Bookends: May and June 2021

After three of our four family members got vaccinated, my spouse and I started thinking of things we could do as a couple that would still protect our youngest until he was old enough to get the vaccine this fall. We started planning for a night out. As the day approached, I started remembering all of the things I hate about Date Night, most of which boil down to me feeling ambivalent about all of the things couples are supposed to do (eating out, seeing movies, going for drinks, going to plays). With the pandemic, those feelings of ambivalence have been tinged with anxiety, making all of the issues even bigger than they are. After going through all of my reasons for not wanting to go on our planned Date Night, I remembered blogging about it, and after a quick search of my posts, I found one from 2015 that recalled all of the reasons I dislike Date Night. Some of them no longer apply now that we live in a place that actually has things to do (although the pandemic complicates some of those activities), but I felt a little silly that after six years I was still making the same arguments. I realized that part of the problem (other than the fact that after 26 years together we have the same conversations over and over and over again) is that we go on so few Date Nights—averaging fewer than one a year—that there’s so much pressure on this one activity to be awesome that it destined to disappoint.

The answer, I decided, was to have a crappy Date Night. Don’t think it’s going to be awesome, but plan it and just do it, like a dress rehearsal we can improve on over time. That would take the pressure off and give me a chance to habituate a little to going out in public again after being at home for more than a year.

And it worked.

We got dressed up and just drove downtown. We’re not comfortable dining out yet so we just walked around downtown, people watching, dodging tourists, taking selfies, talking about something other than the kids, staying outside the whole time. It was a little nerve-racking at a few really crowded spots and I wore my mask almost the whole time, but I love our city and overall it was a really good time to be there in the evening just the two of us. Low expectations are a good strategy for me, I think. Chances are I’ve blogged about that, too.

In addition to Date Night, we also took a week-long staycation and fostered four kittens in June. The kittens were super cute and super smelly and a huge amount of work, but gradually they grew and grew and we both miss them and are glad they’ve been adopted (“we” being the humans in the family; our cats are unequivocally happy the kittens are no longer here).

Now onto the books I read in May and June:

Finished in May (10):

Homeschool (Build Your Library Curriculum):

Chickadee by Louise Erdrich

Dragon’s Gate by Laurence Yep

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III

For Challenges/Book Clubs:

Fourteen Talks by Age Fourteen by Michelle Icard

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie

Just Because:

Prosopagnosia by Sonia Hernández (ARC)

Finished in June (8):

Homeschool (Build Your Library Curriculum):

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

Stargazing by Jen Wang

For Challenges/Book Clubs:

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May

Mean by Myriam Gurba

Just Because:

The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson


To-Read for July:

July’s Bingo Card is all filled out, and I have a decent start on a couple of the titles already. I suspect that a couple of these are going to be skim/DNF, but if it gets the title off my TBR, it’s all good.

You can see my Litsy profile for status updates throughout the month and my Instagram (@ImperfectHappiness) for mostly not-book-related photos.

What’s on your TBR stack for July?


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