What I Read – May 2019


Carry MePeter Behrens (Anansi, 2016)

Boys: What It Means to Become a Man – Rachel Giese (Patrick Crean Editions, 2018)

Crow – Amy Spurway (Goose Lane, 2019)

Celebration of Discipline – Richard J. Foster (HarperOne, 2018)

Chop Suey Nation – Ann Hui (Douglas & McIntyre, 2019)

A Prayer Journal – Flannery O’Connor (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground – Alicia Elliott (Doubleday Canada, 2019)

Dear Current Occupant – Chelene Knight (Book*hug, 2018)

Death is Hard Work – Khaled Khalifa (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019) (translated from the Arabic by Leri Price)

Voice: On Writing with Deafness – Adam Pottle (University of Regina Press, 2019)

Moccasin Square Gardens – Richard van Camp (Douglas & McIntyre, 2019)

Dual Citizens – Alix Ohlin (House of Anansi, 2019)

One Night at the Lake – Bethany Chase (Ballantine Books, 2019)

The Winter of our Discontent – John Steinbeck (The Viking Press, 1961)

All Things Consoled – Elizabeth Hay (McClelland & Stewart, 2018)

Did Not Finish:

Roar – Cecilia Ahern

There’s nothing really wrong with this short story collection but by the time I’d read about five of them I felt like I’d read them all. There are 40 short stories here and I think I read ten in total and they’re all very, very similar. Each has a main character referred to as “the woman” and each has a slightly fantastical element that represents female freedom or a woman spreading her wings and asserting her independence for the first time. (In one, the woman quite literally grows wings and flies away.) Don’t get me wrong, I think of myself as a feminist but it wasn’t clear to me what this book is adding to the feminist discourse. The moral in each one is so painfully obvious, they read more like old-fashioned morality tales than modern feminist fairy tales, which, I think, is what Ahern wants them to be. Did not finish.

Currently Reading:

Jesus the King – Timothy Keller

Positive Discipline – Jane Nelsen

2019 Reading Goals:

Books Read: 53/100

Books Reviewed: 42/50

Writers Fest Challenge: 8/21 books

Alicia Elliott, Rachel Giese, Ann Hui, Chelene Knight, Adam Pottle, Richard Van Camp, Elizabeth Hay, and Lindsay Wong have all been crossed off. I’m a third of the way there!

(I’m not currently counting the books from Writers Fest authors that I’ve read previously. My goal is to read each of the 21 authors’ most recent books since that is what will be the focus at the Festival. That said, I am leaving the authors I’ve already read for last so that I can cover all my bases. Except for Richard Van Camp because I wanted to read his book anyway.)


I’m over halfway to my 2019 Reading Goal! I was hoping I might hit it before June but didn’t want to get overly optimistic.

My self-imposed Writers Fest Challenge has definitely pushed my reading this month. Having 21 books to read in 3 months isn’t a crazy amount but it has made me more focused. That and the fact that most of this month’s books were from the library and so I knew I had a limited time in which to finish them! The Writers Fest Challenge has also meant that I’ve read more non-fiction this month than is normal for me. So far I am really enjoying being pushed outside of my regular choices and hearing voices I might not have been drawn to on my own.

This month’s highlights: Carry Me, Crow, Chop Suey Nation, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, Dear Current Occupant, and Moccasin Square Gardens.

Next Month’s Reads:

For the Writer’s Fest Challenge: Honestly, I’m waiting on about 10 titles from our library holds. So whatever comes in next.

ARCs: I do try and read any Advance Reader Copies I get before their official release dates so I have two to get through in June: Supper Club by Lara Williams and Say Say Say by Lila Savage. Anyone heard anything good about either one?

Christian reading: I always try to have one Christian thought/theology book on the go, usually my pre-bed reading. These aren’t generally quick reads for me so I’m not sure if I’ll finish the Timothy Keller book I’m currently reading in the next month but if I do I just purchased a copy of Women & God by Kathleen Nielson so that will be my next theological type read.

Miscellaneous: I recently bought The Milkman by Anna Burns and have been hearing so many good things. It’s been shortlisted for the Women’s Literary Prize and won the Booker. I doubt I’ll get to it before the winner is announced on June 5th but hopefully this month. My other miscellaneous fiction choice for June is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi which I’ve wanted to read for a while and recently thrifted a copy of. I’d like to also finally get around to reading Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut which I bought at Village Books in Bellingham in March but let’s not get too crazy.

How was your May reading? What were the highlights? What do you hope to read next?

10 thoughts on “What I Read – May 2019”

  1. I’ve also got a proof copy of Supper Club which I’m pretty excited about – one of her short stories knocked my socks off about two years ago.

  2. I’m interested in those discipline books. I don’t have children myself, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested in how people are shaped by their parents. Have you used any of the advice in them?

    1. Celebration of Discipline is about spiritual discipline – prayer, meditation, etc. Positive Discipline is a parenting book. I’m not far in but I like it so far. She advocates for “kind firmness” – not overly permissive and not overly punitive. I’m finding her ideas about the issues behind the misbehaviour helpful. For example, is your child feeling inadequate? ignored? rebellious? Why is that? She’s all about focusing on the why behind the “bad” behaviour rather than just the behaviour and it’s helpful to be reminded to refocus like that.

    2. That’s great! I think kids start to feel overly chastised if parents are just constantly saying “no” when all the behavior is linked to one feeling that needs to be addressed.

    3. Yes! It’s so easy to end up just saying No, no, no, all the time but she has some good strategies about redirecting behaviour and attitudes instead.

  3. Gosh, you got through a lot of books this month! Well done on the Writers Fest Challenge – I know I joke about them all the time, but I do find setting myself challenges concentrates my mind and keeps me reading when I might otherwise just veg out in front of the TV watching endless Murder, She Wrote re-runs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course… 😉

    1. Thanks! It was a good month. Having a deadline has definitely helped. I’m also getting most of them from the local library and they’re fairly in demand so I know I have to get through them quickly!

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