You may wonder why Jarad and I continually prattle on about gardening. If you do, it probably means you’re not a gardener yourself. Most of the gardeners we know kinda can’t help but wax on about varieties, heirloom seeds, the best fertilizers, and whether or not you can squeeze a drift rose into a spot with only four hours of sun. We are also writers and readers…this combination means garden posts for you! At least we don’t collect vacuum cleaners or take pictures of roundabouts.
But today we are no longer satisfied with simple loquacity, we have crossed the border into proselyting. Here’s Jarad on the benefits of gardening.
At this point in time, I believe I’ve prattled on about plants to the point where my friends and family are in danger of becoming homicidal. (Guys, if you do decide to kill me, at least bury me under the vegetables). Aside from actually being annoyed to death by an overly enthusiastic plant fiend, there are benefits to being a gardener. Here are some that I have discovered.
The Fall temperatures may not be here yet, but we're hoping that we can convince ourselves that they are with books! If you are also suffering under the heat and wishing for fall, these might help you!
When it starts getting cool, I love to sit outside and read. Of course, in Atlanta, cool is relative. By cool, I mean an occasional breeze and not quite feeling like my skin is boiling off. Because it doesn't get really Autumn crisp until late November around here, I like to read anything that makes me feel cool. So I read books set in colder climates. I love the Mary Russell books - the ones set in England - in the fall. They make me feel like I'm sitting next to a hot fire with a cup of tea, even though I'm sitting on a lawn chair in shorts, pretending the slight puff of occasional air is a fall breeze. Any books set in cooler climates will do. I would love to be more specific. Normally, I peruse my bookshelves to jog my memory. But this year, alas, my books are still packed waiting on my library shelves to go in. I will hopefully have them back in my possession by the fall. Sigh
Here are some of our favorite plays!
Is it funny? Right now that's what I'm looking for. The world is falling apart and I need a laugh. I like all theater from Broadway to community to little kids who write their own. But at this particular juncture on the worst timeline, make me laugh and you can put my butt right in a seat.
by Jarad Johnson
Pride month is almost over, and before it ends Jarad wanted to share some of his favorite LGBTQ+ books! There are many more he could spend pages and pages rambling about (and more still that he wants to read)!
Dancer From the Dance - Andrew Holleran
Often referred to as one of the most important gay books ever written, Dancer From the Dance was one of the first gay themed books I ever read. It showcases New York's emerging gay scene in 1978. This was a time after Stonewall and before the Aids Epidemic ravaged the gay community.
Tell the Wolves I'm Home- Carol Rifka Brunt
One of the sweetest and saddest stories you'll ever read, Tell the Wolves I'm Home is the story of a young girl watching her uncle deteriorate after a long battle with Aids. It explores how we treat people with Aids, and the overall stigma surrounding the gay community. Telling the story from the perspective of a young person removes a lot of that stigma. This is one of the few books to make me cry, and one of fewer still that made me cry in public. It's heartbreaking in a very human way.
Here are some of our favorite LGBTQ+ authors! Who are some of yours?
Roxanne Gay – Instead of following on Twitter because I like her books, I started following her on twitter because I enjoyed her wise and acerbic take on the crazy world of politics, gender and feminism. Then I realized that this wrote articles for the New York Times, where she covers the intersection of identity and culture and I starting reading through her archives. As a queer woman of color, her articles help the reader think through complicated issues that are still somehow universal. Then I realized she wrote books! Better and better. I’ve recently started Difficult Women. It’s definitely on the review list.
Matthew Vines – As a former evangelical, I often find myself drawn to questions about the theology that shaped me. Matthew Vines is a gay Christian who grew up in an evangelical church and studied philosophy at Harvard for several years. Instead of rejecting his religion, Vines took up an extensive study of what the Bible actually said about homosexuality, finding no evidence that committed gay relationships were prohibited by God. His book is God and the Gay Christian, a thoughtful, well-researched book that carefully considers language, theology and context. Whether you are religious or not, this careful consideration of the theology that has underpinned patriarchy and homophobia for centuries is illuminating.
Here are some of our favorite classic books!
Of Human Bondage- W. Somerset Maugham
I read this book some time ago, but it remains one of my favorites, mostly for the gorgeous writing. The plot itself is good, but nothing revolutionary. The writing, however, is what sets it apart. Because of that, it's a book you can easily lose yourself in.
There are certain books for us at Sacred Chickens that herald the arrival of summer every year. Here are some of the ones we always read!
For many people, books evoke certain feelings, emotions or memories. Some books you love so much that you could read them over and over again, like visiting an old friend. Some books are reminiscent of certain seasons, and since summer is upon us, here are the books that we at Sacred Chickens read every summer.
For me nothing says summer like Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. When the strongest scented flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and heat waves shimmer like magic, nothing seems more probable than a land of nonsense, totally without consequence, where a giant egg pay words to mean exactly what he wants them to mean and naughty children turn into pigs.
My second choice is Emily Dickinson. All her poetry feels like summer to me, rhymes as slanted as the late summer sun, as simple as a white cotton dress and a light breeze, but with summer’s living depth of deep green as well.
Here are some short stories that we think you should read. We all picked different genres and types of stories, so there's something for everyone here. Let us know if you decide to check something out! Happy reading!
What: Instant Love, by Jami Attenberg
Why: I’ve just discovered this book, originally published in 2006, but I instantly fell in love with it. (Ha! Notice the clever play on the title). It’s a series of linked short stories about three women and their romantic histories. It’s clean, engaging, and true.
I may have recently developed a seed buying addiction, but I've been addicted to books for most of my life. I have books piling up on the floor, on tables, on top of the fridge; they're everywhere, and threatening to take over all the room in my house. But I don't really mind that.
I bought several books by Virginia Woolf- A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, among others. I grabbed everything off the shelf that I could find, and couldn't help but wish there was more. Regardless, I intend to read everything that I have- and then buy more! I wanted to read her books because i feel like she's more interesting than half the men in the Literary Canon, as well as being a great writer.
Books I Want to Read
by Jarad Johnson
I have been trying to force myself to get through a book for nearly two weeks, and I’ve come to the realization that what I am reading is boring me. I’ve been on a fantasy/fiction kick for some time now, and I. Am. Bored. Unstimulated. Unmotivated. Banging my head against the wall.
I was going to attempt to get through it so that I could review it, but it’s not possible. I need to find something else and get out of this rut. This is something that happens to me, and I assume most readers, about twice a year or so. I just get stuck reading basically the same book and genre, and I get to a point where I need some variation. You’d think that I would learn from my mistakes year after year, but sadly that has yet to happen. Typical.