Bookends: May 2013

The first day of each month, I’m posting a summary of what I read the previous month and what I plan to read in the coming month. I would love if this could become a conversation in the comments about what’s on your reading list, too!

May was another light reading month (light in quantity, not in quality). And I did something I rarely do: I took a book off of my currently-reading list. I decided to stop torturing myself by keeping Fanny Stevenson: A Romance of Destiny hanging over my head and move it to my “stopped-reading” list.

Because the person who loaned it to me said I could keep it and because I’d planned on donating it to the church book sale but missed the deadline, I still have it. I’ve not decided yet whether to keep it and try again or to pass it along. After I Write Like said I write like (among others) Robert Louis Stevenson, I thought maybe I should give the biography of his wife a better try, but now I’m not so sure that’s a compelling enough reason to keep me reading.

At any rate, enough about what I didn’t finish reading this month and on to what I did…

Grown-ups’ Books:

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (self-help/memoir based on Brown’s research into vulnerability, shame, and “whole-hearted living”)

Fluent in Faith by Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar (directed towards Unitarian Universalists in particular, this book is about reclaiming the terms that make members of liberal religious traditions squirm in their sustainably-harvested pews—words like sin, atonement, grace, god/God, covenant. I’ve long been interested in making these very powerful and descriptive terms my own, and Nieuwejaar offers a succinct start towards doing so.)

These books were both fine, but I like Fluent in Faith much better than The Gifts of Imperfection. Fluent in Faith, which I read for my Finding Your Spiritual Path class, was actually somewhat epiphanic for me. I’ll be speaking about it in our church service this Sunday (mouth parched and hands shaking, I’m sure), and I’m debating whether to just post those remarks as a blog post about the book. If I do, I’ll link to it here.

Kids’ Books:

Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager (last of the Tales of Magic series, this one follows a new group of children as they make wishes upon an enchanted library book. My library-loving kids were totally into this concept.)

My kids and I are sad this series is over. Now we need to find something else to fill the void. It was going to be Harry Potter, but my husband took over reading that series to the kids. I’m sure I could read it to them, too, but I don’t want to be a copycat. We’ll find something else.

Currently Reading/To-Read for June

I’ve signed up to participate in Délaissé’s 18th-Century English Literature Event for June. For that, I’m working on Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, which I hope to finish during the first week of June so I can move onto David Hume’s The History of England, Volume V. If by some miracle I finish both of these before June 30, I’ll go for Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which I was supposed to have read in college, but which I can’t really remember. If you’d like to participate in the reading challenge, you can do so on Goodreads or at the link to Délaissé above.

Since I’ve been missing “fun” fiction, I’m also working some of that in for June. A Game of Thrones arrived for me at the library this week, and I’m going to jump into that soon. I’m going to try to finish good old Robinson Crusoe before cracking A Game of Thrones, but I’m not sure I have that much willpower. After watching episode 1 of the HBO series and being irritated and disgusted by the misogyny and graphic (and gratuitous) violence, I vowed not to read the books. But then I made the mistake of giving the HBO series another chance, and now I find myself wanting to read the books before watching Season Two. This makes my Cavalcade of Classics goal more difficult to attain, but hey…it’s my goal, right? And really, if writers of classics wanted me to read their books more quickly, they ought to have made them better page-turners.

And while I’m complaining about  classics, why is it that it never seemed to occur to Robinson Crusoe that he might have gotten food poisoning from that tortoise he ate. I mean, every time he ate more of it, he had another attack of “ague.” Sure, maybe he had malaria, but it seems odd that the thought that it was something he ate never crossed his mind. I’m always positive any ailment I have is caused by my diet. I suppose that would be a different survival story, though. Instead of innovating a new way to sharpen his tools, he would have developed tighter food safety guidelines.

On the kid-books front, my kids and I read one story from Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green today, and I think we’ll work our way through those myths and legends next. My daughter says she wants to read The Histories by Herodotus after this. That one’s on my Cavalcade of Classics list, but I’d not thought of making it a read-aloud. I’ll have to mull that over.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for June? If you blog your answer, please post a link in the comments (and/or link back to this post, if you’re so inclined).

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