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May Monthly Recap

pile-of-books

Time for our May recap! Find out which books were favorites and which were duds. We’ll end our wrap up with a a list of books due out in June and a glimpse of our upcoming content. We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read this month and what you look forward to reading next month.

First off, a special thank you to all of Dan’s readers who stopped by to wish me a happy birthday. It was quite a surprise to see the crazy traffic we got on friday and at first I thought we were being spammed. Welcome to our new readers and followers. We hope you all jump right in and participate in our challenges, comment on our reviews, and give us your feedback! What makes this blog special to me is that we have wonderful readers who help keep the conversation interesting. We look forward to all of you joining us.

And now onto the recap…

Jen: May was a busy month. I attended book expo and now have enough books to last me for the rest of the year. This month we mentioned an informal challenge to “read different.” You can read about that challenge here. Hopefully more of you join us!

Favorite book read in May: My favorite book this month was A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz with an honorable mention going to the extremely depressing, but oddly compelling, The Pier Falls (you can find my review here).

Least favorite book read in May: As much as it pains me to say this my least favorite book was Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Vol 1. I don’t typically like graphic novels and I found the artwork clunky and the story uninteresting. I do love Gaiman so I feel sad listing his name in my least favorites.

Future Goals: My primary goals are to work my way through the advanced reader copies I received at Book Expo. Keep your eyes peeled for reviews of new books by Emma Cline, Colson Whitehead, Amor Towles, George Saunders, and more.

Book Worm: Once I again I managed to read 9 books and to stay on target for my 110 books this year. As predicted I did not manage to read even 1 one book from my physical TBR pile, however I did manage to read 1 from my Kindle TBR which is a bonus.

Favorite book read in May: The Improbability of Love (you can read my review here). Honorable mentions go to Ruby (review here) and Foxlowe (review to come).

Least favorite book read in May: That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern. I gave this 3 stars because I couldn’t actually fault the writing, I just found it incredibly boring. My synopsis would be “we’re Irish… have a drink; something bad happens… have a drink; something good happens…have a drink”

Future Goals: To stay on target to read 110 books this year. Challenge books to read in June are: The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, Volume 3 of the Story of the Stone, and Tales from the Alhambra by Washington Irvine. I also really need to reduce my physical TBR pile (still) so I will challenge myself to reduce the pile by 4 books!! Wish me luck.

What can you look forward to on our blog in June? One day we will get on track with our regular posting schedule of recurring posts. Maybe that day will come in June? Look for our usual posts including: Love it or Hate it post (A Little Life by Yanagihara), Read Around the World (June’s country will be Israel), Featured Author, Reader-Book Match, book reviews and more. This month we will wrap up the March Madness Challenge and announce final winners. We will also announce our summer reading challenge so stay tuned!

May 2016 book releases: May was a stellar month for great book reviews and June is shaping up to be pretty solid too. Here are just a few book selections and events. Which ones do you plan on reading?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Release date: June 7. I am very excited about this one. I met the author and hope to have review this for the blog soon.
Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. 2016 winner is announced! Stay tuned for our final review and our predictions in the next few days.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx. Release date: June 14
The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. Release Date June 14
The Girls by Emma Cline. Release date: June 14. This debut is getting a lot of buzz and Random House is promoting it all over the place. I will be posting a review in the next few weeks.
The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal. Release date: June 14
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler. Release date: June 21. Part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. This one adapts The Taming of the Shrew.

We want to hear from you. So what are your plans for June? Which books were your favorites and least favorites in May? New followers: Introduce yourselves and let us know what kinds of books you like to read.

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Interesting, Jen, about Sandman volume 1. I enjoy graphic novels and my husband bought the first two Sandman trades for me a while ago. I read the first one there and then, thought it was interesting and then never picked the second volume up. It’s such a long series that I think it probably takes time to build. I intend to go back to it, but something about its 75 issue run daunts me!

    BW, we’re achieving similar levels of non-achievement on the TBR front! I cleared one physical and one Kindle book, but bought others that replaced them. I am determined to do better next month!

    Speaking of graphic novels, I started The Sixth Gun this month and am completely hooked. It’s well-paced and beautifully illustrated. I’m about halfway through the series, having polished off the first four trades in as many days. Yum! I’m counting them as one book, so have read 10 books this month. My favourites were The Shadow Girls and Half of a Yellow Sun. Even typing the name of that last book brings my heart into my throat, it was so good. The Shadow Girls was a real eye-opener because, as well as being a beautifully written book, it showed me another side to Henning Mankell as a writer. Least favourite was Did You Ever Have A Family. It was incredibly gripping, but ultimately the literary equivalent of junk food for me.

    I’m looking forward to the return of Read Around The World. I haven’t, to my knowledge, read any Israeli literature.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 31, 2016
    • Half of a Yellow Sun (one of my all time favorites)! I’m sad you didn’t like Clegg’s book. I did like it quite a bit. I have heard that the first few Sandman volumes were not so great but that they get a lot better. however, not sure I have the energy to tackle them. I actually just finished Nimona – which I really liked so perhaps the trend has been broken.

      Like

      May 31, 2016
      • I’m sad I didn’t like Clegg’s book more, too. I was really looking forward to it. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t satisfy me properly. I read your and BW’s joint review again after I finished, and didn’t get the same feeling for the characters as you both did. As I was reading, I wondered whether it relied on pre-knowledge of where the characters came from and how that might mould their personalities, and whether someone British wouldn’t have the full shorthand available to fill in the gaps. I found all of the characters a little remote, somehow. But at the same time I couldn’t stop reading about them.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 31, 2016
      • Hmm, perhaps although Book Worm is also British 🙂 I do understand what you are saying about the characters seeming a little remote

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        May 31, 2016
      • I’ve learnt something there – I thought BW was American, but living in Britain!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 31, 2016
      • hmm, I don’t think so. At least she spells things according to British rules. We have actually never met in person and I think I have assumed rather than asked her directly.

        Like

        May 31, 2016
      • I am in fact…British lol

        Sometimes WordPress auto corrects my language to American English and I can’t always be bothered to fight with the spell checker

        Liked by 1 person

        May 31, 2016
    • Tracy S #

      Half of a Yellow Sun is such a beautiful book! I’m so glad you liked it!

      Liked by 2 people

      May 31, 2016
  2. Tracy S #

    I read 62% diverse this month, which I count as a win, since we started mid-month. 🙂
    I read some fantastic books this month- House of Leaves by Danielewski, The Heart Goes Last by Atwood, Nimona (one of the best graphics I’ve read), and Boy, Snow, Bird by Oyeyemi, which was fabulous. She’s certainly an author to watch! And I had to give Lolita a grudging 4 stars, because Nabokov’s writing is just so good.
    Worst reads were Leaves of Grass by Whitman and Amateurs by Barthelme. Not a big fan of poetry or short stories, and Barthelme’s later stuff was just.. weird.
    My physical shelf is getting a bit clearer- gardening helped keep me out of bookstores this month. Next month I’m focusing on getting through that last half of the 1001 books (1305 actually), and diverse reading, all while reading from my own physical and digital shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 31, 2016
    • I feel like I’m reading my own mini reviews! Loved House of Leave, The heart Goes Last and Nimona. I have Oyeyemi’s latest book but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I’ve been avoiding Lolita because I find the subject matter distasteful but I know the writing will be fantastic and I should read it. And I’m not a big fan of poetry or short stories either. If I go on a blog vacation, I’ll have to have you take over for me 🙂

      Like

      May 31, 2016
      • Tracy S #

        I’m afraid the quality of material would seriously suffer if that happened!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 31, 2016
      • 🙂 I very much doubt that!

        Like

        May 31, 2016
  3. Is it silly that I am completely turned off to Vinegar Girl for basically no reason? I keep seeing this title as people talk about upcoming releases, and every time I feel mildly annoyed. I enjoy most Shakespeare, but I have never cared for the premise of this one (except 10 Things I Hate About You, which is a 90s movie I STILL love). Could also be that I was really into Anne Tyler for a few years and now can’t remember why . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    June 2, 2016
    • I’ve always had an aversion to Anne Tyler books with no logic behind the aversion

      Liked by 1 person

      June 2, 2016

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