What are we reading in May?

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What are we reading in May?

1pamelad
maj 2, 6:25am

I've read Mr Rosenblum's List and have completed a book for the 1900-1950 Challenge, The Getting of Wisdom, 1909.

Just started The Exploits of Engelbrecht which I'm finding very funny. Engelbrecht is a dwarf surrealist boxer.

2spiralsheep
maj 2, 6:53am

I read The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia, by Mary M Talbot and Bryan Talbot, which is a biographical sketch in comics form ("graphic novel") of French feminist anarchist utopian Louise Michel, concentrating on the Paris Commune of 1870-71 and her imprisonment on New Caledonia from 1873-80. It begins with quotes by Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, a dedication to Iain (M) Banks, and an extended cameo appearance by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. What more could any intellectual utopian want even in the best of all possible worlds?! 4*

Oscar Wilde: "A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at".

Samuel Beckett: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

3Tess_W
maj 2, 8:01am

I'm finishing Drowning Ruth and Covenant, both 4-5 star reads! Hope to finish both this week.

4Tanya-dogearedcopy
Redigeret: maj 2, 1:35pm

I have a rather ambitious PostIt® Note for May!

Outlander (Outlander #1; by Diana Gabaldon; narrated by Davina Porter - R-eread; but first time in audio - For SFFkit, "Time Travel"
Version Control (by Dexter Palmer - For SFFkit, "Time Travel"
Holy Sci-Fi!: Where Science Fiction and Religion Intersect (by Paul J. Nahin)
Forking Around (by Erin Nichols) - For AlphaKit, "N"
The Merry Wives of Windsor (by William Shakespeare - plus the attendant LitCrit
The Vanishing Witch (by Karen Maitland) - For ScaredyKit, "Witches & Magic"
The Plantagenets (by Dan Jones) - For HistoryCat, "Dynasties/Civilisations/Empires"

I've started Outlander and Version Control and will be starting Holi SciFi! tonight... I will definitely get through to The Merry Wives of Windsor this month, but the last two books on my list will be only if time allows.

5DeltaQueen50
maj 2, 1:10pm

I have started The Time Traveler's Wife and it's taking me a bit to get into the story, I am not the biggest fan of time travel stories and this one certainly jumps around a lot and having the main character meet himself really gives me the creeps! I am also reading Crimes in Southern Indiana, a short story collection by Frank Bill, it is living up to it's extremely violent reputation.

6dudes22
maj 2, 2:46pm

I'm starting the month with three books - I had to borrow The Quiet Game by Greg Iles from the library as an ebook so only reading that periodically and then I have The Redeemer by Jo Nesbo and The House I loved by Tatiana de Rosnay that I've also started.

7Helenliz
maj 2, 3:49pm

I'm listening to Dear Reader and reading Sicily.
Jerusalem is on hold as my glasses have decided they no longer wish to hold together and I can't read the small type without them.

8christina_reads
maj 2, 5:07pm

I'm starting off the month with a Golden Age mystery, Murder in the Museum by John Rowland.

9spiralsheep
maj 3, 2:36am

I read Liberty Lyrics by L. S. Bevington (Louisa Sarah B.) which is an 1895 poetry pamphlet. 2*

10rabbitprincess
maj 3, 10:08pm

I'm in Glasgow 1953 with the title character of Lennox, by Craig Russell.

11spiralsheep
maj 4, 2:26am

I read The Dark Matter of Mona Starr, by Laura Lee Gulledge, which is a semi-autobiographical exploration of depression and anxiety in comics form, aimed at young adults. I love Gulledge's art, and the stories in her three books so far have all been well-meaning. This one also includes tips on self-care. 4*

12christina_reads
maj 4, 11:19am

I'm starting A Tale of Time City by Diana Wynne Jones.

13DeltaQueen50
maj 5, 12:25am

I've moved on Death is a Welcome Guest by Louise Welsh, the second in a trilogy and I also started Crimson Lake by Candice Fox, an Australian crime story. Both these books are really holding my attention.

14spiralsheep
maj 5, 11:11am

I read The Dream Years, by Lisa Goldstein, which is a fantasy (or sf) novel about surrealism, art, revolution, and time travel, set in Paris in 1924 and 1968 and The Future (allegedly 2012 but bear in mind this was published in 1985). 4*

15spiralsheep
maj 6, 2:40pm

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?"

I read Unmarriageable, by Soniah Kamal, which is a novel retelling Pride and Prejudice but set in contemporary Pakistan. 4.5*

16rabbitprincess
maj 6, 9:47pm

Working on Love of Country, by Madeleine Bunting, about the Hebrides.

17Helenliz
maj 7, 6:28am

Finished two very different books, both getting 4 stars from me.
Dear reader and Sicily

Started Mantel Pieces and Snow in May

18spiralsheep
maj 7, 3:26pm

I read Mouton by Zeina Abirached which is a short French illustrated children's book about a curly haired child achieving a more positive self-image. 3.5*

19rabbitprincess
maj 7, 8:51pm

Staying in Scotland with John Rebus: Rather Be the Devil, by Ian Rankin.

20spiralsheep
maj 8, 7:19am

I read Jazz, Perfume & the Incident, by Seno Gumira Ajidarma, which is a novel about jazz, perfume, and an incident of violent government repression in occupied territory, except the parts about the incident are actually factual reports of the November 1991 Santa Cruz massacre, aka the Dili Massacre, when the Indonesian military murdered 250 or so human rights protestors at a funeral in East Timor / Timor Leste.

Before I read this I thought it was going to be worthy and of historical interest and with an interesting structure, which it is, but it's also full of mischief and joie de vivre. I loved it! 4.5*

21christina_reads
maj 8, 3:10pm

I tore through Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane in one sitting, and I've now begun Imaginary Lands, a short story collection edited by Robin McKinley.

22spiralsheep
maj 9, 8:57am

I read Two Serious Ladies, by Jane Bowles, 1943, which is a batshit novel about terrible people and their alternately batshit and terrible lives. Bowles appears to be trying to render the banal as interesting and the interesting as banal, which didn't work for me. But this doesn't mean I didn't enjoy reading the book. So 3.5 for fun and 2.5 for style = 3*

23DeltaQueen50
maj 9, 2:00pm

I am reading historical fiction novel, Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim which is about slavery and racial divides in the years prior to the Civil War. I am planning to start Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud later on today.

24pamelad
maj 9, 7:46pm

I am reading When We Cease to Understand the World, which is shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker, and Concluding by Henry Green.

25spiralsheep
maj 11, 4:06am

I read Potiki, by Patricia Grace, which is a novel set in a Maori community in Aotearoa (New Zealand) about family, cultural and economic survival, and how all are linked to environmental caretaking. 4*

26christina_reads
maj 11, 10:57am

I read The Dress of the Season by Kate Noble, a cute Regency romance novella. Now I've started A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer, which I've read once before but don't remember much about. Hopefully I'll like it this time, since I also have the sequel on my shelves!

27Helenliz
maj 11, 4:53pm

Finished Snow in May. Next up is The Yellow Wallpaper

28pamelad
maj 11, 5:22pm

>26 christina_reads: A Regency Romance writer I haven't tried, and free on Amazon. Thank you!

29christina_reads
maj 11, 6:50pm

>28 pamelad: Haha, you're welcome! I think The Dress of the Season is technically part of a series, but it can definitely stand alone. The other Noble book I remember enjoying was Revealed (which might be the first in the series, now I come to think of it?).

30spiralsheep
maj 12, 12:12pm

I read Keepers of the House, by Lisa St Aubin de Terán, which is supposedly a semi-autobiographical novel, although the present date in the book is around 15 years too early for the author's time in Venezuela. The framing story is about a young English woman who marries into a landowning Venezuelan family and moves to her incapable husband's run-down sugar plantation in the Andes where she receives tenebrous tales of his family history from an elderly servant. 3*

31christina_reads
maj 13, 12:00pm

Well, I did indeed enjoy Caroline Stevermer's A College of Magics -- so much so that I'm going straight on to the sequel, A Scholar of Magics!

32spiralsheep
maj 13, 12:30pm

>31 christina_reads: I actually liked these two early novels better than her later, more popular, books. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. :-)

33DeltaQueen50
maj 13, 1:15pm

I am reading my 10 chapters of Romance of the Kingdom and also Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. I'm not sure if I have forgotten the movie, but the book seems quite different - but so far very good.

34lsh63
maj 13, 6:18pm

I’m reading The Postscript Murders, which I am enjoying as well as A Town Called Solace.

35VivienneR
maj 14, 2:09am

Just read this article from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2021/may/13/why-i-am-deleting-goodre...

I've no intention of deleting LT but I can understand how someone might feel pressured to read just to keep up with the crowd. I like to think that here on LT we appreciate our books too much.

36Helenliz
maj 14, 3:49am

>35 VivienneR: I read that as well. I agree, if you are that way inclined, it can turn into a numbers race. I know that I spent a little while being put off reading longer books as it would reduce my yearly total. I've got past that, though, by not being in the 100 or 75 books in a year groups. It was self induced numbers pressure.

37MissBrangwen
maj 14, 5:40am

>35 VivienneR: For several years, I had a bookish instagram account and was a member of the bookish community there. It was a lot of pressure and because of that, I decided to quit about two years ago. I feel that LT is much more relaxed, especially when it comes to reading new releases. On instagram, I suffered immensely from the "fear of missing out" because after some time, it wasn't anymore about the joy of reading, but just about the "new hot titles" and who got the flashiest new books.
My feeling is that here on LT, it's just about reading - no matter what or how much or in what format.
I still need to be aware of not getting caught up by the numbers - exactly as >36 Helenliz: puts it - and it can be tricky, but I still think that LT is about something else and that is why I love it! We do support each other and don't compete!

38spiralsheep
maj 14, 6:20am

>35 VivienneR: Reading half a dozen interesting / entertaining / edifying books in a year has far more value imo than reading a dozen dozen books by numbers. Acquisition is not the same as self-improvement. And "self-improvement" includes anything that improves one's self or life, such as happiness, which is why I believe reading books for interest or entertainment is as valid as reading them for edification.

39dudes22
maj 14, 7:13am

>35 VivienneR: - Interesting article. I can understand and sometimes do get caught up in how many books I'm reading, but more because there are so many more I want to read thanks to all the BBs I've received than being pressured to read more. And my list grows daily. :)

40VivienneR
maj 14, 1:33pm

>36 Helenliz: I admit I get downcast when I'm not able to read as much as I want, but the numbers don't worry me. I felt a little pressure when I was in the ROOTs group and was trying to increase the number of books from my own collection.

>37 MissBrangwen: "Fear of missing out" is a perfect way to describe the competitive nature of reading. After some of those hot new titles failed to interest or entertain me I have tried to be more choosy about what I pick up.

>38 spiralsheep: I have acquired more books than I will be able to read in my lifetime, no matter how long that may be. That often means some ruthless weeding to get rid of the books that will will not fit the entertaining / edifying category.

>39 dudes22: Yes, glowing reviews and BBs can be hard to resist. It's a bit like the "new books" shelf at the library. They all look good!

41pamelad
maj 14, 4:42pm

>35 VivienneR: It seemed that her problem was feeling the need to impress other people with what she reads. On LT, and in this group, people are reading all sorts of things, so sometimes our tastes cross over and sometimes they don't, and that's a good thing because there's the possibility of finding something that we might never have thought of.

42DeltaQueen50
maj 14, 9:31pm

Starting two new ones this evening with Empire by Devi Yesodharan and The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari.

43VivienneR
maj 15, 12:29am

>41 pamelad: I agree. As she said, she loves the idea of people thinking she is well read - through quantity over quality.

44Helenliz
maj 15, 6:08am

I finished The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories, now reading On Borrowed Time. Apart from they both have a yellow spine, they're very different!

45rabbitprincess
maj 15, 1:30pm

>35 VivienneR: I found myself rolling my eyes at the article a bit. It is possible to use Goodreads and not have the peer pressure FOMO going on. I have virtually no interactions with people on GR beyond the people I am friends with, and I don't do the yearly challenge or even vote in the GR choice awards. I read what I want to, when I want to. If it's something other people are interested in, great! If not, that's OK too! I am reading for me, not for others.

That said, I do get having anxiety about low reading numbers. I'm not reading at my usual pace, or it doesn't feel like it anyway. I'm trying to be kinder to myself about it, because it's pandemic brain and also it is OK to do things besides reading ;)

46rabbitprincess
maj 15, 1:32pm

So what *am* I reading? In honour of David Byrne's birthday yesterday, I rewatched American Utopia (which my dad was able to tape off HBO when it was on free preview one weekend) and read the companion art book, American Utopia, with words by David and illustrations by Maira Kalman. There wasn't really much to read, but I liked the pictures.

47VivienneR
maj 15, 2:49pm

>45 rabbitprincess: Yes, eye-rolling was my reaction too! My experience at Goodreads was brief so I have no idea how members interact but I enjoy conversations here at LT and don't feel any pressure to compete. The only time I get anxious is when RL prevents me from opening a book that I was enjoying.

48LadyoftheLodge
maj 15, 8:39pm

I am reading Big Dreams for the West End Girls which is set in England during World War II. I sort of feel as if I dropped in to the middle of the story, like walking into the theater after the play has already started.

49spiralsheep
maj 16, 7:27am

I read Aetheric Mechanics, by Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani, which is a metafictional, late Victoriana, science fiction / detective comic. The early mentions of Ruritania and Grand Fenwick (roar!), and "intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic", etc, clued me in to what the story would be about although not the precise detail of the plot twist ending. 3.5*

50spiralsheep
maj 17, 4:49am

I read The Authenticity Project, by Clare Pooley, which is a "feelgood" novel about friendship. 3.5*

51Helenliz
maj 17, 5:30am

Finished On Borrowed Time now reading the Lamplighters, which was this month's subscription book.

52msemmag
maj 17, 11:52am

I'm on a nonfiction kick at the moment- the last two fiction books I finished (The Goldfinch and The Horse and His Boy) were...really not to my taste. So I'm going on a ~*~nonfiction vacation~*~ :D
The docket this month includes: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde. I was also reading The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning but my library loan expired and I gotta wait until I'm next in the queue to borrow it :/
So far, I'm enjoying Audre Lorde the most- I got roasted by my housemates that I was underlining every other paragraph as I read it, but hot damn, when Lorde is good, she is REALLY good.

53pamelad
maj 17, 9:29pm

I've finished Jakob von Gunten a strange book that I liked a lot, and am reading A Girl Returned, which Nickelini reviewed very favourably.

54spiralsheep
maj 18, 9:50am

I read Momo, by Michael Ende, which is a 1973 children's fantasy novel by the author of Neverending Story. I'm not sure how children today would react to this fable as their social conditions have changed somewhat since 1973. However I can say that this is a perfect story for GenXers and I suspect middle age is as good a time to read it as childhood. 5*

55lsh63
maj 18, 2:24pm

I'm reading Interior Chinatown. The format takes getting used to, but I am enjoying it.

56WilliamMelden
maj 18, 3:29pm

I'm finishing up Enemies: A History of the FBI by Tim Weiner, which is excellent, and am about to start Jimmy Webb's memoir, The Cake and the Rain. I'm excited about this; Webb is my favorite songwriter, and they say this book is beautifully written.

57dudes22
maj 18, 4:08pm

I just picked up White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht at the library which is the next book for my book club.

58pamelad
maj 18, 8:59pm

Finished A Girl Returned and started The Metamorphosis.

59Tanya-dogearedcopy
Redigeret: maj 19, 9:35am

Well, I ditched Outlander (Outlander #1; by Diana Gabaldon narrated by Davina Porter) - The audio just isn’t for me. When I want to return to Jamie & Claire, I’ll go back to my print copy.

But I did finish Version Control (by Dexter Palmer for the SFFkit theme, "Time Travel". Very slow first half, but patience pays off in the second half. :-)

I also read Forking Around (by Erin Nicholas) - For AlphaKit, "N". This is badly edited M/F romance set in Iowa between a happy-go-lucky millionaire and a forklift driving woman with a lot of things to deal with in her life. I didn’t really get the chemistry between the two and; there were serious editorial issues (e.g They meet at a pastry shop but later the meet-cute is at a party)— so no plans to pursue this series or author.

I’ve started The Vanishing Witch (by Karen Maitland)- For ScaredyKit, "Witches & Magic". Things start going wrong for the people of Lincolnshire and they’re looking for a scapegoat. Set in 1380 England (during the reign of Richard II). Hoping to finish this one over the long weekend at the end of May.

And getting ready to start The Merry Wives of Windsor (by William Shakespeare) by reading the Folger Library introductory matter. My husband is getting his second shot on Friday so we won’t be hiking this weekend… Plenty of reading time for me though! 📚

EDIT TO ADD: I almost forgot, I’m also listening to The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle (Hero’s Guide to/League of Princes #2; by Christopher Healy; narrated by Bronson Pinchot) A fractured fairy tale in which the The Princes Charming must get back together to thwart Briar Rose (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty)!

60DeltaQueen50
Redigeret: maj 20, 11:11pm

>59 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Sorry the audio version didn't hit the spot for you, Tanya. It seems to be one of those audios that people really, really love - or not at all!

I am currently reading a YA historical story entitled Witch Child by Celia Rees, and a sci-fi called Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks, both a holding my attention.

61spiralsheep
maj 20, 6:07am

I read Return Match, by Elizabeth Cadell, which is a 1979 contemporary romance novel set in England. The protagonist is a woman in her fifties and the ensemble cast are her extended family, friends, and social circles. As in all Cadell's novels, the inevitable romance plot is one of several subplots and the ensemble cast of supporting characters are as interesting as the will-they-won't-they couples. 4*

62pamelad
maj 20, 5:18pm

I'm reading They Were Counted by Miklos Banffy, the first volume of The Transylvanian Trilogy. It was first published in Hungarian in 1934, and was translated into English by Banffy's daughter and a British journalist who lived next door. Such serendipity. This book could so easily have been lost.

63spiralsheep
maj 21, 6:59am

I read A Woman of Five Seasons, by Leila Al-Atrash, which is a 2002 translation of a 1990 novel about a wealthy Palestinian couple and their marriage, while living and working in a fictional Gulf state Barqais (Qatar/UAE) then Europe. This actually reminded me most of those 1980s blockbusters about jet-setting millionaire businessmen, but with an unusual emphasis on the protagonist's marriage because after financial success he's secondarily motivated by matrimonial success. An odd but interesting novel. 3.5*

64msemmag
maj 21, 10:29am

Read Super Mutant Magic Academy- it wasn't what I was expecting (YA magic funtimes), but what I got (realistic depictions of teenage angst plus surrealist nihilism) was pretty interesting! The art wasn't super-consistent, but it was a good one-sitting read.

65rabbitprincess
maj 22, 10:05am

Crime fiction continues to be my jam. Back with Lennox in Glasgow in Craig Russell's The Long Glasgow Kiss.

66spiralsheep
maj 24, 10:35am

I read An African in Greenland, by Tete-Michel Kpomassie, translated by James Kirkup, which is an autobiographical travel book by a Togolese author set in Togo amongst Mina-speaking Wayti people, across Africa and Europe, but mostly in Greenland amongst the Inuit where the author spent about fifteen months. 4*

67LadyoftheLodge
maj 24, 9:02pm

I am still reading Big Dreams for the West End Girls which is about young women during World War II. It is part of a series, and I did not read the others in the series. A lot of it seemed confusing, sort of like walking into a play after the intermission, having missed the first half. I am about 70% done.

68Helenliz
maj 25, 4:08am

Finished The Lamplighters next up is Beauvallet, for a complete change in pace.

69christina_reads
maj 25, 9:29am

I've just read books 3 and 4 in Mimi Matthews's "Parish Orphans of Devon" series, A Convenient Fiction and The Winter Companion. I greatly enjoyed them both, although A Convenient Fiction had more of my personal catnip.

70rabbitprincess
maj 25, 10:32am

Polished off a British Library Crime Classic this morning (started it yesterday): Death in the Tunnel, by Miles Burton.

71DeltaQueen50
maj 25, 1:12pm

I am reading The Ice Princess by Camklla Lackberg for this month's MysteryKit and also, A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson.

72lsh63
maj 25, 2:07pm

I decided to start The Most Fun We Ever Had, which I put down a few months ago because I wasn't in the mood for it at the time.

73spiralsheep
maj 27, 10:32am

I read Mission to Kala, by Mongo Beti, which is a 1957 Cameroonian comic novel about a young failed college student sent on a mission from his home village to find someone else's runaway wife. Our educated westernised city-dwelling protagonist quickly finds himself out of his depth when faced with the wiles of his country village cousins and their traditional ways of getting things done. As you can probably imagine from that description the primary form of humour is satire and no character is spared. 5*

74rabbitprincess
maj 27, 10:59am

Still hankering for crime novels. This time a Marple: Murder at the Vicarage.

75christina_reads
maj 27, 3:16pm

I've begun The Inheritance by Charles Finch -- hoping to finish by the end of the month!

76spiralsheep
Redigeret: maj 29, 5:34pm

I read Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie, which is a Pulitzer Prize winning 1984 novel about two lonely USian academic scholars in London. 4*

77LadyoftheLodge
maj 31, 9:02pm

Squeaking in under the wire for May--I am reading Margreete's Harbor for NetGalley. It is interesting to read the different viewpoints of the various characters. The story is both heartbreaking and hilarious.