Do you guys ever check your blog stats? I do quite often.
I’m not obsessed with getting new followers (although thank you for following me), but I find the data deeply fascinating. It’s so cool when I have a view from another country, especially if it’s one I’ve never had before. Most visitors here come from the United States, but I’ve had people from Malaysia, Japan, India, Uganda, Sri Lanka, France, Indonesia, and more.
I think the last time I pre-ordered a book was in my Harry Potter days. Not that I don’t get excited about books, and wait eagerly for certain new releases. However, I don’t like to plunk my money down for something that doesn’t exist yet. It’s the same reason I’ve never invested in a Kickstarter, although there are some I’ve followed closely and bought products from when they were released.
This year I’m going a little wild with book buying, and this week I pre-ordered a book, nope, two books!
The first one you’ve probably heard of because it’s been generating a lot of buzz in the blogosphere: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This is an #ownvoice light romantic YA about an arranged marriage. It’s told with two narrators, which I’m a little leery of, and it’s a YA romance, which is not my favorite genre. But… I read the first three chapters and sort of loved it. And the cover is amazing:
And as we all know, I’m easily moved by gorgeous covers. (Remember how I almost bought Everything, Everything even though I knew it was very problematic?) The henna, the modern clothes with traditional coloring, the title written on a drink cup… I probably shouldn’t have bought this in hardcover, but I’m a sucker. Hopefully it lives up to the beginning.
The reason I started pre-ordering is because I was going on a bit of a book-buying spree. Okay, a somewhat irresponsible one. As I was browsing around, I stumbled across a book I had to get! This was perfect because I’d been thinking -here I am blowing my whole book budget on things that I’ll read quickly, review slowly, and then not be able to buy anything for quite a while.
Enter Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances by Leland Melvin. I’ve been on quite a space kick lately, although you wouldn’t know it from the blog because other than Hidden Figures and a Mae Jemison book, all of the books have been very white.
Leland Melvin was in the NFL until an injury led him to seek a new career. He started training for NASA but went deaf during the process. After he recovered partial hearing, he was allowed to go into space. The synopsis doesn’t even go into some of his other accomplishments because he’s already in an elite category of one!
This story ticks all the boxes. STEM PoC role model, check. Deafness and diversity, check. Space, check. Sports (not a box for me but certainly for others), check. It was a must-buy! Although I’ll certainly be looking out for instances of audism and looking at how his hearing “loss” and cure are treated, this is definitely the most interesting book release I’ve seen so far this year.
What books have you pre-ordered? Are there any new releases you’re eagerly anticipating this year?
We had a family emergency, so although I had posts written for the last two Fiction Fridays, I didn’t have them set to auto-publish and wasn’t able to do it in the midst of events.
I’m slowly catching up on all manner of things and trying to decide if I will just start fresh this week or try to backdate some of the posts I had planned for the last two weeks. If I do, I’ll edit this post to link them below.
Thanks for reading!
Edited to Add:
2/10/2017 – A Wizard Alone by Diane Duane.
2/17/2017 – The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
I decided just to post the Fiction Friday books (since I have a fiction review backlog) and will post the others another time. The family challenge took another turn so I had to backdate another week. Hopefully this coming week I’ll be able to post on time, even if I have to schedule it!
Deaf vs. deaf (and some signing resources)
I’m about to post my first review about a book dealing with deafness or hard of hearing issues, but there are sure to be many more. Personally I am not deaf (yet) but several family members have gone through severe hearing loss in middle age, so it’s a possibility I’ve been aware of since I was a child.
As an adult I chose to study American Sign Language for a year and still use it occasionally at one of my jobs. Through my classes (and briefly wanting to be an interpreter) I learned a lot about Deaf culture and made several Deaf friends. My signing is still very basic but I try to learn a new sign with every conversation. Right now I am not really a part of Deaf life in my area – most of my friends are also able to verbalize and lip read some, so we communicate in a mixture of speaking, signing, and text messages when all else fails!
What many people are not aware of: having hearing loss and being Deaf are two different things, similar to how someone can be culturally and ethnically Jewish, but may or may not practice Judaism (the religion). Being Deaf is not about loss but rather about embracing a rich and unique culture. There are different levels of deafness and different amounts and sounds that each deaf person can hear. There are different techniques for managing in the hearing world including hearing aids, cochlear implants, lipreading, and written communication. And there is a different culture in the Deaf world.
Where did this blog come from? I wasn’t always aware of the need for diverse reading material.
One day, Husband and I had some kids come to live with us. They were bright kids and they loved learning, particularly about history. We read out loud to them every day from picture and chapter books, fiction and non-fiction. But we found that their knowledge of African American history was limited to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.
Summer was coming up and a lot more free time for reading. So I decided to get some books and read one non-fiction picture book about African-American people and history every day for a month. I owned a few already and friends helped by buying books or passing books along.
During the months before summer, the project grew and grew. I became known for buying diverse books at the local used bookstore. I decided to incorporate coloring pages and build the month around a frame of two books. We ended up with over a hundred books and still I kept seeking out new ones. Chapter books got involved because the kids would often ask questions I couldn’t answer. Life got in the way and instead of spending a month on this project we spent the whole summer. We enjoyed reading about some people so much that we read longer books about them. We reread a few favorites.
Suddenly the school year was starting again and I began studying the books in the school library with new scrutiny. I started asking my friends about the books in their homes and classrooms, or the books they had read growing up. The books I chose for read-aloud had predominately white characters! Not a single teacher or parent I met had any intention to be less inclusive in their reading. Most were not even aware that their media was so biased. They simply chose the books they saw and liked or those the students requested, and they weren’t seeing very many diverse books.
At the same time, some people were asking about the project we did. Some wanted to recreate the project for themselves in February, while others wanted to know which books we enjoyed most or which I would recommend for their home or classroom. Hence this blog. I hope you find it useful.