What I Read in (the First Half of) May

Friday, May 18, 2018

I only read four books in April, so I felt like I needed to step it up in May... & step it up I have. Normally, I do one big book roundup at the end of the month, but it's barely mid-May, & I've already finished seven books! I plan to do a fair amount of reading while in Costa Rica for the second half of the month, so it seemed like it made the most sense to split up my book reviews for May, lest I overwhelm you with one massive post later.

Here's what I've finished so far this month. How about you?

Before He Hunts by Blake Pierce

This is book number eight in my favorite guilty pleasure crime series, & I'm going to go big here by saying: I think this was the best of the series so far. In it, rookie FBI agent Mackenzie White goes back to her small, Nebraska hometown to investigate a crime that has followed her since her childhood: the murder of her own father. While this is likely wildly improbable (I doubt the FBI lets daughters lead the investigations into their dad's deaths), it made for a better-than-usual storyline. But who am I kidding? I love these books. ★★★☆☆

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I first heard about this book on an ad on My Favorite Murder, where host Georgia Hardstark referred to it as "post-apocalyptic as fuck." When I spotted it in a Little Free Library in my neighborhood, I grabbed it, even though the plot didn't particularly appeal to me. What a lovely surprise to find a book that was beautiful storytelling at its finest, combining unusual elements like pandemics, cults, comic books, & Shakespeare with characters that are so wonderful, so real, so complex. If you want a fast-paced apocalyptic novel, this one isn't for you - but if you like character-based stories that will make you think & feel, you're going to love this one as much as I did. ★★★★★

Forever by Judy Blume

How had I never read this YA classic?! I scored it from the library book sale after Jaclyn blogged about it in her post "4 Books that Influenced Me." At 33, I'm far beyond the proper age range for this novel about high school love & lust, & as sad as it makes me, it's safe to say that this naive, still-chaste-although-it's-about-penises book feels quite dated - & not just because of my age. Still, when viewing it from the lens of the time it was published - & the serious controversy it created - it's amazing it was allowed to be published at all. Judy Blume is a trailblazer & a treasure. ★★★★★

This Book Will Teach You How to Write Better by Neville Medhora

The title of this book is sort of a misnomer: This book will teach you how to write snappy sales copy better. It's not going to tell you a damn thing about blogging or novel-writing or any other kind of writing. Given that I don't really need to write sales copy, it wasn't as relevant to me as I'd hoped, but I did still get a few good tips from it. I was very distracted & frustrated, though, by the utter lack of punctuation. If you're gonna write a book about writing well, can you try to, you know, write well? ★★★☆☆

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

I stayed up late to finish this one because I couldn't wait to see how it ended. A group of new moms goes out for a night of fun for the first time since their babies were born... & while they're away, one of their children goes missing. This is exactly the sort of book I love in the thrillers-for-women genre - creepy but not scary, edge-of-your-seat anticipatory but not violent or gory. It had some solid twists & turns, but no Big Twist™ like every book seems to try to do these days in the vein of Gone Girl, which, to be honest, I appreciate at this point. ★★★★☆

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This book was... over-hyped, for me. Have you heard of it? It seemingly came out of nowhere when, suddenly, everyone I knew was raving about how life-changingly feminist The Power was. To be honest, I hated reading it until, like, 65% of the way through, when the individual characters' stories finally began to come together & make sense. The ending, for me, was so genius & well-done that it redeemed the whole thing, made it all feel worth it. When I finished that last sentence, I almost forgot how much I disliked the book during the majority of my reading - but I guess that's how a lot of classics are, right? I think this will (or should) probably become one. ★★★★☆

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This is one of those books that I think everyone but me had already read - & I have to say, I really enjoyed it. Set in 1986, it brought me back to those innocent but unbearable days of first love, the bumbling teenage kind that's unlike anything else. I found both Eleanor & Park to be really likable, realistic characters, which made it easy for me to feel for them & to root for them. One star off for Rowell's racist language about Asians, which she has doubled down on in defense of her writing. I think she meant it as, "Oh, how 1980s!" but I'm still not a fan. ★★★★☆

That's it for now. Stay tuned for my end-of-May recaps, too. We'll see how much reading I get in while I'm in Costa Rica!

Comment to tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.

1 comment:

  1. I read "The Power" earlier this year and felt pretty similarly. I definitely enjoyed it more when stories started coming together. Also, "Eleanor & Park" was one of my favorites. Have you read any of her other ones?? "Fangirl" is one of my favorite books.


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