Reviews and Essays

May Reading Wrap Up

Hey all! I hope everyone is continuing to stay safe and doing whatever they need to do to get through this weird time we’re all living in. If you’re on the front lines providing health services, food services, delivery services, or anything else essential… THANK YOU. If you or a loved one is sick, my thoughts are with you and I hope recovery is just around the corner.

Whatever our situations are these days, I’m guessing that for most of us, it includes lots and lots of reading. I got through 11 books this month, and I’m excited to share a few. So let’s jump in. As usual, I’ll showcase 3 books I loved, 1 that was not for me (NFM), and what I’m currently reading. Here we go.

Three Books I Loved

1. The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining

I had seen the movie a few times throughout my life, and having a hit or miss (mostly miss, in all honesty) relationship with King’s prose, I had put off reading the book for many years. But a pandemic seemed like a good time to read a book about going slowly mad from isolation… in a very haunted hotel. Somewhat surprisingly, the book was MUCH better than the movie, after all. I now understand King’s grievances about the film adaptation. It ruined Wendy and reduced Dick Hallorann’s role to the point of near erasure, both of which are absolute crimes.

2. The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Deep

Short and impactful, this novella was incredibly unique and moving. I had pre-ordered this one after hearing about it on my favourite book podcast, Reading Glasses, and then ended up forgetting about it. It wasn’t until I read another Solomon book, An Unkindness of Ghosts (which I also loved), that I was reminded that this one was sitting in my kindle library. I buddy-read it with my mom and it sparked some really interesting conversations. It’s very much a book about how we deal with ancestral trauma, how we remember, and how we adapt and grow.

3. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

I went into this one expecting a rather gentle fairy tale to lose myself in momentarily, but it was actually heavier than I expected. I think the author did a fabulous job of weaving so many fairy tale references into a completely original story that includes everything from gods to slaves. It was very imaginative and, at times, heart-breaking too. It kept me guessing with a very mysterious character and built lots of suspense by having the POV character unable to remember who she is. Going on that journey with her was an absolute treat… as was reading about all of her magical baked goods!

NFM

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Beauty Queens

To be fair, I listened to this one on audio, and probably would have much preferred it in text. As read by the author, it was wildly theatrical to the point of being cartoon-ish, which is fine, but not what I was looking for. It’s a satire with a silly premise, and I think it would make for a really fun movie, but I didn’t need more than a couple hours with these characters. 14 hours (on audio) was way too much. I’d recommend it to people who are into hyperbolic teen comedies, though.

Currently Reading

  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
  • The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

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