What I'm Reading; May 2019

May could be the month I take a pledge to stop getting more books. For a while, anyway. The TBR list just keeps getting longer. I get more than I read each month. Add in the fact that a couple of sequels have shown up and I need to reread the first books in the series to re-engage, and the backlog will easily take me through the summer. What a wonderful problem!

In looking at just how many books I purchased in the last 12 months because it's sooooo easy, I also decided I am long overdue in getting my King County library card so I can check out ones I don't really need to own.

And now for the May list, with thanks to these fine authors for their talents--
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, by Julie C. Dao (@jules_writes): Started in April, finished in May. As I wrote last month -- How to describe this?? Beautiful, for starters. You can detect a strand of a certain European fairy tale or two but I'm not going to give it away -- better to let the realization creep up on you. You will long for Xifeng to make good decisions. This is a massive book and I didn't finish it in April, but before I was finished I got the sequel Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix and preordered the third, Song of the Crimson Flower.
  • Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, by Julie C. Dao: Yep, started, lived in, and finished this wonderful second book. New main character who has to learn, grow, make difficult decisions.
  • One Word Kill, by Mark Lawrence (@Mark__Lawrence). Teenage boy in England finds out he has leukemia, starts chemo, then his time-traveling future self shows up. I was never a Dungeons and Dragons player, but between this and Stranger Things I'm kind of sorry about that. Looking forward to the other two in this trilogy. 
  • The Fever King, by Victoria Lee (@SoSaidVictoria). Dystopian future with the United States broken apart into small countries due to a virus that gives you magic powers -- if it doesn't kill you. Main character is a bisexual Jewish boy from the part of the country that's regarded as inferior. Themes of hatred of the other, discrimination against refugees, and coming of age. Another of the many young-adult fantasy books I've read and enjoyed over the past few years. Looking forward to the sequels to this one too.
    Stack of books with Kindle leaning up against the right side of the stack, red candle on tall candle holder in background. Book titles mostly about bicycling.This month's additions to TBR, with notes on how I found the book. This month's list includes a stash of physical books from my headboard that I realized I hadn't captured earlier. Most of those are the result of an impulse buy on a vacation or a bike-ride date to nearby downtown Burien. Even with all my Kindle reading I love bookstores so much. A town without a bookstore isn't a town worth visiting.
    • Here and Now and Then, by Mike Chen (@MikeChenWriter): Found this as a deal thanks to following SF Signal on Twitter. Description got me: A time-travel paradox in which a man has to choose between two families in different timelines. If it's as much of a heartbreaker as The Time Traveler's Wife, which continues to haunt me many years after reading it, I'm going to love-hate it.
    • Where the Forest Meets the Stars, by Glendy Vanderah: Available right now on Kindle Unlimited. Sounds like another heartbreaker with a lost child at the center of the story. I don't think I'll read it back to back with Here and Now and Then.
    • Followed by Frost, by Charlie N. Holmberg (@CNHolmberg): Circling back to pick up this 2015 work by an author whose other books I've enjoyed: her Paper Magician series and the more recent one that started with Smoke and Summons.
    • The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden (@Arden_Katherine): Sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale, which I loved. I don't know Russian fairy tales well enough to know how much it echoes and how much it departs from source material. Didn't matter. Great choice for those who love Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik as much as I do.
    • Buffalo Gals and Other Animal Presences, by Ursula K. LeGuin: LeGuin has long been one of my favorite authors. Reading short-story collections by T. Kingfisher reminded me of this book, as I wrote about in my March reading post. I was lucky enough to find a copy of a real, actual book online.
    • How to Eat, by Thich Nhat Hanh, from his Mindfulness Essential series: A souvenir of a bookstore stop while at a conference -- I think possibly this is from DC while I was there for the gigantic Transportation Research Board annual meeting. Over the years I've owned and read many books on Buddhism and mindfulness meditation, including some of his. The deceptively simple precepts help me slow down and pay attention.
    • The Bicycle Effect: Cycling as Meditation, by Juan Carlos Kreimer: Picked this one up on vacation somewhere -- maybe on our 2018 bike tour. It reminds me of the blog posts on bicycling meditation by Seattle riding writer Claire Petersky, which I discovered online before I moved to Seattle and headed a bike nonprofit, which then gave me the opportunity to meet Claire through a nonprofit executive directors' group when we both arrived on our bicycles at the same time.
    • Einstein & the Art of Mindful Cycling: Achieving Balance in the Modern World, by Ben Irvine (@BenIrvineAuthor): Definitely picked this up on that bike tour. I remember going to the bookstore on Lopez Island, correctly answering their trivia contest with a quotation source (A Wrinkle in Time), and getting some coffee next door.
    • Bicycle/Race: Transportation, Culture, & Resistance, by Adonia Lugo (@UrbanAdonia): Long overdue to read this one ordered from friends at Microcosm Publishing, who put out a lot of great books and zines on bicycling (disclaimer: I've written pieces that were published in a couple of the zines; this link to Microcosm isn't an affiliate link). I'm privileged to know Dr. Lugo and appreciate her insights into the intersections of culture, bicycling, identity, and politics.
    • The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs, by Tristan Gooley (@NaturalNav): This is one of those book purchases reflecting "the kind of person I once was and kind of think I might want to be again, if I ever get around to it." As a kid I had books that showed me animal tracks, plant identification and more. I'd drag my little sister and the babysitter out to marvel at worm castings and what I fervently believed were the entrances to burrows dug by fascinating animals resembling those from The Wind in the Willows. It's also a book purchase reflecting my darker dystopian thoughts, sparked in part by current events and in part by decades of reading science fiction -- it's a real book that won't require batteries so I can still access the information if the grid goes down, and it's on a topic I would need at that point.
    For a list of what's already waiting patiently on my Kindle, check out What I'm Reading Eventually, which was as of the end of February, and each month's post with what I added that month. I'll post another "eventually" list in a while to keep track as I read and add new books.

    The importance of online reviews for the author: The numbers matter as much as the content of your review so don't stress out over your writing ability -- just praise what you like about theirs.

    A note on local economies and these links: You should shop at a local, independently owned bookstore. Or check these out through your local library -- did you know they can do that with e-books too, if that's how you read? Links on this page are Amazon Affiliate links unless otherwise noted. I've never made a penny from Amazon but these links give you access to more information and reader reviews. If I ever do make anything I'll donate it to a local nonprofit that helps people who need it most.

    Writers on Twitter: I have a Writers list on Twitter. It isn't everyone I read/enjoy but it's a good starting place if you find your tastes and mine overlap. I so appreciate the chances I get to interact with people directly to tell them I enjoy their work.
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