May Wrap Up

I can’t believe it’s already the end of May. This month flew by way too fast. But it was, overall, a good month. I read eleven books, including a reread of an old favorite, and a new new favorites (one of which a friend has been nagging me to read for years). I also watched some good movies, and went to a fun event. Keep reading to find out all about them!

What I Read:

A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa – ★★★★☆. I’ve been wanting to read more memoirs that aren’t written by famous people. This was free on Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited (I can’t remember which), and I’m so glad I read this. It was extremely enlightening to hear about the lives of ordinary people in North Korea; it’s made me think about North Korea differently.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – ★★★★★. This the favorite book of one of my friends. I’ve put off reading it for years because it’s a nearly 1000-page historical fiction novel about a cathedral. It couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. But it did. This is definitely a new favorite. And I can’t wait to read more by Follett.

Heads Will Roll by Kate McKinnon & Emily Lynne – ★★★★☆. Okay, so this isn’t technically an audiobook, but it’s on Audible, so I counted it anyway. It’s such a fun audio series. I mean, it’s Kate McKinnon. And also Tim Gunn, Meryl Streep, Peter Dinklage, and the Fab Five. It’s awesome.

Mistress of the Ritz by Melanie Benjamin – ★★★★☆. This was a great novel about Blanche and Claude Auzello, a couple who ran and lived at the Ritz in Paris prior to and during WWII. It’s not only a wonderful story, it’s based on a true one. I’m so glad I read this. The Auzellos were incredible people, and they deserve to have their stories told.

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates – ★★★★★. I picked this up almost as soon as it was released, and it was so worth it. I’m a huge fan of Bill and Melinda Gates, and I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing this book is. It’s all about how empowering women changes the entire world for the better, and it gave me a lot to think about. I definitely see the world differently now, and it’s a very good thing. I highly recommend this book.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling – ★★★★★. I don’t have too much to say about this one. Its Harry Potter. It’s actually my least favorite of the series, but I still love it. It’s just incredibly nostalgic.

The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne – ★☆☆☆☆. Obviously, I wasn’t a fan of this book. I really hated the characters. Every single one of them was an awful person. This was a 150-page novel that felt like 1500 pages.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – ★★★★★. I don’t want to ruin this for anyone, because there are quite a few twists. But just know I loved it. A lot.

The Psychopath Inside by James Fallon – ★★★☆☆. I started out really enjoying this book. It’s all about what makes a psychopath (if you’re like me, you know a lot more of them than you think), which was incredibly interesting. The problem is that this is written by a self-proclaimed narcissistic psychopath, which got kind of annoying after a while. He really likes bragging.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee– ★★★★☆. This one almost lived up to the hype. I enjoyed it a lot, I just felt like it was overly long. And I couldn’t help but compare it to Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, which definitely has the edge.

The Sonnets by William Shakespeare – ★★★★☆. I decided I had a few days left before I turned thirty, and I should read the sonnets so I can say I definitely completed the complete works of Shakespeare before my thirtieth birthday. I enjoyed them quite a bit. Surprisingly (or maybe not), I actually liked the more well-known ones the least. My favorite: Sonnet XXVII.

What I’m Currently Reading:

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien. That’s right, I’m FINALLY reading The Lord of the Rings. I’m almost done with the first book, and I’m loving it so far.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Okay, I’m not very far into this yet, but I am really enjoying it so far. I was planning on reading it over Memorial Day weekend, but ended up spending two days installing a new kitchen stove, so I’m a bit behind. It’s just a bit too massive for me to carry to work every day, but I’m still reading it!

What I Watched:

Tolkien. I really enjoyed this movie! Then again, I’m obviously a huge literature nerd, so a biopic about J. R. R. Tolkien was right up my alley. I thought they did a great job telling Tolkien’s story leading up to The Lord of the Rings. Obviously, I immediately started reading the trilogy. And picked up a copy of Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, which I’m really excited to read.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. I’ve talked about my obsession with true crime a few times, and I obviously had to watch this new film based on Ted Bundy. I actually enjoyed it. I thought Zach Efron did a great job playing Bundy. It’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but I did like it.

What I Did:

Went to the Total Forking Shirt Show! This is an awesome improv show put on for charity by the cast of The Good Place. And it was so much fun. It was actually the same night as the finale of Game of Thrones, and I felt much better missing it because Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard were missing it with me.

Turned Thirty. Today is my birthday, which means I officially get to say goodbye to my twenties! I’m looking forward to my thirties. They can’t be worse than my twenties. Here’s to a good decade!


That’s it for this month! I hope you all had a wonderful month of May! What was your favorite book this month?

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23 thoughts on “May Wrap Up

    1. Thanks! I’m currently working on Tolkien – I already read The Hobbit, and am almost done with Fellowship. I’m going to finish the trilogy and also read his translation of Beowulf this year. Maybe then I’ll get into his other works. I also only have a few of the shorter novellas left to read all of Jane Austen. Mostly, I”m just enjoying what I feel like reading for now. Shakespeare was a huge project.

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  1. Happy Birthday, hope you have a lovely day! 🙂 I’m so happy to see you managed to complete your Shakespeare reading challenge, that’s amazing, and I feel like I need to do something similar myself otherwise I’ll never actually finish them all unless I give myself a deadline.

    You’ve also succeeded in making me intrigued about The Pillars of the Earth but as I’m currently struggling my way through a 1000+ page book, maybe I need a break before thinking about tackling another one? haha

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    1. Thank you! I definitely wouldn’t have finished Shakespeare without the deadlines. I think one play a month was doable for me, but it still took me almost two years. It feels strange to be done.

      The Pillars of the Earth is amazing! I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it. I haven’t read Les Mis, but Pillars is probably an easier read. Still, a break with some shorter books will probably be nice.

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  2. Happy birthday and what an amazing month! I need to read Priory of the Orange Tree. My partner loves Ken Follett’s books but I have been a bit intimidated by the length…
    Pachinko and When the Crawdads Sing are both on my to-be-read list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I was intimidated by Follett, too, but I think I’m officially a fan. It was definitely a long book, but I couldn’t put it down. I have the entire Century Trilogy, so I’ll probably be reading that next. I hope you like Pachinko and Where the Crawdads Sing! They’re both great.

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    1. Thanks! There are a lot of special editions out there. I actually have a really old leather-bound bind-up that I found when I was maybe 12. But it’s heavy, so a few years back I bought myself this set: https://amzn.to/2QztowY. I love it! I think listening to it on audio is helping a lot because it’s easier to get used to the language. I’m switching back and forth, but I’m taking my time with it. Whatever works for you 🙂

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        1. They’re pretty good. It’s a bit disorienting hearing how the narrator chose to do the voices for each character (particularly Legolas) after watching the movies so much, but I got over it.

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    1. Thank you! And me, too. It’s a busy month, but hopefully I can get through it soon. My main issue is I do a lot of reading on my lunch break, but Priory is too huge for me to carry to work every day.

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