Book Recommendations – 8 Books That Will Make You Cry, Break You, but Put You Back Together Again

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

It’s been a tough year, hasn’t it friend? Sometimes when things are hard and there’s just so much building inside you, there are few things more liberating and cathartic than a really good cry. Unfortunately, I don’t possess the extraordinary ability to cry on command, but whenever I need a good cry, I pull up YouTube and masochistically re-watch the first five minutes of Pixar’s Up. But sometimes, you want something that not only makes you cry, you also want something that puts you back together again.

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Book Recommendations – 12 Wholesome, Healing Reads for a Sad Day

In case you’re new to the Pond’s book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the Pond’s very own Toadshifter who is knowledgeable in all kinds of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian has come up with their latest costume, they will always recommend a few books that inspired them!

Reading can be hard. When life becomes overwhelming and the world starts falling apart around us, sometimes we don’t really want our stories to also be about a squad of rebellious teens leading revolutions and defending the world from apocalyptic threats or corrupt governments. Sometimes, we just need a story to help us be warm for a while, to be soft places to land.

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Top Reads of the Year: CW’s Top Ten Reads of 2020

What a year 2020 has been. I’m actively resisting the urge to talk and reflect on 2020 as a year, because I am sure that there will be an overabundance of thinkpieces. But all I’ll say that – it’s been a tough year, friends, and I’m so proud and glad that we all made it through together.

With books though, I think this has been one of my favourite reading years. 2017 was my last favourite reading year – that was the year where I made the conscious decision to diversify my reading choices, and I discovered so many wonderful stories. Though the years after were also good, I think 2020 was the year where I just read a series of phenomenal books that now live in a tender place in my heart and memory.

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Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Reimena Yee, Author of Séance Tea Party; On Making Comics, Ghosts, & Growing Up

Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Reimena Yee, Author of Séance Tea Party; On Making Comics, Ghosts, & Growing Up. Illustration of Sprout the sparrow, wings out wide and showing off Reimena Yee as a own wearing a flower and skull crown.
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Sprout is stargazing tonight when you visit the Pond.

You find them lying on the grass, a tiny bird in a field of green, looking up at the sky. Their eyes brighten as they see you approach.

“Oh, hello friend! You made it today!” Sprout sits up and smiles at you. “I’m so glad you’re here. We’re expecting a very exciting guest today, and I’d love for you to meet them!”

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At the mention of a guest, a soft breeze picks up — gentle at first, and then stronger. As the leaves rustle, from beyond the canopy of trees overhead, you hear the flapping of wings. A sooty owl emerges, starry as the night. A wreath of orange roses adorns their head, with a few skulls peeking through the flower crown. The owl flies down to join you and Sprout on the grass.

“Right on time!” Sprout exclaims happily. “Friend, this is Reimena! She’s here to talk to us about her newest book that’s coming out next week.”

Sprout hops closer, and confides in a quieter voice, “Xiaolong told me that she cried for a whole morning reading it!”

You chuckle, and sit down on the grass next to Sprout. Curiously, you also ask them about their stargazing while waiting for you.

“Oh! Yes, I was stargazing.” Sprout says sheepishly. “The book that we’re talking about today is about what it means to grow up, and I was thinking about when I was a fledgeling before I came to the Pond. But that’s a story for another time. Let’s welcome our guest!”

I love comics. I think they’re a brilliant storytelling format, and I’m always so eager to devour graphic novels in a way I rarely am with more prose-heavy stories. They’re such an accessible medium to return to over and over again — I’d honestly argue that a lot of my own formative reading experience was shaped by warm, sticky afternoons spent cramming down local comic serials by the bundle. I’m sure comics have led many more people to reading too, just like it did for tiny 7-year-old me.

And friends, Reimena’s comics are incredible. I’ve known about Reimena’s books since she first published The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya through a partially crowdfunded platform, and I’m constantly awed by all the incredible stories she tells through her art. Her comics are smart, heartfelt, and filled to bursting with lush and evocative imagery. It’s such a delight and honor to have her at the Pond today, and I’m so excited to share this conversation I had with her about her upcoming middle-grade release Séance Tea Party next week!

Are you ready for a little ghost story?

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