Home  +   About  +   Races + Recaps  +   50 States  +   DIY  +   Books

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Books of May 2016

After a big book fail in April, I pulled myself together and read six books in May! It felt great to plow through most of these stories in a single day, but it was also lovely to spend my walks to work reading some classic literature (Far From the Madding Crowd). Once upon a time, I'd read one classic novel for every three or four new releases/YA novels, but I fell off the wagon. I think Thomas Hardy has convinced me to get back into books from 1860-1910 (my favorite novel era). Besides books, I had a bit of running burnout in May, so perhaps that gave me extra time for reading?

- - - - - - - -

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Review: 4 / 5
It took me a while to get into the story, but once I did it went fast...er. I didn't fly through it, but it held my attention. Unfortunately, I can't say much because there are so many spoilers, but it's definitely a weird story. I'm sorry... I really can't say any more. I think it could make an interesting movie, but they'd have to shorten it quite a bit. 

Patience by Daniel Clowes
Review: 5 / 5 Maybe not a true 5 (AKA "best ever"), but it was an exciting read with great art. I always think Daniel Clowes artwork is beautiful (and weird), but Patience has some impressive full page spreads. I didn't see where the story was going in the beginning, but once I got about a third of the way in, I was hooked. I read this in a few hours (and it only took that long because I had to go to work). This is a good mix of themes from Clowes' other books and the sci-fi story was helped along by his strange art. He does a great job mixing hyper-realism, bright colors, and gritty subject matter/characters. I'd recommend this to someone looking for a great overview of Clowe's storytelling and art.
I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block 
Review: 4 / 5I've had this book for years, but put off reading it because of the title. I love Francesca Lia Block books and haven't read one in quite a while. It was nice to get back into her world (and I'm thankful I took a break - I read too many in a row). Usually her LA is like a dream world - even if dark things happen under the surface. In this story, the darkness was always there and LA not so dreamy. Mab was an interesting addition and I liked how she did/did not appear to others. I was able to finish this book in one evening, so it obviously held my interest.

Summerlost by Ally Condie 
Review: 5 / 5
Such a great book and fast read. At first, I was so against every setup: "ugh I don't want to read about this!" "Don't get a job!" etc... But a page later I'd forget my complaints. Just so good. I would have liked this when I was 12, too. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good, summer read. 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
Review: 4.5 / 5
At first, I was skeptical. Why on earth was Curtis Sittenfeld writing a Pride and Prejudice knock-off? I've read three of her books, so I know she's good. And even if sometimes I don't love her characters, I always tear through her books. 

One of my favorite sub-genres (or whatever you want to call it) is P&P retellings, so I've become a partial expert. And lately, the stories were getting stale or outright ruined the characters Austen created. (Death Comes to Pemberley wins as the worst fanfiction written by a respectable author ever.... Oh wait never mind, that honor goes to Longbourn; where they managed to ruin Mr. Bennet AND make Wickham way too creepy.) As you can see, I had some doubts going in. 

While it's not perfect, I flew through the book in less than a day. I finished it as soon as I possibly could. Liz Bennet is great - flaws and all - and I enjoyed this version of Darcy. I laughed as each character was introduced and each time the plot aligned with P&P I was delighted. Of course, the author had to change some things to make it more modern and cut out some side characters/plots, but I thought the changes suited the story. Again, it wasn't flawless, but it held my attention and I think it's a great update to the classic. I could have probably done without the final chapter (or at least she could have moved it), but I think that was probably Sittenfeld's cool girl commentary.

Review 4.5–5 / 5
This novel had an overall happier tone vs. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (my favorite) and I am extremely thankful for that. Yes, there is tragedy, but it wasn't non-stop suffering. Bathsheba is a great female lead, Oak is the reliable friend/confidant you'd love to have, and Troy and Boldwood were welcome additions to the drama. There were also great townie characters, a beautiful setting, and plenty of farm drama. Pretty much everything you'd expect from Hardy. 

- - - - - - - -

As always, these reviews were taken from my Goodreads. For past months, click here.

What did you read in May?
What are you reading now?


  1. I only read 2 books this month. Number the Stars and ME before you!

    1. I read Number the Stars last year! So good. I think I need to read Me Before You, but I'm scared away every time I read the summary!!

  2. Wow, you read alot of books last month. My list included Fast Girl, My Name is Lucy Barton and the incredibly suspenseful Accidents Happen. I really was annoyed with Suzi Favor Hamilton in Fast Girl. While she was an incredible runner, she also seemed terribly selfish.

    1. Thanks for sharing your list! Interesting what you say about Fast Girl. I feel like sometimes people allow athletes to get away with more and even if they are selfish it's almost "okay" because they are successful at their sport. I wonder if I will be able to make it through the book without tossing it across the room!

  3. Oh, my gosh, I LOVED Eligible, too! As a fellow fan of Sittenfeld's work, I was really not too concerned with the P&P element, but she did so well with it! I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

    1. I guess Eligible is part of a "series," so I think I'm going to check out the other Austen updates. I really love Sittenfeld's writing and hope the other authors are just as good. I'm not sure what to expect!

  4. It's so wonderful to read your thoughts on Eligible! The book is on my summer reading list and hearing such a great review makes me even more excited to read it :)

    Right now I'm reading Bill Rodger's Marathon Man. I'm trying to finish the book before next weekend's Bellin Run so I can have him sign it!

    1. I hope you can get him to sign it. That would be awesome!


I read and respond to each comment (either here or I will visit your blog.) Thank you for stopping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...