Guess who’s back to the land of the living?!?
It is practically impossible for me to relate the level of tired I have been for the last few months. Those of you who are teachers with kids of your own will understand. But as of today we only have two days left of school and I couldn’t be more ready for summer.
May was probably the most jam-packed it’s ever been, but June is looking wide open and I’m looking forward to getting back to a regular blogging schedule.
So to kick us off into the carefree months of summer, I’m writing today about what I’ve been into and up to for the past 31 days. As always, I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. Click on over and see what other bloggers are up to these days.
What I Read:
I’m actually quite shocked at this list of books. It looks impressive, but let me just acknowledge up front: most of these were audio format. And that just goes to show you how much of my time was spent driving!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Somewhere I saw a reviewer refer to this as the “Black Lives Matter” novel. It’s fantastic. A must-read, especially for white people who want more insight into what everyday life is like for our friends of color. Eye-opening and oh-so-timely. 4/5 stars
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
This one’s a dark – almost unbelievably so – novel about the most dysfunctional family ever. A highly readable page-turner, but my only complaint was that too much was revealed too soon. 3/5 stars
Secrets from the Eating Lab by Traci Mann
Oooh, this was good! It’s an expose of the weight-loss industry based on scientific evidence that diets simply don’t work. This book made me completely rethink how I’ve been addressing my health and my weight. Lots to ruminate over in this one! 4/5 stars
Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott
Anne does it again. She makes me laugh and want to cry all at the same time. I so wish I could see the world – and write about it – the way Anne does. This one’s all about mercy and it’s fantastic. 5/5 stars
1984 by George Orwell
I can’t remember if I read this in high school or not, but I was IN high school in 1984 and the year was nothing like this book. Still, Orwell’s classic has experienced an increase in popularity of late, due to current events in our nation. And yes, parts of it were strangely prophetic. Honestly, though? After nodding my head at the initial premise, I found the last 2/3 of the novel boring. 3/5 stars
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
This is Kinsella’s latest and it is a delightful read. Light-hearted, highly relatable chick lit – with a bite to it. I love to listen to Kinsella’s novels in audible format, because British narrators are my favorite. 4/5 stars
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
This suspense novel is a clever endeavor, but I found it far-fetched in places and a little too slow for my liking. The characters weren’t likable or fleshed out enough and the plot just didn’t keep me very interested. 3/5 stars
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Another Audible pick for me (British narrator, woohoo!!). I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. It started out with a Britt-Marie Was Here vibe, but quickly became deep with some dark corners to explore. Eleanor is a cranky, odd individual, but by the end, I was completely smitten with her. You will be, too. A fantastic summer read. 4/5 stars
Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
Page. Turner. I devoured this over Memorial Day weekend, mainly because I finally had time to sit and read and was rested enough that I didn’t fall asleep! This one’s sort of a romance/mystery mash-up (think Liane Moriarty) and I enjoyed it thoroughly. This would be a great beach read! Plot-driven, twisty, and lots of suspense! 4/5 stars
My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith
A total change of gears, this is a delightfully different novel. It’s my second book by this author, and I think I’ve now got a grip on his writing style. It’s sort of a lazy meandering through the lives of different characters and their often comical adventures. The down side? It’s hard to get into the book in the beginning. The up side? Absolute literary refreshment, like a long, slow walk through the hillsides of Tuscany. Or maybe a slow bulldozer drive. 4/5 stars
American War by Omar El Akkad
A post-apocalyptic novel set in the not too distant future in which America has entered another civil war, this time over the issue of climate change and fossil fuels. I liked this but I didn’t love it. The writing was solid and the characters terrifyingly real. Similar to Underground Airlines, and eerily believable. 3/5 stars
What I Watched:
Season 6 of Call the Midwife was probably the best yet. This show just keeps getting better. If you haven’t watched it yet, you’re missing out. A true gem in the midst of all the junk out there.
The other series that has me glued to the TV is The Handmaid’s Tale. Of course, I’ve been recommending the book for years — years, I tell you. It’s one of my favorite novels ever and so creepy. The TV series is taking lots of liberties with the book in order to provide more background and — I’m assuming — to turn it into a miniseries rather than just a movie. But Margaret Atwood gives it her blessing (and even makes a cameo appearance) so I’m totally okay with it. Those of you who haven’t read the book yet, you totally should. Oh, and this one is definitely for mature audiences only. Some of the scenes have made me blush.
I haven’t spent much time online lately, but I did run across this article and I wanted to jump up and down when I read it. I’ve been a huge supporter of public schools all my life, but being a part of the evangelical Christian culture for so many years, I was surrounded by the whirlwind of all things “private” and “homeschool.” I recently abandoned a book like a hot potato because the author pretentiously stated that Christians had an obligation to pull their kids out of public schools because public education was no longer a “Christian” option.
I couldn’t disagree more. I get so tired of being looked at with pity and thinly disguised disdain because I send my kids to public school. And not just any public schools, but schools in a highly diverse district.
For the record, we don’t send our kids to public schools because we have no other choice. We deliberately chose to live where we live, in the city and school district we live, because of its diversity and because of the public schools.
I’ve never been able to appropriately put my feelings about public education into words — so I’m thrilled that D.L. Mayfield was able to write down what I’ve been thinking all these years.
Please. Read it.
The Most Common Good: Some Thoughts on School Choice by D.L. Mayfield
Aaaand. . . that’s all she wrote for May. What about you? What have you been into and up to lately? I’d love to hear from you!!!