As May slips into June, I am working my way through two books, one of which I expect to finish in the first few days of the month and another I will be sampling from slowly all month long.
The Book of Tea (1906) by Kakuzō Okakura, which I just started last night. This is a classic of Japanese philosophical/culinary nonfiction, which I intend to sip from as my bedtime reading throughout June. The English translation I have is just over 120 pages long, broken neatly into sections, and it seems well-suited to short bursts of quiet reading. This is one of the very few nonfiction titles on my Classics Club list.
Once I’m done with SAtS, I will probably crack open the next two books on my list concurrently. The first is my Classics Club Spin book, The Opposing Shore by Julien Gracq, originally published in France in 1951 as Le Rivage des Syrtes. The author uses metaphor extensively to explore the complexities of conflict and boundaries and relationships via the lens of a never-ending standstill war between two fictitious cultures in a fictitious Mediterranean state. I’ve wanted to read this for many years, and I’m excited to finally dive in. In addition to being on my Classics Club list, this will also allow me to tick another title off my continuing 1001 Books to Read Before You Die project list.
The second book with which I plan to open June is another speculative fiction title, 1994’s Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith. This one is considered something of a modern classic of weird fiction, strange and smart and decorated with bits of both humor and mystery, with the events playing out in an unusual social dystopia.
On June 7th-8th, I’ll be doing a mini-marathon reading of either Excellent Women or Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym, as part of the Barbara Pym Reading Week, which I discussed and provided links and details for in my previous post.
I will be reading The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, as it is the book of the month in the Goodreads Novella Club. I love science fiction, but I often struggle with sf of this era (the 1950s) due to misogynist, racist and other -ist themes. I’ve read good reviews of this one by online friends, so I will try to read with an open mind.
My holds for two recent titles have come in at the library nearly simultaneously, so although I’d rather space their reading out a bit, I shall need to get them both read in June to allow the next person on the holds list to have a turn. The first of these – as it is due a bit sooner – is Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life. I am buzzy about this title more than I might be about another equally talked-about Next Big Thing book, because anytime a speculative title of any sort crosses the line between genre and mainstream, I find myself curious as to specifically how the author in question will pull things off. Furthermore, I am a sucker for multiple timelines, reincarnation and the like in fiction, and I’m keen to find out how Atkinson works these sorts of topics.
The other hold book is A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Two other elements that nearly always draw me to a fictional work are exploration of Eastern cultures (either historically, contemporarily or through their diaspora) and meta-fiction. This book has both, so I’m doubly eager to get reading.
Finally, I’ve just received the copy of Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon I (surprisingly) won through the Goodreads Giveaway program. This is the first book I’ve won through them in years, and I want to try to fit it in this month, largely on principle. Plus the story sounds intriguing, and unlike my previous GG wins which provided pre-publishing paperback ARCs, the publisher sent me a handsome and hefty final-press hardback, which I thought was a lovely thing to do. I didn’t expect it to arrive so soon, either! I’m doubtful whether I’ll get through this one in June, but if not, I’ll prioritize it for July.
That’s my June reading pile. I doubt I’ll get through all of it this month, but I’ll certainly try. Happy reading, everyone!