my summer reading project…

I’ve decided to break my own damn rules. I usually refuse to let myself get into “summer mode” until the school year is out, which around here usually coincides pretty closely with the actual start of summer. But this year, because I need something to cheer me up, and well, simply because I can, I’m going with that unofficial start to summer that comes with Memorial Day weekend.

This means I am ending my spring reading project about 3 1/2-ish weeks early. And how did I fare? I said that I’d be happy if I read a quarter of the books off the large TBR pile I made for spring. One quarter of that pile meant 18 books, and hey, I finished 19. I’m an overachiever. Ha!  Here’s what I knocked off that pile (with a few words about the ones I didn’t already talk about here):

  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West (Loved this one hard!)
  • A Maze Me by Naomi Shihab Rye (While I did enjoy this poetry collection, it was definitely aimed at a middle school age audience, not a middle age audience.)
  • Passing by Nella Larson (OMG–I read a classic–go me! Better yet, I loved it! And yet, still I cannot shake the intimidation I feel when it comes to classics. *sigh*)
  • A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
  • 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
  • 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
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Morning Haiku by Sonia Sanchez
  • Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest (Not my favorite poetry collection of all time, but I definitely enjoyed it. And it make me think. And if I hadn’t had to return it to the library, I would have spent much more time with it. The whole collection was based on Tiresias from Greek mythology.)
  • The Blood of Angels by Johanna Sinisalo (While this one didn’t immediately pull me in, it definitely grew on me. It’s a hard one to describe. It involves colony collapse disorder and a parallel world and undertaking and animal rights and a man’s relationships with his son, his father, his grandfather and bee folklore/mythology and grief. Set in Finland.)

Plus I read a few that weren’t on the list:

  • Storm #1-4 by Warren Ellis
  • Black Widow: The Itsy Bitsy Spider Devin Grayson
  • A Spy in the House (Agency #1) by Y.S. Lee (Not my usual type of read, a YA historical mystery set in Victorian England. It was a total delight! Definitely plan to read the others in the series.)
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (I thought this was an incredibly awesome book, and I appreciated it from it’s dedication at the beginning right down to it’s author’s note at the end.)
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now by Ryan North and Erica Hernandez (It’s Squirrel Girl, need I say more?!!)
  • The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 4: I Kissed a Squirrel and I Liked It by Ryan North and Erica Hernandez (See previous.)

Anyway, I am so proud of myself for sticking to my list for the majority of my reads. I think it’s unprecedented. So of course I’m going to try again! Okay, it really has little to do with the successful meeting of my goal, and more to do with the fact that I really just like to go through my shelves and pull out books and make big old enticing piles. A few of these are books I’m already actively reading, some are ones left from the spring reading piles that I’m still really excited about, some are still for this school year, but most I pulled at a whim from my bookshelves.

My summer book pool:

  • Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution by Shiri Eisner
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamont
  • The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Economy and Redefine Democracy by Raj Patel
  • 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania by Matthew Chapman
  • A Human Being Died That Night by Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World’ Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy
  • The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan
  • Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson
  • Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics and Promise of Seeds by Scott Chaskey
  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
  • Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone
  • 100 Heartbeats: The Race to Save the World’s Most Endangered Species by Jeff Corwin
  • Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss–and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata
  • The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science by Julie Des Jardins
  • Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • Nylon Road: A Graphic Memoir of Coming of Age in Iran by Parsua Bashi
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Violinist’s Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
  • Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
  • Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee by Hattie Ellis
  • The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II by Iris Chang
  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale
  • America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins
  • The Illustrated Treasure of Fairly Tales edited by Rita Marshall
  • Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection edited by Matt Dembicki
  • Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
  • The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
  • See No Evil by Eleanor Taylor Brown
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
  • White Tears by Haru Kunzau
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Duma Key by Stephen King
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
  • Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
  • Koko Be Good by Jen Wang
  • The Calder Game by Blue Balliett and Brett Helquist
  • Gifted by Nikita Lalwani
  • Saga Volumes 1-7 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (the first few will be rereads)
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
  • Food & Spirits by Laura Brant
  • The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
  • The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
  • The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  • Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
  • My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
  • Indigo’s Star by Hilary McKay
  • Reef by Romesh Gunesekera
  • Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge
  • Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters
  • The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
  • Swallow Me Whole by Nate Powell

If I counted correctly, that’s 64 books. And this time I’ll shoot for a third of them. I’m feeling confident. Yeah, I think my ability to stick so closely to my spring list made me cocky. Hopefully I won’t crash and burn this go-round.


my spring “making” project…

Some people love making lists. I am one of those people.

And some people love projects. I am one of those people too.

And some people love making lists and turning them into projects…and then inevitably fail to complete them. Oh yes, I am so one of those people.

But this time I am DETERMINED! (Yeah, like I don’t say that every time…)

Okay, but the thing is, whether or not I actually finish isn’t what really matters. What matters is that coming up with these projects makes me happy. Working on these projects makes happy. And anything that I do actually accomplish is sort of frosting on the cake. (Side note: Buttercream frosting also makes me happy.)

Yep, finally getting to the point here: my spring “making” project. I have a miles-long list of projects I’d like to make (as most crafts-lovin’ people do). And I have far more WIP than I care to admit (again, as most crafts-lovin’ people do, or at least that’s what I tell myself). So the hardest part of coming up with this list was weeding down all the possibilities. Anyway, here are the things I’m hoping to “make” before summer arrives:

  1. Finish ugly blanket. I started ugly blanket years ago during a craft area purge. I decided that I really needed to do something with all those darn scraps of yarn leftover from literally decades of crocheting. So a big warm cozy afghan was begun. The “ugly” part emerged soon after. The blanket is ridiculously large at this point, but I’m determined to empty this bag of scraps. If I manage to complete this item (which “of course I will!” says the positive-thinking portion of my brain) , ugly blanket will be ready just in time for summer reading fort season.
  2. Add 90 hexies to Kar’s blanket. I was going to make it one for each day of spring, but I decided to cut myself some slack and made it 90 instead of 92 or 93 or whatever the correct number is. I really love watching this baby grow! IMG_0558
  3. Finish Annie’s duster. Should I finish this before the end of April (which is the plan), it will be a gift for her birthday month. If I finish it later perhaps it will be a going-away gift. IMG_0565
  4. Finish the rug for the hallway. I’ve been held up on finishing because I ran out of white t-shirts. But during the process of purging for our big room switch, Gray got rid of a couple of white tees that no longer fit, so I’m hoping that will be enough to get me to the end of this beauty. (I’ve got about a foot yet to add to get it to the length I want.) IMG_0559
  5. Frame artwork and hang gallery wall. Speaking of our mini hallway, Dad generously made me this set of frames I requested for Christmas. It’s past time that I framed the art I wanted them for and got them hung in our little hall area. IMG_0562
  6. Finish Advent gifts. Which is a set of 24 crocheted snowflakes (a different snowflake for each day) for each of four recipients. So 4 x 24 = 96 crocheted snowflakes. I have 20 crocheted at this point, so that leaves 76 left to do. Plus all of them to starch and add hangers to. IMG_0563
  7. Make a pile of dishcloths and washcloths for Annie. Since she’ll be moving out at in late summer. *sobs*
  8. Put in 20 hours on Chris’s x-stitch. IMG_0566
  9. Put in 20 hours on Rich’s x-stitch. IMG_0567
  10. Put in 20 hours on my needlepoint picture. IMG_0570
  11. Make 50 scrapbook layouts. IMG_0571
  12. Finish second strip of quilt, and sew third strip. This is such a big, but such a beloved, project. I really need to get back to it and see some forward progress. IMG_0573
  13. Make an x-stitch towel for part of Chris’s birthday gift.
  14. Finish cross-stitch sampler. I designed this sampler a good 20 years ago, but had completely forgotten about it (despite having packed and moved it for half a dozen moves over the years) until I came across it during the room switch.

I’m not particularly known for my common sense (and am actually known for my lack of it in some circles), so it will not surprise anyone who knows me that my list originally ended with #12. But I like the number 14 better than 12, so I went in search of two more projects I was interested in working on right now. #ownworstenemy

So yeah. My spring “making” project. I’m going to try to update here every Wednesday…kind of a WIP Wednesday thing. But let’s face it, I kind of suck at keeping to a schedule. “Kind of”–haha, aren’t I being generous…