In April, I was determined to read more and write more reviews. It’s summer break for me. A few months free of worrying about graduate school. I got my thick books out and began my reading journey. That’s my story, I’m not sure I did much reviewing though.
For Gathering Books it was a busy month (Are we never busy?!). I sometimes think we have elves churning out reviews from some secret factory. We don’t. Anyway, our April round up will give you the summary of everything that’s been going on so far.
1-4-1000: A YEAR IN GATHERING BOOKS
Before I go ahead and talk about what we’ve read, I want to take time to talk about our upcoming anniversary. When we began as an intimate book club of a few members into this blog, we never thought we’d make it through the challenges of running a website, but we have. As we count the months to our anniversary, we’ve decided that aside from celebrating it with the usual blog post and giveaway it would be more fulfilling to actually Gather Books and share them with those who need them most.
Last 25 April 2011, we launched our Book Drive. For details on the book-drive, please check here. We also have a dedicated page for the donations here and for the giveaway here.
We ask for everyone’s support in this endeavor as we hope to make this book drive an annual project that can benefit more schools.
WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH: MARCH/APRIL GATHERING BOOKS SPECIAL
April marks the end of our second bi-monthly theme in 2011. When we began this journey we never realized how much wordless picture books were out there. There was many and in that pool of books, we’ve reviewed quite a hefty amount of them. Here they are:
- The Arrival by Shaun Tan
- Rezoom by Istvan Banyai
- The Silver Pony by Lynd Ward
- The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Midnight Circus by Peter Collington
- A Small Miracle by Peter Collington
- Anno’s Spain by Mitsumasa Anno (Part of a 3-in 1 review)
- Anno’s Britain by Mitsumasa Anno (Part of a 3-in 1 review)
- Anno’s USA by Mitsumasa Anno (Part of a 3-in 1 review)
- Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman
- You can’t take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser
- You Can’t take a Balloon into the National Gallery by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser
- You Can’t take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman and Robin Preiss Glasser
- Home by Jeannie Baker (Part of a 2-in-1 Review)
- Window by Jeannie Baker (Part of a 2-in-1 Review)
- Mirror by Jeannie Baker
- Sector 7 by David Weisner
- Catch the Cat by Fernando Krahn (Part of a 2-in-1 Review)
- The Mystery of the Giant Footprints by Fernando Krahn (Part of a 2-in-1 Review)
- A Funny Friend from Heaven by Fernando Krahn
- The Creepy Thing by Fernando Krahn (Part of a 2-in-1 Review)
- Amanda and the Mysterious Carpet by Fernando Krahn (Part of a 2-in-1 Review)
- Little Love Story by Fernando Krahn
That marks our book reviews for April. In March, for our bimonthly theme we reviewed the following:
- The Other Side by Istvan Banyai
- Chalk by Bill Thomson
- Flotsam by David Wiesner
- Moonlight and Sunshine (A 2-in-1 Special) by Jan Ormerod
- Do You Want to be My Friend by Eric Carle
- Clementina’s Cactus by Ezra Jack Keats
- Time Flies by Eric Rohmann
- Midnight Adventures of Kelly, Dot & Esmeralda by John S. Goodall
- Free Fall by David Wiesner
- Self-Made Snowman by Fernando Krahn
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
- The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
WORDS ARE NOT ENOUGH: BOOK ARTIST SPECIAL ON SUZY LEE
We love to find authors and illustrators who we can feature during our bi-monthly themes. When we requested an interview with Suzy Lee we weren’t sure what to expect. What came of it was a beautiful, wonderful and awesome experience. Our Suzy Lee Feature is divided into four parts. It was a combination of learning more about Suzy Lee the Book Artist and Suzy Lee’s fine work of art and literature.
- Part 1: A Narrative of a Book Artist: The Suzy Lee Interview
- Part 2: Suzy Lee’s Wordless Art in Mirror (2003), Wave (2008) and Shadow (2010)
- Part 3: Suzy Lee’s Animal World – Rabbits, Black Bird and The Zoo (3-in-1 Special)
- Part 4: A Dream within a Dream: Alice in Wonderland
If there’s anything that should be taken away from this special, its two things: 1) Everyone should have a Suzy Lee Book in their library, and 2) Publishers need to make her books available to more people.
365 BOOKS IN ONE YEAR
This reading challenge began as something we took upon ourselves without much thought. Then, faced with the actual math, the challenge became daunting. Somehow, the possibilities of picture books amongst the thicker novels made this challenge easier to bear. However, in fear we might still be faraway to victory, let’s just say I’m crossing my finger that we make it at the end of the year with 365 books read.
- January: 44 Books
- February: 50 Books
- March: 42 Books
- Myra: 37 Books
- Mary: 11 Books
- Fats: 6 Books
- Total: 54 Books
In 4 months, we’ve read a total of 190 Books. Not Bad! Not bad at all. Myra sure did cover for most of it. Haha. In the next 8 months we need to read 175 Books. That’s an average of 22 Books per month. Wonderful numbers! I’m going to keep to a 12 to 13 books a month. My foray in the picture book department is quite limited.
THE READING CHALLENGE
Now, while we read 190 books in 4 months we should have at least made progress in our challenges. You could imagine that just by our bi-monthly theme we sort of made a lot of progress in the picture book challenge. Anyway, here’s our progress
- For the South Asian Challenge: 3 out of 7 (Two of which are pending review. The titles are Anil’s Ghost and Unaccustomed Earth)
- For the Murakami Reading Challenge: 1 out of 7 (It’s Dance Dance Dance. The review will be up soon)
- For the People of Color Reading Challenge: 25 out of 25. It’s done! However to still keep updating and supporting the challenge and database, we’re still keeping up the number. At the moment we are at 33 (of 25).
- For the Picture Book Challenge: 68 out of 72
- For the Reading the World Challenge: 6 out 6. It’s done too! Yey!
We’re progressing really well. We’re done with 2 challenges and moving along with our other challenges. We joined (or should I say Myra joined) two 24 hour readathon, namely:
- Dewey’s 24 hour read-a-thon: 15 Books read!
- Flips Flipping Pages 24 Hour Readathon: 8 Books!
The challenges have all been interesting experiences. I for one have discovered the wonderful world of South Asian Literature. At the moment I have 2 more books on my TBR stack for this challenge, namely: Madras on Rainy Days by Samina Ali and Bamugartner’s Bombay by Anita Desai. I might even throw in Kirin Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss.
It’s always best to end our round-up with our challenge as it also gives way to our May/June bi-monthly theme. Our Whodunit Challenge is culminating in June. In the 4 months that it’s been running we’ve received a number of reviews, awarded 3 people with books (which they’ve received finally!) and introduced to new authors.
In April, we’ve received four (4) additions to our database, namely:
- The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley
- Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
- The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl 5) by Eoin Colfer
- The Collaborator of Bethlehem by Matt Beynon Rees
We thank Ficsation, Black Plume and Fanarchist for the above reviews. We, at GB, will be adding a few more titles into the database in the next 2 months.
So, that has been our April. Despite the heat, we’ve made it through and we now welcome May with open arms.
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