Wednesday, June 3, 2015

For the Record: May 2015

Somehow, even though I've felt all month as if I haven't read anything, I ended up reading more books than last month...not to mention that I've read much more this year than I had last year at this point.  Maybe living out of a suitcase will do that to you! After 2+ months of living in hotels and short term rentals, we will be moving into our home on June 10th. It won't be quite done, but it's close.

8 Books Read in May: [38 books year-to-date]

2 Nonfiction:
  - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo (4.5) I had almost decided against reading this book, but I'm glad I went for it. Not only does it have some good advice for putting your life in order, but it's a fantastic little peek into Japanese culture.  The author is a little nuts (I read the sock portion aloud to many people) and the book is somewhat light on content, but it made me laugh multiple times, and actually changed how I fold my socks...now I giggle every time I fold my clothes.
  - Between You & Me, Mary Norris (2) This book felt judgmental and elitist to me; it actually made me angry! It just reaffirmed that I'm a creative type: don't fence me in. It reminded me why I don't like memoirs, why I do like the ambiguity of the English language, and made me decide to never try to publish anything. Blah. I left the book at one of the rentals we lived in this month—maybe it'll find a new owner who loves rules and is in awe of those who make them.

2 Classics:
  - Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell (5) This was Gaskell's first book, and was written to illuminate the plight of the poor. Gaskell has her quirks and this one felt very characteristic of those, making me appreciate it all the more. The characters reminded me of Lark Rise to Candleford for some reason, which probably added to the attachment I felt.
  - Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (3) I feel kind of bad for not loving this one - my 14yo daughter loved it more than I did - but it's simply a matter of target audience.  I get worn out of dystopian fiction just thinking about it, and symbolism wears me out as well.  The story was fascinating, and the language was often quite beautiful.

4 Fiction:
  - Our Endless Numbered Days, Claire Fuller (3) I'd say this book was written well, even though I had issues with the pacing. The language was slow and descriptive but the plot was suspenseful; those two qualities worked against each other in my opinion. And the subject matter was just depressing. And the plot twist wasn't twisty.
  - Euphoria, Lily King (4) There was more relationship drama in this book than I typically like, but it pulled me in & made for a good beach read. I thought it did a good job of showing the mindless fury of initial attraction, but not such a great job with the aftermath.
  - The Paying Guests, Sarah Waters (4) This was the first book I've read by Sarah Waters, and the technical parts were lacking...if I'd read it myself instead of listening to the incredibly talented Juliet Stevenson read it, I surely wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much. There were plot issues and character issues, but I loved the time period and, again, the drama made for good escapism.
  - Circling the Sun, Paula McLain (4) I'd guess that most people who read this book will probably do so because they read The Paris Wife, which I haven't, so I can't compare them for you.  I did love Beryl Markham's autobiography (read it years ago) and thought this made for an interesting companion novel.  There's not much about aviation, actually, so that was a let down, but the real focus of this story was her personal life and how she struggled through an era of female oppression. Her life didn't seem to be a happy one, but she kept fighting to find joy and ended up with many successes despite the accompanying tragedies.

              


2 Current Reads:

  - Caleb's Crossing, Geraldine Brooks. My pick for our next book club. Just started, but looks to be a good one - I forgot how well she can write.
  - Fourth of July Creek, Smith Henderson. I'm 20% through this audiobook and I'm still not invested. Sometimes I like it, sometimes the swearing and narrator switch throw me off. I wonder if reading the paper copy would be a better experience, but it's growing on me.

  

On My Nightstand:
I have had so many different nightstands this month that I'm not even sure what's on it! I started House of Earth but it isn't capturing me. The house we're staying in has a copy of The Traitor's Wife (a.k.a. The Wolves of Andover) so I might read that if I finish Caleb's Crossing soon.  I'm planning on starting The Edge of Sadness as soon as I move back home, as a tribute to the early '60s. I'm looking forward to that one!

    
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