Mongolia, Wolves, and Reading & Running the World: (or, The Week in Library: 3!)

When I’m not in the library, I’m often on the run, enjoying the trails and roads of Point Defiance or exploring new hills in downtown. And when I’m on the run, I’m plugged into an audiobook. So strange, I think, to have my ventures narrated by The Devil in the White City, Americanah, or The Wind-Up Bird ChroniclePerhaps a good zombie thriller would help add some strength to my gait.

Since June, my run read of choice has been Wolf Totem, a 26 hour audio epic. While it took me 4 hours to truly adjust to a style which enrolls characters to serve as satellites for ideology (as many works of political literature do), I’m utterly enamored by the work, which was initially recommended to me by one of our Chinese international students last year. This 2004 publication by Jiang Rong is the second best selling book in all of Chinese history, with Mao’s Little Red Book the only other work to supersede it in sales.

With three hours left in my listening, I’m continually enchanted, gutted, and elated in this realistic account of the Chinese push to develop inner Mongolia during the Cultural Revolution, an act that severely set back the sustainable, spiritual, and ecology-minded existence of the nomadic peoples of that region.

Truly, this is a book that’s made me add miles to my daily outings on foot, and it’s raised my consciousness over cultural conflict and the rapid implementation of technology to habituate humans in environments that we had been so ecologically mindful of for thousands of years.

So, that’s my fiction recommendation for the week. Our collection features two editions of Wolf Totem: the original Chinese version and its English translation.

Here are a few recommendations from our collection that I hope will constellate around this choice!

NONFICTION

What the World Eats, by Faith D’Aluisio, Peter Menzel

JUNIOR FICTION

I Rode a Horse of Milk and White Jade,         by Diane Lee Wilson

JUNIOR NONFICTION

Mongolian Folktales, by Hilary Roe Metternich

ILLUSTRATED

Suho’s White Horse: A Mongolian Legend, Retold by Yuzo Otsuka

THE WEEK IN LIBRARY

My excitement over such readings trumped a chronicle of this week in library, although don’t fret: we’re dishing books, raising levels of information literacy, and providing inspirational and aspirational learning spaces for all the learners in AWS. My favorite moment of the week is when our Kindergarteners approached me with drawings and photographs of where they’ll keep our library books safe when they bring them home.

Safe Places for BooksSo lovely, this utter excitement over selecting books and hauling them home. With such research into proper book care, our Kindergarteners have unlocked this next ability in their library lives.

Besides that, we’ve been rolling with a few great read alouds and some energetic activities (‘let’s pretend we’re books, and let’s organize ourselves!’).

With our first full week, the library’s on the move!

Endnote

*Scribd is another great resource for ebooks and audiobooks available on subscription basis. I also scour local libraries (and our own collection at AWS–the username and password are exactly the same: your ID number).

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