Book Chat

Reading Log: May 2013

May was a busy month – the weather has been pretty nice and there’s been a lot going on, so I haven’t been reading quite as much.  But I did feel pretty accomplished when I finally finished two big books – (1) A Casual Vacancy took me MONTHS to finish (seriously… since October!  That’s 8 months!) and (2) Wolf Hall took up most of my time this month.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy longer books, but I think my attention span has gotten shorter.  I just don’t have as much time to read any more, and I get bored reading the same book for longer than a couple weeks.  Maybe it’s this spring weather that has me twitterpated…

So here’s my Reading Log for May 2013, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

May 2013

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/
Format
Genre

 

The Casual Vacancy,
by JK Rowling
10/5/12 5/6/13

B

HB

F

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,
by Catherynne M. Valente
3/29/13 Still Reading

TBD
PB

CL

Wolf Hall,
by Hilary Mantel
4/29/13 5/25/13

A
K

HF

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita,
by Heather Armstrong
5/4/13 5/18/13

B-
HB

M

A Tangled Web,
by L.M. Montgomery
5/11/13 Still Reading

 

TBD
PB

F

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,
by Cheryl Strayed
5/25/13 Still Reading

TBD
PB

M

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of Them,
by Meg Jay
5/26/13 Still Reading

TBD
K

NF

Thoughts:

The Casual Vacancy, by JK Rowling – B

The Amateur Librarian // April 2013 Reading Log

Well, reading this was quite a journey.  I was very excited to start, since it’s JK Rowling’s first adult novel, and I swear I wasn’t expecting any magic since all the reviews repeatedly warned that it would be the exact opposite.  But after a month, I just couldn’t get through the first 150 pages… I was stuck and losing interest, and eventually I stopped trying.  So the book sat on my kitchen table for the last six months until I finally picked it up again, determined to power through to the end.  I’m glad I did, if only to be done with it.  But also, I finally came around to the characters and plot, even if it didn’t get very interesting until the last third or so.  I didn’t love any of the characters, but I think that was the point – each one could be alternately sympathetic and completely reprehensible.  I became somewhat fascinated by what bad thing would happen to which character next, but the feeling wasn’t quite the same as actual enjoyment.  The plot revolves around small-town politics and a clash of classes, in a very modern way – on one side there are the junkies and their neglected children, the social workers who visit them, and an addiction clinic on the brink of closing, and on the other side are all the pompous politicians who want to get rid of any involvement with less desirables.  By the end, I was interested enough in the plot and characters to want to find out what happened, I’ll give it that.  But I didn’t love it.  If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be: Grim.  There was one moment when I laughed out loud (When the song Umbrella by Rihanna was played at the politician’s funeral) but other than that, everything was pretty bleak.  Some of the characters achieved redemption of sorts, but nothing was completely resolved.  I did enjoy some parts of it, but mostly I’m just glad I finally finished it so I can pass it on.

 …

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log: May 2013

Still reading.  I need to pick it back up again, but it’s been languishing on my bedside table.

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel – A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2013 Reading Log

Book club pick for May. Quite a book.  Historical fiction, the time period weaving in and around the years when King Henry VIII diverges from Catholicism in order to annul his first marriage and begin marrying his infamous six wives.  The myopic focus on Thomas Cromwell was a little claustrophobic with barely any context or background.  I gave up trying to keep up with exactly what was going on, but going with the flow turned out to be enjoyable.  The most confusing part to get used to was that any “he” mentioned was Thomas Cromwell, whether or not there were other men in the same room.  And more often then not, the other men were also named Thomas.  But like I said, I let go of keeping everything straight and just let myself get swept up in the minute details and shifting memories of Cromwell’s daily life.  I just kept plodding through, and after an entire month with Thomas Cromwell I finally came to the end of his window of time – even though his story was far from over.  I was happy to be spared his death, since I really started to like him.  I just might want to read the sequel, but I haven’t decided yet.

It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita, by Heather Armstrong – B-

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log: May 2013

I’ve heard of Dooce and I’ve read a bit of her blog, and I’ve been intrigued enough by her story to read the book – she’s an ex-Mormon living in Utah, who suffered from post-partum depression after having a baby and checked herself into the hospital for treatment, and blogged about it all the while.  I did enjoy the story, but the writing was a bit uneven.  There were incongruent tangents that probably made funny blog posts, but seemed out of place in a memoir.  She was very honest and unashamed about admitting that she needed medication at times, but then she would gloss over details of what actually happened.  Instead, we would have rants about her dog or a kitchen remodel or the cold weather.  I liked her in-your-face humor, but some of the graphic bits of pregnancy and birth were too much for me.  The sweetest parts were the monthly letters she wrote to her daughter – but I don’t think I’m invested enough to read her other book with all the collected letters.

 …

A Tangled Web, by L.M. Montgomery – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log: May 2013

One of my favorite summer memories from growing up was waking up early and reading until it got light outside.  It’s such a luxurious feeling to read in bed, with the unique summer sensation of an open day with no plans ahead.  Instead of hopping up and starting on chores, I tried to grab on to that feeling by pulling this book off the shelf one early Saturday morning when I couldn’t sleep.  I stayed in bed for a good hour, relishing the words of my favorite author.  Alas, I haven’t been able to re-capture that moment again.  There’s always something more pressing to take care of, so I haven’t been able to pick up this book again.  It may become “abandoned” this time around, or I may have another stolen moment of reading indulgence.  I’ve read this book quite a few times, so I don’t mind picking it up and putting it down a few times before finishing.

 …

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log: May 2013

My Mom’s book group read this a couple months ago, right around the time I was reading (and loving!) Tiny Beautiful Things.  She sent it my way and I just started it as my weekend read.  Good stuff!

 …

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – And How to Make the Most of Them, by Meg Jay – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log: May 2013

What an appropriate book for my 26th birthday!  I couldn’t resist after seeing a few recommendations online.  I’ll let you know if I’m squandering my best years after finishing…

 …

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of May.  Anyone reading a good book?

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