Looking Back: May Highlights

I didn't read a lot of books in May, but I was lucky in that most of what I read last month was good. I did discover lots of new books at BEA, and can't wait to share them with you. But in the meantime, a few recent favorites I've actually finished:

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County, by Kristen Green: Green's history of her hometown and her county's resistance to the desegregation of schools in the 1960s is a fascinating look at a period of history I admittedly knew little about. The book veers more towards memoir than I'd personally prefer in my histories, but overall, this was worth the read if you're at all interested in the history of the Civil Rights movement and/or racial politics in the United States.

Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith: I'm late to the party on the Galbraith-actually-Rowling series of Cormoran Strike novels. If you, like me, are interested in thoughtful and engaging mysteries but have been on the fence about Rowling's work in the genre, I'd say this is worth the chance. Excellent on audio, too, if that's your jam.

California, by Edan Lepucki: I started this on audio but couldn't click with the narration, so switched to the e-book and was almost immediately swept away. Lepucki's dystopian novel is not at all what I expected, and I loved that about it. An interesting examination of self-dependence, family, friendship, and survival.

Sex Criminals Vol 2, by Matt Fraction: A comic about a librarian who can stop time with her orgasms, and her interesting new boyfriend, and the crazy sex they have, and what they do when they stop time for everyone else? I loved the first volume, and this second volume was not a disappointment.

June releases:

Re Jane by Patricia Park is a modern-day retelling of the Jane Eyre story, making Jane a Korean-American immigrant in Flushing, Queens. My full review of Re Jane.

Under the Bus: How Working Women Are Being Run Over by Caroline Fredrickson adds another (important and oft-ignored) layer to the lean-in/opt-out debate: that of working women whose economic circumstances dictate their decisions, rather than vice versa. My full review of Under the Bus.

And stay tuned for thoughts on The Star Side of Bird Hill, which I did finish this past weekend--I adored it.


So far this year:

  • I've read 51 books, of which 61% were by female authors.
  • Of the books I've picked up, I count 17 (33%) as diverse books (by and/or about persons of color, different abilities, identifying as LGBTQ). 
  • A mere 23% of the books I've read have been by non-US authors; that percent drops to 7% if counting non-North American or British authors.
  • 11 of my books have fulfilled one of the categories of the Read Harder challenge.
  • Still only 3 of the books I've finished have been from my TBR 2015 challenge list.
  • My reading has been exceedingly frontlist heavy: only 6 books read were published before 2014 (only 5 before 2000, and absolutely none before 1900). Classics, I miss you!

Recommended reading (here and elsewhere):


What were the best things you read this month?


  1. It was so great peeking in at your panel through tweets and the rundown at Armchair BEA - you all made such great points! I'm super glad to hear that you enjoyed The Star Side of Bird Hill, since it's one I've been looking forward to.
    And thanks for sharing my review of The Shore!

  2. Is there a link somewhere to your 2015 TBR challenge list? I have my 15 Books to Read in 2015, of mostly backlist stuff, and I always like peeking at other people's lists. I can't wait to get to The Start Side of Bird Hill now that you've liked it! :)

  3. Never mind, I found it! When Women Were Birds is a pretttttty amazing book - I just read it a little over a week ago.


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