The world feels as if it’s on fire, but we’re still trucking along over here. May was another month of social distancing/isolating, and another month of solid reading. I got a little burned out on contemporary fiction, but finished the month with one of the best books I’ve read all year!
This year I’m continuing to keep a physical journal chronicling my reads, and you can check out more photos on my Instagram account @ladykatiestitchery
Start date: 4/26/2020
Finish date: 5/1/2020
Genre: YA Fiction/Fantasy
Source: New release/May book club
I loved Carry On and its predecessor Fangirl, so this sequel was much anticipated. It’s basically Harry Potter fancy with Harry and Malfoy together. But after defeating the villain and graduation, what comes next? A road trip, of course. In America! Adventures ensue, but it’s the relationships and dialogue that always shine; it is just such a pleasure to be in a Rainbow Rowell world again. Anything she writes is bound to be clever and witty and touch on real human feelings and beings. And there’s a cliffhanger! So there must be more coming.
Start date: 5/1/2020
Finish date: 5/5/2020
Source: Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast via Libro.FM
Essays exploring life: on the internet, in America, code switching between family and church and school and work as a gay black man. And hilarious! I really enjoyed this perspective, especially as an audiobook read by the author. There were so many funny and true bits, plus a few tearjerker moments, with a big heartfelt crescendo at the end.
Start date: 5/3/2020
Finish date: 5/8/2020
Source: Book of the Month Club
Most kids throw tantrums, but this novel gives us twins who literally catch on fire when they get upset. The premise sounded a bit kooky for me, but a few pages in I realized the setting was Franklin, TN, so I had to give it a go. I’m glad I did: it was darkly comedic, quirky, and ultimately heartwarming. I don’t know that the story will leave a lasting impression, but the commentary on parenting, wealth, and politics were spot-on.
Start date: 5/9/2020
Finish date: 5/18/2020
A down-on-her-luck musician takes a gig singing for a play group and is soon sucked into the world of wealthy NYC families; social commentary ensues (motherhood, unrealistic expectations of the social media age, etc.). The political correctness felt a bit heavy-handed at times, but there was a fun twist that redeemed it. I think the timing was off for me; even though this smart and funny story seemed right up my alley, reading it during quarantine felt like visiting a parallel universe (remember play dates? And going to crowded public places like the zoo?), especially since it’s set in New York City. It was objectively good, but maybe I would’ve enjoyed it more some other time.
Start date: 5/19/2020
Finish date: 5/28/2020
Rating: 5 stars
After a string of contemporary novels, I’ve been craving something meatier and this delivered! Although I felt intimidated by the Greek mythology and literary buzz, I’m so glad I dove into the myth of Circe, retold from her point of view. On the surface, a simple retelling; but with a feminist lens, her epic tale spans centuries and encompasses the depth of human emotions and the meaning of home. Super engrossing and lives up to the hype!
I liked this quote by the author, found in this Refinery29 article by Elena Nicolaou:
The theme of The Odyssey is this longing for home. Odysseus spends the whole book longing for nostos, or homecoming. And I wanted her to have a very similar feeling, except home isn’t as neat for her as Ithaca. She doesn’t know what that home is or what it looks like. She has to create if for herself, even as she’s longing for it.
Start date: 5/28/2020
Somehow I missed this author in the vein of Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert, but her third book kept popping up on my radar, so I started listening to the audiobook; her story of leaving behind her marriage and church to marry her wife and co-parent her three children is part memoir, part self-help/inspiration. Intense, interesting, and giving me a lot to chew on!
A new addition for 2020:
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Dolly Parton has an amazing program that sends a free book to every child in Tennessee every month from birth to five years old. It’s such an incredible concept, and we’ve been enjoying Amelia’s books for three years. So many of our new favorite stories have come from this program, and now that Jon has joined too, I want to highlight the books we receive this year so I can remember the new books added to our library. Three cheers for Dolly Parton!
Books read in May: 5
Books read in 2020: 20
So that’s what I’ve been reading during the fifth month of 2020!
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