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 Birut√© 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 reading project…

Since my spring making project is making me so happy, I decided make a spring reading project as well. There’s also likely to be a spring watching project…because I seem to wallow in excess. Said excess will soon be quite apparent when I start listing the books I’d like to get read this spring. But honestly, not in my wildest dreams do I imagine I can read all of these books over the next three months. I’ll be elated if I read a quarter of them. It’s just that for one reason or another, these are the books that are calling my name right now.

First up, the books for homeschooling. Which doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not happy about reading them–in fact, I wouldn’t be having Gray read them if I wasn’t counting on them having some value.

  • The Road¬†by Cormac McCarthy
  • Parable of the Sower¬†by Octavia Butler
  • Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
  • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
  • Sarah Canary¬†by Karen Joy Fowler
  • The Blood of Angels by Johanna Sinisalo
  • The Word for World is Forest¬†by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Sheep Look Up¬†by John Brunner
  • Forty Days of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Walk to the End of the World¬†by Suzy McKee Charnas
  • Ammonite¬†by Nicola Griffith
  • Neuromancer¬†by William Gibson
  • Snow Crasher¬†by Neal Stephenson
  • Rogue Moon¬†by Algis Budrys
  • Roadside Picnic¬†by¬†Arkady Strugatsky & Boris Strugatsky
  • Metropolis¬†by Thea von Harbou
  • Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora¬†edited by Sheree Ren√©e¬†Thomas
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Lagoon¬†by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union¬†by Michael Chabon
  • First Along the River: A Brief History the U.S. Environmental Movement¬†by Benjamin Kline
  • The Looming Tower¬†by Lawrence Wright
  • 40 Days and 40 Nights¬†by Matthew Chapman
  • Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your¬†Common Cold¬†by Jennifer Ackerman
  • Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body¬†by Jennifer Ackerman
  • Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters¬†by Matt Ridley¬†(DNF)
  • Dr. Tatiana’s¬†Sex Advice to All Creation¬†by Olivia Judson
  • Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms¬†by Eugenia Bone
  • The Botany of Desire¬†by Michael Pollen
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat¬†by Oliver Sacks
  • The Sixth Extinction¬†by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • The Invisible Enemy: A Natural History of Viruses¬†by Dorothy Crawford
  • Pandemic¬†by Sonia Shah
  • The Secret Life of Lobsters¬†by Trevor Corson¬†IMG_0491

Poetry has been calling to me lately. These are the books that I have checked out or on hold from the library right now, so obviously I’d like to get to them.

  • A Maze Me by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
  • Fidelity by Grace Paley
  • Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  • Hold Your Own¬†by Kate Tempest
  • The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance : Poems 1987-1992
    by Audre Lorde
  • Morning Haiku by Sonia Sanchez
  • Salt¬†by Nayyirah Waheed

And so have essays.

  • Shrill by Lindy West
  • Letter to My Daughter¬†by Maya Angelou
  • Freedom is a Constant Struggle¬†by Angela Davis
  • Difficult Women¬†by Roxane Gay

Can’t have a reading list for spring without at least a few comics. These are three of the many that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while.

  • Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas
  • V for Vendetta¬†by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  • Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

I have an enormous pile of books that I started but then got set aside for various reasons (most often because I just had more pressing things I had to read for school). Some I’ll be able to pick up where I left off; some I’ll likely just start over. Would like to try to get a few off this pile this spring. Would like to do a lot of things though, so we’ll see.

  • The Illustrated Treasure of Fairy Tales¬†edited by Rita Marshall
  • The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy by Raj Patel

Books I want to read so I can get them out of the house. Due to my never-ending desire to declutter. That desire that is never met because there are four others living in this house who possess no such desire.

  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (lent to me by Mom)
  • Red Dragonby Thomas Harris (I own this series and want to read them but am fairly sure I won’t feel the need to keep them.)

Science and nature picks.

  • No Way Home: The Decline of the World’s Great Animal Migrations by David S. Wilcove
  • One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals¬†by Deborah Noyes
  • Seedtime: On the History, Husbandry, Politics, and Promise of Seeds¬†by Scott Chaskey
  • Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future¬†by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum
  • Woman: An Intimate Geography¬†by Natalie Angier

Other non-fiction.

  • The New Jim Crow¬†by Michelle Alexander
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating¬†by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • Triggered: A Memoir of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder¬†by Fletcher Wortmann
  • Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner
  • In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of¬†Chronic Illness in America¬†by Laurie Edwards

And last but not least, other fiction that is screaming “Read me now!”

  • allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • The¬†Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • The Lie Tree¬†by Frances Hardinge
  • See No Evil¬†by Eleanor Taylor Bland
  • Passing by Nella Larsen
  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie¬†by Alan Bradley
  • What Was Lost¬†by Catherine O’Flynn¬†IMG_0489

After typing all this out (and sighing profusely at myself for my lack of restraint), I thought I’d better change that goal of reading a quarter of them to a goal of reading a tenth or a twentieth of them. But then I actually counted; there are 72 books on that list. A quarter of 72 is only 18, and that should be quite an easily doable number for three months. It’s the sticking to the list part that isn’t so easy…