Monthly Key Word Reading Challenge Update (January 2018)

As I posted at the end of 2017, this year I am trying out the Monthly Key Word Challenge hosted by My Reader’s Block in which I try to read books with certain words in the title each month. Since I am not a fast enough reader to read a tome each month for each of the nine keywords, yet I feel compelled to include all nine words, I am also seeking out articles, short stories, essays, picture books, poems, etc.

When I told my family about the reading challenge, my brother claimed that he could come up with a better set of words for the 12 months, and then he and my parents each gave me their lists of one suggested word per month, so now it looks like I have a ready-made 2019 reading challenge as well.

January’s words were: white, ice, year, baby, hat, dance, top, road, if

I read…


On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A Dry White Season by André Brink


The Ice Wolf by Joanna Halpert Kraus, from Around the World in 21 Plays, edited by Lowell Swortzell

Short Stories:

The Dancer” by Bashir Sakhawarz

Articles, Essays, Speeches:

On the Road with a Feminist” – a review of the movie and book by a member of the Feministing community.

The Top Selfie-Worthy Museum Shows of 2017“by Ellen Gamerman in the Wall Street Journal. Written in January 2017 looking ahead at the year’s most Instagrammable blockbuster art exhibits, including Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at the Hirshhorn.

The Story Behind TIME’s President Trump ‘Year One’ Cover” by Sarah Begley in Time, writing about artist Edel Rodriguez and his orange-and-yellow Trump caricature that has graced a few Time magazine covers.

Artist creates ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ memes to stop people from whitewashing MLK” in Mic showcases the memes of graphic designer Daniel Rarela, who explains, “I wanted to shatter this false image of a Martin Luther King who everyone loved, never got arrested, was universally popular and made zero privileged people feel uncomfortable or angry enough to want to kill him.” His designs are inspired by Barbara Kruger, whose giant-text work you may have seen on the lower level of the Hirshhorn Museum.

I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” – I made sure to read one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches on Martin Luther King Day.

Thoughts of Home: Blueprint for a baby” is a short, moving essay by Anjali Enjeti published in Atlanta Magazine.

Colleagues rally behind ‘Teacher of the Year’ after she’s cuffed at school board meeting”. There have been a number of news reports about Deyshia Hargrove; this particular article includes one of the month’s keywords in the headline and notes that Hargrove was previously named Teacher of the Year. The Louisiana teacher was arrested at a school board meeting after questioning the proposed $38,000 pay raise for the superintendent when the teachers have not had a pay increase in over a decade.

The Healing Power of Dance” from the NEA’s blog in 2011. In January, I wrote about examples of therapy through visual artmaking, with artworks displayed at the National Museum of Health and Medicine. In this post, Sherry Goodill discusses the impact of another form of therapy, this time through the medium of dance.

For a specific example of dance-related museum programming, “Haggerty Art Museum to showcase dance about disability stigma” highlights a 2016 event at a museum in Milwaukee.

Democratizing Branding with the Pussyhat (Our First Annual Brand of the Year)” by Debbie Millman bestows the honor of the School of Visual Arts Masters in Branding program’s Brand of the Year upon the humble pink pussyhat, which was conceived by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman and designed by Kat Coyle. (Is there any possible name more appropriate for the designer of the pussyhat than a homonym of “cat coil”?) Congratulations to the winners!

If the poor must work to earn every dollar, shouldn’t the rich?” – an opinion piece by Elizabeth Bruenig in the Washington Post.

I’m Sorry If You Misinterpreted My Erection as Anything Except Support For You as a Writer” by Lareign Ward, posted at Electric Literature.

The White House asked to borrow a van Gogh. The Guggenheim offered a gold toilet instead.” – some art news in the Washington Post.

Restoring Family Links More Than 70 Years After the Holocaust” discusses some very cool work by the Red Cross – museums helped too in their own way.

Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea” is an article in Quartz relevant to the interests of this tea drinker.


About Laura

Paralegal with Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education, frequent museum visitor, based in Washington, DC. I care about what museums can do, both in terms of public offerings and internal practices, to make the world a better place. I blog about museum education ("informed"), the social work of museums ("humane"), and visitor experience ("citizenry").
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