Reading Recap: May

I’m not sold on the title, if you have any suggestions please let me know!

Ten books in one month. Man, I was on a reading roll this month! I don’t know why, but I am not complaining. Also, I hit the first half of my reading goal! My main goal is to read at least 44 books this year. Considering that, at the time of writing, I have already got 28 books under my belt I am making good progress. According to Goodreads, I am 11 books ahead of schedule.

With all that said and done, let’s discuss the books of the hour.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Starting off the month, The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell.

I wrote a full review for this book at the start of May, so this is a shorter entry.

It’s a non-fiction account of the daily musings, tasks and challenges Bythell has running a secondhand bookshop in Scotland’s national book town of Wigtown. Yes, we have a book town. Jealous?

Very witty and charming read, perfect for readers who love books about books. Or in this case, bookselling.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Out of all the books that I read this month, this one is my favourite, no contest.

Circe is a retelling of the life of, well, Circe. A minor goddess, witch and all-around badass from Greek mythology. The story recounts her origins, her trials and tribulations and how she grew from them to become the powerful woman we know today.

This is the second book I reviewed, so for my full rant and rave about how wonderful this book is, please read it.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

This book captures the pettiness and jealousy of the Greek gods perfectly.

Set in modern-day London, the gods of Olympus no longer live above the mighty mountain, but a rundown townhouse in London. No longer powerful entities, they need to watch how much of their magic they use as little by little, it is fading. Even small things like turning a one night stand into trees are costly. Sorry, Apollo. 

After feeling slighted, Aphrodite decides to get a bit of revenge on Apollo. Standard stuff, until you realise that the consequence might be the destruction of the entire world.

Gods Behaving Badly is a fun read. A bit slow but when it gets going it doesn’t stop.

Weight by Jeanette Winterson

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like this novel.

I only finished it because it was rather short so I figured “eh, it’s only 176 pages. I might as well”. Not every book will resonate with you after all.

It is a retelling of the myth of Atlas or at least half of the story is a reletting. After that, it gets a bit weird. I think I might just be dumb or something, but I didn’t get it. Weight failed to connect with me, it just felt like it was trying too hard to make a point.

The F*ck-it List John Niven

I don’t tend to read political thrillers, but when I stumbled on The F*ck-it List at my local library, I just knew I had to read it.

Set in a world where Trump won his second term and Ivanka is now president, Frank Brill, a retired small-town newspaper editor has been given just months to live. He decides to use his remaining time on earth to kill those he holds responsible for all the suffering his family and loved ones have faced.

Action-packed, hilarious and brutal. The F*ck-it List holds no punches showing how dystopian this version of America is. Good thing it is pure fiction.

Right?

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Another book I wrote a full review for.

Friends change, whether they change their wardrobe or find new interests that you aren’t a massive fan of, it isn’t usually the end of the world. Well, that is unless your friend starts to slowly shift into some type of demonic entity that threatens to ruin the lives of everyone around the two of you.

Unfortunately, that is the situation Abby finds herself in when her best friend Gretchen starts doing just that.

Truly nightmarish in the best possible way. An 80s horror movie in book form. What’s not to love?

In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

This book was a total acid trip.

Set in the utopian society named iDEATH where everything is made out of watermelon sugar, Our protagonist seems rather happy. Why wouldn’t he be, it is like the ultimate hippy commune.

However sweet life is, there is a sour aftertaste. While the threat of the talking tigers is gone with them being extinct, a few deserters leave to start their own mini-society. Why would they want to leave though, why would anyone leave? 

Frankly, it took me a while to get my head around this novel. It is by far the most surrealist story I have read to date. Truly bizarre, being frank that is why I loved it.

Achilles by Elizabeth Cook

Yes, another book about Greek myths. On top of that, another retelling What can I say, I’m obsessed!

This time the tale being told again is the story of Achilles. Perhaps one of the best known non-god characters from Greek mythology. For a good reason of course.

This adaptation was on the short side, making it a rather punchy and impactful read. Cook holds nothing back either, it is brutal which is rather fitting for a character like Achilles. We also get to see some of the other key player’s perspectives, namely what they think about our lead. 

All in all, a solid adaptation. 

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

They say that life is a story. Well, what if you got to change some plot points you regret?

That is the chance Nora Seed has. After ending her life she finds herself in a library. Every book is a different version of her life, depending on differing decisions. What if she kept swimming? What if she did marry him? What if she studied geology instead of philosophy? An infinite number of books, infinite choices.

I did enjoy this book, it is so emotional and raw. It made me question my own life a little. I did find the ending a little bit forced if I am being honest here. 

The Prestige by Christopher Priest

The last book of the month!

Two stage magicians, Robert Angier and Alfred Borden are in a fires feud with one another. Constantly striving to best the other in their shared craft. It all kicked off when they first met in 1878, but the rivalry will continue for years. In fact, this contest might just outlive them.

Told from the diaries of both men, we get a deep look into their mindsets about everything, from the feud to their family lives. It’s dramatic, tense at times and an engaging read. I did think it did drag on a little bit, but overall I did like it.

Funnily enough, everyone I have talked to about this novel prefers the 2006 film to the original. I still haven’t seen it yet but from what I have been told, I think I will find myself on the same boat.


Read anything interesting this month? Please, let me know!

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