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Books Bought:
Son of a Gun – Justin St. Germain
Tiny Beautiful Things – Cheryl Strayed
Lost at Sea – Jon Ronson
Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion
Crazy Salad & Scribble Scribble – Nora Ephron
Wallflower at the Orgy – Nora Ephron
Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter – Alison Wearing
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson

Books Read: 
Where All Light Tends To Go – David Joy
The Nest – Kenneth Oppel & Jon Klassen
Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter – Alison Wearing
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

So my wish for a low-key May was granted and this month was a nice mix of quiet weekends, a little trip and time with family & friends. I treated myself to a huge stack of books and wrote a post all about it, so I won’t go into detail about any of my purchases this month.

In terms of reading, I had a fabulous month. Right at the beginning of the month, I finished Where All Light Tends To Go by David Joy. I’d had my eye on it since one of my coworkers read an early copy and described it as Breaking Bad meets Daryl (from Walking Dead)’s potential back story. And I loved it. The book follows a 17-year-old Jacob McNeely, who lives in a small rural town and whose last name is well known. His father is known for notoriously running a meth circle in near plain sight. His payroll encompasses a wide variety of professionals in the town and his rule is something no one dares question. Though Jacob once dreamed of getting out of the town, following his first love to university and making himself a new life, he has now resigned himself to the fact that he may never escape the holds of his terrifying father. I went into this book expecting to find that typical “boy from the wrong side of the tracks” love story, and I was a-okay with that. But what I left with was a fascinating portrayal of nature versus nurture and an exquisitely observed relationship between a father and son. The love story, though it existed, fell secondary to everything else. Great read!

Next, I read an upcoming release, The Nest, on recommendation from a friend, and WOW. I haven’t read a 9-12 book in years, and this changed my entire way of thinking about that age range of books. The Nest is the story of a young boy who is visited by wasps in his dreams, the same wasps who are building a nest outside one of his family’s windows. They offer him a terrifying bargain that, at first, seems potentially appealing, but when our narrator Steve digs further, he realizes just how sinister it actually may be. I couldn’t believe how creepy this was. It is being compared to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (which, if you saw my post from earlier this week, you will know I’m dying to read). Watch out for The Nest in October!

After this, I was feeling a bit sentimental about family. I’m not sure where the feeling came from, but I wanted to read a biography about family relationships and while picking up my books at the store, I grabbed Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter. I started it almost immediately and fell in love. Alison Wearing was twelve-years-old when her mother told her that her father was gay. It was the 80’s and being homosexual was still viewed as shameful and disgusting. Wearing had to juggle the dichotomy of all the horrible things people were saying about her father, and the loving, eccentric and wonderful man she loved so much. The book came into existence years later, when Wearing decided as an adult to write about the gay revolution in Toronto in the 70’s and 80’s, which her dad was a part of. When she approached him for some first-hand observations, he gave her a box filled with letters, newspaper articles, diary entries and scraps of paper from this time period in his life. Wearing quickly realized that the book she was writing wasn’t really about the revolution. It was about her father. And I am so glad she wrote it. Someone very close to me came out a few years ago, and I listened, horrified, as he recounted some of the feelings he faced when he realized that he was gay. I, ignorantly, thought that nowadays, it was so much easier to be openly gay. And though society has come so far from when Wearing’s father came out, we still have many miles to go. This book gave me that warm, tender feeling you get from falling in love with characters, but it also taught me so much. I adored it.

After this, came .. Nimona! Nimona began as a web comic from the wondrous mind of Noelle Stevenson. The name may not sound familiar, but if you look at the cover of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, you will see her art! She is also part of the team that has created the new beloved comic series Lumberjanes. Anyway. Nimona is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL. It is about a young girl, who is also a shapeshifter and wants to become the sidekick of the city’s most notorious villain. Of course, he wants nothing to do with her. The friendship that blossoms is the best I’ve read in ages. There are a ton of back stories, lots of snark, and the best illustrations. Please just go and pick up a copy. Now. Right now.

Then yesterday came along. It was pouring here, and I wanted nothing to do with any of the books I’m currently reading. So I did the worst thing. Started something new. And though usually this is bad news for me, this time it worked out. Because I finished it in one sitting. 84 Charing Cross Road was perhaps the most recommended book on YouTube back when I used to make videos. It was hailed as “the” book for booklovers because the entire book consisted of 20 years of correspondence between an American woman and a British bookstore staff. For some reason, I had very little interest. But, the library had a copy (from 1984!!) so I took it home. And thank goodness I did. Helene Hanff is all the spunk you could possibly want, channelled into one lady. And the staff at Marks & Co were perfection. She wrote to the manager, Frank Doel mostly, but also to his wife, his neighbour, his kids and his fellow employees. I smiled, laughed, had a little tear in my eye, and all the best emotions you feel whilst reading the perfect little book. If you love books, don’t wait on this one long.

What a fabulous reading month! I also managed to go on a weekend trip to Quebec to visit family and spent time with a ton of my favourite people over the past few weeks. I’m so happy that the sun is actually making daily appearances and am already planning my afternoon reading sessions in the park near my house. I’ll need to get a good sangria recipe before then too.. hmm. Suggestions welcome!  Hope you all had a wonderful month in books, and in life!

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3 thoughts on “May in Review

  1. Wooohooo! Yay for an awesome month! I’m really excited to read Nimona now! Confessions of Fairy’s Daughter has been on my TBR list for a while now, so I’ll have to give it a go the next time I’m in the mood for something non-fic!

  2. Pingback: May In Review | tea in the cloister

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