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A Month(ish) of Reading: May and Early June

We are just over a week into Summer Book Bingo and I thought I’d catch you up on what I’ve read since early May.

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
4 stars
The writing is excellent and the story is intriguing and I was really engrossed in the whole thing but the ending fell a little flat for me. I was hoping for a full circle moment and I didn’t get one but that’s just me. The rest of the book was wonderful and the ambivalent ending means I can make up my own to suit myself.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
2 stars
This book came highly recommended by people I respect and admire and I feel like I should be rating it higher because of that but honestly, there wasn’t much new here for me. Shame is bad, being vulnerable is good, experiencing joy in everyday moments is the goal. Got it.

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
3 stars
I enjoyed this book and the story, set in the present day and in the past, is entertaining. Honestly, though, the historical parts are far better and more interesting than the present day wild goose chase that is the set up for the whole book. Recommended for the history of Bulgaria and the heart wrenching story of Stoyan and his family but be ready to suspend your belief and accept a lot of unlikely coincidences.

The Sellout by Paul Beatty
4 stars
An amazing and biting satire on race in America. The writing is brilliant and funny and sometimes very difficult. An important and worthwhile read.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
3 stars
I enjoyed this memoir, even the parts about science. That’s saying a lot coming from a very non-scientific person. And now I want to plant a tree!

I finished 3 of those after 5/27 so they count as Bingo squares and here is my updated Bingo card.

Set in more than one time period: The Shadow Land
Recommended by a friend: Lab Girl (recommended by Vicki)
Prize Winner: The Sellout

My GoodReads reading challenge tracker (you can see if over there ==> in the sidebar) says I’m 1 book behind my goal for the year but I have a feeling Summer Book Bingo is going to guarantee that I catch up to where I should be and probably even put me ahead of the game.

What are you reading these days?

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. I just started Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I got on the library wait list a few weeks ago for it. I hope I finish it before my next request is available. Happy Reading!

  2. Just discovered the first Ben Aaronovitch – fun. Still slogging through Dark Money — makes me so furious, I keep putting it down. And Patrick Kennedy’s autobiography; will it have a happy ending? Not likely, but one can hope.

  3. I always enjoy your reviews. I tried to read Lab Girl, but I just couldn’t get into it. However, The Sellout looks interesting to me (and it might fit one of my squares!!). I just finished The Shell Seekers which I had never read before and am currently enjoying Rules of Civility by Amor Towles as well as Winter’s Tales by Isak Dinesen.

  4. I’m listening to David Sedaris’ newest (Theft by Finding) and reading The Immortal Henrietta Lacks. I also just finished The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, which I didn’t quite like, exactly . . . but certainly was compelled to finish. So there was that. 🙂
    You’ll be yelling BINGO in no time!

  5. I’m reading We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. Half way through and can’t put it down. It will fill my historical fiction block. Although it is a novel it is based on the author’s family and true history.

    Finished “Dedication” by Kent Haruf. Recommended by a friend and the first time I read anything by this author. He writes about every day life in the high plains of Holt Colorado. At first you think when is something going to happen? Then you realize the depth of his characters and how life is just like that. Full of action and drama while looking so simple if you don”t look and listen too closely.

    Both of these were read out loud. Husband and I have a read out loud book club. We take turns reading and picking out which book we read. Helps keep his voice strong which is fading due to Parkinson’s disease.

    Happy Reading!

  6. Not sure I want to read Lab Girl, but Vicki really liked it and I have a square for it. The recommendations that come during Book Bingo are great!

  7. Your card is off to a solid start – hopefully you’ll get a few more 4 (and at least a couple of 5!) star books with what you’re reading next.

  8. I loved Lab Girl! I am a science geek, and I thought the personal story about her and Bill was priceless. I also love all of Kent Haruf’s books (Gayle’s comment above), and he will be sadly missed by me. I always feel slightly let down by Ann Patchett’s books. I like the way she writes, but I don’t like her plots, especially the endings. I am currently reading several books, none of which really turn me on. I am reading the Dark Flood Rises, by Margaret Drabble, which is very boring and not edifying in the least. I probably will not finish this one. As I have gotten older, I no longer feel compelled to finish books that I think are wasting my time. I am also reading Every Day Is for the Thief by Teju Cole, which is interesting, but a sad commentary about corruption in society. I hope to finish this one, simply because he has a fresh voice. I also just started Before We Fell by Dennis Lehane. So far, so good.

  9. Since Book Bingo began, I have finished a Louise Penny “Armand Gamache” book and am two-thirds of the way through “The Summer Before the War” by Helen Simonson who wrote “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.” It is very good, and I definitely recommend it if you like historical fiction. It is set in England just as WWI is breaking out. I do love historical fiction, and will have to find a way to fit a couple more into my Bingo categories. The Summer Before…. could fit into my “set in a country I’d like to visit” category.

  10. I just finished Lab Girl, and I loved it. The science parts were great, and the personal stuff was really honest. I love her relationship with Bill; they’re so weird!

    Now I’m on to the second book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I read the first one sometime last year. Hope I remember enough to know what’s going on when I start this one. I have it on Kindle from the library, for the second time. When it came before, I was in the middle of something else and lost my chance.

  11. I’m 8 books behind schedule, but I’ve read 4 books in the last 2 weeks so I’m making progress.

    I’ve read a bunch of duds with whiny female characters, so right now I’m enjoying sarcastic, flawed detective stories written by men. Measure Twice by JJ Hensley and now A Drink Before the War, the first Kenzie/Genarro series by Dennis Lehane because I never read that one.

  12. Totally agree with your assessment of Patron Saint of Liars. I hear from others that most of her endings fall a bit flat, but great writing draws them anyway. I just finished The Handmaid’s Tale for book club at work. Scary! I see the real life examples in history and today. I just started reading Four Seasons in Rome. It’s non-fiction…been on my shelf for 18 months. I am missing Italy right now and thought it would give me a taste of what I miss.

    Love your reading posts!

  13. You are off to a great start! I’m making pretty good progress too

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