Decoda’s Holiday Reading
With the holidays quickly approaching, three Decoda staff would like to share what they will be reading over the holiday break. This will be the last blog post of 2022! Just a reminder, our office will be closed from noon on December 23rd and reopening January 3rd. See you in the new year!
Ever since I learned to read well enough to consume chapter books, I haven’t been into short stories. If the stories are really good, they always have me wanting more. I want a novel, just about every time.
This year, my daughter bought me a short story advent calendar. Twenty-five thin booklets; one short story in each; housed in a small box. Some of the stories are dark, some humorous, some both at the same time. Day 3 is called Something, Something Alice Munro. It’s about this woman who is writing her Ph.D. dissertation on Alice Munro and sees Alice Munro everywhere, only to get closer to these strangers and realize they look nothing like her. I think it’s funny that I’m reading a short story about a woman who is obsessed with an iconic Canadian short story writer, when I’m not a lover of the short story.
So, during these dark days of solstice, in the morning before I start work, I can be seen in the armchair next to the fire, enjoying a short story, (thanks to my daughter). And if you look more closely, you will see a novel on the floor, tucked under the chair, just ready to be picked up.
It’s the time of year when I rotate my kid’s books to our collection of holiday themed ones and I create a small stash of reading material to devour over the week long break. Here’s what’s on our roster this year:
I seem to read in “themes” based on my reading history. One season it’ll be novels set during World War 2 and then onto ones with an unreliable first person narrator. This winter my theme seems to revolve around the struggles and successes of growing up as an Asian female. I finished Xiaolu Guo’s memoir Once Upon A Time in the East: A Story of Growing up earlier this year and wanted to read something similar next. A quick search for memoirs by female Asian authors yielded Lindsay Wong’s The Woo-Woo which I’m currently wrapping up. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to this genre of books where so much of what I’m reading is both history and familiar to me, so next up on my list is Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang. It’s been on my “to read” list for a while now so I’m happy to have time to complete it. Once that’s done I’m hoping to finally finish Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning which has been collecting dust on my nightstand for the last year…or two.
It wouldn’t be a blog post without my son’s reading list so here’s what we’ll be reading every night before bed. The Christmas Bear by Henrietta Stickland has become a holiday tradition in our household. We are entranced by the photos of Santa’s workshop and my son and I love to play a game of which toy we would pick if we were in the pages. My Winter City by James Gladstone is a wonderful read amidst the chaos of the holidays. The mundane tasks of getting into outdoor gear to play in the snow can resonate with any parent and child but the details like a huff of breath against the cold air are often lost among the frenzy of getting dressed and out the door. The book is a gentle reminder to slow down and savour the little memories of a snow day. Last but not least it wouldn’t be a holiday reading list if The Night Before Christmas by Jan Brett didn’t make an appearance!
I’m reading The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston. It’s a novel about Newfoundland, its first premier (Joe Smallwood), and the relationship between Smallwood and a fictionalized character, Sheilagh Fielding. Smallwood is earnest and full of human foibles. Fielding is sharp-tongued, witty and worldly wise. This is a novel about the humanity behind “the facts” of history.
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams is written through a white settler’s lens of Newfoundland. Next, I will read Mi’sel Joe: An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey, by Raoul R. Andersen and John K. Crellin. This is a biography about Chief Mi’sel Joe, chief of Miawpukek First Nation since 1983. Miawpukek Mi’kamawey Mawi’omi is a First Nation Reserve located on the south coast of Newfoundland.
Mi’sel Joe: An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey, was written from a series of recorded interviews between the authors and Mi’sel Joe. In some places, Mi’sel Joe is also listed as an author of this book. I’m excited to read more about, and by, Chief Mi’sel Joe. If you’d like to join me, here is an article he co-wrote: Two Eared Listening is Essential for Understanding Restorative Justice in Canada. Or you can learn about some of his other books here on the Strong Nations Publishing website.
Happy holidays from all of us at Decoda!
Read All About Lit will be taking a break for the holidays and will return January 6th.
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