The Halfway Point…

Goodness me. July already. It’s true that time flies as you get older…

It’s been a hot summer here in West Texas, and I should really be used to this as I’ve lived here a very long time now. However, I always forget just how high the temps can get (and for so long). We’re got another four months of heat, so it’s all in the pacing… 🙂

So – we’re halfway through the calendar year, and what do I have to show for it, reading-wise?

45 books in total for a total of 12,990 pages:

  • 24 fiction
    • Includes short story collections, poetry, and a play
  • 19 non-fiction
    • I’ve been on quite a biographical kick – 7 this year

I’ve also been placing a much stronger focus on reading books by (or about, but preferably both) persons of color and other marginalized groups. So nearly 50 percent of my total reads have fit under that category, so I’m happy with that.

I’m definitely going to continue to have that focus for the remainder of the year until, hopefully, I get to the point where it’s not a conscious decision to go out and seek POC authors. I still have to research it quite a bit right now to find overlapping titles.

I have found that one title will lead to another one really nicely sometimes, and I’m breaking new ground with quite a few authors, POC and otherwise. So that’s been fun.

February was African-American History Month here in the U.S., and I found loads of great reading those weeks. I met some new POC authors, and got quite a few TBR off the shelves and out of the door (to make more for new titles, naturally!)

And I’ve tried to throw in a few classics in at the same time: Native Son (Wright) and Go Tell It on the Mountain (Baldwin) were two notable titles that I was happy to read and complete (even if I wasn’t 100% sure that I understand the narrative – Mr. Baldwin, I’m looking at you.)

My summer is going very well. I’ve just finished that last summer session class (which I really enjoyed), and then this week, I start teaching my own summer class. This goes on for about a month, and then I’m on holiday with my mum and sister up there in Canada, eh? (Sorry, Canadians. Couldn’t resist it. I’m interested to see if Canadians do really say that a lot. I blame it on Mike Myers, really.)

We come back from that and then I’m off to Mexico to sit by the sea and do not much, and then it’ll almost be back-to-school time.

With lots of reading, movies and puzzle times, along with mucking about and weeding in the garden (which I love doing), it’s been pretty relaxing.

(I usually find weeding quite a meditative sport to do when it’s not one thousand degrees outside. This is a good thing as plants/weeds grow like crazy in the summer months.)

 

How’s summer (or winter) in your own world?

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Endings – Leon Prochnik (1980)

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Subtitle: Deaths, Glorious and Otherwise, As Faced by Ten Outstanding Figures of Our Time.

This was from a random stalking of the non-fiction shelves at the library, and as I tend to be somewhat ghoulish and like to read about death and dying, I checked it out. I had no familiarity with either the title or the author, and although it’s not very common across the  interwebs when I searched, it was actually a pretty good read.

It does what it says on the tin, really – gives brief biographies of a few famous people and then details how they died. The author does seem to take some relish and glee in relating these tales (which I found to be entertaining as some of the deaths were a bit on the odd side), but it didn’t cross the line into disrespectful which I appreciated. The figures that were included in the book ranged from writers to dancers to political figures to military and came from quite a few countries, and not everyone was a suicide.

Dylan Thomas was there; Isadora Duncan was there; Benito Mussolini and Sigmund Freud, and Malcolm X. Also, interestingly enough, was Zelda Fitzgerald (which fits rather nicely into my current Fitzgerald craze at the moment). This was a fairly superficial introduction to these characters, and yet it was enough to trigger me into going and delving a bit deeper for a few of the figures. It’s a quick read of some very troubled people in a fairly non-judgmental way (although it’s clear that Prochnik enjoyed writing this!).

So, if you’re looking for a non-fiction read that’s a bit off the beaten path, you could try this one. Well written and just enough to give you a taste of who these fascinating people were.

Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald