Reading Room: May


**Every year I do a reading challenge through the site Goodreads. For the last few years, I’ve set my goal as 365 books for the year. It’s not something I realistically think I can achieve, but there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment in striving.**


Not pleased with the number of books read this month (11), but I am pleased with the overall quality of what I read this month. I feel I need to up the amount of poetry I’m reading and do a better job of exploring the queer lit world.

If things go well, June will see me finally get to some works I’ve been threatening to write review-essays on, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

While you wait for those, enjoy this month’s playlist and don’t be afraid to check out all the Reading Room songs on Spotify:


Pantomime by Laura Lam

An aristocratic runaway hermaphrodite takes up with a circus as ze discovers ze has magical powers, so worth reading.


Mistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes

Historical romance is one of the most unlikely genres I would tackle on my own. This novel was fairly engaging with only a few moments of purple prose due more to attempting to capture the era than the quality of writing. This was a rare commissioned review in that I was sent a paperback copy.


The Science of Shame and Its Treatment by Gerald Loren Fishkin

Another commissioned review, this short work is a rather good analysis of how shame is at the core of trauma as well as our sense of self when mentally healthy. 


Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Lockwood is superb poet and this memoir is one of few I’ve read that actually made me laugh. Yet Lockwood still is able to convey a sense of wonder, terror, confusion, and full love going beyond the quirky or weird. It is also one of those wonderful works where you can hear the writer’s voice with pristine clarity.


Typo by Fran Drummond Moray 

A stream of consciousness work that is a kind of creative nonfiction, this was a commissioned review. Moray’s strengths are her phrasing and spoken-word like fluidity keeping a reader’s eye and mind moving. 


Sea Stories by Richard Metz

A freelance proofreading gig I was given, I read this memoir of a Great Lakes ship captain. An easy read with some insights into the shipping world that exists over the Great Lakes.


Collect, Value, Divest: The Savvy Appraiser by Elizabeth Stewart

A commissioned review, this as an easy writing style at once conversational and slightly conspiratorial as though she’s letting you in on secrets. Overall, each case study reads like not like a sales pitch, boast, or novelty, but rather as genuine insight into the bare bones and brass tacks of the business of appraisal. 


Heretics!: The Wondrous (And Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy by Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler

With a tight focus, this comic distills the thought of some of the greatest figures in western philosophy. The art is simple but engaging. Although, I wish the authors had spent more time talking about Spinoza, this survey includes some lesser known thinkers and some completely unknown women philosophers of the 17th century.


Guidebook to Relative Strangers by Camille Dungy

These essays weave together a writer’s practice with nature, race, and motherhood in such a seamless way as to embed its critiques and experiences deep into your mind. I hope to write a more in-depth review this summer.


Atlas of Essential Monsters by Melissa Severin

The arrival of this poetry chapbook was a delight. I’ve long admired Severin’s poems and nearly everything from Dancing Girl Press is stellar work. This collection has a dark vibrancy that I love. There are this lyrical pastoral moments that are intensely physical and wonderfully witchy. I hope to write a proper review of it soon.


Lonesome Lies Before Us by Don Lee

Like the characters, this story never rises to what it could be & squanders what brilliance it has in favor of merely occupying space–grand banality. However, I can definitely see this story as a film or, more fully, a series.

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