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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


A Year in Reading Suggestions: April Recap & May Plans

The Last Unicorn - Ray Dillon, Peter S. Beagle, Peter Gillis, Renae De Liz The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle, Peter S. Beagle The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version - Peter S. Beagle Eye of the Wolf - Marie Zhuikov

Well, I just finished the last book I'll read in the month of April (unless I squeeze in a few more before bed tonight. It could happen.)


To recap, April's theme in A Year of Reading Suggestions was "re-reading":


In April, REread your favorite book from childhood.
What book kept you up late into the night, reading under your covers with a flashlight because you just couldn’t put it down? Reread that beloved tome and be young again.


Initially, I wasn't all that jazzed about this theme. But I have so many UNREAD books to get to! my insides whined. But I turned out remembering how lovely it can be to rediscover your favorite books. So although I started this month intending to "cheat" (reading new adaptations of books I've loved), that didn't exactly work out. So, here's my re-reading "tally," which mainly revolved around unicorns.


The Last Unicorn: The Graphic Novel by Peter S. Beagle and Peter Gillis - I got this years ago for Christmas but hadn't actually sat down to read it yet. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. It was quite lovely, but not as lovely as the original. Which lead me to reread ...


The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - Half my lifetime has passed since I first read this. It still held up after all these years. Then I moved on to ...


The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version by Peter S. Beagle, which is a rough draft of the story that eventually became The Last Unicorn. Mostly interesting because there are so few of them in existence; the one I got from my library was number 263 of 1000.


The Eye of the Wolf by Marie Zhuikov - Marie and I belong to the same writers group, and I hadn't read this book since we were workshopping it. I remembered it vividly, but reading it all within a couple weeks rather than over the course of a year or so was a new experience. There were no unicorns in this book, but it still felt totally magical to read about werewolves on Isle Royale -- and like all my Last Unicorns, it has the same themes of transformation, the intersection of the ordinary and the surreal, and a bittersweet ending that I've never been able to get out of my head.


So, what's on the "reading agenda" (I LOVE this agenda!) for May? Well, I think it's the topic I'm most excited about for the whole year:


In May, read a book from another country.
Some of the greatest literary achievements are works that have been written far and away from the USA. Eat locally, read globally.


I love to travel, but finances, fear of flying, and a sensitive tummy interfere with me doing it as much as I'd like. But none of those issues matter when I travel by book! I'll never get to everything on my list for this month, but a few top contenders are --


Making Babies by Anne Enright (memoir, Ireland)

Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatema Mernissi (memoir, Morroco)

The Bat-Chen Diaries by Bat-chen Shahak (diary, Israel)

Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic (diary, Bosnia)

The Airdancer of Glass by Catherine Bateson and Borrowed Light by Anna Fienberg (young adult novels, Australia)

Almost anything by Karen Armstrong, whose mostly published in England primarily.

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery (classic, Canada)


And then, of course, there's the "travel/international memoir" section of my memoir bookshelf, which includes memoirs about Iran, Vietnam, China, and more. Yes, this is going to be a very, very busy month.


Oh, and I also found out about this cool 50-state reading challenge (if you're participating, try the above Eye of the Wolf for Michigan). Perhaps another year!