on reading for bingo: part 1

I thought my Book Bingo post would make me read more intentionally. Look at the categories on the Card, and pick books accordingly. But apparently, I do not like being told what to read, least of all by past-me. So, I’m continuing my habit of just reading whatever catches my eye whenever and then seeing if it fits into a category on the Card. It does make it more challenging, I suppose. Here are three books I read recently that go on the Card … sort of. 

Written by Bec Evans and Chris Smith

The subtitle was an instant sell, and I bought this book impulsively while on my way out of Waterstones with six books already balanced precariously in the crook of my elbow. As with any book that purports to help you improve your life in any which way, the primary thing is to pick what works for you and discard the rest. There are some good ideas and tips in the book that I haven’t found elsewhere, and I am attempting to incorporate them into my everyday. Though the book does encourage you to think about your way of writing and figure out what actually works for you, I still can’t say I understand my writing habits all too well. That is no fault of the book though, and it is probably because I didn’t do all the work recommended. I am as always impatient to get to the heart of a book, the meat of the matter, the actionable items that will improve my life. I forget that sometimes you have to do the journey if you want to get anything out of it. At any rate, this will not be a one-and-dusted type of read. I will definitely come back to it and work with it when I am feeling stuck with my writing, which undoubtedly is in the cards for my near future. ‘One word title’ sorted. 

Writers and their Teachers edited by Dale Salwak [NetGalley e-ARC]

The premise is pretty straightforward: twenty or so essays by various writers on their teachers and how they shaped them. Some of the accounts were pretty entertaining and eye-opening, while some others were misses. The book is a solid three-star read, with something for everyone. Ugh, it sounds even more bland outside of my head, but I have nothing more to say. Honestly, I’m only including it because it’s my entry for ‘published this year’. Let’s move on.

The Stories Grandma Forgot (and How I Found Them) by Nadine Aisha Jassat [NetGalley e-ARC]

A touching and heartwarming story about love, identity, and memory. Nyla Elachi’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s, something Nyla calls time-travelling. This time-travelling her grandmother does sends Nyla on a quest to find more about her father who apparently died when she was very young, but no one ever talks to her about it. The book is written as a verse novel, which was an engrossing format. The way the book plays with form is also fun. Like when Nyla says “Memories which are like shooting stars slowly fading away”, the last few words literally fade away to translucency. While not technically a poetry collection like I had imagined when I came up with the category, this book still counts towards ‘a poetry collection’.

Three done. Probably several more to go before I can call out Bingo. I suppose I could be smart about this and switch Written to the free space category so that I had three in the diagonal and only needed to read two more to finish. But where would be the fun and frustration in that?

Well, the journey is what is important at the end of the day, etcetera, etcetera.

Thank you NetGalley, Bloomsbury Academic, and Hachette Children’s Group for sending these books for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

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