I’ve been traveling during the early part of July, so this report is a bit late, but still, here I am, ready to write about my July reading. Books are always on my mind.
Welcome to this July 2019 “living document” page where I share my reading intentions and record progress throughout the month in a diary at the end of the page. When the month is over my writing on this page will be finished.
What a lovely day! I’m writing this from the banks of the Klamath River, next to Savage Rapids. What a blessed relief to be next to this river again. I lived in this area from 2000 to 2013… and after six years away, here I am again. Feels good to be home… though this time I’m living in my van. That’s the plan. I’m giving up sticks and bricks in favor of van travel, vagabondery, nomadery, call it what you will. Some would say, “voluntary homelessness” but I don’t feel I’m without a home because this van is my home.
Goodreads keeps track of books I’ve read this year. Books I’ve read so far in 2019.
My Word of the Month
My Haiku of the Month
Seeing new places
Loving the places once loved
Peace in the forest.
Bible Verse of the Month
That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.” (2 Timothy 1:14)
And the topic, believe it or not, is BOOKS . . . so here’s what I’m reading in July.
☆ – I own a copy of the book
★★ – I own a copy and am currently reading the book
✓ – Finished
↪ – Postponed
↩ – Held over from last month
PSRC = 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge
★★ Recent Fiction: America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie – [PSRC #21. A book by two female authors]
This is a fictionalized biography of the Thomas Jefferson family as told from the point of view of the president’s oldest daughter. She is well acquainted with his affair with his slave, Sally Hemmings, and according to this historical fiction, loved and idolized him anyway. I’ve been listening to this book in audiobook format while driving on my first van journey.
★★ ↩ Classic: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – [PSRC #32. A book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America]
I haven’t given up on this classic yet nor have I come anywhere close to finishing it. The text is more challenging than I expected, but fascinating at the same time. It is rather wild, in fact, like the mythical location of the solitary town of Macondo. It isn’t just the complex story line, but also the fact that I’ve been ridiculously busy these last two months. Good thing I made quick progress at the beginning of the year (on reading fiction for the 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge) because May through July are slowing me down. I’m now traveling, currently in California… and not finding a lot of undisturbed reading time yet. I know: excuses, excuses!
★★ Nonfiction: Bound For Glory: The Hard-Driving, Truth-Telling, Autobiography of America’s Great Poet-Folk Singer, by Woody Guthrie
This is a follow up reading of a book recommended by Bob Dylan in his book, Chronicles, which I read a few months ago. This book is Guthrie’s autobiography. I’m already in chapter seven (out of nineteen) and he hasn’t stopped writing about his childhood yet. I’ll be happy when he switches over to his experience of becoming a musician and songwriter.
✓ YA and Art: Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey , by Akiko Higashimura
This is the first time I’ve ever read manga! This is so much fun. It is a graphic autobiography of a manga artist. Her illustrations are adorable and her art teacher and mentor is like a dragon! This author went through a lot to become the artist she is today.
☆ Christian: Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence, by Sarah Young
I’ll hopefully be reading this for the next year… it is a daily devotional. For the last year I’ve been reading Jesus Calling, by the same author. Really loved it… so I got another devotional just like it. I will start reading it on my birthday, July 13.
My July 2019 Reading Diary
July 1 and 2 – The first two days of July I was still hauling stuff out from my North Idaho apartment to the van… way too busy to read much. I was in a hurry to depart at that point so there were some issues of lacking organization. However once I started traveling, I spent a little time each day figuring out the organizational structures I’d need to live in the van comfortably. This van has no built-in storage at this point. A retired pastor who attends my church helped me install a floor. He’s a talented carpenter so it turned out to be a very nice red oak floor. I’ve put small carpets over that… but you can still see the beautiful carpentry at the edges.
I left North Idaho on July 2, and traveled to Northern Oregon where I visited Irrigon Marina Park. I also visited the Space Age truck stop in Hermiston because while my son was driving a semi that was one of his favorite truck stops and I wanted to see it – he had called me from there so often.
That night I found a campsite from Free Campsites. That took me down a long, rural winding road on a cliff (eek!) into an area with multiple BLM campsites alongside the Deschutes River, next to the Warm Springs Reservation in Central Oregon. (Note to self: think twice about letting some app choose my routes!) Beautiful place though. I’ll post photos as soon as I’m able to figure out how to get them from my phone to my computer!
July 3 – The following day I traveled from the Deschutes River, south into California. I’m happy to say the prayer plant I brought with me passed the California entry examination and inspection. Yay! I’m so happy it did because that plant is a gift from a dear friend in North Idaho. She gave it to me on the day of my baptism, July 4, 2014. Surprisingly, the plant is doing very well as a traveler! It is on the passenger seat of my van, just thriving and healthy and as happy as can be. Perhaps it knows it is being cared about.
July 4 – I arrived back in Happy Camp on July 4, after being away six years and four days. I’m so happy to be back, but I won’t be here long. I need to return to North Idaho to clear out my apartment, and clean it. Then I’ll be heading out on my nomadic life adventures. My first stop will be a Bigfoot conference. Second… a banjo and fiddle contest… and after that, who knows?
On the way south I’ve been listening to an audiobook version of The First Daughter. It is based on the life of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter. IMO this novel contains a lot of filler and drags a bit, but it is a great way to learn more about the life of Thomas Jefferson, his affair with his slave, and his presidency. Much of the information may be altered, however, for the sake of fiction. I’m about halfway through the novel, maybe more.
July 7 – I’ve been reading Blank Canvas, an autobiographical manga about an artist’s journey from high school to manga success. Enjoyed church this morning in Happy Camp, California, re: Luke 21:1-4…. The Widow’s Offering.
July 8 – Last night I finished Blank Canvas. Fun book. I enjoyed the manga reading experience.
July 9 – Went to Cave Junction (over Grayback) and listened to The First Daughter all the way over there and back… via audiobook. I’m nearly done with that now. Nearing the end!
July 10 – Today looks like a good day to read a book. Later . . . I mainly read The First Daughter with a short dip into Bound For Glory by Woody Guthrie.
July 11 – I finished reading (actually, listening to) The First Daughter. An interesting way to teach us many details of Thomas Jefferson’s life and presidency.
July 12 – I’m doing good at limiting the number of books I have in progress at one time. Right now my main read is Bound For Glory. I’m more than halfway through it now. Interesting history of Woody Guthrie’s childhood. I just got to the chapter where he’s trying to decide what career he will have. So far, as far as I can tell, he hasn’t even strummed a guitar! I started reading a book for a Bible study group here in Happy Camp – it is Living Beyond Yourself, by Beth Moore – a write-in workbook with videos we watch during the weekly group meetings … Also, today I published my Bargain Books Tag… though I filmed it on June 24… it took me a while to figure out how to connect with YouTube while living in a van!
July 13 – My birthday! I managed to read more of Bound For Glory. Also, read another chapter of Living Beyond Yourself.
July 14 – Another lovely, relaxing Happy Camp day. I went to church this morning then visited another church to see my former landlord and landlady (they are also friends) . . . This morning I listened to most of Do The Work by Steven Pressfield via audiobook. It is an inspirational book I reread occasionally. The audio recording of the book lasts only an hour and a half so I’ll finish listening as I drive to my forested sleeping spot this evening.
July 15 – I finished my audio reread of Do The Work and read more of the harrowing adventures of youthful Woody Guthrie in Bound For Glory.
July 16 – I’ve been making steady progress in the Living Beyond Yourself workbook. That’s quite a bit of reading for ten weeks. Each of the ten weeks has five lessons that are three or four pages long in the workbook, with more reading in the Bible as you go through it. Well worth the effort, however. The book is about the fruits of the Spirit … something I haven’t studied much during my time as a Christian other than to see how much of a difference the Holy Spirit is making in me and in my life. Today I published a summer reading update on YouTube:
July 21 – I’ve been AFK for a few days! Meanwhile I read Steven Pressfield’s new book, Turning Pro, and listenened to an audiobook about Johnny Cash called Folsom Unlimited. This morning I started the audiobook of Lonesome Dove. I might quit there for now, and read The Name of the Rose instead since it is on my list for the 2019 PopSugar Reading challenge.
July 25 – This is terrible. I’ve been unable to concentrate on reading books the last few days. I started reading, well, listening to an audiobook version of Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, but haven’t gone far with it. I keep having to replay what I already listened to because my comprehension is terrible right now. I’m a bit upset about having to leave Happy Camp (hometown) tomorrow… to return to North Idaho for two months. God help me. Since Name of the Rose is so difficult for me to understand right now, I’ll save it for the long drive north. Last night I started a Kindle book that is not even on my reading list for this year – Where the Forest Meets the Stars, by Glendy Vanderah. In chapter one a girl who looks about nine years old came out of the woods claiming to be an alien in a dead girl’s body (because he needed to look human). Strange premise for a novel. I’ll keep reading it.
Published this on the 25th though we took the trip up there earlier in the month, on the 20th.
July 31 – I’ve been traveling more than reading since the 26th… stopped in Portland to see my brother and in Vancouver, Washington to see friends… also went to Mt. Rainier National Park. Good to be back in Idaho. I should find a book to read. All is well.