Read, write, and BBQ

May Celebrations

Imagine relaxing with a book you’ve been waiting to read… or talking story and thinking that your family stories would make a great book… or heating up the grill for a beachside barbecue before hot summer days. May is a month for reading, writing, and barbecuing.

For readers, May is Get Caught Reading Month, a nationwide campaign to remind people that reading is fun. Celebrities like actor Cary Elwes, authors like Neil Gaiman, and even Yoda have been caught with a book. If you don’t have a lot of time, DailyLit will email you 15 minutes of fiction every day. You can fill “between-time” moments waiting for the bus, a train, or an appointment with a book, comic book, or graphic novel. In the classroom, ReadWriteThink has some great resources for teachers and librarians to encourage reading – like choosing the right book or discussing books about courage. Libraries could set up a “Get Caught Reading” book club.

This is a great warm-up for summer reading programs, which start later this month. If you’re looking for great Hawaii reads, check out the 2015 Ka Palapala Po’okela Award nominees and winners, selected by the Hawaii Book Publishers Association. I recommend Darien Gee’s “Writing the Hawaii Memoir” – it combines reading, writing, and bento boxes.

For writers, aspiring writers, and family historians, May is Short Story Month. Instead of waiting to write that novel, start with a short story or essay. has even come up with an annual Extreme Writing Challenge: Write a story everyday in May! If you’ve heard a good family story or shared a funny moment with your friends, consider writing it down (you can always change the names in your story to protect the innocent – and not-so-innocent).

When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers assigned us to write one page every night for homework. Usually she gave us a creative writing prompt. Sometimes I didn’t know what to write, so I did what kids usually do: wrote large and used big margins. Mostly I enjoyed writing, and even challenged myself to write “serial” stories – a 5-part story with cliffhangers. I wish I had kept them.

And because good books go with good food — for foodies, picnickers, and beach-goers, May is National Barbecue Month. Celebrate grilling and the outdoors with a potluck, a beach BBQ, or picnic. For outdoor cooking ideas and tips, read the “BBQ 365 Guide” from the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA).

I’m not a grilling enthusiast, but I live with one. He loves his Kamado, and he knows how to use it. One of the most useful tools I gave him is a set of branding irons for steaks – “R” for rare, “M” for medium, and “W” for well-done.

What books will you read this month? What stories will you tell? And just as important, what will you barbecue? If you have a favorite BBQ recipe, please share it with us!

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