Hey readers! May is over and it’s time for a reading wrap-up! May didn’t seem to last, and now it’s already 9th June, so time is slipping by! Too many books, too little time! There was also 2 month-long readathons that I participated in, and they were the Asian Readathon and the Mental Health-athon. One I did better than the other but that was expected! My respective wrap-ups for those will come soon!
But overall I am happy with my progress this year, my plan to read 10+ books a month is still going strong and I am doing really well this year. This month I had read a total of 11 books, so it was a slower month than the rest of the year, but again I’m not worried or upset about it. So lets see my stats and also what I thought of the books I read in May, starting with the first read on to the most recent!
good omens – terry pratchett & neil gaiman
length: 432 pages
I know this has gotten a lot more buzz recently in response to the TV adaption, but this was a re-read so it didn’t affect my expectations. As a massive fan of Neil Gaiman (this was the first book I read of his!) I knew I was going to still love this, and I wasn’t wrong! It’s so typically British with it’s humour and story-telling and I enjoyed myself so much, possibly even more so now I understand more of the references! I mostly listened to the Audiobook (whilst reading the book a little) and it added to my enjoyment. I was catching myself smiling or full-on giggling at moments. I do see why people didn’t enjoy this, particularly those who don’t know British humour, but it is firmly still a favourite of mine!
made you up – francesca zappia
length: 445 pages
After reading Eliza and Her Monsters, I was excited to read more from her (even though this was published first) and expecting a lot. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Eliza, although there were aspects I really did enjoy. I felt like I got a lot of insight into what it might be like to live with Schizophrenia as it is something that’s not widely discussed or known about. The pacing was off and it did drag quite a lot; it didn’t need to be 400+ pages in my opinion. I did think it was giving a good message about putting your mental health first and understanding that everyone is fighting a battle of their own. I gave more detail in a review on Goodreads.
the yellow wallpaper & other stories – charlotte perkins gillman
length: 70 pages
I found this more insightful rather than enjoyable, it was really interesting to see how sexism and mental health was dealt with in 18th-century USA. The author was clearly extremely talented and before-her-time, especially the feminist perspective she used for each story. I just didn’t enjoy my time reading the main story (who would when it deals with a mentally-ill women being trapped in a room with yellow wallpaper because her husband didn’t feel her postpartum depression wasn’t a ‘valid illness’..?) and I don’t think it will leave a lasting impression, maybe if I read a bigger collection? Still would recommend if looking for feminist stories!
this song will save your life – leila sales
length: 276 pages
This possibly is one of my favourite coming-of-age books. I loved seeing Elise’s journey, and how determined she was to keep learning, and keep trying. The female friendships were enjoyable to read as well, and we also saw how she coped with living in two families (her dads and her mums new family) and the complications from that. It felt quite similar to my own experiences. Although I felt heartbroken for the Dad for most of the book, he seemed to be really lonely and he was seeing his only family, Elise, less and less frequently. The main male character was a SERIOUS a**hole, I got a bad feeling about him from the beginning. I didn’t like how he treated any of the female characters and also how he got very jealous with Elise’s talent and progression with DJ-ing. All in all, I very much enjoyed this! Explored depression really well and could easily relate to my own experiences.
beneath a meth moon – jacqueline woodson
length: 183 pages
This was a very difficult read, despite how short it was. It was a topic highly out of my comfort zone as it heavily focused on the main characters substance abuse. Woodson’s writing is beautiful and poetic as she describes Daneau and her path to addiction and recovery, she really goes through some terrible things and it was really difficult to read at times. I would very much like to read more from the author to see if it was just because of the subject matter which stopped me from fully enjoying and appreciating her poetic writing. Time will tell!
the handmaid’s tale – margaret atwood
length: 324 pages
This dystopian book was definitely terrifying. Simply because it was very realistic. It’s not difficult to imagine how close to reality it could be to live in this misogynistic, highly religious society. I am always in awe of Atwood’s ability to craft a world, the amount of detail that she went into was astounding, especially as the world seems possible now. I enjoyed how the story was told, as we’re only getting Offred’s perspective and only witness things that happen to her. I feel that vagueness made me more terrified about the world. It ended very abruptly but I understand why, because we are getting her perspective in tape entries, it makes sense for the ending to be where it was and so abrupt. The pacing was slow in parts and it wasn’t a “fun” read but this book will leave you thinking!
turtles all the way down – john green
length: 288 pages
“I would never slay the dragon, because the dragon was also me. My self and the disease were knotted together for life.” I was so pleasantly surprised with this book! I heard mixed things and didn’t expect to like it at all. We experience the main character’s struggles with OCD and knowing this was also an own voices book as John Green also has OCD, I never realised how crippling the illness actually is! There is a slight cross over with anxiety so I understood a little bit but honestly my mind was blown. I loved the main character and how she came to terms with accepting her illness, and also the people around her were so lovely and understanding. The side plot with the investigation didn’t really seem to fit at the starts and I felt like it was thrown in to give the book a bit more ‘substance’, but I understand it was also part of the development of a side character and their relationship with the main character, so it did all blend together at the end.
four weeks, five people – jennifer yu
length: 384 pages
This was okay. I didn’t really connect with the story, but I loved the development of (most of) the characters. There were things I agreed and disagreed with overall which affected my enjoyment. I do understand that being in nature and seperated from ‘society norms’ can aid in mental health recovery, but I felt the ‘counsellors’ were rubbish. They didn’t seem to help much and were just there for adult supervision. I did like the message I found which was that recovery doesn’t happen overnight, it is a slow progress and could take years, or you may not ever recover, you just learn to live with the illness, which was what I learned when trying to recover. I thought it was good to include a male character with an eating disorder as that is never touched on (in society or books) and it was great to see tackled. Also seeing forms of personality disorders were interesting but I can’t tell how accurate they were. Overall, I enjoyed this, but not enough to rate it any higher.
a thousand beginnings and endings – ellen oh et. al.
length: 336 pages
I don’t seem to get on well with anthologies. Even though I enjoyed most of these, there were some I didn’t and that lowered my overall enjoyment. I really liked seeing retellings of Asian myths and folktales, and also learning about said myths/folktales. I really felt like I learned a lot about Asian cultures that I didn’t really know about. I would love to learn more about other myths and folktales. I definitely enjoyed Bullet, Butterfly, Forbidden Fruit, and The Counting of Vermillion Beads the most, but others I can’t really remember what happens and they didn’t really stick with me.
six of crows – leigh bardugo
length: 495 pages
Let’s just say it now: I AM LEIGH BARDUGO TRASH. I really loved this! The plot development and tactical planning was so entertaining. I flew through the last few sections and things kept surprising me and before I knew it, I was reading Crooked Kingdom. The relationship between Matthias and Nina was incredible, their history and development was amazing and Nina is my queen. All the witty banter was also hilarious and I want separate novels written about each of these characters. We get so much development into them but I still want more from them. I can’t say enough good things about this, but I will say that my enjoyment was helped because I read the Grisha trilogy beforehand. I honestly believe you need to read that before getting into this because the magic system isn’t explained. I also loved all the nods to the trilogy too!
girl, interrupted – susanna kaysen
length: 262 pages
The writing was very jarring and all over the place, but I feel like that was probably intentional. Going through an experience like this, it makes sense that things aren’t chronological and sort of blend into one mesh of memories and emotions. It did bring down my enjoyment of the book sadly. It was more interesting and enjoyable. I liked learning about how mental health (specifically personality disorders) are dealt with in this time period where mental health wasn’t widely known let alone accepted. It must’ve been a horrifying thing to go through the experiences the author encountered in her time at the hospital and I am forever thankful that there is more acceptance and knowledge about mental health now.
- Starfish – Akemo :78 pages
So let’s see which books I managed to complete off of my TBR!
Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C Dao
Four Weeks, Five People – Jennifer Yu A Thousand Beginnings and Endings – Ellen Oh et. al. Made You Up – Francesca Zappia
Starfish – Akemi Dawn Bowman
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful – Eric Lindstrom
Turtles All The Way Down – John Green
Kindle/Audible pick: The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman Classics pick: The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood Non-Fiction pick: Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
= 9/12 TBR books!
So those are all the books I read for May, mentalhealth-athon and Asian Readathon! I hope you enjoyed!
What did you read in May? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? Any differing opinions? I’d love to know!
THANKS FOR READING!!