What I’ve Been Reading Lately: May

Classics

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”

– Paul Sweeney

Reading in 2020.

I mentioned in my last post, Choosing Not To Stay Silent, that later in the week I’d be sharing my reads from May. So here I am!

Following my original format, I will be sharing a quote from each book and if I check off a category from the reading challenge, Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge, I will share which category it fulfills.

Since this is a running list for the year, each month will start with the number that follows where the prior month ended. 

If you missed my first “What I’ve Been Reading” post, you can find the Jan/Feb reads in this post. When we became housebound, I changed the original format of bimonthly sharing to monthly sharing. You can find March reads in this post and you can find April reads in this post.

Reading List.

29. The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks.

“Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.”

During the month of April, I only read non-fiction. With all that is going on in the world, I finally needed a reprieve for the month of May. To escape into the land of fiction. To find myself falling into new, uncharted territories. This was also my final physical book from my pile of books that I’d checked out from the library prior to its closure. After this, the books would need to come from my shelf, be ordered online, or borrowed in digital format. Nicholas Sparks has a good balance between surface and depth which makes for a light read. Just what I needed! I know what’s going to happen, but I’m invested enough in the characters to want to read how the story plays out. Plus his setting is often (always?) the Carolina Coast which is a place that calls my soul and puts me at ease when I’m visiting.

30. You Matter: Learning to Love Who You Really Are. – Matthew Emerzian.

“But then something happens. Something that calls us back to our deepest natures. Something that allows us to remember that we can thrive and do better…together. Throw our broken “we” a hurricane, a flood, a fire, a humanitarian crisis and just watch how we rise up and come together. The labels that divide us all go away.”

This was a book my husband received at a business event. Back when he brought it home, I was like “ohhh…that looks like something I’d read”. He concurred. I read this at the beginning of May and chose this quote because of the pandemic. I’ve also lived through the coming togethers after hurricanes. I had no idea that as I’d be sharing my reads, that we’d be going through another humanitarian crisis. One centered around injustice.

31. Amulet: The Stonekeeper #1 – Kazu Kibuishi.

“If you keep that up, your face will stay that way.”

This checked off the category of a book outside your (genre) comfort zone. This was a graphic novel. Since it was predominately photos and few words, finding a quote was limited. However, I did love this one. Anyone’s parents ever say this to them? I know mine did!

32. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine – Gail Honeymoon

“Life should be about trying new things, exploring boundaries, I reminded myself.”

I make notes when I hear somebody mention they’ve read this or that book. I don’t always read what the book is about because I worry that it’ll tell me too much. Have you seen the trailers to movies lately? I feel like they sum up the entire thing in two minutes and I’m left wondering if I should bother watching it. I haven’t really found books to give everything away, but still…sometimes I don’t read what a book is about. This was one of those. I should point out that I liked the book. Humanity is filled with stories that are tragic and should never happen but do. This will introduce that type of story so if you don’t like that, you might want to read an excerpt or synopsis before diving in. It also struck me from a different angle given our time of isolation. There is a glimpse into what loneliness is like. It broke my heart. As it should. Sometimes we need to be broken open. There is a saying “that is how the light gets in”. This book was also a reminder that we have no idea what is going on in someone’s life other than what they allow us to see. This fact is another reason we should endeavor to show kindness and compassion to everyone we meet.

33. Little Fires Everywhere-Celeste Ng 

“She had been brought up to follow rules, to believe that the proper functioning of the world depended upon her compliance, and follow them -and believe- she did.”

“To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place, where the present you were living in and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once.”

I’ve been wanting to watch the series but wanted to read the book first. I did not want the story to end. I was heavily invested in the characters and wanted to know what happened next.

34. The Dutch House – Ann Patchett 

“Habit is a funny thing. You might think you understand it, but you can never exactly see what it looks like when you’re doing it.”

This book marks off the category of a book nominated for an award in 2020. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in the fiction category.

35. East of Eden – John Steinbeck

“The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt – and there is the story of mankind.”

This marks off the category of a classic you didn’t read in school. This is again a book where I did not have any clue about what the story entailed. It was a horizon-expanding book. It introduced thoughts that I’d never pondered. I mentioned there was a conversation around the word “timshel”. A Hebrew word meaning “Thou Mayest”. It is brought up during a discussion about Cain and Abel in the book of Genesis. And the conversations around how we all have the capacity for good and evil and the one we choose is ultimately our choice. I finished this book understanding why most of the work by Steinbeck is considered a classic. And while I’ve upped my reading of classics game over the years, this encouraged me to up it some more (after I get through my current pile).

Now Over to You.

Have you read anything lately?

Do you have a favorite classic?

C’mon! Don’t be shy. Share some of your fave reads with me.

Stay safe and healthy out there. Sending you all love and light! xx

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one. -George R. R. Martin

Let your light shine!

Amy

17 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately: May

    1. I find the consensus to be that many people thought they’d read more during the isolation time, but found that they actually read less. Even I have read less than I thought I would.

  1. I read and enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. I want to read Little Fires Everywhere and The Dutch House. As for classics, I like Jane Eyre and The House of Mirth. Both revolve around strong female characters who come to very different ends. I tend to enjoy novels that provide insights into how women think and behave– and why.

    1. Jane Eyre is my favorite classic. I’ve read it multiple times. I haven’t read The House of Mirth. I do enjoy strong female characters so I’ll be adding it to my to-be-read list!

  2. I read Eleanor Oliphant some time back and Little Fires Everywhere recently. It’s weird how I thought that I’d be reading a lot more during quarantine. Now seeing the list, I’m making notes to improve on that.

    1. That seems to be how it’s worked out for many people. They thought they’d read more than normal and found it was actually less than normal. I definitely thought I’d be reading even more than I have.

  3. I was hoping you had Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine in your list because I absolutely loved it!

    It is the only book which actually made me laugh outloud and also filled my eyes with tears.
    When finishing it, I felt I had to say farewell to a friend. The main character is extraordinary.
    I completely agree with you that we should endeavor to show kindness and compassion to everyone we meet.

    A fantastic read.

    1. I love Alice in Wonderland and it’s one of the classics on my shelf. I just reread it last year. I haven’t read Figuring. It looks like it would be super interesting. Are you enjoying it?

      1. I think I adore Alice because she just does things and we can all learn to be more spontaneous like that. Figuring is awesome – intelligent and poetic, a contemplative read.

  4. Hi Amy, I love how you have set up these posts. Interesting and fun to read. Also, a great resource when I am looking for a book suggestion. I was very curious about your opinion on John Steinbeck.

    I just completed an intriguing book “Ichigo Ichie.” Difficult to sum up in a few sentences. Too many gems. I may read it again, and make notes. Hope you and your loved ones are well. 🙂

    1. Hi, Erica!! I’m glad that you are enjoying the reading posts. I really enjoyed Steinbeck and will definitely be reading more of his work.

      I had not heard the term “ichigo ichie” and looked that up. It sounds like the kind of book that I would really enjoy!

      We are doing well. I hope you and your loved ones are well! 🙂

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