Bookends: May 2020

Late May involved a convergence of paradigm-challenging elements.

There’s COVID-19 and the ongoing stay-at-home order coupled with the gradual easing of restrictions, which brings both a sense of hope that we’re safe to move about more freely and anxiety that we’re no more ready than we were three months ago and the worst is yet to come.

There are the demonstrations in our city and throughout the country in support of addressing and moving towards ending endemic racism and the violence it perpetuates, which brings both hope that there’s the energy and will to bring lasting change and anxiety that the path there will reveal things about ourselves as individuals and as a society that are difficult to reconcile with the stories we’re used to telling ourselves.

And in the midst of all of this, our family has begun a new homeschool history and literature curriculum that brings a more balanced view of the founding and evolution of the United States than I received in school. So for us these real-world events are happening against the backdrop of increased awareness of our country’s history of settler colonialism, enslavement, and genocide alongside our stated ideals of democratic rule, civil liberties, and equal application of justice. On the one hand, it’s comforting to see our current situation in the context of an ongoing development of democratic ideals. On the other, I am more acutely aware of the precariousness of our institutions and the vulnerabilities of our species and I’m adjusting to a new foundation of understanding, which is welcome in the long-term but unsettling in the short-term. Hope and anxiety once again.

It’s unclear to me how my children are seeing the situation given that the narratives that underpin my worldview haven’t had as many years to cement into their consciousness. I’m hopeful that this unique education will free them to envision and realize futures that previous generations have been unable bring about. I hope that this exercise of doubt and reflection will help me better myself, but I also hope that I’m providing my children with the tools and background that will help them navigate the world they’ve inherited with passion, perseverance, and resilience.

As I read back over this, I realize it sounds a little like a prayer. So be it.

Visual Interest: Interdependent web

Finished in May (13):

Although I didn’t read all 20 books on my #bookspinbonanza list, the challenge went much better than I expected. I finished 10 books from the list with two more in the works, and I finished a couple off-list as well.

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean (R.A. with my son)

Black Mad Wheel by Josh Malerman

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

Gaia Girls: Enter the Earth by Lee Welles

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Nightfall by Jake Halpern

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

A Whale in Paris by Claire Polders and Daniel Presley

The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Currently Reading:

Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersley-Williams (R.A. with my son)

The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Debbie Reese, and Jean Mendoza

What the Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn

Becoming a Citizen Activist by Nick Licata

Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki

American Colonies by Alan Taylor

A Kid’s Guide to Native American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis

To-Read for June:

A lot of my reading time will be devoted to books from the history/literature curriculum we’re doing, but I hope to get some titles from my Litsy #bookspin list finished, too.

At the very least, I want to read Docile, The Regrets, and Cantoras, which are the three titles I got for this round of Tailored Book Recommendations.

You can see my Litsy profile for status updates throughout the month.

What’s on your TBR stack for June?

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