May Reading Wrap Up

Well, it has happened – I have finally finished university. After a month of essay deadlines and exams, I’m amazed I read as much as I did. I think that’s been the standard theme of this year so far; my surprise each month that I actually found time to read. It definitely helped that I participated in a 30 day reading challenge, and I’m sure that’s why my totals this month (two books over 500 pages is quite the feat for me) are pretty darn fantastic.

First up this month was The Hero of Ages, the third and final instalment in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy that I started back in 2015! I read the previous two books the previous two summers, having saved them both all year for when I felt I had enough time to read them – and then the genius that is 2017 me decided I had enough time to read the final book over coursework season. If that’s not impressive, then I’m not sure what is.

Then as if that book wasn’t long enough, I followed it up with another final instalment to a trilogy: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas. This was pure guilty pleasure for me, and I devoured it within a week. Just pure fun, uncomplicated (in a good way) fantasy that you can just lose yourself in. Complete escapism at its best, and a series that has improved so much from its first instalment.

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After that, I finally read a book I’ve been promising myself, and my colleagues, that I would pick up for ages. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders was an unexpected joy, Saunders somehow redefining what it means to write fiction and do so in a way that reminds you just how much art there is in writing. He weaves his story from excerpts of various non-fiction literature on Lincoln, interspersed with his own pure fictional writing. The combination of non-fiction, fiction, and non-fiction crafted as fiction, created a completely new way of reading. Although the first few pages I found it difficult to process, once you get used to the formatting you can hardly put the book down.

It was after this that I read Animal by Sara Pascoe, ‘The Autobiography of the Female Body’. For this I’m just going to repeat what I said in Goodreads, which is that this was a great book separated into discussions on ‘love’, ‘body’, and ‘consent’. Pascoe manages to insert humour and charm, but still discusses serious, and upsetting, topics with a sincerity. This is a good book if you want a mix of entertainment, autobiography, well/explained science, and talks on bodies. Of course people who are well versed on the subjects will find fault with some of the scientific facts, but for me it was a perfect balance of digestible science I could understand and Pascoe’s own thought. Whilst Pascoe is addressing matters of the ‘female body’ and does in her footnotes clarify that this can apply to those who do and do not identify as being female or to those who weren’t necessarily born in a ‘female’ body, I think I would have liked more discussion on gender within her ‘body’ section. Overall the book raises some fantastic points that I definitely support, but for a book on bodies and love I think there should be more discussion dedicated to gender itself.

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If you want more beauties like this you should definitely check out my Instagram *wink wink nudge nudge*

After a successful non-fiction read, which I don’t read enough of, I decided to go for something else new – poetry. The only poetry I’ve really read is within my education, and whilst I’ve enjoyed it I’ve never gone out and read poetry for fun. This is why, to start off my journey, I picked up the bestselling collection Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. And, I’m sad to say, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea – which is why I’m going to do a full review either sometime later this week or next. It’s so difficult, because of course you can see how much heart the author pours in, and then to find you don’t really like it, I especially find it hard to give such negative feedback. One thing is for certain – I’m definitely going to pick up more poetry soon to find something I do love.

And that brings me to the end of May, so let’s look how the reading challenge is going:

 

  1. *4 ‘Classics’
  2. *A Man Booker nominee
  3. **A Baileys nominee
  4. *A Feminist Book cover to cover
  5. **‘A Blue Cover’
  6. *A Graphic Novel
  7. A Horror Book
  8. ***Finish a series you’ve started
  9. A friend’s favourite book
  10. *Poetry book
  11. *Book over 500 pages
  12. *Book under 150 pages
  13. Book with a character with your name
  14. *An autobiography
  15. **A play
  16. *A book from your TBR
  17. ****Book published in 2017

Thanks to Animal, I ticked off an autobiography because that word is within the subtitle so it definitely counts. Milk and Honey also ticked off poetry, so a pretty darn good month. The Hero of Ages and A Court of Wings and Ruin both added a notch to finishing a series you’ve started, as they were both the final instalments of two trilogies I’ve loved. Lincoln in the Bardo added a fourth notch to books published in 2017. Overall, a pretty great reading month. It means I’m still left with 3 Classics (I knew that was going to be a struggle to get to), a Horror Book, a friend’s favourite book, and a book with a character with your name. I definitely have books in mind for the latter two, but still haven’t found a Horror book that I want to read, so if anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears. After all, June is my birthday month so I’m planning to do a rather large book haul.

 

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May Wrap Up

Ah May, the month of exams and stress, stress, stress. You can tell that I tried to escape reality by the amount of Kindle books I powered through at the beginning of the month. Although they weren’t all great, for the moments I read them they served their purpose of helping me forget I had responsibilities.

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First up we have the beautiful Temeraire by Naomi Novik, which I started in April and finished on the first of May which seems a bit unfair but oh well. It’s counted toward the May total anyway. Everyone and their mothers know I love dragons, so it’s no surprise that I adored this book. Uprooted is one of my favourite fantasy novels this year, so when I saw the author had written a series all about dragons? Amazing. The relationship between dragon and handler was stunning, and the character of the dragon Temeraire was witty, charming, and just perfection. Five stars without doubt. I think I need to write a full review soon before I burst.

Now it’s time to list the Kindle books. Brace yourself. First we had the first in the new Dive Bar series by Kylie Scott, which I thought was (and I quote from my ‘what i read’ journal, which I write in as soon as I finish a book) ‘ok, but not earth shattering’. Thought it had a strong beginning with interesting premise (involved a runaway bride breaking and entering), but felt that interest wasn’t maintained and I grew bored.

Then we had Strongest Steel by Scarlett Cole which I liked to start with as thought the main character’s back story was dark with horrible happenings so thought it would be a serious, interesting contemporary, but once again I just grew bored.

Next is Evil by Tijan, which was much better for me as I always seem to enjoy Tijan’s books. I may read a lot of fantasy, but I haven’t read paranormal in ages so this was great fun to read. Funnily enough I picked up fantasy book Radiance after that by Grace Draven, which had the very interesting concept as far away from insta-love (my most hated trope, where two characters instantly fall in love) as you can get. Our two main characters are from different ‘clans’ if you will, one human and one not, and both detest the sight of the other. Having two characters repulsed by the other’s appearance? I’ve never enjoyed it more.

Then one final kindle buy, Rule by Jennifer Blackwood, and I gave it two stars. Again I’ll quote my reasons why from my journal, ‘Was enjoyable enough and would have been three and a half stars with a better ending that wasn’t so predictable. Too easy, felt like a cop-out’.

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I also finished listening to the third Harry Potter this month, and it’s my favourite so far for definite. I had my first experience with this series where I couldn’t stop listening, and I really couldn’t go to sleep yet because things were getting so good and amazing and Stephen Fry read faster we need to know what happens and it’s already 1am.

The second, and final, physical book I read this month was The Bricks that Built the Houses by Kate Tempest, and if you’re interested I’ve already written my review of it here. I think my favourite quote was ‘the sky is the sea is the sea is the sky’ to describe sitting on a beach and looking out to the ocean. A beautifully crafted book.

And so concludes this month’s wrap up! That brings us to 22/50 for physical books and 38 in total! As we’re almost halfway through the year, I’m pretty happy with where I am reading wise. Hopefully by the end of June I can say I reached the 25 book goal to make halfway, but who knows – maybe it will be slightly more!

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