Monthly Mental Munchies: May 2019

I find May to be a rather confused month. It never knows what it wants to do with the weather. One day, it storms about with thunder and ten-minute showers and the golden glow of raincloud-filtered sunbeams, and the next, it sweeps clean the clouds with chilly winds to show a sunnier disposition. I’ve scraped ice from my windshield at 6 a.m., only to roll down the windows by 3 p.m. for a bit of cool breeze. May packs all four seasons into thirty-one days, and you have to appreciate that kind of variety, even if it means your sartorial choices are in constant flux. As someone who is greatly affected by the weather, I find having just the right mental stimulation helps me coast through the month, no matter what it brings. Here’s a peek at what propelled me through the manic month of May:

Books: I spent a lot of time reading this month, thanks to a cold that mutated into a bout of bronchitis. I started off the month with Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older, an imaginative middle grade book that mixes the Triassic period with civil-war era America. dactylhillThe protagonist, a young black orphan named Magdalys, communicates with dinosaurs and rides pterodactyls as she works to save her fellow orphans from an organization that seeks to kidnap and transport the children to sell in the south. I followed that with Powerless by Matthew Cody and Bug Girl by Sarah Hines Stephens and Benjamin Harper, both of which are excellent comps for my own middle grade book, Colossa and the Big Kids. Since these were rather quick reads, I was able to devour a fourth book in May, this one an adult vampire thriller titled Bored to Death by Amanda Linehan. I loved the main character’s sarcastic and relatable voice, and the premise—a 300-year-old vampire who is bored with life . . . er, death . . . no, undeath—is interesting. As I read it, I couldn’t help but imagine how boring living forever must actually be.

Movies: Avengers: Endgame. Enough said.

No, I’m kidding. Of course I watched it. As much as I hate contributing to the entertainment juggernaut that is Disney (who I believe now owns the rights to the character Juggernaut, as well . . .), I wasn’t going to NOT watch it. I mean, I’ve hit every single one at the theater since Iron Man. While I was slightly disappointed in a few plot points, they have their purpose, and that’s all I’ll say about that. unicornstoreSo, what did I watch that was NOT Endgame? The Unicorn Store on Netflix with Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson was sweet and funny and splendid. Larson nails the disillusionment of girls who are raised on magic and glitter, only to find adult life is harsh, unimaginative, and typically dull. We also rented The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald, both sequels to movies I thought were much better. It’s the rare franchise that can strike gold with their sophomore outings, and these did not. At least, not for me. I found the first Lego movie funnier and more charming, and I did not appreciate the final retconning in Grindelwald. I might also still be upset about my favorite character, Leta Lestrange. I love Zoe Kravitz in just about everything, and she played this part perfectly. But I don’t want to say much more, because, well . . . spoilers.

Music: May was a low-key quiet month for me. I tended to need silence more than music. When I did open Pandora, I relied on my Thumbprint station, which plays songs I’ve thumbed up across all my stations.lumineers These tend to be mellow instrumentals, chill lounge beats, epic movie soundtracks, and some indie soft rock from the likes of Blackmill, Of Monsters and Men, Bon Iver, and The Lumineers. If you’ve never seen the “Cleopatra” series of videos, I highly recommend them. Across five  related videos and songs that weave together to create an entire film, they tell the story of a woman with regrets and resignation with her life. Start with “Ophelia,” which sets up a key element of the story, then move onto “Cleopatra,” “Sleep On the Floor,” “Angela,” and finally “My Eyes.” You can find the interpretation of the videos and the story behind them here.

If you’ve read, watched, or listened to any of the above, tell me what you think in the comments below!


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