May (of course) be with you

Today is May Day – Beltane in Ireland and Scotland and Calan Haf (“the first day of summer”) in Wales – and a joyful celebration of new life and hope for the future. Consequently Brona of is running a reading and blogging event called Understanding Ukraine: I Stand for Peace focused on Ukraine, an excellent way in which we can to a small degree show solidarity with that poor country.

Needless to say I shall be joining in, and hope you may consider it too. I’m currently doing a slow read of a brief collection of Nikolai Gogol’s short stories: he was a famous son of what was then called Little Russia and which now is once again officially Ukraine.

Then I shall look out for other titles with a Ukrainian connection: as luck would have it I already have a collection of children’s stories (based on a character called Dunno) by Ukrainian-born Nikolai Nosov which my father gave me in the early 60s, so I may well go for those next, and then see what follows.

#Narniathon21 image after Pauline Baynes

Narniathon21 continues to wend its way with a discussion of the sixth chronicle, The Magician’s Nephew, scheduled for Friday 27th May. Though I’ve already reviewed this relatively recently, with some related discussion posts, I’m looking forward to a third read in the context of its position in the Narniad publishing order as well as posting discussion of The Horse and His Boy.

After this April past, when I seem to have already read a lot of fantasy – principally Tolkien and C S Lewis – for me the merry month of May also looks to be focused on this genre with the fifth annual Wyrd & Wonder read hosted by a cohort of avid readers.

Wyrd & Wonder 22: tree wolf image by chic2view on

As well as the usual Narnia business I have a few other works in mind for this annual event – though what I actually read and comment on will be as much a surprise to me as to you! But it will include some ruminations on Volume 3 of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, and whatever fantasy titles fall off the shelves at me. I suspect there’ll mostly be children’s fantasy – some classic, others more contemporary – landing in my lap…

Thanks to Imyril and others listed on Twitter under the handle WyrdandWonder for hosting this event, even if I shall be following my own nose for what I read instead of consciously taking part in their prompts.

© C A Lovegrove

But … please, people, don’t set up any more tempting memes / events / challenges – I’ve got enough already on my plate!
My own meme for short story collections to be read

32 thoughts on “May (of course) be with you

  1. I’m planning to continue on from #Narniathon21 with reading Susan Cooper’s TDIR series, one book per month. I’ve never read them, and a comment Lory made about Herne the Hunter has persuaded me I really should – I might even invite others to read along!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for the reminder, JJ, I saw a favourable review of this sometime recently. I also remember seeing occasional documentaries on Chernobyl over the years but this sounds well researched.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jjlothin

        I was inspired to read it by the fantastic HBO series, Chernobyl, and I’m hoping to get down to ‘Chernobyl Prayer’ (Svetlana Alexievich) at some point …

        WHAT that country has had to go through – unbelievable …!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, review books, I have a handful of these sent for the favour of a review but as I’ve already far too many unread books I’ve actually shelled out for I don’t accept as a rule accept unsolicited titles sent to me, nor request them. But TBR books? I’m probably like you: enough remain in piles to last me till I’m the age of Her Maj!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That is a lot of tempting memes. I’ll be joining in for the narniathon of course, and a couple of Ukraine reads which are on my TBR. Plus Daphne Du Maurier week.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Gogol and of course, Dunno. I dug out all my individual chapter books the other day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve left time to complete and review the Gogol before the end of May before starting the Dunno collection. I’m not participating in the DdM read even though I’ve a couple of her works still to read.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have only one Ukranian related book in my stacks – the short story The Nose by Gogol so I should easily be able to accomplish that.
    Otherwise, like you I feel like I’m drowning in memes and reading projects despite saying at the start of the year that I would be very selective on what I joined.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. piotrek

    “Understanding Ukraine: I Stand for Peace” – looks great! I’m not joining, as most of my reading lately is either Ukrainian, or in some way connected (now – Putin’s People by Catherine Belton, I big book, but the amount of info she managed to get about Putin’s life – amazing).

    For anyone interested in joining, I would like to propose including something modern also, like anything by Serhiy Zhadan or ironic and strongly feminist Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex by Oksana Zabuzhko. The last one is short and only $1.99 on Amazon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the recommendation, Piotrek, I’ll have a think about the Belton. I’ve watched a couple of documentaries about the rise of Putin and his absolutist approach, so anything she’s likely to say probably won’t surprise me, but it’s important to be informed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. piotrek

        A quantity of facts that huge has a quality of its own – I’m learning a lot. I knew the guy was evil, but not how evil and how much of what was going on seems to be planned ahead (the takeover of Russia, I haven’t reached 2014 yet).

        Liked by 1 person

          1. piotrek

            Or even “understand that just because someone is giving you money, he might still be an enemy”. Greed overcame caution, as usual. And it’s not the bankers and politicians who are paying now… although ultimately, only the Russians can save Russia, and it’s Russians who doomed her, the West was watching, maybe helping, but Putin is a product of his society.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I finished a reread of RotK a few weeks ago and haven’t gotten around to reviewing it, and the timing is frustrating because I wanted to focus on non-Tolkien fantasy this month. Unlike you, I was planning just one review of the whole work, but things keep getting in the way… I suppose I probably know it well enough by now that I could write a review in, say, June. I might have to do that. And I’ll read at least one fantasy short story collection. I already plan to review Edith Nesbit’s Grim Tales, which I devoured yesterday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those Nesbit horror stories are interesting, aren’t they: I wrote more of a short essay than a review of them ( and am inclined to give them another go soon.

      I’m plodding through RotK at the moment, savouring as much as I can and discovering much that repeated watchings of the film trilogy have erased from memory – that is, if they were ever there in the first place – such as the appearance of Imrahil of Dol Amroth and Aragon being joined by the Dúnedain on the Paths of the Dead and at Pelennor.


  6. Enjoy Wyrd & Wonder. I haven’t signed up for it yet but might be tempted to join in before the end of the month if I manage to finish my current reads. It might get me back to my Dark Tower re-read.
    So many tempting memes here. 10 Books of Summer is definitely catching my attention. It’s one I’ve seen before but never participated in. Perhaps this will be the year I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I don’t sign up for W&W despite participating in a rather desultory way, as I never have any idea what mood may take me: I just use it as an excuse to read fantasy! 20 Books of Summer is another easy to use meme: I always get through at least ten titles over the three months, and there are options to increase one’s tally to 15 or 20. Just another excuse to read!

      Liked by 1 person

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