June was a tough month nationally, but a good month for blogging. It was a much quieter month than May, except for the last week, which I spent at a conference in San Diego (not at bad place to be). It felt good to get back to blogging, and it was also my birthday month.
I didn’t read as much this month, but I read some really great books:
- The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
- What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
- March, Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (illus.)
- Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey
My favorite read: I loved The Girl in the Tower, the fantastic sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale. I was so happy it lived up to the first book (I think that’s really rare). What it Means was a very impressive debut, and Killers of the Flower Moon told a really powerful and devastating story. And I learned more about John Lewis and the Civil Rights Movement from the graphic novel March.
Did not finish (DNF): I started but didn’t keep reading Nicole Krauss’ Forest Dark. It got very good reviews from critics but mixed from readers, and it just didn’t seem like a book I’d enjoy reading. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s read it!
Books for challenges:
- 20 Books of Summer: I’ve read six books, four from my original list.
- Nonfiction: Killers of the Flower Moon, March
- Read Harder Challenge: Killers of the Flower Moon, March
- Finish the Series: The Girl in the Tower, Cibola Burn
- SciFi/Fantasy Bingo or Swords and Stars: The Girl in the Tower, Cibola Burn
What I’m reading now: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
What’s coming up: continuing with my 20 Books of Summer List, and I need to read What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan. I just got We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter from the library. Also, I was really excited to score an ARC of Kate Atkinson’s upcoming book, Transcription.
Added to my TBR: I got so many great suggestions from this post about Read Harder 2018, like Stitches by David Small, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, and The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker.
Things that made me happy this month: This is a month we can really use some happiness, right? Life feels pretty horrifying these days. I don’t want to think about politics, but I’m also feeling really guilty about how good my life is and how many people are suffering (and how dark the future looks and how nervous I am about the 2018 elections).
So this all feels a bit superficial, as it has most months, but here are some things that made me happy this month:
- The Great British Bake Off: the husband and I started watching this show and power-watched an entire season in a week. British shows are so much less scripted than American shows. I loved how nice all the contestants were and how goofy the hosts were. And in the process I learned a ton about baking. I’m a decent cook but a horrible baker. You have to really understand how all the ingredients affect each other.
- Quitting Facebook: I’ve been wanting to quit Facebook for a while, but this month I cut the cord. I’ve never really felt a part of Facebook, so it’s not a huge sacrifice. I like Instagram and Twitter more. I missed Facebook when my town won the Stanley Cup, and then when it was my birthday. But mostly Facebook is frustrating to me, and I feel like it makes a lot of people feel bad about themselves, so I’m glad to be off.
- My sister sent me this really cool book blogger organizer for my birthday.
That’s my June… but instead of asking you what you’re reading, how are you feeling about the world these days? I realize that outside the U.S., some good things are happening, like the referendum in Ireland. But here it feels like everything is getting worse – and that’s scary since it was already pretty bad. This month we saw the “civility wars”, the separation of immigrant families, and the retirement of a Supreme Court Justice. I’m frankly terrified about the way things are escalating, and I’m even more worried about the motivation of the Trump base come November.
I didn’t get to one of the protest marches on the 30th, because I’m visiting family in Orange County, and marching wasn’t a possibility. And the truth is, I’m feeling very tired. I’m not doing much to help anyone, and at the same time I feel very much like giving up — and that scares me even more.
Sorry to end this on a down note. If you’re feeling the same way, what are you doing to keep your head up?
Note: as a follow up to this post, I wanted to share this link to a list of organizations you can give to that support immigrant rights in the U.S. Just in case, like me, you were wondering where to start.
Glad to know the Great British Bake Off is at least helping you deal with the disturbing political news. We see only a fraction of it but that’s more than enough. We can swap you our endless reporting about Brexit if that will help (LOL)
Thanks Karen, I’m sure Brexit is very worrying! I sympathize (although would definitely take you up on that swap). British Bakeoff is a fun show and definitely feels better than most of what is on TV. I can’t wait to watch the other seasons.
This may seem lame, but “thoughts and prayers” — I’m trying to work more on my inner life, prayer and meditation. If I think “this cannot possibly make a difference,” I remember that our current crisis is due to our leaders’ lack of a healthy, universe-connected inner life, and even if I can’t directly affect them, I can at least try to work on my own inner garbage dump. It can’t hurt, anyway.
Whatever it takes…let’s keep reading and connecting.
Lory, that’s helpful! I think we all have to figure out our own ways to keep it together, and your blog has been a source of much inspiration. The guilt I’m feeling these days can’t be helpful and doesn’t do anyone any good. I appreciate your thoughts on this issue!
As far as 20 books for the Summer goes, I at least had the chance to catch up on things with my vacation reading time 🙂
I haven’t had nearly as much reading time this summer as I normally do, but at least I have a good long flight coming up. Happy summer reading!
From over here it feels like there’s nothing I can do physically – I can’t turn up to a march or put my body on the line – so I’m planning out my (very small) annual charitable giving. This coming year, it’s all going to go to abortion-access-support charities.
Elle, I hear you about the charitable giving! I agree about abortion access organizations. Also, a law school classmate posted this list of immigration rights organizations to give to: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/06/how-you-can-fight-family-separation-at-the-border.html.
That’s a very useful list.
Oh my gosh! Do you know where your sis got that planner? I’d love to get one too.
I didn’t make it to the march either. I was upset about that. I always miss it.
She knows the woman who makes them. I’ll find out how you can get one.
Happy to share! Here is the website: http://savvyprofessionalplanners.com
😀 Thank you so much!!
Happy birthday! I really liked Elizabeth is Missing, so I hope you like it, too. I love the Bake Off, and it is a good distraction from politics. I mostly quit Facebook, too, because most of my “friends” are jerks. I’m happier without them. I hope you have a good July!
Great post! I loved March by John Lewis. We seem to have some similar tastes in books (and other issues!), so I’m happy to have seen your post on Feed Your Fiction Addiction. Perhaps there is something on my site that may interest you! Will be following!
Thanks Karla! I look forward to seeing your blog.
Maybe it will help your mood to know you are not alone. I have the same feelings of intense gratitude for my life and terrible guilt about the fact that there are so many people suffering. It’s so easy to get frustrated, exhausted, and sad. Keep reading. Keep writing your blog. We are listening!
We’ve been catching The British Bakeoff show too. I enjoy seeing all the deliciousness and learning some new things along the way.
I agree that The Great British Bake Off is really fun! My daughter and I watched it together and both really enjoyed it.