Reading wrap-up: June reads and purchases

June reads

June reads

My June reads focused on my two reading projects: Ancient Greek literature and the Gilmore Girls reading challenge (which we’re doing at Books, Ink). Perhaps unsurprisingly, my library holds many of these titles already.

I apparently have a lot to say about my June reads, so we might as well jump right in:

Books read:

Blue Nights and Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

Joan Didion is one of my favorite nonfiction writers. It was a treat to read/reread her work for the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge. (My piece for the challenge is here.)

June readsBlue Nights has been languishing on my bookshelf for years. Who knows why? Maybe I wanted to wait, to savor it. Maybe I was scared of how sad it would be. She wrote it after her daughter’s death, which followed shortly after her husband’s death. As you might expect, it explores grief and loss—both of others and, as we age, of the self we have known. The blue nights of the title provide an overarching metaphor for how brilliance prefigures its own end. This notion is threaded throughout this moving, poetic memoir.

Slouching Toward Bethlehem may be my favorite essay collection of all time. It’s Didion’s 1968 nonfiction writing about, among many other topics, the Haight-Ashbury, Las Vegas weddings, morality, self-respect, and writing. It’s gorgeous and awe-inspiring—a must read for nonfiction writers.

In the Preface to the collection, Didion writes that being “so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate” may invite others to overlook her, to their detriment. Because, Didion continues, “Writers are always selling somebody out” (italics in the original). It’s harsh, but possibly too often accurate. What I love so much about Didion’s nonfiction is, she never lets us forget that she’s there. She never lets us forget that what we’re seeing isn’t objective truth but what she saw and experienced. It’s a kind of integrity I aspire to, and not just in my writing.

Jason and the Argonauts by Apollonius of Rhodes (bought this year)

June readsIn this epic poem (dating to the third century BC), Pelias, the king of Iolcus, sends Jason on a quest to recover the Golden Fleece from Colchis. This is because Jason is the rightful heir to the kingdom, and Pelias wants to get rid of him. Hence the impossible quest. Jason gathers a group of heroes, and they face treacherous challenges and setbacks along the way (obvi).

I might love this more than The Odyssey, for the following reasons: Continue reading “Reading wrap-up: June reads and purchases”

Reading wrap-up: May reads and purchases

May reads

Well, our May reads are in the history books. Or at least in our Goodreads “read” file. I can hardly believe how quickly this year is flying by!

All of the books I read this month related either to the Gilmore Girls reading challenge we’re doing at Books, Ink or my personal project to read classical literature and books inspired by it. Only two of the six books I read this month were part of my existing library. But I’m making allowances for the Gilmore Girls challenge.

May reads

Continue reading “Reading wrap-up: May reads and purchases”

Reading Wrap-Up: March Reads

March reads

My March reads reflect my current reading phase.

In the past, my reading phases were often based on place: Russian literature, Japanese literature, memoirs by or about Middle Eastern women. Then, a few years ago, I began reading primarily contemporary literary fiction. Maybe because I was engaging with book lovers on social media, I was hearing more about contemporary books. Maybe it was just where I was in my reading interests. Continue reading “Reading Wrap-Up: March Reads”

The not-so-secret reason I became an e-reader

The not-so-secret reason I became an e-reader

The way I put it in the title makes it sounds as if I literally became an e-reader. Like I’m in a Franz Kafka story, but instead of waking up as a cockroach, I woke up one morning as a Nook GlowLight Plus.

Maybe that would make a good 21st century reboot, now I think about it. But no. I haven’t turned into an electronic device. (I’ll bet you figured that part out, though.)

Continue reading “The not-so-secret reason I became an e-reader”

Mystery Thriller Week: Q&A with Ronnie Allen

Mystery Thriller Week, a celebration of the genre and its authors and readers, is underway through February 22. If you’ve done the math, yes, it’s 10 rather than the usual seven days. It’s a super-sized week for a super-sized genre. For more information, stories, and author interviews, pop over to mysterythrillerweek.com.

In conjunction with the event, I’ll be sharing Q&As with mystery and thriller authors throughout the week (and a half).

Today, I welcome Ronnie Allen (no relation), author of The Sign Behind The Crime series. Continue reading “Mystery Thriller Week: Q&A with Ronnie Allen”