As promised, back in action this May. I read a whole bunch. I "caught up" with my Goodreads Challenge and then some. And that's not even including all the rereads! I was the reread Queen this April and am still going strong-- I'm not going to blog about them, but I'm in the middle of rereading the Harry Potter series. I read most of the books each a couple times back in the day, but it's been at least since the summer of 2007 since I read any of them-- so that's a good 7 years ago. I forget if I wanted to wait 10 or what until I reread, but my husband and I have been watching the movies. I really felt a strong need to reread the books to "get straight" a lot of what the movie ruins/gets wrong. The deeper into the series I go, the more I notice the movie's lack of that UMPH that makes the books The Best. They really are so fucking good. But I digress. Back to what I read this month outside of being in the throes of the HP series as the month ends--
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
This is on the syllabus for the online class I designed and am teaching this summer. I had never read it before, but I was very glad I did. I feel also like I'd love to see it performed. I love that the Obamas went to see it during its most recent run in New York. So much of this play is still (sadly) relevant today, and even the less relevant points that it make are still historically important. I'm very glad to be teaching it, and I think that the students will get a lot out of it.
Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks
My mother-in-law handed off this novel to me, which I really couldn't put down. It was one of those engaging candy-like works of fiction, and it was even more intriguing that much of it was based on historical events, though the characters and their dramas were invented. I feel like I learned about an era (the Plague era in Britain) I didn't know much about and was riveted by the story as well. This by no means was Literary Fiction, but for what it was-- historical fiction-- it was very good. I feel like this would be a good book club book for people who want to analyze plots and characters to death. I mean that in a nice way.
Fancy Beasts by Alex Lemon
Picked this one up from Strand Books when I was in NYC for the GS StorySalm ThreePointOne. I had been reading Lemon's new book in City Lights when I was stranded in San Fran this past March, and though Strand didn't have a copy of The Wish Book in their now-expanded---though moved!-- poetry section, I was glad to see this one on the shelves and bought it. There was an Ariana Reines title I also wanted to buy, but I didn't want to carry it around with me all weekend, so I swore I would come back on Monday before I left if I had the chance, but I went home Sunday night. Alas. Anyway, I dog-earred a good number of these pages, a sign that I have thoroughly enjoyed a poetry book for sure.
Century Swept Brutal by Zach Savich
I review this book in the forthcoming Gigantic Sequins 5.2! This is a book you enjoy reading but then almost enjoy more thinking on after you're through reading it, somehow. I recommend it.
The Theory of Clouds by Stéphane Audeguy
For the other reading challenge I'm doing this year, I chose this book for the month of May, when the prompt was to read "a book from another country". The author is French, and a person whom I met when I worked at Strand bought me this title because I told him I didn't have time to have coffee with him outside of work. (Note: I probably wasn't lying; I was working there full time, going to NYU as a full-time grad student, and in the process of starting a lit journal... I digress--) This was a really weird book, and, as I said in my Goodreads review of it "I wasn't sure if there was something distinctly "French" about this book that made its narrative seem looping and odd or if I was projecting French-ness onto it because I didn't quite like/"get" where it was going most of the time."--so, I didn't NOT enjoy this book, but I don't know who I'd recommend it to or why. It was outside of the realm of what I normally would want a novel to consist of, but not in any avant-garde or interesting way.
Backup Singers by Sommer Browning
I reviewed this book, though the review has not yet been placed. I really absolutely 100% think that you should read this Birds LLC title. It's excellent. I hope my review gets picked up by someone so that you can read all about why I loved it so much.
Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog by Kitty Burns Florey
I am thinking of assigning this book alongside the regular textbook I have my American English Grammar class read next semester because it's a more light-hearted approach to the ideas of diagramming and its importance or unimportance and talks more about descriptive language from a grammarians point of view than the Vitto text I assign does. The more descriptive parts of the Vitto text somehow get a bit lost because of the highly prescriptive nature of the book's aims and content. I disagreed with some of the sentence diagrams in the book, but she knew better/whoever diagrammed for her knows better certain grammatical concepts than I-- elliptical clauses and correlative conjunctions are my diagramming kryptonite. I am glad I read this book, though, and recommend it for anyone who enjoys diagramming a sentence every now and again.