Looking Back: The Best of May

May came and went in a flash: I volunteered at the end of a 100-mile run, ran a half marathon, went to Book Expo in Chicago, then to a wedding in Minnesota, then to a bachelorette Cape Cod, helped my Mom move out of a house and into a new (smaller) one, and somehow managed to work and sleep a little bit in between. Despite the insanity (which was worse at some times than others), it was ultimately a really good month... though one that made me come to terms with a slowdown in my overall reading. There were still some big highlights this month:

May Book Releases

Champagne Uncorked, by Alan Tardi: Champagne Uncorked is a history of the house of Krug, which is used as a lens to tell the story of the making of champagne (from its start as an accidental byproduct of fermentation to a coveted drink used to mark holidays and celebrations). It was a bit pretentious at times, but really, should we expect anything different of a book about champagne? (My review for Shelf Awareness for Readers.)

The View from the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman is most well-known for his fiction, but his non-fiction is just as varied--and just as interesting. The View from the Cheap Seats collects it all in one volume (speeches, introductions, articles, essays, you name it), and it's a really great book to dip in and out of. Bonus: the audiobook is narrated by Gaiman, so that's pretty fun for fans of audio. (Review to come in Shelf Awareness.)

Dear Fang, with Love, by Rufi Thorpe: I read this so long ago! I'm so excited it's finally out so I can push it into the hands of everyone everywhere. It's wonderful. Go read it. Here's why I think you should.

The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place: The Art of Messiness, by Jennifer McCartney: McCartney's book might be a bit grating if it was any longer than 124 pages, but at that short length, it's the perfect antidote to the Marie Kondo approach to tidying up. Sure, both are extreme in their own right--but together, they may actually provide some reasonable approach to dealing with (or, perhaps, not dealing with) the clutter of our lives. (Review to come in Shelf Awareness.)

Valiant Ambition: Benedict Arnold, George Washington, and the Fate of the American Revolution, by Nathaniel Philbrick: Philbrick's history takes a unique angle on the American Revolution, looking specifically at the rise of George Washington from questioned leader to de facto and respected commander and the fall of Benedict Arnold from an American war hero to the most well-known traitor of our nation's history. It's interesting (if you're as much of a history nerd as I am!). Check out my interview with Philbrick about Valiant Ambition in Shelf Awareness for Readers. 


Backlist highlights from the month:

I finally picked up Girl on the Train, perhaps one of the most buzzed-about thrillers of 2015. It was good (not quite as good as the hype machine would have me believe, but solidly entertaining), and I'm glad to at least understand now if publicists declaring their next book "the new Gone Girl meets Girl on the Train!" are accurate... or not so much. Continuing my reads (listens) of haunting, suspenseful novels, I also read The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson--creepy, chilling, thinky novel about a haunted house. And now I've got The Nest on my headphones, which is delightfully living up to its hype as an insightful, sometimes humorous novel about rich people behaving badly.


Challenge Updates:

In a nutshell, I'm making terrible progress:

  • Read Harder Challenge: 10 books read out of 24 total categories
  • ReadMyOwnDamnBooks: 13 books read out of 52 total books picked up this year
  • Classics Club: 19 books read out of 50 to be completed by November 2017
  • 30 by 30 list: let's not even talk about it
  • Books Read: 38 completed out of a goal of 100 for the year (~4% behind schedule)

Here and elsewhere, my favorite things on the internet this month:

What I am happy about is that I stumbled, and that this stumble led to a revealing trip down memory lane; this information is going to stay with me along this journey to acceptance and will remind me that needless suffering is not necessary to be where I'm supposed to be. It doesn't mean that I'm giving up or giving in; instead, I'm learning to give love...to myself, finally.


Don't forget you can still sign up to join us for the June edition of the Social Justice Book Club (we're reading The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, by Laura Tillman). 

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