May wasn’t as great for reading as I had hoped – but mostly because I spent a lot of time planning some writing. Forgiven, May!

My goal for May:

“I’m setting a goal of 4 books again for May. It seems like a good number. “

Actual vs. planned: (Link to my Goodreads 2017 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)

Dead Letters – Caite Dolan-Leach – 3* – (May 2)

It’s the story of a twin who is called back home after her sister dies in a fire. But dead-twin has been known to mess with alive-twin in the past and appears to be doing so with emails and a scavenger hunt left behind. Is dead-twin really dead? Was it suicide? Murder? Ultimately, dead-twin didn’t become a sympathetic character for me until long after I quit caring about her. And alive-twin (and the rest of the family) were so screwed up and selfish that I didn’t care about them either. I wasn’t surprised by the ending, but I wouldn’t have been surprised by other endings either. Overall, the book got so tied up in the whole conceit of the A-Z puzzle that it lost its heart.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 4* – (May 4):

The writing style was quite readable, minus the lack of quotation marks. I was left with more questions than answers, which seems appropriate for the society depicted in the book. However, it was a hard read given our current regime. Not as much escapism as I might’ve liked.

I wanted more information about the how and why of the society.

Asylum – Christopher J Payne & Oliver Sacks – 5* – (May 6)

This book includes two essays at the beginning – one from the photographer, one from neurologist Oliver Sacks – that give some history on asylums and the project.

Then, it’s off to the amazing photos. Payne captures the beauty of the architecture, the feeling of isolation and protection created by these mammoth buildings situated among rolling hills and countryside.

He also captures the feeling of desolation and hopelessness inside the walls, sharing photos of abandoned equipment, empty work rooms, and left-behind belongings.

I read this partly because I’m very interested in the progression (or recent regression, perhaps) of society’s relationship to mental health. These institutions are an important part of that. I also read it with hopes it may inspire the writer in me.

Listen to Me – Hannah Pittard– 3* – (May 23):

This road trip novel was interesting and offered a lot of insight into the inner workings of a marriage’s rough patch from both partners. But eventually it felt bizarre and too much. I both understood and resented the husband’s feelings but ultimately my impression of him wasn’t favorable so it was hard to stomach.


I started with three reading goals this year but added a fourth:

  1. Read 40 books: – Currently at 27, which is 11 ahead of schedule according to Goodreads.
  2. Complete the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge: There are 24 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
    1. January – 5 (set somewhere you’ve never been, set in a school, thriller, library, kick-ass woman protag/female author)
    2. February – 4 (teaches something new, recommended by a friend, embarrassed to be seen with in public, takes place during winter)
    3. March – 3 (collection of short stories, one-word title, adapted to tv/movie)
    4. April – 1 (new-to-you classic author)
    5. May – 2 + 1 alternate (coffee table book, one-word title, Bonus: TBR 3+ years)
  3. Decrease my TBR: 
    1. January 1 – 88 physical/29 digital
    2. January – 91/29 (read 2 physical, added 5 – 2 were gifts)
    3. February 28 – 91/30 (read 1 physical, bought a few, donated and otherwise updated my shelf to reflect what’s actually there)
    4. April 6 – 88/31 (no new physical, despite my birthday, bought 2 digital)
    5. May 3 – 89/32 (bought 1 physical, received 1 at a writing conference, bought 3 digital)
    6. June 1 – 86/32 (I only read 1 – the other 2 are being read slowly now)
  4. Read more political/activism books: I read one in February. None in March. I might count Slaughterhouse-Five and The Handmaid’s Tale for this category.

Diversity? It could’ve been better, but it also could’ve been worse.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 4 books
  • 4 stars: 13 books
  • 3 stars: 9 books
  • 2 stars: 1 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 0 books

Pages read:

  • January – 2936
  • February – 1075
  • March – 1380
  • April – 1786
  • May – 1064

The magic number seems to be 4 books a month so I’m holding steady despite some upcoming travel. If you haven’t joined the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge yet, consider checking it out!