May Reading – The Month Ahead

I’m always interested in hearing what my friends are reading (this is why is favorited in my browser). Maybe you are the same way? Here’s what I think I’ll be working on in May:

First, a few ‘required’ reads, including a re-read of Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slapstick, for the monthly meeting of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Book Club. The club has covered all of his novels already and this will be the first “repeat” since I began participating. I think this was only the third Vonnegut novel I had read at the time of my initial reading, and – now that I’ve learned so much more of this author and his works – I’m really looking forward to revisiting it.



(above: the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s replica of Kurt Vonnegut’s study)

One of the reading groups at Bookmama’s Bookstore in Irvington is meeting on the 29th to discuss the second half of the Tolstoy Classic, Anna Karenina. I attended the first meeting, but have kind of left the daunting novel lie fallow for a few weeks. I need to pick it up again and see what happens to Anna, Vronsky, Constantin, & Kitty. When I finish this book, a serious gap (one of very many, I’m afraid) in my cultural literacy will finally be filled. I wouldn’t mind seeing the movie adaptation with Keira Knightley in the title role either…


My Great Books Foundation discussion group is meeting on the 21st to discuss the famous Lawrence Sargent Hall story, “The Ledge.” It is also my turn to lead the discussion, so I plan to thoroughly read this one and be prepared.

(below: Lawrence Sargent Hall, author of “The Ledge”)


I’ve also been reading Veronica Roth’s novel, Divergent, and may even wrap that one up this weekend. I’m liking it so far, but I admittedly have a thing for dystopic fiction. This one kind of feels like Harry Potter meets Hunger Games meets Brave New World. I know a few of my fellow bloggers were disappointed in the sequel, but enough of them also liked this one to cause me to take the plunge.  Oh, and it’s set in a post-apocalyptic(?) Chicago too (don’t you recognize Lake Michigan on the cover?), so as a midwesterner that’s a plus.


What else? Oh, yeah, I hope to start reading The Shift Omnibus by Hugh Howey. It’s the anticipated prequel to the addictive “Wool” omnibus, which I tore through last month and have been recommending around to anyone who dares ask me. Someday I’ll post about “Wool” – if I can get my act together and write something decent.


There are four Saturdays in May, so that means I’ll read four stories for my annual “Deal Me In” short story project. Which stories I read, however, will be determined by the luck of the draw, which is part of what makes this annual project so fun for me. That, and my line-up of fifty-two stories this year is perhaps my strongest yet. AND It’s not too early to starting thinking about coming up with YOUR OWN list of fifty-two stories for 2014 and join in the fun. Fellow blogger Dale at Mirror With Clouds is also doing the short story “Deal Me In” project with me this year.

Well, that’s about it for me (even though I will likely read a few random and unanticipated stuff too, as always). What about YOU, though? What will you be reading in May? I’d love to hear about your reading plans…


  1. May 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Hi Jay! It looks like you are going to have a very busy May! 🙂 Anna Karenina alone seems ambitious to me (I have never read it, either!) but you have a great list going here in addition to that.

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m jealous of all of the awesome book clubs you’re in! I’ve been dying to set one up with my friends, but we all have such different schedules–including one friend currently living in Ireland–that I’m afraid it will never happen. How are you able to balance your pleasure reading with your book club reading? That’s always something I’ve wondered about.

    I look forward to someday reading your thoughts on The Wool Omnibus, which I haven’t read but have heard a lot about. 🙂


    • Jay said,

      May 6, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Hi Taryn

      I’m halfway through Anna Karenina already, so I ought to be able to read the second half this month. I hope so, anyway. I’m pretty happy with my book club “load” at the moment. There are only two that I go to regularly – The Vonnegut Library’s club and the Great Books group, which meets just a mile from my office and is thus also convenient. I’ve started a couple ‘private’ book clubs in my life too, one lasted almost six years, but it eventually petered out. Not enough of the readers were truly ‘dedicated’ and we’d have poor attendance sometimes, etc. etc., all the usual reasons I guess. Still worth the effort though, I think. The key is likely to have the right people, which sounds rather obvious when I type it out. 🙂

      I read about 4 books a month, with one being for the Vonnegut club. THe Great Books group has been reading shorter works, so it’s not much of a burden on my pleasure reading.

      I still hope to post about “Wool” but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I bought the “prequel” so maybe I can make reading it my reward for writing a post on “Wool” itself. Yeah, that’s how I’ll get it done. 🙂



  2. Dale said,

    May 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I read Slapstick a long time ago. In fact it was the first Vonnegut book I ever read. I have to admit that at the time I didn’t care for it and that’s probably why it took me so many years to start reading more of his work. I also admit that my reading tastes have changed and broadened over the years, too. I’m curious what you think about it.


    • Jay said,

      May 6, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Hi Dale,
      I’m looking forward to it. It was one of my earlier Vonnegut reads too, so I may not have been fully prepared for it the first go-round either. I’ll post about it when I’m done.


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