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June 2020

MsWas's Message Corner

Hello CBR12 participants and friends of Cannonball Read,

Cannonball Read believes that Black Lives Matter, and we’ve been thinking of what CBR can do from our little corner of the internet. One thing we can do is read books, thoughtfully review them, learn from them, and then recommend these books to our friends, family, and the world.

Last week we featured our Anti-Racism tag, which includes Ijeoma Oluo and Ibram X. Kendi's books on addressing racism, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Angie Thomas' novels about being Black in America, or Robin DiAngelo and Elizabeth Gillespie McRae's books on whiteness. In the Pajiba Love column running that feature, we also got book suggestions in the comments. I've linked to the authors we've already reviewed:

I’m starting with How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, which is on my list to read after I finish the book club selections. That’s right, there is a Cannon Book Club this month! I hope you’ve been able to get your hands on at least one of the titles, and you can join us on June 19-20 to celebrate Pride Month and discuss the Future is Queer. Looking forward to chatting with you all.

Take care and Happy Reading!
Bonnie (aka "MsWas")

Q&A with a Cannonballer: octothorp


Were you a reader from childhood, or did you grow into it? Can you tell yet if your toddler is going to be a reader?  

Oh, I love you for asking this question. I’ve been reading from age three and have retained a stupid human trick from my early readership. My dad would read the newspaper, and I would sit across the table from him until it was time to get to the comics, when I’d move to the other side to be next to him and we’d read them together. But I may have been slightly impatient and started before he was ready, so now I can read upside down almost as fast as I can right side up. The octolet (IRL nickname: the kraken) seems to be going down the same road, he turned three in March and knows some sight words (and also knows he can buy a few extra minutes before bedtime by asking for “Calvin Hobbes.”) 

See what else octothorp has to say »



It's almost here! Have you picked your #CannonBookClub read from the four choices? Have you been reading everybody's reviews? Are you stoked to talk about speculative and science fiction written by queer authors and/or featuring queer characters for The Future is Queer theme? Then join us June 19 and 20 for what is sure to be a wide-ranging, scintillating discussion. You can chime in or follow along on the blog, or in our Facebook group

Bingo's back July 1!

Things Cannonballers have said about the Book Bingo Reading Challenge in past years:
  • So happy we’re doing this again.
  • I am so excited for this! 
  • I’ll do anything for the chance of prizes!
  • My reaction? Both ‘woo-hoo bingo!’ and ‘ah shit, my work schedule.'
  • It was so much fun to play, and I’m already looking forward to next year 🙂
  • It was very satisfying finding a book that I’ve already read and not reviewed, or will be reviewing, for each of these categories. It’s like combining my love of lists and planning with reading and competitiveness. BEST.
  • I get to read new stuff and I can make notes, I LOVE this challenge!    
Hopefully this will help fill some of our enforced free time as we're spending more time at home! Stay tuned for details!

Facebook volunteer needed

If you are a wiz at Facebook (or willing to learn) and you'd like to join our awesome squad of volunteers, let MsWas know! The amazing Aquillia has been running our CBR Facebook page, but now has a new job (Congratulations, Aquillia!) and needs someone to take the wheel (or at least a passenger seat). Basically, we need someone to help schedule posts and do some light monitoring, so this could be as much or as little as a time commitment as you'd like. Interested? We'd love to hear from you! 

Pro tip


If you're in the middle of a post and get suddenly called away, don’t leave the browser window with your review in Edit Post mode open. The auto-save function is good, but it's not always trustworthy if you leave it overnight or for long periods of time. Hit "Save Draft" and close out of the window, and come back to it when dinner is made/the kids are in bed/the exciting part of the movie is over/the dog has been extracted from the recycling bin. 

Mid-year check-in

Are y'all enjoying the diversions as much as we are? We hope so; there's a new one coming out on Friday! Join us to chat about the books that were so 'meh' you couldn't even bring yourself to write the review. 

Can you believe it's June already? How is CBR treating you this year? Now is a good time to double-check your numbers in the footer, and make sure you're in the right spot on the Leaderboard. And hey, if you're not in the headspace right now to dive into a book or write a book review, that's perfectly fine! Take a breather, read other reviews, participate in diversions or social media, or even (gasp!) unplug from the internet for a while. We'll be here when you're ready, and nobody will judge if you don't hit your Cannonball goal. Remember we have review amnesty, which our FAQ covers thusly: 

"If there’s a book too bad, too boring, or read too long ago, you don’t have to let it keep you from getting to the rest of your to-be-reviewed list. MsWas calls this 'review amnesty,' and it is 100% ok. You might be a completist and feel the need to write something about every book, but that is not required for CBR."

Stuff We're Reading

Gift Time!: BlackRaven's review of Go to Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons from the Fog of New Parenthood, Little Book of Kindness

Jun 10, 2020 02:52 pm
Go to Sleep (I Miss You): Cartoons from the Fog of New Parenthood by Lucy Knisley and Little Book of Kindness by Francesco Pirrone have little in common other than they will make awesome gifts! Go to Sleep is not a graphic novel in the usual Knisley way. It is some of her sketches, thoughts and events of when her son Pal was first on the scene. This book covers the ups, downs and WHAT THE’s of having a new baby. This is a great gift […]
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A book and a protagonist who are many things at once: tiny_bookbot's review of Alias Grace

Jun 10, 2020 02:26 pm
Margaret Atwood is nothing if not a hardworking novelist, and often something of a genre chameleon: she has made her work in science fiction with the MadAddam trilogy, dystopian fiction with The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, literary retellings with The Penelopiad and Hag-Seed, and historical fiction with works like The Blind Assassin. Alias Grace, her 1996 Booker-finalist novel, is another of her forays into historical fiction, and it showcases Atwood at the top of her game, with a subtle, elusive narrative that employs narrative uncertainty and distinctive character voices, as well as […]
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Justice Is a Matter of Judgment: blauracke's review of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

Jun 10, 2020 08:13 am
First published in 1963 as a series of articles in The New Yorker, this is philosopher Hannah Arendt’s report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961. Eichmann admitted to being one of the major organizers of the Holocaust but denied any guilt in the criminal sense because he had only been following orders in a system that did not allow disobedience. He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging in 1962. Huge controversies broke out over this account of the trial […]
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Bunnatine, Immy, Demon Lover, and Ghost Boyfriend walk into a bar…: andtheIToldYouSos's review of Get In Trouble

Jun 09, 2020 09:20 pm
Well, sometimes it’s a bar filled with men raised by wolves. Sometimes it’s a space ship. A warehouse full of mysterious sleeping people. A magical house full of “summer people”. A haunted house on a space ship. A lake where a few dozen nudists disappeared in the seventies. The penthouse party at a hotel full of dentists and super heroes. The crumbling remains of a Wizard of Oz theme park. A pocket universe that opened above Florida. Kelly Link writes things that are fantastic and […]
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Unexpected Wrap-Up to the Trilogy: ASKReviews's review of Cage

Jun 09, 2020 03:50 pm
Best for: Those who like to follow through with a series. In a nutshell: With a time jump six years, we learn that some characters from the last two books have been punished, while others have become bolder. We also meet a couple new folks. Worth quoting: N/A Why I chose it: I bought the trilogy all at once, and for the most part I’m happy I did. Review: This was one of those books where, with about 40 pages to go, I thought ‘wait, […]
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Amanda Howard (aka "Bothari43")

The Cannonball Read Newsletter Editor
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