It was not the garden I disappeared into last night, Bookman and I had an evening out! We saw Move Live on Tour, a ballroom and contemporary dance performance/concert starring brother and sister Derek and Julianne Hough. It was sold out and even though we bought tickets the afternoon they went on sale, our seats were in the middle of the very last row, so high up we were looking down on the stage. It was still lots of fun though and the dancing was amazing. But you aren’t here to read about that so let’s talk books!

Can you believe it is July already? We are over halfway through the year. It feels like I have read hardly anything but I know that is not true. In spite of all the time spent in the garden in June, reading went fairly well. I am about to begin chapter seven of Founding Gardeners. I am enjoying the book very much and it is hard to not rush right through it. It is such a fascinating way to look at history, I never imagined how much a person’s theory about gardening and agriculture could affect one’s politics but there it is at the very beginning of the United States. Actually, when I think about it I am surprised that I am surprised because my gardening practices and political views are indeed linked. I, however, am not founding a country so haven’t spent much time thinking about the broader picture like Washington and Jefferson did.

I didn’t get far in But What by Judith Herzberg in June. Reading Antigone Poems through a couple times put a damper on reading other poetry. But Herzberg will get attention in July for sure.

I had also planned on reading Euripides’ play Medea in June but that didn’t happen either. I got sidetracked by a few books I’d been waiting for in the library hold queue coming in and demanding my attention. July might not be any less crowded with must read library books, but I will certainly try to keep Medea in view.

One of those have to read books is My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard. It gets off to a great start and then gets a bit boggy in the middle before it begins to pick up again. Just at that point I had to return it to the library because I was out of time! The book is much longer than I expected. But I immediately requested another copy and with luck I should have it again next week after only a two week break.

Another of the have to read library books that arrived last week is The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison. It is an essay collection that actually made it onto the bestseller lists for a few weeks. It is also published by Graywolf Press, a local independent publisher. It is a series of essays that explore the concept of empathy. I have read the first one and, wow, was it ever good. I have high expectations for the rest of the book.

About a week and a half ago I also started reading Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. This is only the second Mieville book I have read and I am enjoying it quite a lot, which means I will have to gradually work my way through reading all of his books. One of the things I really enjoy is that he just starts telling the story without a huge world-building info-dump. You are suddenly in this very alien world with all sorts of real alien beings and you just have to go with it and trust the author won’t let you down. And he doesn’t let you down. Eventually all begins to make sense and the more sense it makes the weirder it is which is interesting and exciting as the story veers into unforeseen directions.

I am expecting another have to read library book in the next few days, Gathering Moss: a Natural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer. I read and loved her book Braiding Sweetgrass earlier this year. I have been waiting patiently for Gathering Moss since April. Who would have thought a book about moss would be so popular? But there you go.

And if I can manage it, I hope to get to a book from my own shelves that I have meant to read for ages: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. I was inspired to finally pick it up after Whispering Gums wrote a wonderful blog post on Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, a book I have read a very long time ago. I almost tossed over Stegner for Woolf, but Woolf will wait patiently until August.

So there is July. And no doubt there will be a few unplanned books that make their way in but that is all part of the fun.

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