amidst the pages, April 2017…


For me, not a shabby reading month, quantity-wise. Quality-wise, which is obviously the “-wise” that matters, it was pretty stellar.

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

“The Terminal Beach” by J.G. Ballard

“The Heat Death of the Universe” by Pamela Zoline

allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

No Way Home: The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations by David S. Wilcove

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Storm (issues 1-4) by Warren Ellis and Terry Dodson.

Black Widow: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider by Devin Grayson, J.G. Jones, and Scott Hampton.

The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance: Poems, 1987-1992 by Audre Lorde

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro


That boils down to 7 novels, 3 comics, 1 non-fiction science/nature, 3 poetry collections, and 2 short stories.

6 by authors/artists of color. At least 3 by LGBTQ authors. (Work harder on diversity, Debra Anne.)

10 by women. 4 by men. 2 by combination.

2 YA.

6 read in part for homeschooling.

6 from library. 2 through Marvel Unlimited. 1 on-line. 7 from my shelves.

11 physical copy. 4 ebook/on screen. 1 audiobook.


A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver. Utterly adored. She remains a favorite author.

“The Terminal Beach” by J.G. Ballard. Didn’t do much for me. Gray had same opinion.

“Heat Death of the Universe” by Pamela Zoline. Enjoyed this one a lot. Odd. Quirky style. Gray enjoyed this one as well.

allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. Loved it. Broke my heart. Reminder of how broken our justice system is.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. While I enjoyed this one, I’m not sure I understand the overwhelming hype that surrounded it.

No Way Home: The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations by David S. Wilcove. Unsurprisingly, it was sad. But not without all hope.

Ariel by Sylvia Plath. At the risk of ridicule and shame, I have to admit I didn’t connect with these poems very well. One of those times when I truly felt I wasn’t smart enough to read the book.

Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. Heart these books hard. Had a few random thoughts on them here. Gray really enjoyed these too.

Storm by Warren Ellis. First dip of the toes in the overwhelming world of X-Men. Am eager to explore more. Kind of love-at-first-sight with Storm herself.

Black Widow: The Itsy-Bitsy Spider by Devin Grayson. Didn’t love, though definitely didn’t dislike either. Intrigued enough to want to read more of her story.

The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey. Don’t read much of this sort of sci-fi–the space ship, traveling the universe sort. Which I guess is what many people automatically think of when they think of science fiction. Anyway, I was sort of surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, though I can’t claim that I loved it. Anne McCaffrey always make me think of Pat and her love for the Pern books (which I haven’t read), and that makes me smile. Gray did not like this one at all, mostly because of its style.

The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance by Audre Lorde. Wow. This collection, just wow. Some of these poems ripped my heart out. Loved this one hard.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. This book was so much more fun than I’d thought it was going to be. A change your life book–no. But it was fun.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book, yeah, now with this book I totally get the hype. Favorite this month…wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up favorite of the year. Talk about a heart-breaking look at racism in this country. I can’t do this book justice, so I won’t even try. But damn, so worth the read, people.

Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly DeConnick and Valentine De Landro. At the start I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to be for me. By end I was screaming, “More, more, I need more now!”



Octavia Butler’s Parable books…

Just a collection of random thoughts:

*First things first: I loved these books! Both Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. Octavia Butler has again won my heart with her storytelling. These are only the second and third of her books that I’ve read (Kindred was the first), but I don’t feel it premature to think that she may end up my favorite author of all-time. Hell, she may already be.

*The Parable books are among the best dystopian books I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a decent amount of them. What I find so odd is that I didn’t even realize these were dystopian until I actually started reading them. I knew they fell into the larger category of science fiction, but had no clue they were dystopian. I looked at a bunch of lists of “the best” dystopian lit to try to figure out how I could have been so clueless. But that endeavor just reinforced my notions–they were seldom mentioned. Hmmm…perhaps because they’re authored by a black woman…

*My love of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic/dystopian literature goes way back. The first adult book I fell hard for in my early high school days was The Stand. And it definitely kickstarted my love of the genre. A friend rather condescendingly ranted about how she hated dystopian literature and couldn’t understand how anyone could possibly enjoy such depressing stories with such a bleak view of the world where all anyone did was try to survive the next horrible thing that came down the road. Her rant (which was not directed at me personally but to the world at large) was a vivid reminder of how no two people have the exact same experience with a book. And wow–in some cases, they have vastly different perspectives. Because the thing that I have always loved so much about dystopian stories is the hope that is to be found even in the darkest of times. And the ways that strangers come together to form their own imperfect families often in pursuit of, or as a result of, that hope. My love for the genre remains, but I must admit that these stories have become much harder to read as the world has become a darker place (and yes, I do realize this darker world has been the reality for so many for much longer than the past year, and my massive amounts of privilege left me blind in a lot of ways). Since the presidential election here in the U.S., I’ve seen a few lists of “dystopian books that seem all-too-prescient of recent world events” nature. The Handmaid’s Tale is often right up there at the top of those lists, and while I won’t argue against that (it’s a freakin’ amazing and scary book), I would argue that the Parable books ought to be right there with it.