Friday, 1 June 2018

Things I Read in May

Hi hi hi hi! I'm so excessively tired that I just typed 'things I read in June' so that should tell you something about where my brain is at tonight- but let's try and think about how May was... May was alright, I think. It was a bit of an adjustment working ALL THE DAYS (all the working days, that is) after my super relaxed May and ugh, can't I just retire already? There were, however, two bank holidays in May and so I tried to make the most of them, and this past week has been nice with a bank holiday, three work days with lunches out all of the days, and a Friday off... It's going to be a bit of a shock getting back to normal this week coming!

Reading-wise, May has been a bit of a slump. I can't really pinpoint the reasons why, but I think it has something to do with reading short stories, reading a large novel that I wasn't in love with, and having to spend my lunch breaks mostly harassing my hospital to give me an appointment... It's been a fun time, obviously. I did, however, finish a book in almost a day this week, so I'm hopeful things are back on track, reading-wise.

Let's look at my reeeeeeads!

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami 
This ended up being only my first collection of Murakami short stories of the month, and I don't really know what to tell you about that. From what I remember of it (don't all short story collections blur into one?), this was a fairly good collection - not too many duds, and quite a few that still stand out vividly to me even now. If anything, this collection was retrospectively... not ruined for me, but I realised that this collection didn't have as cohesive a thread running through it as did the one I read later on in the month. This still doesn't make it bad at all, just less memorable than a collection with a far stronger connecting theme.

Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer
Ugh, Jonathan. Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan. Reading Jonathan Safran Foer books always seems like a good idea until I'm balls deep in them and wishing that I was reading anything else in the world. By the end of this book, I was actively resenting the fact that I was reading it, and even though I know how stupid that is when it was quite literally my choice to do that, it was what it was. His writing is still good, of course, but I am noticing more and more in myself these days an unwillingness to read about the problems of rich white men*. I can honestly tell you that this is a novel about a man with quite literally no problems, who makes everything into a problem. I don't really think we're supposed to like him, but at the same time, the novel treats him with much more sympathy than I'm comfortable with. JUST UGH MEN, ya know?

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter
I knew that it was important for me to own this book, but I didn't completely understand what it was- before owning it, I only allowed myself tiny glimpses because I didn't want to ruin any of the staging for myself before seeing the show. My lovely fella bought it for me for my birthday, and I obviously had to read it (almost) immediately and OMG. It's so good. It's essentially all of the lyrics from the show, combined with photos of it, as well as (my favourite part!) LMM's footnotes on the lyrics which taught me so much more about the show and its inspirations than I even knew I wanted. Combined with all of this is Jeremy McCarter's writing about the growth and evolution of the show from the kernel of an idea to a Broadway hit, which also taught me so much more about the background of the show and how it came to be. I LOVE HAMILTON SO MUCH, so this is essentially a perfect book to me- if you like it at all, you're going to want to read this too.

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
THIS was an excellent short story collection. This DID have a cohesive thread running through it, essentially one of men who have lost, or maybe never had women, and the various ways that has fucked up their lives. Murakami's short stories, in many ways, seem to me to be him at his most normal- fantastical things happen in them, but structurally they actually end in definitive ways that his novels do not always do. I like this side of his writing (I mean, I like all of the sides of his writing, really) and I am all over the Murakami short story thing. Also, shout out to my boyfriend again, this was a late birthday present (paperback was released this month, look into it) and apparently I can only read new books always.

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler is an absolute dreamboat and I love her. I had only read one of her books before this one, but ever since then, I have held her in my heart as an excellent and engaging and everything good author. This book fully lived up to my expectations- the story of a family, told over three generations and about 50 years, and it just felt so true and real and important and human- it actually, if I could be so bold, feels as though the kind of novel Jonathan Safran Foer wants to write but he gets too caught up in how difficult life is for men with no problems. Tyler includes just the right amount of angst, just the right amount of joy, just the right amount of everything, actually, to make me really really want to read all of her words. Keep your eye out, because I'm probably going to be reading a lot more of her stuff in the near future, because sighhh so good!

I fully forgot last month to do the reading challenge, HOWEVER the May's topic was book to screen which technically I didn't do but also technically I kind of did because Hamilton: The Revolution was kind of book to, well, stage, but how long will it be until it's a film? Exactly! Anyway. This month's prompt is Crack the Case - Read a mystery, detective, true crime or any type of whodunit story. Having perused my spreadsheet, I tragically don't really have many (any?!) mystery books to read so I have chosen Little Boy Lost by Margharita Laski- it sounds like it might have a mysterious element to it, even though it's not technically a mystery, so let's go with that!

How was your May reading, and what are you going to read next month? TELL ME EVERYTHING




*Shall we debate whether or not Jewish people are white? I honestly don't know the answer to this, but for the purposes of my point

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