Month in Review: May 2019

This was another quiet month on the blog, as I am very busy packing and moving. Reading-wise, I am still doing a lot of rereading as I decide what to keep, and also just feel like revisiting old friends as they turn up …

I also found a new interest in the life and work of Helen Keller, after reading and reviewing The Story of My Life last month. Dorothy Herrmann’s 1998 biography provided a fascinating look at a story that is much more complex than the sanitized version that’s been handed down for public consumption. I recommend it for anyone who wants to delve further into the topic, as well as Helen’s own works.

I found many striking and beautiful passages in My Religion, her book about the importance of Swedenborgian thought in her life. I had little knowledge of this revolutionary pre-Enlightenment “New Church” before, aside from dismissive and inflammatory treatments by critics, but to Keller it was a message of freedom and love that seems very relevant today. It’s sad that her family and others who were in control of her legacy were ashamed of this interest as well as her avid socialism.



Books Read

  • Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse – Reread
  • A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle – Reread
  • Thirteen to Nineteen: Discovering the Light by Julian Sleigh
  • My Religion by Helen Keller
  • Helen Keller: A Life by Dorothy Herrmann
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – Reread


Other Features and Events


Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

16 thoughts on “Month in Review: May 2019

    1. Oops, I see I did not actually finish my post. See above for further commentary! Yes, I found it very interesting to learn more about Swedenborg, a scientific genius who turned to mysticism in later life. And it was infuriating to learn that Keller’s family wouldn’t even allow her the Swedenborgian funeral she requested. There were many controlling people in her life, sadly.


  1. Wow great reading month. I’m really interested in learning more about Helen Keller. I’m fascinated by her life, but like you said I feel as though I only know the watered down versions that are usually given for public consumption.


    1. I do strongly recommend this biography, and there is lots of other material once you start looking. But the popular image is pretty limited. We don’t like our heroes to be human, it seems.


    1. It’s beautifully written, but so sad. Ishiguro seems preoccupied with missed connections, based on the three books I’ve read by him.


  2. Oh the Keller biography sounds interesting! I know about Helen Keller basically what I learned from my children’s biography of her at age eight — and I’m guessing her story is way more complicated than that book told me.


    1. Way. You would be amazed. And there’s much more we cannot know, because there is no record of certain thoughts and feelings, or they have been lost. (Many important papers were burned in a fire.) But there’s enough to show the problems with making someone into an icon, both for her and the people around her.


  3. I read The Story of My Life in my middle school years, and several times thereafter. So I would love to read Hermann’s biography to find out more, particularly about her later life, after The Story of My Life. Alas, I’ll have to wait for the time being, as my library does not have it.

    Best of luck as you continue preparing for your move!


    1. Well, there’s always interlibrary loan? I know there are SO MANY BOOKS, the ones more readily available generally come first, but this one is worth a look. Besides covering the more than sixty years in Helen’s life after that first book, it uncovers some of the untold story behind that one. Really quite fascinating!


    1. I don’t think I had ever read the actual book before, though familiar with the general story, so it was really interesting. I think you’ll find the biography quite illuminating as well.


  4. You read/reread books that are new to me. I hope your packing and moving is going well. June is almost over and I really don’t know where the time goes.


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