Bookends: May 2017

May found me celebrating my daughter’s twelfth birthday and realizing that there’s less than 1.5 inches between her height and mine, writing and mailing our homeschool annual reports to the school district, removing my first tick (from myself; I’ve removed them from both kids in years past), having our front yard dug up by the gas company, and watching the gypsy moths chew holes in the leaves on all of our trees.

It’s been an eventful month.

Something I’ve not been doing this month: blogging. I’ve thought up some really cool book-related ideas for the blog, but none of them have gotten to the implementation phase. In the next month, I’m hoping to revise and relaunch my Cavalcade of Classics list and kick off a weekly feature to whittle down the number of titles on my TBR from “ridiculous” to merely “aspirational” and to give me some direction in choosing which books to read next.

But in order to move forward, we must first examine where we’ve been. I’m not sure if this is true, but it sounds like a meme, and that’s just as good. In this spirit, here’s what I read in May:

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (audiobook memoir. Not just an interesting story, this memoir also raises questions about the way we persist in separating “mental” illness from “physical” illness, and the biases about mental illness that lead even doctors to come to poor, callous, and potentially life-threatening conclusions)

An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison (memoir. A psychological researcher and clinician looks at how her own diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type I, has affected her personal life and her career. Considered a classic of mental illness memoir, and the designation is well deserved.)

The Burn Palace by Stephen Dobyns (novel. A twisty mystery with murder, stolen babies, weird parties in the woods, and coyotes acting out of character.)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (audiobook. The novel that might cause me to need to relinquish my English major.)

The Demon Lover by Elizabeth Bowen (A book of short, sometimes scary stories set during WWII but that aren’t directly about WWII.)

A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans (A novel about demon possession and the evils of psychiatry.)

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer (The best novel I read in May. Excellent dystopian world-building and characters with distinct personalities.)

Currently Reading:

  • The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (SBC May Selection)

My To-Read List for June:

  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (SBC June Selection)
  • Something that’s been languishing on my TBR for way too long. Maybe Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History because I’m wearied by the irony of America’s present.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for June?

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