Welcome to the next installment in my Around the World in 80 Books Challenge! It’s exactly what it sounds like: I’m trying to read 80 books from 80 different countries/cultures around the world, and to add a frugal spin, I’m trying to do it all for under $20.
Here’s my running tally so far:
$0- Library books: Russia, Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Spain, Nigeria, New Zealand, China
$2.75- Late fees on the book for Italy
$0- Free eBooks: Scotland, England, Portugal, Cyprus, Albania, Montenegro, Mongolia
$0- Gift: Turkey, Pakistan, Autism in the USA
$0- Won in a Giveaway: Jerusalem
$1.99- eBook: Basque Country, Japan
$0- Paid review on an interesting read: Financial Inclusion at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Grand Total: $6.73
Today’s book also came from the library, so we get to keep that total where it is.
My Canada book, recommended by Messy Money, has been on my list since the beginning. I thought it would be a children’s book–a classic, for sure, but written for a young audience. Much like Because of Winn-Dixie.
I was so convinced of this that when I picked it up from the library, I decided to start reading it with my child at bedtime. It’s not particularly thick, so we’d read until they passed out every single night. Bedtime had a new lure of excitement as we’d wonder what would happen in the “dog book” tonight.
As we read, I realized that while Mowat was a child in the story, it wasn’t necessarily a book written for children. I had almost no reservations reading it to my kid, but we did have to stop a lot to explain what happened.
Mowat writes about even the most mundane things with such poetry that he made me care about things I don’t normally care about. Like attempting to sail a boat down a “creek” created by sewage drain off. Or washing a dog. Or, to be honest, hunting.
The book itself is akin to a Laura Ingalls Wilder tome, except Mowat doesn’t seem to mind if his robust vocabulary shows–even if it’s challenging to the reader. Set largely in depression-era Saskatoon, it chronicles his childhood and family relationships through the lens of the life of the dog who accompanied him for much of it.
At the end, somewhat predictably but still sadly and in an unexpected way, the dog dies.
This was the part I was worried the most about with my child. After all, we lost a family pet ourselves less than a year ago.
Far from being devastated, they rolled over and asked me, “What pet is Farley going to get next?”
The kid wanted a sequel.
I’m not sure if I need to review mortality with my kiddos or if a loss young in life calloused them. Or, perhaps, the memory of the loss is there, but they’re so young that the memory of the actual companion has faded–and with it, the visceral part of the grief.
Regardless, we absolutely loved this book. Its style was unexpected and endeared me to Mowat’s writing. He’s definitely one of the authors I’ll be coming back to after this challenge is over.
Also, since it was a memoir of sorts, it counted towards this month’s Adulting Read.
I so badly wanted to have this one done and review this month, but, alas, I have about 200 pages left. You’ll just have to wait until March to hear about Jamaica!
Have a recommendation for what I should read next? Leave it in the comments! Here’s what’s already in my queue:
Afghanistan: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg recommended by Savvy Working Gal
Philippines: May Day Eve and Other Stories by Nick Joaquin recommended by Guiltless Reader
Iceland: Scarcity in Excess by Arna Mathiesen & Thomas Forget
Sudan: The Wedding of Zein by Tayeb Salih recommended by Kate Wilson
Ethiopia: The God Who Begat a Jakal by Nega Mezlekia recommended by Based On a True Story
French Antilles: Victoire: My Mother’s Mother by Maryse Conde recommended by Based on A True Story
Suriname: The Free Negress Elisabeth by Cynthia McLeod recommended by Based On A True Story
Costa Rica: The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica
France: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr recommended by Our Next Life
Germany: In the Garden of Beasts or Devil in the White City by Erik Larson recommended by Emi from AIP Around the World
Haiti: All Souls Rising by Madison Smartt Bell recommended by Tre from House of Tre
Jamaica: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James recommended by Jana of Jana Says
South Africa: Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton recommended by Emily from The John & Jane Doe Guide to Money & Investing
Australia: In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson recommended by Aaron from When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Vodka
Romania: Anything by Andre Codrescu recommended by Abigail from I Pick Up Pennies
Mali: Monique and the Mango Rains recommended by Rebecca from Stapler Confessions
Croatia: Girl at War by Sara Novi recommened by Erin from TexErin-In-Sydneyland