It’s that time again! The month has swiftly ended, and another TBR has been almost conquered. I went absolutely nuts this month. Truly, I was out of my mind. I’d picked an initial eighteen books to add to my May TBR. Eighteen. And the thing about me, in case you don’t know, is that I am an uber-completionist. So, when I pick eighteen books, it’s not so that I can pick and choose among the lot. It’s so that I can read eighteen books.
To be totally honest, this month, reading came at the expense of my outside life. My boyfriend nagged me (rightly so), because I would come home from work and immediately crawl into a corner to obsessively chip away at my TBR. Any free time I had was thrown to my books, and if I wasn’t reading or working, I’d end up just numbly scrolling through Facebook videos and aimlessly wandering between apps. Why, you ask? Because I was literally so burnt out that I couldn’t do anything else.
In the midst of this obsession, my dog fell super ill. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, she had a slipped disc (IVDD), which can be common for dogs with short legs and long bodies. It didn’t heal on meds alone, so we had to send her to the hospital for a $7,000 surgery. Rough.
Her healing process has been lengthy and exhausting. Between this, and unhealthy reading commitments, my house has become a genuine disaster area, and my boyfriend and I have just been endlessly bickering.
All this to say, while my reading month was great, my real life was a little harsh, and I’ve realized that I can’t throw every ounce of my energy into books. We shouldn’t have to pressure ourselves to finish books super quickly, or speed through books we should savor.
Next month, I am planning to step way the heck back, and arrange a very simple, easy, low-stress TBR, because reading should never stress you out.
Anyway, anyway, here is my official May Wrap-Up! I read three rereads, three short story collections, all of the contents of my Capsule Books Romance Box, a few selections given to me by the wonderful Dzanc Books, and some really great picks from my shelf! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of the same books, and tell me what you read this month!
May Reading Wrap-Up:
Books Read: 17 / Pages Read: 5,203 / Average Rating: 4.0
Favorite Read: Atonement – Ian McEwan
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / I thought the movie was heartbreaking enough, so of course, I decided to dive into the book to break my emotions all over again. McEwan’s story of lovers mistakenly torn apart across WWII is lush, vivid, sophisticated, and so intense. I love every sad, romantic moment.
Least Favorite Read: Laughable Loves – Milan Kundera
⭐️⭐️ / This book was included in my rep box given to me by Capsule Books. It’s part of their Romance Spring Capsule, and as much as I appreciate and have loved my time as a Spring rep for their unique box, this book struck no chords with me. Kundera has a series of short stories, and I guess they’re about love, but I found them fairly rife with chauvinism and misogyny, and even though his writing style is smart, the content didn’t sit well in my eyes. The stories weren’t laughable or lovely, and the sense of humor Kundera uses never quite hit home.
Cat’s Cradle: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author, so this rereads was dearly beloved. It’s a whacky and whimsical and totally focused tale about people, religion, and science.
The Sorrow Proper: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Alright, Lindsay Drager is a new favorite. This story about the demise of a pair of lovers amidst a crisis involving a closing library is poetic, beautiful, and poignant. Drager is my proof that a piece of writing can be prosey and flowery, and totally captivating.
The Lost Daughters Collective: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Similarly to The Sorrow Proper, I am head over heels for the eerie tones Drager summons up to craft completely unique stories. This book is a dreamy tale about men who’ve lost their daughters, and even in its abstract prose, manages to pack one last punch in at the end.
A Conjuring of Light: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Alright, I’m slightly cheating. Technically I’m in the middle of this one, but there’s still loads of time to finish, right? V.E. Schwab’s newest fangirl over here. She can do no wrong, and that includes her conclusion to the Shades of Magic series, which, albeit some lengthy stretches, thrills me all the way through.
Baptism of Desire: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Erdrich is currently super relevant for her recent novel, The Future Home of the Living God, but she has a lengthy, acclaimed career. After I found this collection of poems in a Boston bookstore, I dug in deep to her beautiful work about spirituality, life, death, and motherhood.
Bonfire: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Krysten Ritter’s thriller surprised the heck out of me. It wasn’t campy or full of tropes. It was well-researched, calm, cool, collected, and totally compelling. It even had a likeable main character! The portrayer of Jane Margolis and Jessica Jones has created a uniquely successful thriller.
The Hobbit: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Twelve years after receiving this book as a congratulatory gift from my grandma (I played Thorin in the fifth grade school play), I finally read it. Tolkien is fun, frolicking, drastic, and driven. The story of Bilbo Baggins really is a journey, with a beginning, a middle, and a victory. I loved reading this detailed cornerstone of fantasy.
The Forty Rules of Love: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This unexpected book also came in the Capsule Books box. It is a retelling of Rumi, the legendary Persian poet, his union with spiritual mentor Shams of Tabriz, and their influence on their whirling dervish disciples. It’s been years since I read a book that opened my eyes and taught me something, and I was blown away by how far this book widened my knowledge of the world.
House of Night: Tempted: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Most of me continuously wants to cry out that this series is garbage, but it’s been fun to watch the story and characters mature. The story has been garnering more and more action, drama, and legend. Now that the first 100 pages aren’t dedicated to a too-thorough recap, the books have actually been enjoyable (guilty-pleasure style).
An American Marriage: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This novel is so INTERESTING. A newly wedded couple is compromised when the husband is whisked away to a long prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. The book is the chronicling of their loyalty, demise, and love. This pacing is unlike any book I’ve ever read, and it made for truly amazing character development.
I Am an Executioner: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / These short stories were so weird and darkly compelling. “Love Stories” is the most ironic and misleading byline I’ve ever seen, because these stories are momentarily morbid and frequently not romantic. They are, however, super cool works of really imaginative fiction.
Son of a Witch: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Maguire’s revisionist sequel is expansive. So much happens that I am hard-pressed to recall most of it, but I can’t fault Maguire for being too thorough. The story of Liir, Elphaba’s alleged son, is eventful and interesting. I also totally love how Maguire treats sexual attraction. His characters swerve between preferences without ever making it a huge staple of the character development or plot. Oh, Liir is with a man? Yeah, but let’s talk about this other thing! Refreshing.
Clothed, Female Figure: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This short story collection is a basket of womanhood. Mothers, lovers, workers…Allio has created a tableau of representation. Ultimately, I found some of the stories hard to follow, under a layer of sophisticated and creative prose.
Rumble: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / I wonder if Hopkin’s teenage characters always seemed so petulant when I was their age and reading her books. Not to complain; the main character’s brother killed himself and his girlfriend is an ultra-religious nut. I’d be angsty too. The story is a great big question of religion, spirituality, and forgiveness. Honestly, I wish so many of Hopkin’s books didn’t involve the desert, a shooting range, and drinking problems.
The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / For the record, my three-star rating means I still enjoyed the book. This exciting 2018 release fell flat for me, despite its best attempt at mystery and intrigue. The phrase “a novel in clues” is plastered to the front of the book, and since it was so heavily emphasized in the release of this book, I was expecting the mystery to be a little farther out of the box. I hoped for a cool, twisting trail of compelling clues that we, as readers, could be responsible for solving. Instead, it rang pretty much as a standard thriller, with well-times twists, plentiful secrets, and the element of danger. It just didn’t really have many of the promised clues.
📚 What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below!