May was the unintentional month of the B I G books! I read 2 ½ (😉) books over 600 pages!
May By the Numbers:
- Total Books Read: 11
- Audiobooks: 1
- Five Star Reads: 3
- Goodreads Shelf: 60/125 (48%)
- Unread Shelf: 3 (27%)
- Nonfiction Challenge: 6/12
- Books by BIPOC Authors: 3 (27%)
- By Women Authors: 7 (63%)
- Diverse Books: 3 (27%)
- Nonfiction Reads: 4 (36%)
- Debuts: 3 (27%)
- Published in 2021: 8 (73%)
Favorite Book of May:
This was my first introduction to Maggie Shipstead, and I am definitely interested in reading more of her! Great Circle is an epic novel that spans many, many years, but at the heart of the story is this incredible life-long relationship between Marian, Jamie, and Caleb. They grow up together and even though they branch off onto their own, they are always pulled back to each other when it matters most. I learned a lot about aviation, specifically female aviators and their contribution to fighting during WWII. It’s been weeks since I’ve read the book, and I still think about it often!
- People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – I am super finicky with rom-coms, so when I say I loved this book, it’s very high praise. I didn’t love Henry’s previous novel, Beach Read; I was mostly ambivalent about it. But something about Poppy and Alex completely stole my heart. I loved their dialogue and the progression of their relationship. The flashbacks gave such great insight to their relationship and I could have read 300 more pages of their story!
- The Rose Code by Kate Quinn – This was another book that completely blew me away. I absolutely love Kate Quinn (if you haven’t read The Huntress yet, do so asap!); she is beyond brilliant with her historical fiction writing. This time, Quinn introduces us to the incredible work that code breakers performed during WWII. It is said that their dedication to breaking the secret codes of the Germans probably shortened the war by a couple of years. Additionally, Quinn did a wonderful job of creating side stories and relationships that hooked me from start to finish!
For Fans of Memoirs:
- 🎧 * Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford – I listened to this one on audio and Ford narrates it herself. She delves into growing up with a troublesome mom, an incarcerated father, and a traumatic childhood. For all the things that were thrown at her growing up, she never lost her drive or perserverance and I admire her strength and tenacity to overcome some huge obstacles. This book would be great for fans of: More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth, How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones, and Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz.
- * The Phenomenon: Pressure, Yips, and the Pitch That Changed My Life by Rick Ankiel – I love a good sports memoir and Ankiel is quite frank with his personal experience with the “yips” – an unexplained loss of skill in experienced athletes. The yips stole Ankiel’s career as a professional Major League Baseball pitcher, but in an amazing twist of events, five years later, he took to the field again – this time as an outfielder.
For Fans of Business/Start Up Memoirs:
- That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea by Marc Randolph – If you head into this book expecting a similar experience as Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight, you’ll be disappointed. If you head into expecting more of a memoir/autobiography, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Listen, Shoe Dog is the gold standard in the business memoir category, but somehow I still really appreciated Randolph’s recollection of Netflix’s beginnings. Many reviewers have said that Randolph comes across as egotistical and money-obsessed; I didn’t get those vibes at all. I loved hearing how he and his partner, Reed Hastings, came up with the idea of Netflix, the hurdles they had to overcome to start the company, and the obstacles they continued to face for the first couple of years. In places, it was a bit clunky, but I’m always intrigued with start-ups and business-minded books because it’s a skillset that I do not have. I also love reading about smart, successful people.
For Fans of Thrillers:
- Survive the Night by Riley Sager – This was a quick read with an unreliable narrator who kept me confused and guessing. I loved the premise and thought it was well executed! I don’t read the thriller genre often, but I appreciate Sager’s ability to suck me in when I do!
- Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica – This was on track to be a five-star read for me, but unfortunately, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the resolution. However, I enjoyed the story Kubica developed and I was very invested in figuring out what the heck happened to Meredith and her six-year-old daughter, Delilah. I will definitely be checking out more of Kubica’s work in the future.
For Fans of Lighter Fiction That Still Deals With Heavier Topics:
- Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around by Camile Pagán – Sometimes it can be hard to find books that talk about mid-life and the challenges that come with that time of life – established marriages, older children, and mid-career dissatisfaction. I appreciated those parts of the story and thought this one was going to be a winner for me. But as the story progressed, I began to dislike the main protaganist more and more. She felt overly whiney and avoided so many of her problems instead of dealing with them head on. That was incredibly frustrating for me. Overall, this just wasn’t executed well for me and I ended up mostly disliking it.
For Fans of Social Justice:
- Five More Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City by Wes Moore and Erica L. Green – In a time where we’re becoming all too familiar with Black people being killed by white cops, Moore and Green take on the specifics surrounding the death of Freddy Gray in Baltimore, Maryland. After his death, the city of Baltimore came under seige as protesters took to the streets to amplify their voices in the fight against police brutality. Moore and Green retell the story of the Freddy Grey protests through the lenses of eight different people who were involved – a police officer, the Baltimore Orioles owner, a sister to another vicitim of police brutality, and many more. It’s an in-depth look at how the city handled the crisis, what they could have done better, and where they went when the protests were over.
For Fans of Science Fiction:
- Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro – I appreciate the idea behind this book, but I was not a fan of the book itself. Honestly, I think there’s a lot more going on than I gathered, so maybe it just all flew over my head and I simply didn’t get it. Regardless, after seeing so many rave reviews, I’m super confused and wondering what I missed??
(Debuts denoted by *)
Unread Shelf Update:
I actually eliminated a few books from my shelves last month, so as of the end of May, the total number of physical books on my shelves is: 252.
If you’d like to participate in the Unread Shelf Project, head over to Whitney’s blog for more information!