May was a really busy month, with a trip to Northern California and another to nearby Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. Both trips were revitalizing – in California we visited Sonoma and my in-laws, tasted lots of wine, and fantasized about retiring there. In Virginia Beach, we got to tour a Navy carrier, visited friends, and played tourist at Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. I’m thinking about posting about the trips so let me know if you’d be interested! I’ve been buried at work so it was good to have a few days to get away. And being a “fed” is getting harder and harder these days.
This month, after being blown away by Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, I indulged in a few romance novels. I don’t ready many of them, but this month I read two, one a thumbs-up (Sherry Thomas) and one a thumbs-down (Mary Balogh). I’ve given a fair amount of thought to what I like and dislike in these novels, and I love comparing today’s romance novels to 70’s-80’s novels I grew up with. Another post I’m ruminating about so let me know if you’d be interested.
You can see I’m coming out of my posting slump and I’m full of ideas and more books than I possibly have time to write about.
Here’s what I read in May:
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
- Who is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht
- All Systems Red by Martha Wells
- The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas
- Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi
- Slightly Married by Mary Balogh
- The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
- Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson
- Code Girls by Liza Mundy
My favorite read: I can’t compare any other book to Just Mercy, which is why I kept the rest of my reading pretty light this month.
Most disappointing read (or DNFs): I’m not sure I really understand the appeal of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. It’s supposed to be comic but I found the character a bit sad and sometimes disturbing. I also DNF’d Emma Donoghue’s Frog Music.
Books for challenges:
- TBR Pile and Back to the Classics: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
- Nonfiction: Just Mercy, Love, Loss and What We Ate, and Code Girls
- Read Harder Challenge: Ms. Marvel (a comic written by a person of color), Love, Loss and What We Ate (a celebrity memoir), Luckiest Lady in London (a romance by a person of color)
- SciFi/Fantasy Bingo or Swords and Stars: Labyrinth Lost, All Systems Red, Ms. Marvel
- Reading Around the World: Who is Vera Kelly? (Argentina)
What I’m reading now: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden and What it Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah. Both are fantastic.
What’s coming up: You can see my 20 Books of Summer list here!
Added to my TBR: I added books by Sheri Tepper and Louise O’Neill from this “8 Books to read if you love The Handmaids Tale” list by Reader Voracious.
Things that made me happy this month: Seeing Williamsburg all over again with my husband. We went there before we were married, and it was just as nice this time as the first time, in a very geeky historical sort of way. Here’s a pic of a demonstration of 18th century bookbinding.
And it was just right for getting geared up to see Hamilton next month and the next season of Outlander!
It wasn’t a great month for posting, but it was good to take a few steps back and recharge. Hope you’re all having a nice June so far, and happy summer!
Sounds like it was a great month for you.
I plan to read All Systems Red this month.
Zezee – I think you’ll like All Systems Red and the second in the series – Artificial Condition. I read and reviewed them both – no spoilers. Very fun series that improves as it progresses. Cheers. Brian
That’s good to know. Thanks! I hardly ever read hard sci-fi or even ones with AI so this will be a bit new for me.
I liked All Systems Red a lot and will definitely read the next one. It’s a very quick read.
That’s good to know. Seems like it will work well for the readathon I’m participating in this month.
Huzzah for romance! I read my first Thomas book recently, one of her Regencies, and while it was okay I’m looking forward to trying her Lady Sherlock series. I didn’t care for Slightly Married, either, but did enjoy Balogh’s A Matter of Class. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it turns all the tropes on their head.
The evolution of romance over the years is so interesting – I for one would be interested in your thoughts! 🙂
Thanks, I’m glad to hear it! I found Balogh’s book repetitive and a bit dull. I liked Thomas’ book more for the banter than the story, but I read another one by her that was good as well. I like Courtney Milan and Tess Dare. Which writers do you like?
What a great month! I love Napa so much, I need to plan a mini trip out that way sometime this summer.
I cannot wait to see what you thought of those books you added to your TBR!
Ah, you must be in the area then. Lucky you! We love it so much there. I tend to like the Healdsburg area more than Napa — so many wineries and they are less crowded and less expensive.
Curly – you are going to love Hamilton – it’s a play everyone should see and a book everyone should read. Miranda decided to write / compose the play as he was reading the book during a beach vacation. Thanks also for the fun pics from Colonial Williamsburg. I’ve always enjoyed my visits. There’s a silversmith there who makes beautiful jewelry. Cheers. Brian
Thanks, I’m enjoying the soundtrack already and can’t wait for the play. I’m pretty sure Miranda can do no wrong. I’m glad to hear you enjoy Williamsburg too!
I didn’t like The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie either, but it may be one you have to be British to appreciate fully. I think the references probably went over my head. I have another Muriel Spark on my Classics Club list (The Girls of Slender Means) to give her another chance though.
Glad to hear I’m not alone on Miss Jean Brodie. I’ll happily try another of her books.
What a great month for nonfiction reading! I really loved both Just Mercy and Code Girls 🙂