Summer is officially heeeeeeere. As heralded by the humidity and heat I’m currently suffering from. (Notice the alliteration at the beginning of the sentence?) Ugh. But on a brighter note, summer also means lots—or at least more—of reading and free time, which I’ve been enjoying.
Let’s dive in to this month! *cue images of pools and diving boards*
Fourteen books. I think that’s a record for this year. And so many of them are so good.
re-reads: Ender’s Game // North! Or Be Eaten
random: Hamilton: The Revolution is beautiful. I mean, not only does it have amazing stories about how this musical came to behind, but it’s got gorgeous photos from the Broadway and all the lyrics with comments on them by Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. Here’s a peak inside:
favorites: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt. Guys, this is one is amazing—it’s got humor and heart, simplicity and depth, a great story and poetry. There’s Shakespeare, the Yankees, and, of course, Mrs. Baker, the teacher who’s definitely out to get protagonist Holling Hoodhood’s guts. I laughed out loud during this one but also found myself pierced to tears at its poignant wisdom and portrayals of family, pain and healing, mercy and justice.
A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. It’s always a treat to read a new book by Anne Elisabeth (I just can’t call her Stengl. It doesn’t feel right.), and this was no exception. It felt different from other Goldstone Wood books—I can’t pinpoint it, just a different feel. However, that’s not bad, and I was delighted to find that a beloved character from previous books appears in this one. As always, the characters were quirky, complex, and lovable, the Faeries were terrifying, beautiful, and flawed, and the whole thing sang. It was worth the 20+ dollars.
So at the beginning of June I told myself I’d write a lot on that Phoenix story and finish it by the 30th. Guess what didn’t happen this month?
But I am almost at the end of it (and I wrote another short story plus some poetry), so to celebrate that, I thought I’d share some snippets.
That night, Mother hands me a rush-fiber quilt.
“It’s getting colder,” she explains, laying it over me. “But not cold enough yet for the llama skin.”
She smiles, and the corners of eyes crinkle. It is a joke between us, because I cannot bear being cold, and even before the first freezes arrive, I beg for the thick, soft llama skin. And each year, Mother laughs and hands me the rush-fiber first.
But tonight I do not laugh, and she quiets, leaning over me to brush back my hair. I shift away from her hand, burying my face in the rough cot. I can feel the wind of her hand as it moves away from me, and cold waves over me.
I wake to the cold. The cold of a bare stone cell shadowed in dark blue light, like Flamedeath twlights. The cold of iron bars covering the door facing me, thick as the scabs on my chained wrists. The cold of the utter silence bearing down on my body.
The cold of the loneliness, emptiness, nothingness that it is my new life.
“What?” Mijah Lorren’s exclamation breaks through the din of noises and thoughts that swim around me. “I was not informed of this. Who gave you the authority—”
“I was authorized to do whatever necessary to protect our country,” the man shoots back, all steel and ice. His ferocious gaze whips back to me. It seems to burn me.
“Which will it be, Phoenix?”
Rediscovered this song: “Now We Are Free” from the soundtrack for Gladiator. I cannot tell you how much I love this song. It strikes a deep chord in me. I decided to include some of my favorite versions of it. Which one do you like best?
// Peter Hollens //
// Celtic Thunder //
// Indigo Choir //
Work. Workworkwork. I taught a lot of swim lessons this month, which was actually way more fun that I’d feared. I think the more frequently I do it, the more fun it is. I guess I get into the rhythm more. Anyway, yay for cute kids and some fun coworkers. And paychecks, of course.
Ohhh, speaking of paychecks, I used all the money I’ve been saving from work for the past nine-ish months to buy myself a fancy-schmancy camera. Thanks again to everyone who commented on my post about that. After a lot of agonizing, I settled on a Nikon D5500, plus telephoto and prime lenses. Storms, it is nice. Leagues and leagues above the point-and-shoot I have. I’m pretty overwhelmed and quite a beginner, but I’m still loving it. Once I practice some more, maybe I’ll post some photography on here.
My, my, it’s been a quoterly month. Ooh, I have some good ones from Chaim Potok’s The Promise (read it, guys. After The Chosen, of course):
It is strange how ideas can float about and be ignored until they are put into a book. A book can be a weapon.
A man must sometimes be forced to make choices, for it is only by his choices that we know what a man truly is.