May turned out to be different reading month than I had planned. I finished the month thinking I did pretty badly (which I did considering my reading list (May plans here) but I did manage to finish seven books which isn’t so bad. (The recap below isn’t in the order I read the books but in the order easiest to group them).
Starting off with my NetGalley reads, in May I read three books, The Tale of Genji: Dreams at Dawn, Vol. 1, Mr Finchley Discovers His England, and Mary Shelley. The Tale of Genji: Dreams at Dawn, Vol. 1 by Waki Yamato was the first of the graphic novels I read–a retelling/interpretation of the original eleventh-century Japanese classic, The Tale of Genji. This version is a great introduction for readers unfamiliar with the story or apprehensive about diving into the somewhat confusing original. This is the story of Hiraku Genji, the ‘shining price, son of the Emperor Kiristsubo as he tries to deal with his love for a woman who is forbidden to him by seeking the woman of his dreams. I loved the artwork and the author’s efforts at interpreting this story but wasn’t so enthralled by the story itself (full review here).
A second graphic novel read this month was Mary Shelley, the second volume in a series tracing the lives of Percy and Mary Shelley but with a humorous tone and artwork. This one picked up from where the first volume left off which is just after Mary enters Percy Shelley’s life and he falls in love with her. The first part of this one up to the time the Shelleys spend at Villa Diodatti where Frankenstein was first thought up was very enjoyable but the second part, instead of continuing as a biography went off into a fictional thread which while imaginative didn’t make sense in this book (review here).
Next from NetGalley was Mr Finchley Discovers His England, the story of a forty-five-year-old solicitor’s clerk Edgar Finchley, who finds himself getting a holiday for the first time in his life (his previous boss didn’t believe in them) and plans out a conventional holiday in Margate. But life has other things in store as even before he catches his train, he is kidnapped and thrown into one adventure after another which makes his holiday unlike anything he’d ever imagined, and the experience of a lifetime as he traipses around the country enjoying nature and the simple life. This was a charming, funny, and gentle read which I very much enjoyed (review here).
Next I read another book I’d received for review, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq: Tale of a Tyrant by Anuja Chandramouli, which imagines the life of Muhammad Bin Tuglaq, ruler of the Delhi Sultanate in the early-mid 1300s. Remembered for being cruel, even mad, he was actually a man much ahead of his time in terms of his ideas, which meant that they often failed or didn’t bring the desired results. I enjoyed the book, especially the author’s descriptions of the ceremonies and celebrations, and the portrait of a ruler who one comes away feeling a fair bit of sympathy for (full review here).
Next, continuing on with my reading of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers books, I read In the Fifth at Malory Towers, the er… fifth book in the series. This one was more fun and games than lessons and exams as the fifth form is put in charge of writing and producing the Christmas drama. Many of the students get a chance to showcase their various talents, and they must learn to work with all sorts of different personalities. There are also the usual adjustments as new students come into the form/school, tricks are played, and Darrell finds herself games captain for the form. Mam’zelle Dupont manages to take the students by surprise as well (full review here)!
Finally, I read only two from the list originally planned, 2018 books. Circe by Madeline Miller was every bit worth the hype around it I felt, where Miller imagines the life and story of Circe, daughter of the sun-god Helios, born without the looks or voice of divinity like her other siblings and eventually exiled to the island of Aiaia. Miller weaves together the different legends and tales surrounding her into a complete tale. Lovely writing and an ending that took me quite by surprise–wonderful (full review here).
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is the second in the Arc of a Scythe series. The first Scythe, I read last year and loved. This picks up after the events of the first book where Rowan and Citra, then apprentices have now taken on different roles, Citra as Scythe Anastasia adhering to tradition, and Rowan trying to do justice off the grid by tracking down corrupt scythes. But the conflict between scythes about how things should be runs very deep and more sinister plots are afoot. The Thunderhead, the all-knowing AI mechanism which runs human society pretty much is powerless to interfere in the realm of the Scythes, even though it knows what’s coming. But that doesn’t mean it can’t find a way out, and in that process Rowan and Citra both have roles to play. I enjoyed this one as much as the first book. While the first one has more changes in direction in terms of plot, being also the book that introduces us to this futuristic world, this one too is not without its twists. I liked getting a glimpse into the mind of the Thunderhead and also one of the new characters introduced in this one. (review here).
So this was my reading this May. For June, I’ve decided to push forward the theme I’d originally planned and do a little catching up with the books I have left over from 1930s April and 2018 May. So I’ll be reading (or trying to) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, The Book Hunters of Katpadi by Pradeep Sebastian, Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon and Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell. There’s also a review copy waiting, The Legend of Griff by Richard Sparrow.
How was your reading month this May? Any books you’d recommend? And what plans for June? Looking forward to hearing from you. Happy Reading Month!