Finished with a lot of personal life stuff that was taking up my time, I’m starting to get back into it! I started reading Hanya Yanigahara’s To Paradise—I’m done with the first book of it—and while I maintain that she is an exceptional writer, To Paradise has yet to have the impact it seems like it was intended to. I also forgot that I was reading On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, so that’s still about 65% done—and I do have every intention of finishing it.

With that in mind, here are the books I managed to read in the second half of May! (and, who are we kidding…it’s already June, so a little bit of that, too.)

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this story. Initially, I was looking for a book that would make me cry. So, flying in the face of well-intentioned recommendations from many friends, I chose this one, inspired by this video by A Clockwork Reader on YouTube. Lo and Behold, it made me cry!

A sweet, relatively quick read, this reminded me of Paulo Coelho’s Veronica Decides to Die—life-affirming and self-contained.

Appetites: Why Women Want by Caroline Knapp

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I had no plans on reading this, and it wasn’t on my reading list. I finally had the experience of being utterly sold on a book by an enthusiastic bookseller—in Korea! Apparently, this volume is popular in Korea for reasons that are miserably clear.

I definitely didn’t resonate with everything in this memoir; in fact, I actually think the experience it describes is even narrower than the author makes it out to be. Still, the writing is striking and honest and beautiful, and there were some parts of it that I reluctantly connected to. I devoured this book very quickly, tugged along by the excellent writing and disarming, almost embarrassing, honesty.

Deaf Republic: Poems by Ilya Kominsky

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A little book that packs a big punch. I’m going to be thinking about this collection for a while. How does this community deal with assault after assault? It protests with deafness. And I’m not quite sure what I feel about that—about whether this specific form of protest and pain in this is virtuous or tragic or weak or bleak. While each poem stands on its own, they also weave together to build a story like an avalanche—fast-paced, moving, and destructive. I can’t recommend this enough.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Funny, but not quite as funny as it thought it was. Self-deprecating, expertly sad while knowing the privilege it describes. Fair, well-written, and, well, kind, just like its main character. I wasn’t overly invested in this novel and I tend to shy away from books that give me too much second-hand embarrassment. But I can’t knock it for much, and it was an enjoyable read. Why did it get the award and so much hype? I think it’s because it’s about authors, and book people love books about book people. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t good! But, well, there you have it. The famed lost generation writers did ‘depressed white men on worldwide travels’ better, in my opinion.

I’m so excited to be back and start updating regularly! If you have a blog or a recommendation, please drop it below—now is one of those rare times I’m likely to take a recommendation when it’s in front of me!

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