Monday, June 06, 2016
May Reads in Review, 2016
May reads (links to full reviews can be reached by clicking on title/author):
36. In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis - The follow-up to Not a Drop to Drink, a Young Adult dystopian novel, in which the two main characters walk from Ohio to California to escape disease and seek a community where there is ample water. I liked the story but disliked the quantity of violence, although expected, and was not thrilled with the ending.
37. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit - An exquisitely written tale of a man and a young girl who must keep walking through Poland and into other countries before and during WWII to avoid being captured and killed. One of my favorites of the year, it's both heartbreaking and beautiful.
38. One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis - When something tragic happens, Emily leaves her life behind and takes on a new identity and life in London. I had trouble getting through One Step Too Far. It's the only book I read in May that I suspect I should have abandoned. Well written but too implausible for me.
39. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - A Hello Kitty lunchbox with a diary inside becomes a fascination for Ruth when it washes up on the beach of her island home in the Pacific Northwest. Was the diary part of the debris from the Japanese tsunami? And, what happened to its young author, Nao Yasutani? Another favorite. I absolutely loved this book.
40. Feather Brained by Bob Tarte - The author of several animal memoirs has returned to share the story of his passion for birds and how he learned about birds, photographed them, and went on field trips while attempting to spot a rare bird. Loads of fun.
41. Raising Ryland by Hillary Whittington - The story of a family that has allowed their child to transition from girl to boy and why. I found myself fighting the urge to judge the Whittingtons as I was reading but I feel like I learned a lot, upon reflection.
42. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark - My classic choice of the month, the story of a teacher and the set of female students she favored, told upon reflection, years after she was betrayed by one of the girls she trusted. It's been forever since I've seen the movie but the book had a lesser impact on me. I still want to see the movie, again, to find out if I feel the same way about it.
43. Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera - A translation by a Mexican author, the story of a young woman who is sent across the border to locate her brother, facing violence and other hardship along the way. Loved the minimalist writing and the story is powerful. I disliked the translator's decision to make up a word of her own.
44. Tales of Accidental Genius by Simon Van Booy - A collection of heartwarming short stories (and possibly one novella) about times when people came up with the perfect way to show compassion. Absolutely loved this book, a reread. Yet another favorite and one I'll return to repeatedly.
45. Love Wins by D. Cenziper and J. Obergefell - The true story of how the case for marriage equality began and made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Average writing was offset by some incredibly emotional true stories.
46. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney - When a tragic automobile accident leads to the draining of a family's nest egg, due to be distributed upon the 40th birthday of the youngest, siblings Bea, Jack, and Melody turn to their brother Leo, hoping he'll reimburse them. Addictive reading.
A terrific month. I loved almost everything. Favorites were Tales of Accidental Genius, Anna and the Swallow Man, Signs Preceding the End of the World, and The Nest. I liked everything else, although I didn't think In a Handful of Dust was as good as the first book by McGinnis. The only book that I found a slog was One Step Too Far.
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