Despite what felt like an inordinate amount of rain this May, I refused to be kept indoors! (Apparently jealous of the month of April, May felt it needed to rain even more than its predecessor.)

After ripping down the Dexter-style plastic sheeting on our screened-in porch, which now that it’s gone I realize was actually doing its job of keeping away the pollen, I have liberated my favorite reading and writing (and sneezing) spot amid the lovely trees of my backyard!

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Bookish Blogs & Insects

The May rain tried to dampen my spirits while a giant wasp waged a battle against me for the newly liberated porch. (It buzzed and flew around. I screamed, ran inside and didn’t come back out for a week. So “battle” might be an overstatement.) But neither could stop me from writing!

(Just a brief pause so I can justify my wasp-related cowardice. This wasp had obviously flown into a radioactive waste site and morphed into a supersized, mega wasp. It was huge with big black and yellow stripes and it was definitely out to get me. Of course, when it was dead and my husband saw it, it shrunk down to the size of a normal wasp to make me look bad. Evil genius.)

Now when I was not being terrorized by insects, I continued work on 2 manuscripts and write a few blogs.

Bookish Adventures That Don’t Involve Insects

I also had some fun bookish adventures this May, most of which under skies threatening to or actually pouring down rain. But as we’ve established, the rain won’t stop me from fun!

First, during a trip to a local carnival called Viva Vienna!, where my daughter performed as part of a dance company, I discovered my childhood town has a historic old library. The one-room wonder took me back in time, while my family waited outside impatiently watching the skies (see blog above).

Duckerman at PP.jpgSevere Weather Alert messages and streaks of lightning couldn’t keep me from my second bookish adventure – visiting the newest branch of indie bookstore darling Politics & Prose at the Wharf in Washington, DC. Accompanied by my fantastic book club gal pals, I listened to Bringing Up Bébé author Pamela Duckerman talk about her new book There Are No Grown-ups.

I’ve never actually read either of Duckerman’s books. One of my friends, and fellow book club member, coordinated this outing, as she is a huge fan. But I’m always looking for an excuse to go to a bookstore! Plus Duckerman was extremely charming and read a hysterical excerpt from her book that made me want to buy it (or at least borrow it from my friend)!

Down the TBR – Books I Read This Month 

When not gallivanting with my friends, I nestled into the little couch on my porch and read. My book reading pace slowed this month, bogged down by some books I just couldn’t get into. I need to learn to take my own advice and realize books don’t actually have feelings. I can say “I’m just not that into you” and they won’t start crying.

I did manage to read (ok, mostly read, I abandoned one book about 3/4 through), 7 (technically 8) books this month, keeping me ahead of my goal of 100 books for the year. This should make me happy. But given the over-achieving part of me needs to not just meet that goal but exceed it (by a lot), I’m feeling the self-imposed pressure to pick up the pace in June…(Just when you think I can’t get any crazier.)

Here are the 7 (technically 8) books I read with a few quick reviews, in the order I read them.

Book 1: Dreadnought by April Daniels

dreadnought

Brief Review: A unique and fun take on the superhero genre in which superpowers transform a transgender girl into the person she always knew she was. My favorite part, other than making a transgender girl the hero, is how it treats superhero tropes. It’s very clever.

Book 2: All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft by Geraldine DeRuiter

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Brief review: Although the end falls a little bit flat, this is a very funny not-really-a-travel travel memoir that kept me entertained and turning the page. (Spoiler: It’s worth a read for the airport TSA encounter post 9-11 alone.)

Books 3&4: The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (combined version of the 2 graphic novels)

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Brief review: Having grown up with a close friend who was Persian, I found this graphic novel fascinating. It breaks down stereotypes and builds up an understanding of world culture. Highly, highly recommended.

Book 5: Very Far Away from Anywhere Else by Ursula K. Le Guin

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Brief review: This was nothing like what I expected based on Le Guin’s other work, making it a surprisingly pleasant read. Although written several decades ago, the angst and confusion of teen years still rings very fresh.

Book 6: Point Blank: Poems by Alan King

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Brief review: A book of poetry filled with metaphors and imagery so beautiful you want to sink down between the lines and never leave. It’s the everyday episodes of King’s life cracked open on a page, raw and beautiful.

Book 7: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher

William Shakespeare's Star Wars

Brief review: Like a flourless chocolate cake dipped in hot fudge, topped with chocolate truffles and rolled in chocolate sprinkles, this should have been perfect for me. I love Shakespeare and Star Wars. But I just couldn’t get into this book. I did like the asides of the characters, particularly R2-D2, as it added a new level to the story. I can see why others might like it. It just wasn’t for me (and the one I gave up on 3/4th of the way through).

Book 8: Dog Logic by Tom Strelich

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Brief review: A humorous, dark satire about a man who literally unearths a secret in a pet cemetery. This is a book for anyone who would enjoy Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy meets Animal Farm. (And don’t be confused by the title, this isn’t a Marley & Me or The Art of Racing in the Rain. The dogs are more of a metaphor than the main character.)

Up next for June

While I haven’t planned out exactly what I’ll read for June, I know I do plan to read Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell over the summer. I picked this for the next meeting of my book club, The Nightlighters. We haven’t read short stories yet and this was book procured for me during my stay at the Library Hotel in New York (see blog up top). Anyone read this? Did I choose wisely?

Also, I’m always looking for June book recommendations. If you’ve got one, let me know! I’d love something very different and unusual…Any suggestions?

Happy reading!

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