Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction
Summer on Hornby is too busy for reading or blogging. Since the rare rainy day has occurred, it is time to refresh my blog. My reading of the past year has been trapped in the world of grade 7 fantasy books for on online book club for 9 students in Ontario. This was a spin off from my reaching English as a Second Language online. I ended the semester with The Handmaids Tale which did not go over well. Although we had done several dystopian novels, The Handmaids Tale did not rank up there with the Hunger Games or Heartless. My personal favourite from the book club was Heartless by Marissa Meyer. It was a prequel to Alice and Wonderland. It has a good plot, good character development and kept the action moving. Unfortunately, none of these grade 7 students had read Alice in Wonderland so they missed some of the literary allusions. Sad commentary on children’s reading but there are so many books to choose from it’s hard to pick recommended reads. I found it challenging to pick books for the book club. Many libraries have lists, Amazon and Goodreads have lists, there are so many lists, I had to make a spread sheet of the lists. Their favourites were:
- Little Brother
- Rebel of the sands
- Maze Runner
- Hunger Games
The downside to the book club was that I spent my time reading grade 7 books and not my own picks. So I was pleased to have been introduced to some adult reading over the summer.
The first book I was introduced to was Adventures in Solitude by Grant Lawrence at a reading on Hornby Island. Grant has had a pod cast on CBC about some characters he knew from spending summers in Desolation Sound, north of Powell River and only accessible by boat. His stories brought back memories of a sailing trip I had to Desolation Sound in 1985. I could imagine the scenes in his stories. Grant wrote about the loss of people’s mental health from extended periods of time in the wilderness. I sometimes wonder if the strange hats people wear on Hornby might be an early warning sign.
The next reading I went to was by Amanda Hale. I was not familiar with her work but was intrigued by her fictionalized memoir of her father’s internment in England during WWII. After the long drought of adult reading I welcomed The Mad Hatter. I couldn’t put it down. The reference to the mad hatter is indirectly related to Alice and Wonderland and you might think this is my theme for today. Amanda’s book is being published in Sept 2019.
My third read was picked from the annual Hornby Island book sale. It was a mystery set in Ireland called The Likeness by Tana French. She has written a series around a group of Irish detectives. I enjoyed the Likeness, it kept me reading late at night. I did however find some inconsistencies in the story line. I’m interested in reading more of her series. The story has an oddly similar theme to the Replica.
The next reading I went to by Dr Gabor Mate who also lives part-time on Hornby. I haven’t read any of his books and his reading was from a book he is writing. The reading was a sell out which is a measure of the wide spread interest in his topic of personal development and spirituality. In keeping with the mad hatter theme, he did talk about the use of Iowaska, the drug used in Peru to generate deep personal experiences.
I feel fortunate to have attended the wide variety of readings here. It only takes me 5 min to get there and I don’t have to find or pay for parking for which I also feel grateful.
Links to my reads on Amazon.
Grade 7 reads
Gabor Mate books on Amazon
What have been your summer reads?
Physical inactivity, cardiometabolic disease, and risk of dementia: an individual-participant meta-analysis | The BMJ
— Read on www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l1495