A look at May

May has been a whirlwind month for me. In Ireland on the 25th May we voted on Repeal the 8th and the lead up to it was nasty, highly emotional and exhausting. As always I had books to make me feel better and take me out of the shitshow that was playing out around me.

The referendum passed by 66.4% and I’m feeling very patriotic and awed by the women of Ireland at the moment.

May was also brought with it lots of author events and meeting some absolute legends. At the start of the month I traveled to Oxford with friends to listen to Victoria Schwab give the Tolkien Lecture.

On Monday 21st I was lucky enough to get to go to a Repeal the 8th event that showcased some amazing Irish artists. I got to see one of my favourite pieces of spoken word poetry preformed by the incredibly talented Emmet Kirwan. Comic Tara Flynn also preformed a piece that was both poignant and funny and this event led to my discovery of Elaine Feeney whose poem ‘History Lesson’ has blown my mind and I will be buying all of her books post-haste and one will definitely be part of my monthly poetry challenge. All these artists are featured in the Repeal the 8th Anthology edited by Irish journalist Una Mullaly who has been a huge driving force behind the campaign.

And last but certainly not least I got to attend An Evening with Neil Gaiman on Sunday 27th May as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin and it was amazing. The talk itself was incredible and I got The Graveyard Book signed afterward and he signed it epically.

It also helped that we got to skip what felt like a never ending queue because the friend I went with brought her 12 year old son and Neil requested that kids get their books signed first as it was a school night. This makes Neil even more legendary and also means that I’ll be making my friend take her son to ALL future book events in the hopes of skipping long queues. Is this why people have kids? Because I’m starting to see the appeal! 😀

So a really busy month for book events and even though these things are hard for this introvert I’m always so glad when I go to them.

So what were my May highlights? I’ll keep this brief as I’ve waffled on enough already.

First up is Rivers of London and Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. These are book 1 and 2 in the Peter Grant series and I’m really excited about reading the rest of the books, and forgive me while I shout, ‘GRAPHIC NOVELS‘. These books are fun and such an enjoyable read. I picked up Rivers of London on a whim while at Birmingham Airport coming back from Oxford and I can forever blame that trip for my new obsession.

Another new obsession is Mary Beard. She is feminist goals. My boss gave me Women & Power: A Manifesto to read and I was blown away by it. It also made me most angry and annoyed with the world and how women have been silenced throughout history. It was an interesting time to read it and makes me want to join all of the women’s movements.

And the poetry choice for this month was a last minute addition. I bought The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin after the referendum result because as I mentioned above I was feeling very patriotic and I wanted to read some poetry by female Irish poets.

Who Is He?

He used to scrape verdigris from copper coins and eat it.

Later when he wrote the suicide scene he vomited.

He lost his virginity to his mother’s maid.

He was disgusted with himself, they said.

There in no mention of how the maid felt.

His sister was called Caroline, pronounced ‘Caroleene’.

Caroline died when she was not yet twenty-three.

She lay in her wedding dress ‘holding a white bouquet’.

He sat by her side all night, reading Montaigne.

At her funeral. the grave had been dug too thin.

The gravediggers stamped and forced the coffin in.

He wrote a letter that the place where they stamped was where her head must have been.

‘The funeral was ghastly.’

There are links between his method and Stainislavsky’s.

His first name for Emma was Marie.

He despised timidity.

It was wonderful and I absolutely adored the notes at the end. This has made me want to do three things.

  1. Read Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  2. Find out everything I can about Eleanor Marx
  3. Go back in time and bitchslap Edward Aveling.

I read this in one sitting while relaxing in my garden in glorious weather drinking Spritz and feeling somewhat content about things. The world is mostly not content but for right now in mine it’s much better than it was last week so I’ll take it.

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