Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on the 100 Best Novels goal, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

May News 

May, as always, proved to be a bit of a crazy month at our house. For whatever reason (jobs in higher education), we have chosen May for our big vacation every year we have been married. Somehow, between that and other things, May always ends up being a bit chaotic. This year, we headed to Michigan for the beautiful wedding of Kevin's sister. Then, two weeks later, we spent 5 days in Mexico City with some dear friends who are halfway through a two-year teaching gig down there. It was an amazing trip and so different than anything we had previously done together. Few things get to me in the same way international travel does. There's a whole world out there and I want to see it all - traffic, pollution, bottled drinking water, language barriers, and all.

In the midst of all the travel, I started my new jobs (retail and baby-sitting), gotten increasingly involved at our church, and officially accepted a teaching position at the local community college. I'll be teaching Critical Thinking to the impressionable minds of North Carolina community college students come the fall. This simultaneously feels like a small step and a huge one. Adding another teaching position to me resumé means so much to me and I am just thrilled to be taking on the challenge. At the same time, it seems like such a little thing in the face of the professional challenges yet ahead (more jobs needed, looking at doctoral programs, getting my thesis published).

Needless to say, May was crazy for us both (Kevin has his own list of things in which he has been involved). We are looking forward to at least a few weeks of more low key life. Although, as we are plunging ever deeper into the house hunt, I doubt this summer will be very quiet after all.

All of this has made keeping up with the blog hard. Where once I worked from home and had easy access to writing posts or reading during small breaks, now I actually get up, get dressed, and leave the house most days. It's a big switch. One I am not ungrateful, but to which I am very slowly adjusting. As I said to Kevin, I have not had a traditional job in 9 months...there is a reason I am so very tired at the end of each day. When once I was months ahead in post-writing, now I find myself scrapping things together the night before way more often. I know the quality of writing here has suffered because of that, and it is something I want to change. I have recently reread some of the older posts of which I am most proud and been reminded that, for now, this place is my writing outlet. I want it to be good. So, in the midst of everything, I am going to try and focus on better writing and better reflections, not just churning something out because I read the book. You may not ever notice a difference, but I hope you do.

Books Reviewed

  1. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
  2. The Residence - Kate Andersen Brower
  3. Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
  4. A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh
  5. The Jesus Cow - Michael Perry
  6. The Royal We - Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
  7. The Dismantling - Brian DeLeeuw
  8. Delancey - Molly Wizenberg
  9. The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
  10. Enchanted - Althea Kontis

Books Read

  1. Boy, Snow, Bird - Helen Oyeyemi
  2. The Royal We - Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
  3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling
  4. The Romanov Sisters - Helen Rappaport
  5. Texts From Jane Eyre - Mallory Ortberg
  6. The Jesus Cow - Michael Perry
  7. The Wings of the Dove - Henry James
  8. Searching for Sunday - Rachel Held Evans
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
  10. The Secret Rooms - Catherine Bailey
  11. The Great Zoo of China - Matthew Reilly
Pages Read: 4,410

Favorite Book Read: There were two books I loved this month for incredibly different reasons, so I am citing them both as my favorite. After all - this is my blog; I make the rules. First, Rachel Held Evans's latest book, Searching for Sunday, rocked my world. SO good and hit me right where I am at in so many ways. Cannot wait to tell you more about it soon. On the total opposite end of the spectrum, The Royal We absolutely delighted me. Go read my post about it and then go pick up a copy for yourself to read poolside this summer.

100 Best Novels Progress

  • The Wings of the Dove
  • 41% complete

2015 TBR Pile Challenge Progress

I did not finish any books from the challenge, although I made considerable headway in Blindness. I also officially gave up on NW. It just was not appealing to me; I will officially be reading one of the alternates now. 


Now this is my kind of princess.

I love reading Sophisticated Dorkiness. Kim had a great list of recommendations and I added most of them to my TBR.

46 of the Most Beautiful Sentences in YA Literature

Reddit's selections of the Most Beautiful Literary Passages

Anyone else getting excited about all the To Set A Watchman buzz?
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Thanks for reading! Now get out of here, grab a book, and go enjoy the sunshine!

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