The May Day Reading List Project

Happy May Day! It’s a “triple threat” holiday here in our little Barcelona piso. (Honestly, that’s not a swear word… it means apartment here in Spain). Citizens of former British colonies around the world (especially those that split amicably) think of this as May Day. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the British bank holiday of my childhood is one and the same as the Spanish Labor Day which we, ironically are celebrating today by NOT working. And the fresh-faced girls in white dresses dancing around the Maypole? Dating back to pagan times, the first of May has been a traditional day for “Welcome Spring” and other (see: fertility) festivities in Britain. Really, who doesn’t want an excuse to go dancing?

Finally, today marks 13 years since the day DP and I first met. (Happy anniversary)!

It’s been sort of quiet for such a BIG day. I’ve spent some of it reading… yummy blogs, and my most recent book purchase, Jennifer Weiner’s Certain Girls which DP found for me in the Dublin airport. Yup, in Dublin. Recently, I have taken to buying books for myself while travelling. No silk scarves or silver jewelry for souvenirs … just books. Here’s a photo of the little collection of books that I have purchased while traveling over the last three months.

My little pile of books got me thinking about reading and how I am this particular person partly because of my long-standing love affair with books. As I have started a new job this year (ah, the life of an international educator) I have read less than in any other year of my reading life; honestly, I read more as a six year-old. This feels less than terrific. So this pile of books is partway to a remedy.

The other part? A challenge for my hearty little band of blog-friends. Thanks to Sarah over at the Pink of Perfection for the inspiration. You can check out her most recent monthly project here.

The Reading List Project
Let’s create a list (oh, I DO love a good list) of great books for each other. We’ll shoot for 100 books by THE END OF MAY! The recommendations can be books you are reading… or have just finished… or are about to dive into. They can be recommendations from other reader-ly friends. We will not discriminate against non-fiction in our creation of the May Day Reading List.

I’ll start us off with recommendations from my pile… and I’ll tell you where in the world I bought them:
1) The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke (Barcelona airport)
2) Unless: A Novel by Carol Shields (Used book store in Budapest)
3) Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood (Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport)
4) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Anne Frank House, Amsterdam)
5) Cinnamon City: Falling for the magical city of Marrakech by Miranda Innes (Outdoor used book market, Temple Bar area of Dublin)
6) How the Irish Saved Civilization; The Untold Story of Ireland’s Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill (Dublin Airport)
7) Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner (Dublin Airport)

Now it’s your turn!
Add your recommendations (book title and author) in the comments section below along with anything else you would like to share about your book(s). Thanks for sharing!


  1. If you haven't read Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurty, do. It takes you to the most richly-drawn world with sweeping landscapes and cowboy ethics and lots and lots of beans. It is sooo good.

  2. Thanks, Sarah. I have not yet read the book and will add it to my list. DP says that we watched part of the film (I don't actually remember) and I was a little uncomfortable with the portrayal of women. (I know it's a Western!) I will still give the book a try, though. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. From a friend's book club at an international school in Buenos Aires:9)Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert10) Five People You Meet in Hell: Surviving Katrina by Robert Smallwood 11) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyle12) Water For Elephants By Sara Gruen13) Run by Ann Patchett 14) Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

  4. Hey April!Thanks for the recommendation. I've never heard of this one so I'll put it on my summer-buy list.I just finished reading Ann Patchett's "Run"… amazing! I don't know how it's possible for a writer to maintain that kind of tension over 300 pages and to write so beautifully! Have you read it? (Teacher Girl whistles in appreciation).I also just got a pile of great recommendations from Monterrey Sarah (God bless her):16) Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver17) The Sparrow and Children of God by Mary Doria Russell18) Blindness by Jose Saramago19) Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog20) The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein21) Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls22) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides23) Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott24) On Mexican Time by Tony Cohan25) The Tortilla Curtain by T. Coraghessen Boyle26) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen27) My Antonia by Willa Cather28) The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers29) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction30) Griffin & Sabine (and all of the related books!) by Nick Bantock

  5. Great Idea! My list changes daily.Here's an old favourite, a recent favourite and one I'm just starting into:High Tide in Tuscon – Barbara KingsolverThe Magician's Assistant – Ann PatchettGods Behaving Badly – Marie PhillipsCJ

  6. Hi CJ,I like the choices… something old and something new. I love the Anne Patchett pick. I finished "Run" a few days ago and I was just dazzled by it. I'll bring it home this summer and you can borrow it.I think we need to add Patchett's Bel Canto to this list of great books. That's number 34.It must be "Gods Behaving Badly" that you've just started as I've never heard of it.I will post this big list on the last day of May although I expect that a total of 100 books might have been a bit ambitious. I'm always wanting to dream big!Thanks for your comment!

  7. So glad to find your blog through Sarah's project! I'm a teacher here in San Francisco and I find that my pile of personal books keeps getting taller… and dustier… as I get bogged down in 'required' reading. This totally inspires me to just make the time.

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