Reading Themes Update: July, August, September

Gate, Dolphins, Stitches, Museum, Crosstalk, Irresistible, Oubliette, Kaleidoscope. What do all these books have in common? I read them for the July reading theme of one-word titles—5 were poetry, 2 nonfiction, 1 fiction.

My favorite of the bunch was Stitches, by Anne Lamott. She always kicks me in the pants and gives me a wake-up call or two. Irresistible (The Rise of Addictive Technology), by Adam Alter was a close runner-up. A bit more focused on video games and gaming than I’m interested in, I still pulled a few things out of it and it’s well-referenced (rare).

August’s theme is music. Here are the books I’ve read or have in progress:

  • The Singer’s Gun, Emily St. John Mandel
  • Hallelujah Anyway, Anne Lamott
  • Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz, Edward B. Burger & Michael Starbird
  • The Singing, C.K. Williams
  • Salute—to Singing, Aygi Gennady
  • Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, Richard Terrill
  • Lullaby for One Fist, Andrea Werblin

It’s a fun theme that got thrown off a bit by travel at the beginning of the month. Only 8 more days in August, with all these potential musical experiences awaiting me: a trumpet, chime, orchestra, cantata, sonata, ballad, Dvorak, even Grace Notes and Blues Lessons. (I also have Whistling in the Dark, but I thought that might be stretching music a bit much.)

The upcoming theme (September) is animals. This could be a wild ride. Just in poetry I have dog, horse, lion, tiger, snake, butterfly, bee, maggot, slug, box elder bug, Hoodlum Birds, kingfisher, cardinal, and Phoenix. Also fauna and animals (3).

While poetry has a fun span in the animal kingdom, there are also several fiction and nonfiction books that have jumped to the top of my August reading pile:

  • Come, Thou Tortoise, Jessica Grant (2011)*
  • Mr. Fox, Helen Oyeyemi (2012)
  • The Guest Cat, Takashi Hiraide (2015)
  • A Little Yellow Dog, Walter Mosley (not marked)
  • Scratching the Woodchuck, David Kline (2010)
  • Black Elk Speaks, John Neihardt (1989)
  • Animal, Mineral, Radical, B.K. Loren (2013)

*Note: Dates in parentheses above are the dates I purchased the book, not dates of publication. Occasionally I forget to mark a book. See comments below.

The monthly reading theme is a fun way to play with books (and if you happen to be one of those people who have many bookcases filled with books patiently waiting to be read, it’s a way to look at those forgotten books in a new way). I’d already picked the books to highlight here before I took this unintended side road of talking up the fun sides of the reading theme.

The most recent book was purchased 3 years ago. Not bad. In the old days, I mostly read what I had just bought, and if you buy more than you can read (which I did then on a regular basis, and thank god because it’s my retirement reading library), the “old” books pile up pretty quickly. I’m finally starting to make a dent in that backlog.

It has been a hot and humid summer here in Minnesota. Cool weather is on the way, and I am looking forward to it.

Happy reading!

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