There are some days, weeks or even months when all you want to do is read. As it turns out, May was one of those months for me.
Thanks to a couple of long weekends and midweek days off work, I had some more spare time to fill with reading and exploring different writing styles. I’ve been lucky enough to pick up a few books in May that I finished in just a few hours, fully lost in the story. I’ve also begun a new love affair with short stories, judging by the number of collections dropping through my letterbox at the moment.
May has, as far as I can remember, seen me read more books in one month than I previously would have read in one year. So, with that said, let’s get stuck into what I filled my time with in May!
Don’t forget to follow my goodreads account to see what I’m reading and reviewing right now too.
This is a highly unusual, uncomfortable book about how a family responds to tragedy and trauma, told through the perspective of a young girl.
Although some parts of the book are beautifully written and rich with vivid descriptions, The Discomfort of Evening is a very unsettling book with some fairly strange imagery and depictions of abuse. I started off really enjoying the book, but found myself struggling to finish it by the last third.
I don’t think I’d recommend it. But if you’re intrigued, perhaps check out a few more reviews to get a feel for this very odd story.
After seeing this book everywhere, and falling in love with its bold cover, I had to pick up Exciting Times. The story follows Ava, a Dublin girl living in Hong Kong, who finds herself stuck between a fun but unfulfilling relationship with a man and a new, all-encompassing relationship with a woman.
I loved the exploration of queerness in this book, particularly in the modern setting. I sometimes found the writing style reaching to be considered witty and intelligent, and the detached but obsessive nature of Ava’s character became a little stereotypically millennial. Despite that, I really enjoyed the book and adored the way it approached a female/female relationship without making it tokenistic or sensational.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder / Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
I was given A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder as a gift quite a while ago, but wasn’t quite sure it was right for me. As a result, it sat on my shelf, untouched for much longer than it should have. Whilst looking through by TBR books recently, I decided to give it a go again – and I’m so glad I did!
I’m not usually a fan of YA books, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading both AGGGTM and the recently-released follow up, Good Girl, Bad Blood. Both books follow Pip as she becomes tied up in two crimes in her hometown. The first one centres on a study she’s doing at school into a local murder and suicide, whilst the second explores a missing person case through her podcast.
Both books are fun and quick-paced reads that will have you guessing who did it, right until the very end. I finished both books in about a day or two and they were a great break from the normal type of books I pick up. I would highly recommend these if you’re looking for some easy but enjoyable reading.
Whilst on a trip to Porto, I visited the very popular Livraria Lello and picked up a beautiful hardback copy of The Little Prince with gold-edged pages and a beautiful dust jacket. So, after finishing my current read much quicker than I anticipated, I decided to finally start it.
It’s a very cute, short and whimsical read about a little boy who leaves his planet to travel the universe, and we learn about his adventures and the people he meets along the way. A sweet read and a gorgeous book to keep on my shelf, reminding me of my time in Porto!
The instigator of my new obsession with short stories! As a fan of horror, I was on the hunt for some spooky tales when I stumbled upon this collection by Kirsty Logan. And, of course, I fell in love.
Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020, Things We Say in the Dark is a fantastic collection of dark stories, from eerie fairytales to twisted supernatural fiction. Logan perfectly builds a sense of unease and discomfort in each story, with great variation. It’s a fantastic collection and I highly recommend the stunning hardback version of the book. It’s gorgeous!
I don’t even know where to begin with this book. It absolutely blew my mind and I still get chills when I think about it now!
I’m a huge fan of Come Closer by Sara Gran, I think it may be one of my all-time favourites. I was eager to find something in a similar vein to it and found a recommendation from horror book club, Night Worms, to give ITOET a try. They absolutely nailed the suggestion.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things tells the story of a woman on a road trip with her new boyfriend, to visit his parents’ remote farm. After taking an unexpected detour in a snowstorm, things start to unravel.
It’s an incredibly pacy, unrelenting and disconcerting read. I loved the short, sharp and breathless writing style which wraps you up in the narrative. It is an unsettling read that will leave you questioning everything. I adored this book and can’t wait to re-read it.
I’m not usually big on poetry, but I have decided that I want to spend more time reading it and exploring different writers. I learned about Christina Thatcher’s work on Twitter and was immediately struck by the beautiful book cover and Thatcher’s bold writing.
I’ve written an in-depth review of this collection for an upcoming magazine that I will hopefully be able to share soon, but, How to Carry Fire is a painful, powerful and highly personal set of poems that explore the nuanced ways in which fire and addiction impact a childhood, and the resulting anxieties that swell over into adulthood. It’s brimming with vivid imagery, a love for Wales and a growing appreciation for nature.
I loved Thatcher’s clear, beautiful and accessible way of writing, so I definitely recommend checking out her work.
Your Soul is a River is a poetry collection about healing from trauma and becoming whole again. However, I found it to be quite a confusing read. I loved a handful of the poems, but a large amount were quite repetitive and a little dull.
There’s no doubt that Nikita Gill writes some beautiful, moving poetry but I think this collection focuses too much on its set themes, resulting in a repetition and recycling of language. It’s a shame because the stand out poems are fantastic, but they’re lost in a sea of similar ideas and words.
I was so excited to receive this book! I was gifted a subscription to the first ever Women’s Writes monthly book club in May, which was all about this great collection of women’s perspectives on the future of Europe.
Published by Comma Press in collaboration with Hay Festival and Wom@rts, the anthology features female writers, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs from across Europe. It raises some interesting questions and ideas about the history of Europe, what it means to be European and how Europe should progress in the future. It was great to discuss some of these themes at the WW book club chat too!
Have you read any of these books?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. What have you been reading this month too? Not that I need to add any more books to my TBR list, but I’m always keen to hear about great reads to check out. Let me know in the comments!