What am I reading?
That is difficult. There are books piled beside my bed in various states of being read. I noticed the other day, picking up a Tamora Pierce YA fantasy novel downstairs and reading a good chunk in the middle, that it was echoing themes in Crow Winter, a beautiful, contemporary novel by Karen McBride. How delightful, I thought. Both have trickster gods, intelligent crows, and real issues: indigenous and settler people at odds. Social and environmental justice themes. Crow Winter is set in northern Ontario with a young university graduate coming home, mourning her father and at loose ends. I love the neighbourly look around res life with amusing municipal government troubles, moms and daughters, best friends and cooking. I just read the scene where Hazel goes to her first sweat lodge; it was so real that I had to towel off after. Hazel wants nothing to do with magic or the spirit world, which makes the appearances of my favourite character in the novel, Nanabush, even more delightful.
I recommend the entire pile, some to wake you up, some to journey through arduous adventures, with strong women and girls, lovable or bad men, refugees, poverty, plagues, different cultures, history, war, and laughter. Most evenings I choose one to suit my mood, then use the journal to note what I am grateful for.
Books, of course. (And family; sunshine; rain; trees.)
There is another in-use pile by my bedroom window, my covid-office spot. Those are for reading to my granddaughter, Sienna, on FaceTime, and to my mother, aged 92, on the telephone, nightly.
The other day, my author-child made a centerpiece of special books for a Mother’s Day supper. My secret books. I read that group to get lost in, to smile, and to forget that I may not be able to fly west to see Sienna this year.
Everyone needs a secret fun stash. What books are in yours?
Jerri Jerreat‘s fiction has recently appeared in Feminine Collective, The Yale Review Online, The Penmen Review, The Antigonish Review, WOW online, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal and The Dalhousie Review among others. Sci fi stories set in Ontario are featured in anthologies Glass and Gardens, Solarpunk Summers, and also in Solarpunk Winters, (World Weaver Press) and in Tesseracts 21 by Edge Publishers. Her play was a finalist at the Newmarket National Ten-Minute Play Festival in 2019.