What I’m Reading: January and February 2017

Lately I’ve been mostly reading the news, rather than books, but sometimes I’ve had to stop for a while and go bury myself in a fantasy world. A few favorites:

Growing Old with the Inuit by Justin Nobel (2015)
This isn’t a book, but it was hands-down the best thing I read in all of January (and probably also December and November). It’s non-fiction, a travel essay that combines two things: life in the Canadian Arctic, and historic senicide practices in traditional societies. It was reprinted in The Best American Travel Writing 2016 (where I read it), but it first appeared in Nowhere Magazine (where you can read it online). I thought it was outstanding.

Passenger and Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (2016, 2017)
Passenger, the first of the two-part series, starts out with time-traveling pirates (reminiscent of Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere), but they leave the pirate ship pretty quickly and just focus on time (and place) travel. I was very impressed with how logical Bracken’s version of time travel was–I didn’t get hung up on any paradoxes (which I usually do). Thanks to a fairly diverse cast of characters, there’s some pretty good exploration of racial and gender (in-)equality (which works quite well in the context of people living outside of their natural times). The story itself is good, too.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1971)
I re-read this for a children’s book group I’m in. And wow, I’d forgotten how good it is. The animals seemed very human to me; I (and the rest of the book group) related a lot more to the animals than to the human characters. With one exception (hi, Ratty!), these rats are the only rats I’ve ever liked, and I love them. So happy to have found this again.

So. This month, in addition to the regular solicitation for book recommendations, I’m curious–who else has read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH? (It was published nearly fifty years ago, so certainly a lot of people have.) What are your thoughts on it?

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