I’m honestly a bit blown away by the fact I was able to read so many books in May, because it’s been a pretty busy month. I started a new job, which has been totally exhausting. I definitely feel like after I get used to it, it’s going to be fairly easy, and give me plenty of time to read. But for the first week or so, all I felt like doing when I got home was watch Netflix and go to bed early. Somehow, I managed to still read ten books (well, technically, nine books), and I have no idea how.
Reading-wise, this month was pretty up and down. I found some new favorites, but I also read a few books I didn’t like, and a lot that were just okay.
Beartown by Fredrik Backman – ★★★★☆. I love Backman’s writing, but this book just wasn’t for me. I feel a bit bad, since it was through no fault of the book, but after living with a very loud and obnoxious hockey fan, I tend to zone out when people start talking about hockey. So I had a hard time paying attention to this book. You can read my review of Beartown if you want to find out more about this book. I am planning on reading more of Backman’s books, soon.
Emma by Jane Austen – ★★☆☆☆. This was my second attempt at reading Emma, and I definitely remembered why I failed to finish it the first time around. I love Jane Austen (I’ve read all of her novels now except for Sense & Sensibility), but I just can’t bring myself to like this book. I hate Emma (the character), and, as much as I love Clueless, this book was just not fun to read. I did a full review of Emma if you want to read more of my thoughts.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – ★★☆☆☆. I actually enjoyed the first two books in this series, but, man, this one really reminded me why I hate Maas’s writing. I probably would have gotten butchered if I’d turned in something like this for my grad school thesis. The writing felt lazy and totally distracted me from the story. The story itself was okay, but not great compared to the other two books. And while there was a lot more diversity, it felt like an afterthought to satisfy readers (who have complained – rightly so – at the lack of it in her other novels). Overall, ACOWAR was very disappointing. I’ve read four of Maas’s books, and I feel fairly confident in saying this will be my last. (Let me know if you would like to see a review of this book or a post about my thoughts on this series!)
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – ★★★★★. I LOVED this essay! I knew I would, just from the few quotes and excerpts I had read prior to reading the whole thing, but it totally blew me away. Virginia Woolf is brilliant. This is an absolute must-read. (I may do an updated feminist lit post soon.) For now, you can just read my review of A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas.
Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf – ★★★☆☆. I actually read a bind-up of A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas, but felt they deserved their own ratings. Because while I loved A Room of One’s Own, Three Guineas just didn’t speak to me quite as much. However, I still think it’s a valuable piece of literature in it’s own right, and I’m glad I read it. I reviewed them both in one post, so use the link above if you want more info on Three Guineas or what I thought of it.
Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir – ★★★★★. When I saw Alison Weir was coming out with a new book, I immediately requested it on NetGalley, not even realizing that it was the second in a series. In a lovely coincidence, the publisher contacted me to see if I wanted to read the first book in that series – Six Tudor Queens – and, obviously, I said yes. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Weir’s books, but I loved this one! It was so beautifully written, and I loved getting to know Katherine a bit better. If you’re interested in this book, head on over to my review of Katherine of Aragon.
Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir – ★★★★★. After Katherine of Aragon, I dove into Anne Boleyn, the second novel in the Six Tudor Queens series. And I loved it just as much as the first one. I’ve read quite a bit about Anne Boleyn, but this is such a unique take, and it was almost like experiencing this story for the first time. I also have a review of Anne Boleyn, so you can check out my review for more info.
The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich – ★★★☆☆. Sort of between historical fiction books, I decided to take a small break and read this book, which was my Book of the Month pick for May. I just needed something fun and easy to read, and this was it. I did enjoy it, but it was definitely missing some things for me, so it wasn’t a favorite. If you want to find out more, you can read my review of The Love Interest – or check out Book of the Month Club!
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding – ★★★☆☆. Normally, when I have a lot of books I should be reading, I end up picking up books from my TBR. Which is exactly what happened when I decided to finally read Bridget Jones’s Diary. I absolutely love the film, and, in many ways, reading this book was like watching the film. Fun and funny, but it was missing quite a bit of Mark Darcy. Still, really glad to have finally crossed this book off my list!
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – ★★★☆☆. This is another book I wasn’t planning on reading anytime soon (or at all). I’d heard a bit about it, and then I found a signed copy at Target, and it just fell into my cart. It was an interesting contemporary young adult novel about a girl with amnesia, and, while it had a lot of flaws, I did enjoy it. Head on over to my (spoiler-free) review of The One Memory of Flora Banks if you want to find out more.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I am almost finished listening to the audiobook for the second time, and it is just as brilliant as the first time I listened to it. I wasn’t sure what I would think of it, since this was the first Gaiman book I’d ever read, and it was a while ago. But I’m glad I can still call it my favorite! I’m excited to finish it and move on to the BBC radio version (which is exactly what I did the first time around).
The Chalk Artist by Allegra Goodman. This is about a schoolteacher who falls in love with an artist who works almost exclusively in chalk, and destroys his work as soon as it’s finished. I’m about a quarter of the way through it, and I’m really enjoying it so far! I’ll have a review up in a week or so, since this book will be out on the 13th. I’ve been reading a digital ARC, but just last night I got home to find TWO copies in the mail (because Random House is amazing), so I will be doing a giveaway for this book very soon!
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi. I read about half of this book a few months ago, but it didn’t hook me, so I put it on hold. Recently, I picked it back up and have been reading it a bit at a time on my lunch break at work. It’s working well, as I can only take about half an hour of this book at a time, so I think I will eventually finish it. It’s interesting, but hard to connect with and a bit confusing. (Though, to be fair, I think I feel that way about Oyeyemi’s writing in general.)
American Gods (Starz). It took me a few days to catch up on the premiere, but I’m really enjoying this series so far. I love the book, and I think they did a great job with the adaptation! I’m looking forward to reliving the rest of the story on screen. And this month was clearly the month of TV adaptations, because I also watched…
The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu). Holy. Crap. This series is amazing and terrifying. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book (though I do plan on rereading it soon), and so I don’t remember too much of the story, and I am really enjoying viewing it on screen. The actors are incredible, and I can’t wait to continue watching it. (I’ve actually been getting together with a few of my cousins every Friday after work to watch it and drink wine, which is definitely the way to go with this series.)
The Keepers (Netflix). If you liked Making a Murderer, you need to watch this docu-series, which is about a nun who was murdered in 1969, and the scandal surrounding her death. It is so gripping and horrifying, and I haven’t been able to stop watching it. (I’m still getting used to not having the time to binge-watch entire series at a time. You know, like a normal adult.)
Donated Literally Hundreds of Books. Okay, so they weren’t mine, per se, but when I found out my grandparents’ old books were destined for the dump, I borrowed a van, loaded it up, and made sure they made their way to a charity book shop. Yes, I took more than my fair share of them, but there were still so many that needed a new home. I was sore for days afterwards, but it was 100% worth it. And I feel so much better knowing they can go to someone who wants and appreciates them. It made me even more excited to sort through and donate some of my own books (even though it might be a while).
Started a New Job! This month, I finally got my first post-grad school job, and started working about two weeks ago. It is totally not in my field of study, and a little outside my comfort zone if I’m being honest (it’s been a while since I’ve had an office job, and I needed to readjust), but it is a really great job, and one that will allow me to support myself – and buy books – and give me time to write. After all “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Right?
Lush Dark Angels Face and Body Cleanser. I don’t share too many non-book favorites, especially cosmetics or skincare, because I feel like that’s not what you come here for. But I HAD to share this one, because it is amazing! I use it on my face every night in the shower, and though it is terrifyingly pitch-black, it cleans my face better than any face wash I’ve used, smells great, and doesn’t dry out my skin. I tend to change up the products I use fairly often, but I plan on sticking with this one for a while.
I’m actually really proud of the posts I put out this month! I worked hard on them, and you guys seemed to enjoy most of them. And they felt more like the original content I’ve been trying to do more of, which I’m really happy with. Here are a couple that seemed to be the most popular this month:
My Personal Cannon. I had a lot of fun with this post, and actually learned a lot about myself in the process. It took me a couple of days to really sit and think about what books had most influenced me throughout my life. If you’re curious to see what they are, click over to that post.
The Best Female Authors I’ve Read So Far This Year. While I was really happy with this post, I was not expecting the wonderful reception it got! So many retweets and great comments! I really enjoyed talking with all of you about your favorite female authors – I added several new books to my TBR – and I made a note to do an updated post at the end of the year.
Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good month!
I’d love to hear what you read this month – so let me know in the comments! What was your favorite book in May?