Combining my blogs was meant to increase the number of times I’d post each month, but I clearly failed epically at that, as predicted. Ah well. Here’s a bookish post for you today, though, since I can do those here now. I thought I’d give a roundup of what I’ve been reading in May and what I thought of them.
2019 hasn’t been a super productive reading year so far, at least compared to the last few years, but May was marginally better than April. I’ve read eleven books so far, although two of them were rereads; that’s probably my total for the month, unless I have a very productive evening. Admittedly, I got through very few — er, none — of my physical TBR books, that is, because I own and have been procrastinating on reading, but on the plus side I also acquired very few more, so like, I’m trying.
(Disclaimer: all Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, so if any of these books catch your attention and you want to pick them up, doing so via those links earns me a few pennies.)
This month I reread Second Position and Finding Center by Katherine Locke, a duology I first read in April 2017. It’s more romance-heavy than my usual fare, but it’s about dance and disability and trying to recover parts of your past and identity you thought you’d lost forever, so you can see why it would appeal to me.
The main thing that struck me this time through was how different my own circumstances are now to what they were two years ago when I first read these books. Then, I’d just begun to feel that nostalgia for Irish dance, but still believed I couldn’t ever go back. But I did go back. I’m a competitive Irish dancer. I’m not amazing at it, but I’m… well, I’m decent. I’ve come a long way in less than two years. My health and confidence have drastically improved as a result.
I’m fairly sure reading this duology in the first place was what pushed me to try it, and I’m grateful for that. The books themselves still echoed a lot of my feelings with regard to lost potential, but these days, it’s more about music (which I haven’t yet returned to), and less about dance. And while, as with the first time I read them, I like the first book better (more about dance, less about relationships/romance), there are a few lines in the second book that really hit home.
And this line, here:
“I decided it was stupid to not try something because I might not be as good as I was before. Too much of my life has been run by fear. So I told fear to fuck off.”Finding Center, Katherine Locke
This line made me think maybe I should get out my flute again, even though I’m going to have to start so slowly, so gradually, miles from the level I was at when I was seventeen.
It’s weird, having review copies now that I no longer have a blog dedicated to reviews. I’m not entirely sure what to do with my opinions other than post them on Goodreads and hope for the best — especially when they’re ebooks and I can’t take pictures of them or yell about them on Instagram.
I read four ARCs this month — well, three, plus a finished copy that was sent to me for review by the publishers:
- Her Kind – Niamh Boyce (04/04/19)
I mostly enjoyed this, but I felt there were too many POVs and I probably would have been more emotionally invested if it had been more focused.
- Let’s Call It A Doomsday – Katie Henry (06/08/19)
This one doesn’t come out until August, so I’ll hold back from sharing overly detailed opinions, but I really, really liked it. Probably not quite as much as Heretics Anonymous, because it didn’t hit as close to home, but it made me think I should reread that — especially since my own relationship with religion has changed substantially since last year.
- Dreaming Darkly – Caitlin Kittredge (09/04/19)
This was compelling and deeply creepy, and I definitely shouldn’t have started reading it late at night. I didn’t love how it handled mental illness in general, though, and overall it didn’t entirely win me over.
- Girls With Sharp Sticks – Suzanne Young (02/05/19)
This one was a bit of a disappointment, to be honest. It was a bit too long and unfocused to fully support its premise, as well as being somewhat heavy-handed in exploring its theme. I wrote a more detailed review here.
I decided I would try and read more nonfiction in 2019, and so far, I’ve followed through on that — I read three non-fiction books this month. Two of them were Quaker books — one sent to me for free by the lovely outreach people at Quaker Quest, the other borrowed from our meeting house library.
The first of these was Being a Quaker by Geoffrey Durham. As the title suggests, it’s an introductory guide for those new to Quakerism, and while it mostly didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already experienced for myself, it gave me some of the words needed to express it, and I can see it being useful to those who aren’t Quakers themselves but want to know more about it (for example, I’m planning to lend it to my mum, so she knows what I’m going on about). It was published in 2013 and there were a few things I thought probably needed updating at some point, but on the whole it was a useful read.
The other was God, Words and Us, ed. by Helen Rowlands, which is a bit more theological. Quakers don’t have one single understanding of God (ask two Quakers who or what God is and you’ll get five answers), and this book attempted to explore some of those different understandings. If we use different words to talk about God, how do we know we’re talking about the same thing? Are we talking about the same thing, or are our different words representative of genuinely different experiences? I found it interesting, but it probably left me with more questions than answers — which is, I suspect, inevitable.
The other nonfiction book I read this month was something completely different — it was Story Genius by Lisa Cron, because as part of Author Mentor Match I’m editing Butterfly of Night (again) and trying to fix my structure (as always) and some friends recommended it. My experience of reading Story Genius was a mixed one. At times I found it deeply annoying and wanted to throw it at something, mostly because of the writing style… but it did help. My structure is still screwed, but I have a way better understanding of my characters’ motivations and backstory now, and that’s helping give the book a depth it was lacking. I wrote a full review here.
Finally, I read a couple of YA books that weren’t ARCs. Not as many as you’d expect, to be honest; I’ve been falling a bit behind recently. Trying to catch up again now.
First up, This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada. LOVED this. Loving this series. I probably raced through it way too fast, so I will need to reread at some point to catch the things I missed, but that’s no hardship. I’d highly recommend picking up This Mortal Coil if you haven’t come across it yet.
I also read The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie, but honestly, I don’t really have opinions on this one. I didn’t love it. I didn’t particularly not-love it either. Very lukewarm response from me there.
So that’s what I read this month. Not sure what’s next, but I’ve got a few library books demanding my attention, a towering TBR pile (metaphorically speaking; they’re all actually shelved), and I’m also hoping to pick up Bedlam by Derek Landy in the near future, so I suspect I’ll end up rereading something I’ve read ten times because my brain’s nice to me like that.
Oh, and I got the Kindle edition of The Priory of the Orange Tree because it’s only £1.58 right now and I’ve been eyeing it for ages. It’s a gorgeous book so I’d planned to buy it physically, but it’s SO BIG (like… 900 pages?) and my wrists are pathetic, so this seemed like a better option…
What did you read this month? Any stand-out reads you want to recommend?