2015 reading challenge: May report

April showers bring May books? Sounds good to me. Here are the categories I completed this month.

A book with a one-word title:
The Unspeakable by Meghan Daum. Grade: A

A book that takes place in your hometown:
Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot. Grade: C

A book by a female author:
How to Be Both by Ali Smith. Grade: B

A trilogy:
Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold. Grade: B

A book based on or turned into a TV show:
So, Anyway by John Cleese. Grade: C
[A bit of a cheat, yes, since this is a biography about Cleese and his creative life, including writing for and acting in TV shows, including Monty Python’s Flying Circus.]

A book that scares you:
Trigger Warnings by Neil Gaiman. Grade: B

A book that became a movie:
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden. Grade: A
[Again a bit of a cheat, since it’s about the filming of The Princess Bride and not the book The Princess Bride itself, but I make my own rules!]

A book written by someone under 30:
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe. Grade: B
Sneaking in under the wire, here, as Munroe’s Wikipedia page indicates he was born in October 1984 and this book was published in September 2014.

A book you own but have never read:
An Atomic Romance by Bobbie Ann Mason. Grade: C

Months completed: 5 of 12 (42%)
Challenges completed: 33 of 50 (66%)

I’m tantalizingly close to being done, as you can see, which has got me wondering if I put my head down and read like crazy I could get done in June, and thus complete the whole year-long challenge in six months. We’ll see – one of the categories I haven’t yet completed is “a book with more than 500 pages”…

2015 reading challenge: April report

I’ll preface this month with one book that’s not on the list, because I didn’t finish it: Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel, The Buried Giant. I like a bit of literary fiction on occasion but this was just a slog. I got about a third of the way through and realized I didn’t care about the characters, I wasn’t engaged with the plot, and whatever allegory he was trying to construct seemed more obvious than the one-liners in Furious 7. So I stopped. Next!

Fourth month for the Popsugar reading challenge.

Here are the categories I completed in April:

A book a friend recommended:
Start with Why by Simon Sinek. Grade: B

A book with a number in the title:
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Grade: A

A book set in the future:
Obsession in Death by J.D. Robb. Grade: B

A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet:
Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs. Grade: B

A book with antonyms in the title:
Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain. Grade: B

A book set in another country:
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick. Grade: A

A popular author’s first book:
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold. Grade: B

A funny book:
Mark Cooper Versus America by Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock. Grade: A

A book more than 100 years old:
Gilgamesh translated by Stephen Mitchell. Grade: A
(Figured if I was going to read something old, I’d go for really old – in fact, the oldest written fiction that exists in the world, from what I understand. This new translation is well done and compelling.)

A book at the bottom of your to-read list:
Every Idea is a Good Idea by Tom Sturges. Grade: B

I don’t think I read more books than usual this month; it’s just that most of them managed to fit in one of the challenge categories. Ten categories down this month!

Months completed: 4 of 12 (30%)
Challenges completed: 24 of 50 (48%)

Spinning some textile history

Did you know that the Venus de Milo, famously arm-less these days, was probably positioned the way she is because she was spinning thread? Scholars believe that she was spinning with her right hand and holding a distaff (with fibers ready to be added to the yarn) upheld in her left. Apparently the Greek manner of hand spinning didn’t usually include a spindle and just used the fingers to twist the thread. Now that would give you great finger strength if you did it all day long; I bet you’d never have to ask your husband to open the pickle jar for you!

Found this fun fact in a book called Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. I’d recommend it if you’re into the history of textiles, particularly in ancient times. It’s very readable and engaging.

Speaking of books on the history of textiles and clothing, I recently reviewed Textiles: The Whole Story, by Beverly Gordon, for examiner.com. It’s a beautiful book, with amazing pictures of textiles from across the world and many historic periods, and an absorbing text. I would recommend both books for anyone who is interested in where our cloth and our clothes came from.

[This post includes affiliate links.]