amidst the pages, April 2017…

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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

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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.

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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!”

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tidbits…

*I’m so far from alone in my feelings about the state of the world right now. The normalization of hate. Not that hate hasn’t always existed, of course. But after Brexit, and after the still unfathomable presidential election in the U.S., it’s become a more openly hateful, less friendly, less compassionate planet. For so many there was this turning point, after which nothing felt normal any more. And even months later, it’s hard to know what to do with oneself. Yes, there’s the endless petitions to sign, there are letters to write daily, if I had a phone there would be calls to make, there are rallies and protests to attend, there is reading to be done, and so much listening to do…but beyond those acts, what do we do with ourselves. How do we approach the things that make up a life? I’ve heard many people say that apart from their resistance activities, they have largely pulled inside themselves. And that’s what I’ve done too. I’ve had talks with friends about the importance of not letting go of hope and not letting go of joy…because if we do that, well, hate wins. But it’s hard. Some days it feels impossible. Anyway, last night I was having a text chat with my dear friend Chris, and he said one of the most meaningful things I’ve heard in dealing with the world. In part, he said, “…sometimes I think the best thing we can do is just be our most authentic selves and put that out in the world whatever way we’re able to in that day…” There was more, and it was all rather beautiful, but this particular line really struck me. Even when you’re exhausted and discouraged, show your love. Kindness should be a given, and yet somehow it feels nearly radical these days. Share yourself, your creativity, your kindness, your love.

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*Switching gears entirely. Finished a book last night. A book I never would have read if not for homeschooling. While some of the books, Gray and I have read for his sci-fi class genuinely have knocked my socks off (Octavia Butler’s Parable books being the most recent), Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not that kind of book. But I have to admit it was fun! I enjoyed reading it far more than I would have guessed. Yeah, it was a bit silly, a bit cheesy. But like I said it was fun. Even a wee bit suspenseful at times. And definitely an interesting peak back at 1950s small-town America. Never would have read it if not for homeschooling, but I can’t say I’m one bit sorry that I did.

IMG_0660*My uncle died yesterday. I wasn’t close to this particular uncle, but my heart is breaking for Mom. He was her baby brother. Said baby being almost 74-years-old. He is actually the first of my uncles or aunts to die. It was a powerful reminder (there have been several of those in the last couple years) of how old my parents are getting to be. And of how I am not ready to lose them. But then, when is anyone ever ready to lose a parent…

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