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: 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 unabridged list of books read in October

My October reading month in words, pictures, and GIF. (Tackling Mount TBR not included.)

My October reading month in words, pictures, and GIF. (Tackling Mount TBR not included.)October was a fab reading month! I enjoyed diving into contemporary literary fiction, fantasy fiction for young readers, a memoir, a nonfiction book, a classic, and some YA.

Quite an eclectic month!

Books I read:

The following is one of my longest tallies this year. Actually, it might be my longest. Then again, quite a few of the books I read were rather short. Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon also gave me a boost.

On the downside, my quest to read my own books crashed and burned in a fiery conflagration: Only one of 13 reads was culled from my pre-2016 library. That’s far short of the 50-50 split I’d intended. Oh well. There’s always November and December. (Hmmm, I seem to be running out of months…) Continue reading “The unabridged list of books read in October”

Ramping up my reading challenge in May

I'm kicking my 2016 Reading Challenge into high gear in May with the #SmashYourStack reading challenge.

I'll be kicking my 2016 Reading Challenge into high gear in May with the #SmashYourStack reading challenge.My reading challenge has been my anchor during a busy first third of 2016. It has flown by in a haze of events, assignments, responsibilities, new experiences. In other words: life.

Through this rush, #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks has kept me focused without putting inordinate pressure on me to read a set number of books by a set date. It has reintroduced me to what is turning out to be an exceedingly well-stocked library (my very own!). It has staunched the slow bleed of my monthly earnings. Oh yes, this reading challenge came at just the right time, and I’ve loved everything about it.

Still…the rosy glow of affection and good intentions can dim over time, can’t they? Who hasn’t experienced the pull of old habits? Continue reading “Ramping up my reading challenge in May”