What I Read: May 2018

I had a big reading month, in part because I finished two weighty nonfiction books that I’d been reading since December. The other reason I read so much is that I submitted grades the second week of May and let myself fall into a pile of books as a palate cleanser. I read quite a few fluffy books that didn’t take much time.

I usually only manage about five or six books a month, but I read a whopping twelve books in May:

The Wife by Alafair Burke
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
Confessions by Kanae Minato
The Power of Happiness by Sara Ahmed
Dark Matter by Black Crouch
Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
Post-Truth by Lee McIntyre

I’ve been trying to diversify my reading in terms of genre and publication dates. I’m also trying to read more fiction by non-American writers. Here’s what May looked like for me:

Genre 
3 Contemporary Fiction
4 Mystery/Thriller
1 Short Story Collection
4 Nonfiction

Publication Dates
4 Published in 2018
5 Published in last five years
3 Published before 2013

Author Identity/Nationality
9 Women
3 Men

7 American
2 British
1 New Zealander
1 Japanese
1 Singaporean

I liked everything I read this month, but I do have superlatives:

Most Entertaining
Did You See MelodyDid You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah
Everything Sophie Hannah writes is so readable because she is so specific and vivid in the development of her characters and settings. Plus, her plots are bonkers, which means that you can never figure it out until she ties the ends together.

In this one, Cara Burrows flees her husband and children in England for reasons that we learn  later in the book. Cara arrives at a five-star spa/resort in Arizona, a vacation she’s secretly booked. Not a soul in the world knows where she is. When she arrives, the desk clerk gives her the wrong room key, and she enters a room occupied by a man and a teen girl. After a night of sleep (in the correct room), Cara realizes that the girl she saw the night before was America’s most famous murder victim. So how can she be alive?

Most Disturbing
Confessions by Kanae Minato
ConfessionsIt was disturbing in all the right ways–exactly how I want a taut psychological examination to play out. Yuko Moriguchi, a middle-school teacher, is mourning the accidental death of her young daughter, Manami. But we soon learn that Manami’s death was no accidental. Yuko knows she was murdered. And she knows that two of her students did it. The rest of the book is a twisted tale about what happens when guilt, evil, and vengeance fester.

My Tagline: The Secret History by Donna Tartt meets Black Mirror

Anne Perry and the Murder of the CenturyHonorable Mention goes to Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century by Peter Graham, a true crime account of a heinous murder by two teen girls in New Zealand in the 1950s. The murder is disturbing enough to begin with, but it’s even more unbelievable when you find out that they killed the mother of one of the girls. One of the cold-blooded murderers grew up to be novelist Anne Perry. True crime can be lurid and objectifying; this one was neither. It’s an interesting portrait of two girls who somehow feed into each other’s madness into they spiral out of control.

My Tagline: My Favorite Murder (the podcast) meets Ann Rule

Most Educational
The Promise of HappinessThe Power of Happiness by Sara Ahmed
If you think happiness is an uncomplicated emotional state, think again. Happiness is every bit as hegemonic as any other cultural institution that’s used to justify and reinforce marginalization of the least powerful. Ahmed does a masterful job of unpacking all of the ways that happiness–and our understanding of what it means in our lives–is deeply rooted in problematic ideas about race, class, and gender.

Happy Reading in June!

 

 

2 thoughts on “What I Read: May 2018

  1. I like what you are doing here with the stats. And trying to read more non-American and non-male authors. And all those numbers and reviews make me want to get a blog again and talk about books more. I suck at reviewing, but I am EXCELLENT at counting and listing.

    Like

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