Reading Wrap-up: June 2017 Edition

I know I said last month that I wanted to be a bit more active here on the blog.  Whoops.  Only two posts for all of June.  Even this reading wrap-up is coming out later than normal.  I swear I will one day come up with a posting schedule and stick to it.  One day.

But now, for what I read in the month of June:

Technically speaking, I only got through one novel in its entirety.  Though I did manage to read the vast majority of a nearly-700-page monstrosity, so that almost counts as two.  But I’ll include that in my July wrap-up once I’ve actually finished it.  So the one and only novel I finished in the month of June is…

Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan.  I’m sure none of you are surprised by this, as I’ve been mentioning this series ad nauseum for several months now.  But now the series is done and I had a serious case of book hangover after finishing it – which is partly why it was the only book I was able to finish in June.  I’ve hyped up this book series enough in my previous wrap-ups, so I won’t repeat myself.  Give them a read.  They are definitely worth your time.

And that’s it!  That’s all she wrote (er, read).  Until next time, everybody!


My name is not Beautiful

My name is not Beautiful.
My name is not Sexy.
My name is not Hey Girl, Hey
Or Sweetheart
Or Blondie
Or Baby.

And my name is not Bitch
For refusing to respond
To a moniker
That is not mine.

If you ever bothered
To ask my name,
Instead of labeling me
With one of your own,
You would know:

My name means Victory.

My parents did not know
They named me for the winged goddess –
The journey from
Greek to French
Obscuring its origins
And its significance.

They just liked the sound of it.

I like the sound of it, too:

For my name means Victory,
And it is a challenge
I rise to meet
Every waking day;

For my name means Victory,
And within it lies
The whisper of a promise –
One I hope
To see fulfilled.

And so should you ever bother
To ask me my name,
Instead of labeling me
With one of your own,
I would tell you:

My name is not Beautiful.
I am so much more than that.

Wonder Woman, Moana, and why they matter

Have you ever experienced the sensation of not realizing how hungry you are until food is placed in front of you?  Of not realizing that you were hungry at all until you’re offered something to eat?

That is the closest I can get to describing what I felt while watching Moana last fall, and again last night when I saw Wonder Woman.

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I will reclaim the hidden corners of this city
That remind me most of you.

I will venture to these quiet places
To find new moments and new meanings
With new people
So that the memory of you in these retreats
Will not shatter me.

I will return to these places,
The ones that remind me most of you,
And though the echoes of happier times
Cannot, will not be silenced,
I will take these places back
And make them my own.

For all that you have broken,
For all that you have done,
You will not wrest this city from me.

You will not taint my home
With memories bitter and painful.

I will reclaim these places for myself,
These places that remind me most of you,
Until a day dawns when I return
To these once-hallowed walks,
And your presence is
But a single shadow among many,
The memory of you one in a multitude.

Air Travel aka The Poor Man’s TARDIS

I’ve been traveling quite a bit this week, and my journeying isn’t even over yet.  As of about 9pm tomorrow I will have been on three planes in six days.  Flash forward to a few weeks from now and that number will have jumped up to a total of six plane rides in a month.  As someone who (much to my chagrin) has neither the time nor the resources to do as much traveling as I would like, that is a lot of time spent up in the air, soaring amongst the clouds.

It is perhaps because of that reason that I have recently been marveling at the sheer miracle that is air travel.  Or marveling at it more so than I normally do.  Because think about it: you get on board a huge hunk of metal that really has no business at all in even dreaming of flight, and then what does it do?  In a mere matter of hours it spirits you away to a completely different spot on the globe.  A journey that not so many generations ago would have taken days, weeks, or months to complete (depending on how far you’re going) can now be made in a matter of hours.

It’s easy to forget such an astounding fact when the whole process has become so commonplace – even mundane if you do it regularly enough.

And that’s not even the most extraordinary part of it all.  There’s also the whole low-key time-traveling bit.  While all of my travels this month are confined to the west coast of the US and I therefore don’t have to change time zones, I always think back to my flights to and from London when I studied abroad there for a semester (and which are the current record-holder for longest flights I’ve ever been on).  Flying to the UK from California sent me forward in time.  And the return flight to California sent me back in time – to the point where after I had spent 11 hours up in the air, I’d only lost about 3 hours on the ground.

I don’t know about you folks, but that’s amazing to me.  It’s certainly the closest I’ll ever get to being a Time Lord, so I’ll take it.

Now if only airplanes could be bigger on the inside, too…

On enthusiasm and inspiration (creative and otherwise)

This should come as no surprise to any of you, but one of my favorite things about living in LA is the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s a two-day event that takes over the entirety of the University of Southern California campus (Fight on, Trojans!) and is a weekend-long celebration of the written word.  There are dozens of panels and discussions with authors; local (and not-so-local) vendors of books and all things literary set up shop in booths all across the university; live music serenades festival-goers throughout the day; food trucks assemble to create a makeshift food court.  And over 100,000 people descend upon USC over the course of the weekend to take part in it.

100,000 people who are as big a book geek I am.

It is magical, and not just for the obvious reasons listed above.

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