May Reads (2020 Edition)

estimated 6 min read

First things first: Black lives matter. Read. Read widely. Then read more. I found How to be an Antiracist (library availability) as well as Me and White Supremacy (library availability) to be two good places to start learning. I’m reading The Torture Letters (library availability) to better understand how we arrived at current events. If you’re looking for a good place to purchase books, this is a good list of black-owned bookstores.

May already feels years ago. I didn’t read very much or very widely. I’m reading the holds I can get filled (yay ebooks!) and working my way through my semi-annual reread of Lackey’s Vegarth/Valdemar series.

May 2020’s Reading List

  1. Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey
  2. The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai
  3. Fixing Your Feet: Injury Prevention and Treatments for Athletes by John Vonhof
  4. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett
  5. Romancing the Inventor (Supernatural Society #1) by Gail Carriger]
  6. Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar, #1) by Mercedes Lackey
  7. Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell)
  8. I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider
  9. Arrow’s Flight (Heralds of Valdemar, #2) by Mercedes Lackey
  10. Arrow’s Fall (Heralds of Valdemar, #3) by Mercedes Lackey
  11. The Black Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars #1) by Mercedes Lackey
  12. The Year 1000: When Explorers Connected the World—and Globalization Began ★ by Valerie Hansen
  13. The White Gryphon (Valdemar: Mage Wars #2) by Mercedes Lackey
  14. Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars ★ by Francesca Wade
  15. Botanical Art Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide to Watercolor, Graphite, Colored Pencil, Vellum, Pen and Ink, Egg Tempera, Oils, Printmaking, and More ★ by American Society of Botanical Artists
  16. A ★ indicates I received the title through Netgalley, the FTC wants you to know.
Book covers for titles read in May 2020

Recommendations

NetGalley Reviews

  • Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars
    by Francesca Wade
    Mecklenburgh Square, on the outskirts of Bloomsbury, was home to five remarkable writers between the world wars. (All the moreso because of their gender.) Francesca Wade’s meticulous research and writing explains how their time residing there shaped each of them. Read the entire review at Netgalley.
  • Botanical Art Techniques: A Comprehensive Guide to Watercolor, Graphite, Colored Pencil, Vellum, Pen and Ink, Egg Tempera, Oils, Printmaking, and More
    by American Society of Botanical Artists
    This volume is, as its title implies, a comprehensive guide to botanical art techniques. The tutorials include details about the teaching artist, examples of their art, and detailed step-by-step photo tutorials explaining each skill. It is a book that is thorough in its crash course of Botanical Arts. This book includes introductory skills through advanced techniques. The combination creates essential reading for a new artist. It also results in a useful reference and refresher for those looking to improve or add proficiency. Read the entire review at Netgalley.

Non Fiction

  • Fixing Your Feet: Injury Prevention and Treatments for Athletes by John Vonhof
    When I began running as a teen, calluses were seen as good. We didn’t think too much about wet feet. My blister management was a safety pin from my uniform and maybe some athletic tape (not the new kind for taping muscles, the white stuff for wrapping bandages). I found this to be an informative guide to advances in preventing blisters and how to otherwise be kind to your feet. This newest edition (the 6th) includes lots of web references too. I recommend it for everyone.
  • I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider
    Yes. It’s true. I will judge you. I love trying to figure out what’s on everyone’s bookshelves when they’re interviewed under shelter-in-place. This is a fun collection of Snider’s comics all related to reading.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

  • The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai
    I found the story challenging to get into as the storytelling was a bit unconventional. I felt dropped in the middle and it took a while to figure out where I was and what was going on. And suddenly about half-way through it all fit together. It’s definitely worth continuing through to the end. That said, reading it during this current global health crisis lead to some almost nightmares as news and the story mixed as I fell asleep, but overall I enjoyed it. I don’t recommend reading it during a health pandemic but it’s worth it. It’s the winner of the 2019 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction.
  • Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (translated by Megan McDowell)
    Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve read something that has both been incredibly plausible and filled me with abject horror as Little Eyes. I hope one day my Spanish will be adequate to read this in the original. I honestly think this book has scared me more than most of what I’ve read this year (and that includes current events in the news paper). It’s longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize.
  • Mage Wars Series by Mercedes Lackey
    I read this series for the first time in early 2006, and what I’ve found most interesting has changed over time. I haven’t yet finished my reread of Silver Gryphon, but I have found myself focusing on different things. It makes sense. Each time I read these books I’m a different person with new experiences to bring to the story. I love that I feel comfortable with the characters and I’m always curious what secrets they’ll reveal to me this time. Amberdrake, Skan, and of course Mage Urtho fascinate me and how they react to the events in which they’re placed, however I was more focused on Winterheart, the Lady Cinnabar, and Zaneel. I’m also curious about the hertasi. It’s difficult for me to not jump from Black Gryphon to the other stories that include them. I know I’ll get to those books soon enough.
  • Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey
    This is the first of the Valdemar full-length novels Lackey published. I enjoy this one for reasons I’ve never been able to this triology as we watch Talia over a longer period of time, from being chosen through her first years as a full Herald. I wish I’d read this in the first years after it was published and wonder if it would have helped me then as it has over the past 15 years.
    If you’re curious should you read these books chronologically or in published order by series, I think the first read is most rewarding when enjoyed chronologically. Then choose how you wish to proceed for rereading.

Next reads

I’m still chipping away at my Netgalley list. I’m looking forward to reading one of these debut novels and finish The Torture Letters as well as some of the books on this list. Since it’s Pride month, I hope to read one of these books.

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