May wrap-up!

Hi friends and fellow book lovers! May is over in the blink of an eye, which means it’s time for another wrap-up!

Usually, I start these wrap-ups off with the books I’ve read, and I keep commentary to the end of the post. But it seemed disingenuous to put this at the end, so it’s going right at the front.

This past week has been heavy. In New York, a white woman, Amy Cooper, called the police, alleging that an “African-American man” was “threatening her with violence” after he asked her to put her dog on a leash. In Louisville, Breonna Taylor, a Black woman, was shot eight times by officers entering her home. In Minnesota, George Floyd, an unarmed, innocent Black man, was murdered by a white police officer while three other officers stood and watched. In Toronto, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a young Black woman, was (allegedly) pushed off a balcony by police officers when they were responding to a domestic call at her apartment. In Tallahassee, an unarmed Black trans man, Tony McDade, was killed by a police officer. A white pastor claimed to be kidnapped by Black men to avoid admitting he was cheating on his wife. A white woman drowned her autistic son and claimed it was a Black man.

I’ve always held this quote from Elie Wiesel as one of my guiding principles, particularly during times like these:

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

During these times, it can be hard to know what to do. Other than speaking up against everything that’s happened, I’ve felt so helpless these past couple of days, knowing that what I can do is minimal and limited. But I thought the least I could do is promote some places where you can make a change. I’ve donated what I currently can to the organizations below and signed the petition, and urge everyone to do the same as they are able. The links below will take you to the donation page for the listed organizations.

  • The NAACP Legal Defense Fund: a non-profit that “seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans”.
  • Reclaim the Block: a Minneapolis-based organization that “organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety”.
  • Black Visions Collective: a Black, Trans, Queer-led organization affiliated with the BLM Global Network (link will take you to to their Twitter account, where there is a link for donations).
  • The Minnesota Freedom Fund: pays for the bail/bonds of those who have been arrested during protests.
  • North Star Health Collective: they provide “health care services, resources, and training to ensure the safety of our community”.
  • The Official George Floyd Memorial Fund: a GoFundMe for George Floyd’s family to help cover funeral and other pending costs.
  • Black Legal Action Centre: an Ontario-based organization that that provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents (link will take you to their home page, where there is a link to donate).
  • I Run with Maud: a GoFundMe for Ahmaud Arbery’s mother and family.
  • Here is a spreadsheet with a list of places to donate (I didn’t make this).
  • Look up your local Black Lives Matter chapter or equivalent organization and donate if you can.

Remember that you’re not any less of any ally if you’re unable to donate. It is equally important to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

There is also a petition for justice for George Floyd that you can sign. The police officers responsible have been fired, but they should be criminally charged (update: the officer who killed Floyd has been charged with manslaughter).

Also, if you are going to a protest or are taking pictures at or sharing pictures from a protest, please be careful. A ridiculous number of people who were present at BLM protests have been found dead or have gone missing. Blur faces and bodies of people in photos, don’t wear distinctive clothing, cover distinctive tattoos, be careful.

Here is a Twitter thread of petitions to sign.

I think it’s also important to consume media to educate yourself, particularly as a white or non-black person. Here is a twitter thread of black documentaries:

Here’s a thread of some books to read:

Here’s a thread of some Black booktubers to follow, if you don’t already and want to support Black fellow creatives.

Remember to support and listen to your black friends, activists, etc. Sit down and let them speak.

Books Read

  • Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin: 5 stars
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer: 4.5 stars
  • Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood: 4 stars
  • Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim: 5 stars
  • Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak: 4 stars
  • Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu: 5 stars
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle: 4 stars
  • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena: 3.5 stars
  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone: 3 stars
  • Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins: 4.5 stars

Holy shit, I didn’t realise how much I read this month. I was flying through books, clearly. Most of these were read during the first two weeks, as well. I fell into a bit of a slump in the last two weeks of the month.

Currently reading

  • Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle: I’m not too far into this book and have been lacking the motivation to read the past few days, but I’m really enjoying it.

Things watched

  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: listen, I loved this. It was amazing. It’s such a fun, wholesome, funny show. It’s so well-written. The characters are interesting. The story is so ridiculous and fun. It feels so real and the teenagers actually felt and looked like teenagers. It was genuinely so funny. It’s just wonderful, and I loved it so much. If you have Disney+, please watch it. If you don’t have Disney+, find a way to watch it.

Reviews posted

Other bookish posts

If you didn’t like this book, you might like this book // Recommendations based on the type of law my friends want to go into // Maybe kind of attempting Sapphic-A-Thon aka sapphic books on my TBR // Cringing at the blatant self-insert story I wrote when I was eleven

Other news and highlights

  • May was my first month quarantined with no school to do, which is largely how I got so much reading done. I also did fuck all. I read, I watched YouTube, I baked, I cleaned our bathroom, I did online shopping, and I took my dog for walks. That was about it.
  • A bunch of the food trucks in my city were doing a food truck drive-thru one day, so my friends and I met up to do that. We all sat in a mall parking lot, six feet apart, and ate food truck food. It was great to see them all and catch up, even if it was in a weird way.
  • We cleaned out my mom’s work office and found a real human skull. His name is Truman, we’re keeping him.
  • That same afternoon, my family and I had a scooter race in our front yard, and then my brother and I day drank cider with my sister and dad while we chilled, listening to music. It was a great, albeit kind of weird, day.
  • My family and I went on a hike one day near the end of the month, after national parks had been open for a few days. It was a great, long but fun and easy hike.

How was your May? How has social distancing been? Have you read any good books lately? Let me know!!


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