A Fresh Start for June

May is ending with disappointment. The caboose of the story (instead of the whole train) is that due to work obligations Kisa & I were not able to make it to Maine for a long weekend over the holiday. As a result I had to burn two vacation days at home. June will be a better month. But, to be fair – May wasn’t so shabby for books:

  • Brilliant Orange by David Winner
  • Bold Spirit by Linda Hunt
  • Jordan by E. Borgia
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn
  • Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • Map of Another Town by MFK Fisher
  • All the Rage by Martin Moran (ER)


  • Arab and Jew by David Shipler
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by¬† David Chbosky


  • Master of the Senate by Robert Caro

For JUNE, here are the books & why:

  1. Yocandra in the Paradise of Nada by Zoe Valdes in honor of Caribbean Heritage Month
  2. Thirty-Three Teeth by Colin Cotterill to continue the series started in May
  3. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich in honor of her birth month
  4. The Millstone by Margaret Drabble in honor of family month
  5. A Bridge Too Far by Cornelius Ryan in honor of World War II (D-Day)

June is National Short Story Month:

  • from Birds of America by Lorrie Moore:
    • Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens
    • People Like That are the Only People Here: Canonical Babbling in Peed Onk
  • from Lucky Girls by Nell Freudenberger:
    • The Orphan
    • Outside the Eastern Gate
  • from Nine Stories by JD Salinger:
    • A Perfect Day for a Bananafish
    • For Esme: with Love & Squalor


Borgia, E. <Jordan: Past & Present: Petra, Jerash, Amman. Italy: Tipolitografica CS, 2001.

Reason read:

“We reconstruct lost memories to guide you into the past.”

Jordan: Past & Present is made up of three chapters, “Petra”, “Jerash” and “Amman – Philadelphia”. Each chapter outlines the plan of the city, historical data and an architectural¬† structure of interest (for my favorite, Petra, it was the theater and famous tombs). What makes this book so unique are the transparencies that cover current day photographs. The transparencies show what each city must have looked like, overlaying the current day photograph. It’s a unique blend of old and new that works very well.

Book trivia: I already mentioned the uniqueness of the transparencies.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter simply called “Jordan” (p 119).

May I Read

I never recapped April nor predicted May. For the first time ever, April books are still being read. To be fair, the Lyndon Johnson series started in February so technically these leftovers are not specific either April nor May.

April was an oddball month in that my reading was all on the fly. I trained for another half marathon and that took a lot of my time. Not nearly as much as the full mara, but still…

Here are the Challenge books finished in April:

  • King Lear – Shakespeare (not scheduled)
  • Guernica – Van Hensbergen (not scheduled)
  • Grand Tour – Tim Moore
  • Green Thoughts – Eleanor Perenyi
  • Alice in Sunderland – Bryan Talbot
  • Considerable Town – M F K Fisher
  • Don’t Eat This Book – Morgan Spurlock

Here are the just for fun books:

  • Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – John Gottman
  • Spark Joy – Marie Kondo (not scheduled)

Here’s what on tap for May:

For the Early Review program through LibraryThing:

  • All the Rage by Martin Moran

To celebrate May:

  • Brilliant Orange: the Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer by David Winner ~ in honor of the tulip festival in Holland
  • Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt ~ in honor of Just ‘Cause and their 60-mile walk (although this year it’s in June).
  • Jordan: Past & Present: Petra, Jerash & Amman by E. Borgia ~ in honor of Jordan gaining independence in the month of May
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn ~ in honor of Russia’s Victory Day (may 9th, 1945)
  • Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill ~ to celebrate Laos Rocket Day (already read – this took me less than a day)
  • Chosen, the by Chaim Potok ~ in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month (AB – already read)
  • Map of Another Town by MFK Fisher ~ to finished the Two Towns book started in April
  • Master of the Senate by Robert Caro ~ to finished the series started in February in honor of Presidents’ Day.


Auge, Christian and Jean-Marie Dentzer. Petra: Lost City of the Ancient World. New York: Discoveries: Henry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 2000.

Reason read: Speaking of lost cities, the first Indiana Jones movie was released in May.

When you think of the word ‘extinct’ most likely you think of dinosaurs, the woolly mammoth, maybe even the dodo bird. Cities don’t readily come to mind. Petra is one such extinct city hidden deep in the landscape of Jordan. What is so unique about Petra is that all of its structures were carved out of the towering rocks around it, creating a unique fortress. For centuries a civilization lived and breathed within Petra until the Crusaders bullied it into ruin and ultimate desolation. Petra was abandoned and forgotten until 1812 when explorer Johann Burckhardt stumbled across it’s shadowy beauty. Auge and Dentzer bring Petra’s art and architecture into the light in a mere 125+ pages. Before you even delve into the text of Petra you are treated to seven pages of glossy gorgeous photos, giving you a sense of why, since 1985, the city has been on the UNESCO list of world-heritage sites.
The only drawback to the tiny book is that text and absolutely stunning photographs are crammed together on the page. Every photograph has a lengthy description definitely worth reading. Because of the cramped space the flow of reading was at time, choppy. I decided it was better to read the text and then go back to study the photographs and read the descriptions.

Author(s) fact: Auge is a specialist in ancient coins and Dentzer is a professor.

Book trivia: this is my first experience with the Discoveries series and I’d like to think all of their books are like this, but Petra has gorgeous illustrations.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply “Jordan” (p 120).