Bookends: June 2017

It’s finally strawberry time in Massachusetts! We’ve picked four weeks in a row and brought home a total of sixty-one pounds of strawberries.

I froze a bunch of them and gave a quart to a friend, but we ate most of them fresh. Gorging myself on seasonal, locally grown fruit has become a summer tradition for me. Next up: cherries!

In addition to eating fruit, I’ve also devoted Summer 2017 to doing lots of projects around the house and yard that I’ve been putting off. I’ve spent the month scheduling electricians, learning how to use tile adhesive and grout, deciding I don’t want to regrout my shower myself, trying to get other professionals to call me back, choosing paint colors, having mulch delivered, having trees removed, planting other trees, and weeding and weeding and weeding. It’s been surprisingly rewarding, but I do not regret procrastinating for the past six years.

I’ve also been doing a TBR List Declutter here on the blog. Each Thursday, I post the titles of ten books that are on my TBR, why I added them in the first place, and whether I’m keeping them or taking them off of the TBR. At this pace, it will take me seventy-five weeks to go through all of the titles, provided I don’t add any more. (spoiler: I’ve already added more.)

But wait! That’s not all! When not wrestling with my to-do list or my to-read list, I’ve been doing two Instagram challenges!

The first is Book Riot’s Riotgrams challenge. I started strong, but kind of lost my gusto as the month progressed. One of my favorites was the one for Day 24: Tiny Books. My son helped me with that one, choosing the background and holding the little dictionary up for the photo.

The other Instagram challenge was a progressive capsule, which I learned about from @loritironpandit but which originated with Karen at Sustainable Fashion Chat (@sustainablefashionchat). It’s pretty simple. I just kept track of all of the clothes I wore for the month to see how much of my wardrobe I actually use. I posted photos of myself periodically, usually with a book in front of my face. My friend suggested that we could start an #outfitwithbook hashtag. Here’s one of those photos:

I’m not much into fashion, but I do care about what I wear, and this challenge really was helpful. In the end, I wore a total of twenty-four items of clothing during June, including shoes but not including socks, underwear, night clothes (or even knight clothes), or workout/yardwork clothes, and determined that I can get rid of a lot of the clothes I own right now.

To see all of my posts for these two challenges, visit my Instagram: @imperfecthappiness.

And I read a few books. Not as many as usual, but still not a bad number for all of the other stuff I’ve been doing (and my total would have been one better if I’d not done May’s Bookends a few days late and included Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne on last month’s post, even though I finished it on June 2. Way to cheat Future Charity, Past Charity.):

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel (nonfiction; a biography of a modern-day hermit who lived on stolen junk food in the Maine woods for twenty-seven years. Interesting, but would have been better if the author had kept himself out of the a little more.)

Reaching for the Moon by Lucy H. Pearce (nonfiction; a practical guide for young women about the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of menarche. Wish I’d had this info when I was thirteen, although I doubt I would have read it then.)

She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan (nonfiction; memoir about the author’s transition from male to female and the effect it had on both her and her loved ones. This book isn’t perfect, but it goes into pretty significant emotional depth, and I like the writing.)

The Histories by Herodotus (nonfiction; Herodotus traveled around the ancient world (although I guess it wasn’t ancient at the time) interviewing people about historical events and cultural practices. Considered the first historian (or at least the first one to base his historical accounts on research and interviews), Herodotus has given us some very interesting (and often bizarre) stories, but not interesting or bizarre enough for me to finish the whole book. After two years of stop-and-start reading, I finally cried “Uncle” a little more than halfway through. I hope that one day I’ll go back to it, but I’m pretty okay if I don’t.)

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (fiction, SBC May Selection; I got this one in just under the wire. Despite the beautiful writing, this book was tough for me to get through. That’s probably why it took me nearly two months to finish it. Link to review will be live July 2.)

Currently Reading:

  • As of midnight on July 1: Nothing. This might be a first.

My To-Read List for July:

  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (SBC June Selection)
  • Howard’s End by E.M. Forster (SBC July Selection)
  • More fiction to make up for all of the nonfiction in June.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list—or your to-do list—for July?

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