Seriously life, can we just settle down for a bit. I meant to officially join RIP back on September 1st, but I tell you, the shit just keeps a coming. I’ve never been so glad for it to be back-to-school day. I’ve decided (because simply deciding will make it so, you know), that this back-to-school marks the start of a string of good luck to replace the string of crises we’ve been dealing with–starting with two unexpected major financial hits, moving on to having my beloved mother-in-law admitted to the ICU in the hospital and being diagnosed at the age of 82 with type 1 diabetes, and to end this long weekend of shit, finding our bathroom sink was leaking. But on the bright side: we’ll deal with the financial hits somehow, though it took him much of the day yesterday Rich managed to fix our plumbing problem, and very, very, very best of all, my mother-in-law is home now and is taking the major changes to her life in stride. And we were fortunate enough to have been able to make the 12-hour round trip to see her in the hospital Sat/Sun, which not only made her happy, but made us happy too.

ripxii200Okay, but back to RIP. Year XII! I tell you, few things make me more nostalgic over my early days of blogging than Carl’s RIP and OUAT reading challenges. Thankfully, the lovely Heather and equally lovely Andi, have kept RIP alive again this year. And as usual I have made myself a pile of books far larger than I could read in two months time. Because while there are various Perils (levels) of participation that one can choose from when it comes to RIP, I prefer to go with what Kristen calls the “infinite peril” level, by which she means read as many RIP-appropriate books as possible during September and October.

Now, onto the lovely books:


*Books that are already underway: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (nonfiction/memoir), My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due (fiction), and From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (historical fiction graphic novel).


*Books I currently have checked out of the library:  The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer by Kate Summerscale (nonfiction impulse grab…was then happy to see it on Kristen’s pile because I love her taste in books!) and Zone One by Colson Whitehead (post-apocalyptic novel I’ve been wanting to read for years).


*A couple more nonfiction choices: The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale (a book I bought long ago thanks to Ana) and Pandemic by Sonia Shah (because I love reading about infectious disease and because I loved her book about malaria titled The Fever).


*A nice pile of mystery and/or suspense and/or thriller type books: See No Evil and Tell No Tales by Eleanor Taylor Bland (because she is one of my favorite comfort read authors), A.B.C. Murders and Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie (because it’s high time I read more of her work), Wolves of the Crescent Moon by Yousef Al-Mohaimeed, Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber, and Out by Natsuo Kirino (all because they just sound so damn good and have been sitting on my shelves unread for too long), and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris (because I want to read it before I watch the movie again).


*Of the more horror/supernatural variety: The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton, The Little Stranger by Sarah Watersand The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (because they all sound so atmospherically perfect for this time of year), Deathnote by Tsunami Ohba and Takeshi Obata (to have a little more comics choice, especially come Dewey’s Readathon next month), Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor (which sounds more sci-fi, but I’m hoping it’s dark and scary enough to qualify for RIP), White Tears by Hari Kunzru and The Girl With the Gifts M.R. Carey (because why haven’t I read them yet?!!) and Fledgling by Octavia Butler (because she has become one of my all-time favorite authors with Kindred and the Parable books, and I just *know* I’m going to love it!).


*And finally, some short stories: The Migration of Ghosts by Pauline Melville (I’ve no idea if this is even RIP-appropriate, but the title has me hoping), Black Juice by Margo Lanagan (because how have I never read any of her short stories), and Mojo: Conjure Stories edited by Nalo Hopkinson (which I read some of last year for RIP).

Well, that ought to keep me busy, huh? Along with all the scary/suspenseful/mysterious viewing I’m hoping to do. And of course, it really goes without saying that I feel no compunction whatsoever to stick to this list…


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 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 Renée 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…