Happy end of May!
It’s been a weird month here in Central New York–summer weather, snow, more summer weather.
The book-drought of April has given way, and I’m more than back on track for my yearly reading. I’ve read six books this month and 24 book total this year–48% of my goal of 50 books for the year, as Goodreads so kindly informs me.
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, Zora Neale Hurston
Do you know about Crash Course? If not, you should. When John Green posted the reading list for the new Literature episodes coming this summer, this was on it, and so I nabbed it. It’s not, shall we say, an easy read, linguistically or content-wise. But it is an important literary work in Black Feminism, and I’m glad I read it.
THE LAST SONG BEFORE NIGHT, Ilana Myer
This is a book I wanted to like a lot more than I did. A sweeping, lyrical fantasy tale of a world in which musicians and poets are revered, the beautiful language only partially makes up for the wandering plot and oft-predictable characters. There were moments of delicious complexity, which gives me hope for Myer’s future novels, as this is her first.
THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST, Holly Black
I’ve enjoyed Black’s novels since I was a kid, the prolific author of dark fairy tales that she is. This new release is no exception, with its lush fairy-world colliding with small-town Pennsylvania. And yet despite all the trappings, me favorite scene was one in which two characters just sat and talked in a teenage boy’s bedroom, one telling a story, the other listening and trying his best not to succumb to the romantic tension. It was searing, relatable, and perfectly encapsulated the book.
THE NIGHT CIRCUS, Erin Morgenstern
This book is what would happen if you put Romeo & Juliet, The Prestige, and the carnival from Something Wicked This Way Comes in a pot and stirred. A decades-long tale of romance, magical rivalries, and phantasmagoria, I appreciated it more for the aesthetic than the story. The atmosphere is lovely, and while a bit predictable, the love-story is genuine and the characters interesting.
THE MINIATURIST, Jessie Burton
It’s been a while since I’ve read straight-up historical fiction, in this case a dramatic family tale of the Dutch Golden Age in Amsterdam. It’s a bit of an odd book, with some plot threads left hanging and unexplained, but what struck me most of the ordinary-ness of the business problems. Profit, loss, influence, money–sort of a reminder that capitalism transcends eras. Kudos to this tale–it drew me in and didn’t let go, and I read the whole thing in one sitting.
MR. FAHRENHEIT, T. Michael Martin
Man this one was fun. A pulpy, 80s-ish alien invasion story wrapped in a coming-of-age story. I’ve read Martin’s previous novel THE END GAMES as well, and both take well-known sci-fi scenarios and twist them in interesting ways, with fully-realized characters and pithy one-liners about love and life that make you stop and go “ouch.”