Monday, June 08, 2009

May Reads in Review

I think the clerk was a little suspicious when I whipped out my camera in Borders, so I acted all nonchalant ("Dum, dum de dum") and then snapped this photo while he was busy shelving books. Ah, the joy of those wonderful club chairs!

At least I'm not quite so late wrapping up, this time around. It's only 9 days into June! Pretty good, for me.

YA - Young Adult (MR-YA means Middle Readers or YA, meaning I'm unsure which but probably both age levels would enjoy it)
M - Memoir
NF - Non-fiction

Bookfool's May Reads in Review (links to reviews, if applicable):

68. The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard - A sweet Regency romance with a little slapstick caused by a couple of bumbling, would-be kidnappers. Loved this one and really appreciated the glossary of Regency terms.

69. The Wonder Singer by George Rabasa - An opera star chooses a nobody to write her memoirs, but her untimely death means he has to race to finish the book and hide the interview tapes or a well-known hack will steal his glory. Great writing.

70. I Am the Central Park Jogger by Trisha Meili (NF/M)- I would not have read this if not for the recommendation someone gave me in a memoir drawing post. Very good & I was relieved that she remembered absolutely nothing from her attack.

71. No Touch Monkey! by Ayun Halliday - An American hippie chick's adventures in places I'll look at in books but would never dream of going. Hilarious and frequently disgusting.

72. Memory's Gate by Paul McCusker (YA) - Something strange is going on at the retirement center and it has to do with a creepy man and a time fault.

73. I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci (NF/M) - A memoir about a woman who loves to cook, including recipes.

74. A Girl's Guide to Modern European Philosophy by Charlotte Greig - The fictional tale of a girl who sleeps with two guys, gets pregnant, and turns to her study of philosophy to decide what to do. I raced through this one; loved the setting in 70's England.

75. On the Run by Bill Myers (YA) - A young boy with healing powers is chased by bumbling henchmen while the devilish bad guy hisses at his parents. Adventurous, but annoyingly heavy on the archetypes.

76. Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy (short stories) - The one book I'd shove into your hands if you were standing next to me. I absolutely love Simon's writing. This was a reread, although it was just recently published.

77. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA) - An asteroid hits the moon, leading to tidal waves, volcanoes, climate change, death, violence, mayhem. This time told by a devout Catholic boy trying to keep himself and his sisters alive; second in the series.

78. A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal (NF/M) - The Holocaust memoir of a man who was imprisoned in concentration camps as a young boy and now devotes his life to working for the protection of human rights via international law.

79. The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide for Women by Dawn Dais (NF/M) - One woman's hilarious tale of how she went from couch potato to marathon runner, including journal entries and training schedules.

80. Gossamer by Lois Lowry (MR -YA) - The little creatures who imbue humans with dreams work to save a young boy, an older woman and a young woman from the nasty nightmare-makers. A very sweet story with a dark side.

81. Evolution: The Grand Experiment by Dr. Carl Werner (NF) - The author's analysis of evolution, focusing on the quantity of fossils and the evidence he finds lacking to link various creatures in the evolutionary chain.

82. The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer - A wealthy confirmed bachelor inherits a crumbling estate and plans to turn the home into an orphanage after repairs, but he does not intend to fall in love with a teacher who chaperones a bratty teenaged beauty. I love Heyer.

83. Olivia Kidney by Ellen Potter (MR-YA) - Young Olivia Kidney moves into a new apartment building and finds surreal adventure with her neighbors, including a ghost, an old lady with an apartment made of glass, a pirate and a princess. Funny & poignant.

84. Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham - A book written entirely in email format, but with a surprisingly well-rounded cast of characters. Sucks you in like a black hole, but be forewarned - lots of sex talk. I could not put this one down.

85. Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel - A young woman who has spent her life disappearing find that she doesn't know how to stop. Excellent debut; wonderful theme about plunging in and living your life instead of skating around the edges.

18 books read - obviously a bit of a Middle Reader/Young Adult Binge month and lots of memoirs. 4878 pages, total.

This was a month chock full of good reads and I really enjoyed almost all of my reading, but I always love Simon Van Booy's so Love Begins in Winter was definitely my top read. The Nonesuch was beautifully plotted and romantic, The House in Grosvenor Square was charming, The Non-Runner's Marathon Guide was hilarious. Gossamer was sweet, Olivia Kidney convinced me I really do need to read everything Ellen Potter has ever written. Last Night in Montreal is a stunning first novel. Holly's Inbox was a hoot. A Lucky Child is an amazing Holocaust tale. No Touch Monkey! was both side-splitting and totally gross. The Dead and the Gone was okay -- not as exciting as expected.

On the Run pissed me off (too short, too "We're trying to hook your kid into buying a series"), although it was certainly adventurous. I Loved, I Lost is the one book I think I'd un-read, if I could. Upon reflection, it was kind of a sex, drugs and whine book but I did enjoy it while I was reading it. Funny how I feel negative about it, now. I liked it at the time, but I think maybe that had to do Mother's Day and feeling the pang of being an orphan a little more strongly, last month. I'm trying to ignore the Father's Day ads.

Next up will be a sneak peek into a book I'm going to start reading, tonight, so I can't say anything about it, yet. This past weekend, I spent most of my time shopping in the Big City (two days in a row) and a few hours at my son's swim meet. I didn't read much, but I'm on the verge of finishing Don't Call Me a Crook by Bob Moore, which I'm finding both horrifying and hilarious. More on that, soon. There may be a couple of sneak peeks without reviews, before I review Don't Call Me a Crook, depending on whether or not I can get myself to read. I'm a little bent on house-cleaning, today.

Just walked in:

Gifts of War by Mackenzie Ford (ARC from Random House -- probably via Shelf Awareness?)

The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer (from Paperback Swap)

During my nervous breakdown I want to have a biographer present by Brandon Scott Gorrell (from Muumuu House), and

The Big Steal by Emyl Jenkins (from Algonquin Books)

How was your weekend? Mine was lovely. I bought books. I'm in the mood to go on a trip by myself -- kind of tired of seeing the husband off (he's in Germany), so I bought two Insight Guides: Ireland and Utah. Don't ask why Ireland and Utah. I guess they both look like good places to walk. I want to take a walking/sightseeing/writing journey. And, I ordered a book on road-tripping across the U.S.

Off to read and fold laundry (always a perennial favorite, that laundry-folding job),

Bookfool with piles of clean stuff


  1. You had a great month. I wonder if any of those people in your photo realize they're going to become famous!

  2. I still have not done my May Reads in Review yet. Bad Brittanie.

    I love your mini reviews. :)

    You may have been at the same swim meet my Aunt was at. She won't let me post info. about them(family) on the internet though.

    Borders versus Barnes and Noble: both or one?

  3. Kathy,

    I don't think posting a picture of people on my blog is going to make anyone famous! LOL Thanks, I thought May was a great month, too. Any month when you love almost everything you read is a good month, in my mind.


    No hurry. Sometimes I wonder why I fret over getting the monthly summaries out in a hurry. I like reading 2-month summaries at other blogs just as well as 1-month summaries, you know? No biggie.

    Thank you! I almost skipped the mini-reviews but then I decided I like trying to write 25-word reviews (approximately). It's a challenge.

    I was at the VSA swim meet, here in Vicksburg. Is that where your aunt went? It was a nice, laid-back meet -- at least, the bit I saw. My family doesn't particularly like it when I talk about them, either, so I dropped their names and went to Eldest, Kiddo and Huzzybuns. Whatever works. :)

    Just Borders, this time. I haven't been to B & N, in a while.

  4. You had a fantastic month! I am still on the same book for this month so far! lol Off to bed!

  5. Great suggestions here. I haven't read wither Heyer or Burkard although I own a book by each. I will definitely be adding some of these to my list.

  6. wow~ That's a lovely pic really :)

    And you read a lot :):)

  7. Do you realize you averaged 157 pages a day? Wow!

    The idea of a ten year nap sounds so yummy right now! Only two more days of my straight day shift left!

    How is your handsome young man doing with his swimming this year?


  8. You had a really great month of reading! A weekend spent buying books is the best. I did a little shopping myself yesterday despite trying my hardest not to buy any more books. lol.

  9. Glad you had such a great reading month! Enjoy your new books and planning for a trip!

  10. Krista,

    I finished 2, yesterday, so I'm getting back into the swing of things. Hope you're feeling okay!


    Read them!!! Heyer and Burkard are both terrific writers. Burkard's writing is not quite so heavy on the "Regency speak" as Heyer's and I liked that, but both authors write charming historical romance with wonderful characters.


    Thank you! I love that shot. It took me a while to get up the courage to step out into the aisle and take the pic. I kept watching that clerk shelving the books. LOL

    Last month was a very good month for me. I'm trying to read more but I'll never be a superfast reader, I suppose. Thanks. :)

  11. CJ,

    Really? No, I didn't know that. I must have spent a lot of time lying around while the housework piled up. No wonder I have so much work to do. LOL

    I could go for a 10-year nap, myself.

    Kiddo is injured and out of shape, but I thought he did a respectable job on the 50-meter freestyle. He may need more physical therapy through the end of swim season. We'll see how it goes. This is his last year of competitive swimming.


    It's an illness. I think sometimes you just need the therapy, though. I truly needed to get out of the house and stay away for a while -- and reading about travel is a nice substitute, till you're able to go somewhere. Both have been good for my spirits. I'm having a good week, so far. :)


    Thank you! I thought it was a pretty terrific month. I'm definitely enjoying my new books, thanks! :)

  12. Great list for the month! My daughter and I both loved Gossamer when we read it. I really want to read Last Night at Montreal and Holly's Inbox.

    On a sort of related note, I had no idea how to pronounce Grosvenor Square until I watched Last Chance Harvey last Friday!

  13. What book on road-tripping across the US did you buy?!?!

    Secondly, if you need a traveling buddy to go with you to Utah, I would seriously consider it! I would love to see Bryce and Zion. Where were you considering?

    Les, who has itchy feet and a mind to travel!

  14. Carrie,

    I think Gossamer is going to be a comfort read that I return to. I loved Little One and her elderly teacher. Last Night in Montreal and Holly's Inbox are both terrific for entirely different reasons -- Montreal for beautiful writing and Holly's Inbox for compulsive readability (of the train wreck variety -- just can't look away, gotta find out what happens next).

    I don't know what Last Chance Harvey is, but Grosvenor Square . . . it's just one of those names you need to hear, I think. I've been to Grosvenor Square in London, so I knew how to pronounce it, but my brain still objects. LOL


    I ordered Road Trip USA -- big, whopping book that isn't entirely accurate on the Mississippi end, but I thought it would be a fun read and give me some ideas.

    Bryce and Zion are two of the places I was thinking about. I like the fact that most of the photos in the Utah book involve people outdoors *doing* things -- walking, hiking, biking, boating, etc. It just looks like the kind of place I want to go, maybe rent a cabin, take photos and just soak up nature. How about you start researching from your end and we'll see if we can figure something out? Yeah, I could go for a road trip with a travel buddy.

    My feet are itchy, too. :)

  15. :) Last Chance Harvey is a movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and they attend a wedding reception at Grosvenor Square. Great film, by the way!

  16. Carrie,

    Oh, thanks! I love Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. I'll have to look for the movie. I've never even heard of it, but I don't watch TV so I miss out on commercials.

  17. Road Trip USA sounds good. So does Bryce and Zion.

    Pretty nice set of books this month! Laundry is forever.

    I wish they wouldn't label books YA. I like some of them but once I discover that's the genre, I just can't read them.

  18. Carrie,

    I can't wait to get Road Trip. I flipped through it but I had a pile, so I decided to order the expensive book from Amazon and save a penny or two.

    Thank you. It was a happy reading month. This month is sort of sucking.

    Well, I suppose they have to try to label everything for the sake of shelving. You shouldn't let the label put you off. There's some excellent stuff in the YA category, these days. The Book Thief is allegedly YA. I think it's very adult, myself, but there you have it.

  19. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Awesome month! almost 5000 pages, yikes. I love that I have to immediately go add to my wishlist as I go down YOUR list. I have you to blame for many and some that I could confirm that you were the one who rec'd it.

  20. OMG! Seriously? I would love to join you in Utah!! I'll look at some books this weekend and start some preliminary planning. When were you thinking of going? This year? Next? OK, we should take this off-list (or, I guess that would be off-blog). Hey, doesn't Booklogged live in Utah? She might have some tips. The other place I'd love to visit is Sedona, AZ. Anyhow, hiking and photography (and, of course, reading) sound like my cuppa tea! You're on!

  21. Care,

    You need to do Bad Bloggers, so I can get some points. I like being the guilty party when it comes to talking people into reading books. Mwah-hah. :)

    I'm not going to make it anywhere near 5000, this month. My brain got a flat or something. Sput, sput, sput.


    I told huzzybuns that you and I are going to play in Utah and he said, "Utah is a long way from Mississippi." I said, "Yeah, well, I'll just drive up to Lincoln and pick Les up, then we'll go down to Utah," and he said Utah is above Nebraska. Sigh. Is he trying to complicate my life by reminding me I don't know my geography? LOL

    Yes, write me. Do that. I don't know where Booklogged lives, but if she's in Utah I'm sure we can suck her into our plans, somehow. :)

  22. Ah--book buying does always cheer me up as well. :) Ireland and Utah, huh? I've been to Utah more times than I can count (was born in Provo), but I really want to go to Moab and Bryce Canyon. Hubby's already been and is convinced he doesn't need to go back. Guess I just need to jab that elbow a little harder.

    Hope you're having a great week!

  23. Trish,

    I suppose I've stepped into Utah or driven through it, since I've been to or through just about every state around it, but I've never really experienced Utah. I suppose that's where the thought came from -- that and the thought that I wanted to go somewhere you can walk and walk and walk. The book was a rather impulsive purchase.

    Oh, uh, I do what your husband is doing. I say, "I've been to Hawaii! I need to go somewhere else." And, my husband says, "Sweetheart, there aren't many people who don't want to go to Hawaii a third time." "But, I want to go somewhere NEW," I whine. He jabs, though, and I go. Keep elbowing.

  24. Haha! Well, there is a big difference between Hawaii and Utah I'll argue. :) But yes, I'll keep jabbing. My grandmother grew up just south of Moab and I'd love to visit her hometown one of these days--her grandparents were some of the early Mormon settlers and I've always been fascinated with that history. If you love the mountains, Utah is a great place to walk and walk and walk--great hiking (and skiing).

  25. Trish,

    Yes, I suppose there is quite a difference between Utah and Hawaii! LOL That was just an example off the top of my head. Hubby has business coming up in Hawaii in the fall.

    You should definitely return and indulge in some family history. Walking is how I refresh my soul, so a walking/hiking/scenic vacation sounds marvelous. I've never gone skiing, though. I suppose that's a skipster. :)


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