sunday salon: currently / june recap / summer reading update

The Sunday Salon

Quite the week we’ve had ourselves here. I was, as you might imagine, thrilled to see the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States. (Not to mention the decision the day before for healthcare.)  Along with the joyful celebrations, I’m also thrilled to see that almost every one of my bookish newsfeeds today are filled with recommendations and lists of LGBTQIA books, which readers of this blog know is already one of my preferred literary genres.

In my opinion, YA (young adult) fiction is where the best LGBTQIA writing is happening. Not that there isn’t great stuff happening in other categories, but books for teens are making me so hopeful for this generation. My newest favorite book in this category is None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio, which I reviewed here.

And speaking of reviews, Cleaver Magazine published this review of mine. Have any of you read The Travels of Daniel Ascher? It’s a odd little book with a reflective message.  I liked this one better than some others translated from the French (still shuddering after The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which I could not stand.)

Like the rollercoaster that life is, it has also been a sad week on the personal front. With the confirmation that my friend Ryan is truly gone, we’ll say goodbye to him tomorrow. What he gave to many people as a writer (both as an author and as a peer) will be remembered forever – and he’s brought at least two new friendships into my life. Thanks to all for your kind words on the posts about him.

Decluttering

Yesterday was a stormy, rainy day here in Pittsburgh, perfect for continuing the much-needed decluttering around the house. We focused on the basement family room because my girl has been asking for a bookshelf in her room and I made the difficult decision to give up one of mine. Of course, that meant relocating the books that were on that shelf. The reorganizing of them isn’t ideal (nor fully complete) but it will do for now. Our basement is finished (a requirement that we had when buying this house) and this particular area has a built-in bookshelf along with five additional shelves of varying sizes, as well as a couch, table, and fireplace. It’s also where I have my scrapbooking table/ desk.

All this sounds cozy, but it is a disaster. We don’t use this part of the house much because it tends to be really, really cold. It’s turned into a glorified storage space and I’m determined to get rid of all the crap. Yesterday was a good first step, but it proved that I still have too many books. I donated five to the library last week and there’s another pile ready to go tomorrow. But I really need to make a concerted effort to read what’s on my shelves. I’m going to try for at least one per month, which I realize won’t even make a dent. It’s crazy.

(I’d take some photos of all this, but my mother would be mortified.)

June Reading

This month is ending with my having read five (so far) excellent books:

Whatever ...Love Is LoveOne Thing StolenTampaWildNone of the Above

Whatever … Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves, by Maria Bello
One Thing Stolen, by Beth Kephart
Tampa, by Alissa Nutting (yep, I know what you’re thinking about that book cover; it’s a buttonhole, but it is meant to look exactly what it looks like)
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed
None of the Above, by I.W. Gregorio

Dear ThiefI won’t finish it tonight (“House of Cards” on my headphones are in my very near future because a neighbor TWO SINGLE FAMILY HOMES down the street is “practicing” the drums and unfortunately not getting any better) but most likely there will be a sixth book in June. I haven’t seen Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey much on the book blogs (it was longlisted for the  2015 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, which was how I learned about it). This took a little while to get into, but damn, this is one fascinating novel. It’s a letter written by an unnamed narrator to a woman named Nina who has not been in the letter writer’s life for some time but who has resurfaced.

There’s definitely some heavy-duty history here between these two; at page 117 (of 256) we’re getting that background as Samantha Harvey gives it to us in small vignette type details. I think I have an idea of how they’re connected and their relationship to each other. Regardless, Samantha Harvey sure as hell knows how to develop a character; this Nina person is so mysterious and such an enigma that it is really hard to believe that she is not a real person. The writing is fantastic in this one. So compelling, so hard to put down.

 

OK, enough of this post. Time to get my politics on my second current favorite POTUS.

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