun comic series to try out! Also it will make you hungry for pie.

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Best of the kids’ reads this week

Drawn Together – Minh Le and Dan Santat

Here’s the 5yo’s review:

I like the story of the grandpa and the boy. I also like the dragon fighting part the most. Because these two people think the dragon is a mountain! The scales look like a mountain.

 

Kikuchi’s Sushi – Myung Sook Jeong,Sul Hee Kook (Illustrations)

5yo’s review: I love sushi! Especially salmon sushi.

 

 

Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle – Reza Jalali, Anne Sibley O’Brien  (Illustrator)

I love how through picture books my boys can learn that the world is full of diverse people who may look different from them, who may be of a different religion, but are just like them, kids growing up in the world, facing similar problems like, in this book, a young girl wanting to prove that she’s old enough (in this case, to fast during Ramadan).

 

Catstronauts – Drew Brockington

This was a fun graphic novel series that both boys enjoyed. And it’s so cute to boot. There are four books so far in this series, this is the first book.

Library Loot January 16 to 22

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Library Loot day! The link-up is with Claire this week.

The Library Book – Susan Orlean

I’m intrigued by this one. Also it’s by Susan Orlean!

On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

 

Check, Please! Vol 1 – Ngozi Ukazu

I came across this book via Jenny’s post and to be honest thought it might be a book about restaurants. Obviously it’s a book about hockey. And what do I know about hockey? NOTHING. But I am really liking this book because of its main character who’s a former figure skater and pie baker. It’s surprisingly cute for a hockey comic!

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

The kids’ loot this week:

 

Also, I borrowed the audiobook of Moon Rising by Tui T Sutherland, which is the sixth book in the Wings of Fire series, which they adore.

Have you read any of these books? What did you get from your library this week?

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

I actually read A LOT of new-to-me authors last year – even more than the number of authors whose books I’d already read!

But here are my top 5

Ling Ma

Her debut Severance was SO GOOD (my thoughts) and it won the Kirkus Prize for fiction last year.

Here’s an interview the Paris Review did with her.

Michelle McNamara

Sadly, her book I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was only published after her death (my thoughts)

Kwame Alexander

Loved his book Swing, a YA story with a lovelorn young man as its main character.

Vivian Chien

A cozy mystery series set around a Chinese restaurant? Yes please (my thoughts). There are three books in this series – can’t wait to read the rest.

Ichigo Tanako

Orange

What a story! Orange is a manga series I’d recommend, especially if you’re new to manga (my thoughts).



Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday

We got up early to play tennis on Saturday! The husband had booked an 8am slot as there are various tournaments in the afternoon and the courts were all full at our usual timeslot.

Then they had swim class and it was a surprisingly warm day and I got to sit outside and read for a bit.

We didn’t really do much this weekend. Played more tennis on Sunday, went out to our usual Japanese restaurant for lunch. But it was a nice weekend all the same. Hope you all had a good weekend too!

Currently…

Reading:

 

Watching:

I happened to be browsing Netflix on Saturday night and discovered that Solo was available. I hadn’t been interested enough to watch it in the theatres but I didn’t mind watching it on Netflix. I thought the main actor was quite forgettable and didn’t have the charisma of Harrison Ford (Chewie had more charm 😂) but Donald Glover was awesome as Lando (maybe they should’ve just made Lando – a Star Wars movie instead). But it was quite a fun movie to watch – if only it had more Donald Glover

Listening:

I’ve got 10 days left on my audiobook loan. So I’m working on finishing it!!

Eating:

A hot dog bun from Kee Wah and a mug of milky Yorkshire Gold

 

Cooking:

Oven-roasted cauliflower with something else oven-roasted. Maybe drumsticks

Pasta of some sort

Noodles

Crafting:

Trying a chevron clutch pattern for a friend’s birthday

Last week:

I read:

The seagull – Anton Chekhov
Anne of Green Gables graphic novel – adapted by Mariah Marsden
I posted:

The Forsaken Inn by Anna Katherine Green

The Lost Garden by Li Ang

Library Loot January 9 to 15

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

The Forsaken Inn by Anna Katherine Green

This is one of those free classics on the Kindle store that I found and I hadn’t heard of the author before so off I went to google her. It turns out that Green was one of the first writers of detective fiction in America, apparently popularizing the genre some years before Sherlock Holmes even.

Her most famous novel is The Leavenworth Case which is the first book in the Mr Gryce series

The Forsaken Inn isn’t a detective story though it is a sort of locked-room mystery set in an New York inn in the 1700s. Told from the perspective of the inn owner, the story begins with a couple spending a night at the inn. The man’s rather creepy and has a huge box with him. The couple spends the night (the innkeeper feels uncomfortable) and they leave the next day.

“I became conscious of a great uneasiness. This was the more strange in that there seemed to be no especial cause for it. They had left my house in apparently better spirits than they had entered it, and there was no longer any reason why I should concern myself about them. And yet I did concern myself, and came into the house and into the room they had just vacated, with feelings so unusual that I was astonished at myself, and not a little provoked. I had a vague feeling that the woman who had just left was somehow different from the one I had seen the night before.”

Some years later, a hidden room is discovered at the inn. And in it, there is the body of the woman and she has an engraved wedding ring. But didn’t she leave with her husband all those years ago?

Some interesting twists, but a somewhat roundabout manner of narration and a wordy way more suited to readers of 1890 meant that my eyes glazed over a bit occasionally but I ended up finishing this less than usual classic.

I read this for the Back to the Classics Challenge – Classic by a Female Author

The Lost Garden by Li Ang

“Although I spent so much of my life at Lotus Garden, it was only recently that I was deeply moved by the many wondrous scenes, a result of learning to observe the garden in its minute details. The world is filled with boundless mysteries and wonder; everything is possible and nothing is tenable.”

I really need to start writing down how I come across certain books. I can’t remember the exact details for this one, possibly that it came from a list of books in translation written by women. I definitely hadn’t heard of Li Ang before this. She is a Taiwanese writer, her real name is actually Shih Shu-tuan. And her major work is The Butcher’s Wife. Unfortunately my library only had this book of hers so I made do.

The main character in The Lost Garden is Zhu Yinghong, an only child, the last generation of an old family in Lucheng, Taiwan. The family’s home is known as Lotus Garden, a sprawling estate, very much the pride of the family, and which, in the prologue we are told is being opened to the public.

There are two important men in her life. One is her father, Zhu Zuyan, part of the old guard, who speaks to her in Japanese, calls her by her Japanese name Ayako, and was once arrested for dissent, then returned to his family due to his old age. He then devotes his life to photography and to his beloved garden – replacing foreign trees with native Taiwanese plants

The other man is Li Xigeng, a real estate mogul, filthy rich, powerful, materialistic, and fond of the seamy nightlife of Taiwan.

The contrast between the two men is stark, representative of the old vs new, culture and tradition vs development and modernisation. It’s a story full of symbolism.

The narrative moves from past to present and back again but what takes some getting used to is the occasional switch from third-person to first-person (from Yinghong’s POV). It can sometimes be a bit too jarring.

The Lost Garden would please plant lovers as Li Ang is adept at writing about the garden and all its wonders.

“Cape lilacs were overtaken by a blanket of misty white flowers in the spring, like a lost cloud pausing at the green leaves; it was the kind of mysterious illusion that could only be embodied by a string of lithe, tinkling notes plucked by the nimble fingers of a harpist.”

Despite having traveled to Taiwan a couple of times – once as a kid with my family (my father used to travel to Taipei for work quite often) and then once again about 12 years ago for my own work when I used to be a research assistant and was working on a project about creative clusters in Asia – I know pretty much nothing about Taiwan’s history. So to read in the translator’s note that this book, published in 1990 (3 years after martial law was lifted), was the first to re-create in fictional form the “White Terror Era”. I of course had to go google that and learnt to my surprise that martial law in Taiwan lasted for 38 years and some 140,000 Taiwanese were imprisoned during this time with around 4,000 executed.

It seems that the following books also feature the White Terror Era and if you’ve got any Taiwanese author recommendations, please let me know!

The Third Son – Julie Wu

The 228 Legacy – Jennifer J Chow

Green Island – Shawna Yang Ryan

I believe this book works for the Reading Women Challenge – about nature.