Wow, May flew by like I couldn’t believe. Just a month ago I was returning from Australia! How is it possible time has passed so quickly? Not only that, but my university graduation is in two days, and while I’ve been out of school for almost an entire year, it feels like it has come up way too fast. Time for the real world, I suppose. Compared to April, I read a good number of books in May, which I’m quite proud of. I am also getting through some books that have been on my shelf for awhile. My goal is to start clearing out the books I don’t want anymore – the problem being that I haven’t even read most of them, so it’s going to be a long process. Anyway, the list:
1. The Seagull by Anton Chekov
Plays are not particularly my thing. I would love them to be because I love all theatre, but the truth is, they just are not that appealing to me. I can’t seem to connect with the characters, and the most I tend to get out of them is the satisfaction of getting through them rather quickly. I picked up this play in particular because Saoirse Ronan is going to be in the movie version, and I wanted to be prepared. I also think I confused this a bit with On Chesil Beach, the movie version of which she is also going to be in soon. Oh well. It was entertaining a bit, at least.
2. My Name Is Victoria by Lucy Worsley (NetGalley)
The thing about this book is that it should have been interesting. It had a pretty background, that of a young girl becoming the companion of a young Princess (soon to be Queen) Victoria. The writing was just not there for me. The characters (including, yes, Princess/Queen Victoria) were incorrigible, and I couldn’t sympathise with any of them very much. Their sense just didn’t make sense. At the very least, this book offers such an interesting plot twist at the end that throws history right out the window – think an alive King Edward VI of England actually surviving at the end of My Lady Jane kind of plot twist, which is worth the rest of it.
3. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Magrit, and Sophie Mas
I was really disappointed in this book at first, but that was before I realised I took it way too seriously – way more seriously than it is supposed to be. I thought it would be an actual guide to fitting in while in Paris, and while I am sure some of its facts reign true, they do seem to be poking fun at the culture of the Parisienne. Once I got past that, however, it was a rather amusing book that I don’t really regret picking up.
4. Romania – The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture by Debbie Stowe
A coworker once asked me what I was reading one day, and I happened to be reading this, so I told her. I will never forget her face when I did so. I guess Romania isn’t too high on too many people’s radar, but I actually found this really interesting. I’ve studied the Cold War/Soviet Union a lot, but never really learned too much about Romania – until now, with the help of this little book. It makes me wish that more people knew about its beauty and history, because frankly, Romania has had a tough time in recent decades (think the late 20th century) and probably needs a few really good hugs. Also, ya girl is obsessed with actual Romanian Sebastian Stan – what can I say?
5. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Anyone who follows my Goodreads (which y’all should do) knows what a tough time I had with this book, despite its popularity. I think it’s because it reminded me too much of my own time in high school and I just wasn’t ready for that – I cringe just thinking about it. But, obviously the plot is incredibly important regarding identity, and it does actually get quite good near the end. The reveal of Blue’s true identity I didn’t see coming, so that was a welcome twist of sorts.
6. Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
How I love Sophie Kinsella. I do, however, prefer her standalone books more than the Shopaholic series. But this was sitting on my shelf and I just needed to get it over with. I probably don’t love-hate a character quite as much as I do with Becky Bloomwood. Nearly everything about her actions I simply cannot understand. The girl has no filter when it comes to lies and can hardly keep her head on straight. Not to mention her inability to turn the other way when it comes to a Sale sign (it’s not called Shopaholic for nothing). But the lengths to which she goes to avoid staring at her problems is usually pretty amusing, and I do love British protagonists. So.
7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I can’t help but say I was a tad bit disappointed by this. I wished I had read it as a child to still see some of the magic it brings to others. It wasn’t a terrible book, but I think a lot of what makes it so special revolves around the nostalgia of childhood, and I just didn’t have that. I can recognise it for what it is and what it represents for some people, but for me, it will likely always be a superficial reaction to it. It was cute, however, and brought joy to my heart. So there’s that.
8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book is by far the most special book I have read this month. After taking the world by storm (and surprise) last year, it was at the top of every must-read list I had ever seen. A volunteer at work was kind enough to gift me her copy, but it sat on my shelf for the longest time, because I just didn’t feel like I was ready to give it the amount of attention it deserved. And as much as I wish I could have experienced reading it at the height of it being the most popular book in the world, I am glad I waited, because that made it more special. I don’t really have much to say about it though, just one thing – it is worth the dedication. Everyone should read it.
Check out my full review of The Hate U Give here!
9. Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
Another book once again I just kind of want off my shelf. I know I won’t ever read the Shopaholic books again, so I might as well donate it. After reading it, obviously. Also, I rearranged my shelves, and this one no longer fit on the contemporary section. So I was forced to read it. How awful. Anyway, it was a bit better than the previous book, I will say that. And I was really happy to see Becky back in England.
10. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella
After reading this book, I only have one more book to go before completing the entire series! (I read the last two books a few years ago by mistake). This one was actually pretty good, as far as these books go. How one could possibly think that a baby needs more than one pram, I cannot possibly wrap my head around. However, perhaps after reading the two previous books rather quickly, Becky’s quirks began to grow on me, and I actually quite enjoyed this book – so much that I was a wee bit disappointed that I didn’t have the next book ready to go.
11. The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland (NetGalley)
This one is probably up there with my other favourite NetGalley books I’ve ever received. It tells the story of Napoleon Bonaparte’s stepdaughter, and her struggles with her family and her country in post-Revolution France. I adore learning about the French Revolution, so there was really no doubt I would love this as well. There are some pretty lovable characters in here too that you definitely don’t want to miss!
Keep an eye out for my The Game of Hope review, coming soon!
It’s the last day of May (I graduated university today!) and after the slow month that was April, I’m glad to get my reading numbers up to snuff. I’m working on reading the books that are currently on my bookshelf (which are 80% unread) and I’m getting the hang of it! I’ve also been on a book-buying ban, so there’s that to be proud of too (which is not to say that it’s not hard – it’s quite hard, actually). Here’s to June and the wonderful books it will bring!