What I Read: May 2014

may 2014 books, what i read, what i read in may, month of books

The-Last-Letter-From-Your-Lover

About- After a terrible car crash, Jennifer suffers from memory loss and has to slowly piece her life back together. In the present day, Ellie’s life intertwines with Jennifer’s when she stumbles onto a letter Jennifer wrote in the 60s.

Why I picked it– I have not read a book by Jojo Moyes that I didn’t enjoy. I’m slowly going to make my way through all of her books!

Grade A- Jojo Moyes is very good at keeping the reader guessing. Every time I think I’ve figured it out, she throws another twist in there (but not in an obnoxious or confusing way). I do like that this starts out in the past and then moves into the present, but we spend a lot more time in the book with Jennifer. Ellie doesn’t really appear until the last third of the novel, so I felt less invested in her storyline and much more interested in how Jennifer’s story would end.

One-Hundred-Years-of-Solitude

About- The life and times of the Buendía family over the course of one hundred years.

Why I picked it– As a Spanish major, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d never read this book before. When I heard of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s passing, I was inspired to finally pick up this book and read it.

Grade B+ This is one of those books that I really wish I’d read during school. Of course the writing is wonderful, but I do feel like I would have better grasped the nuances of the text if I could participate in a discussion on it. I did generally enjoy it though and I also picked up Love in the Time of Cholera to read at some point.

Love-Letters-to-the-Dead

About- Laurel receives a school assignment to write a letter to a dead person and turns it into a coping mechanism for dealing with the death of her sister.

Why I picked it– You guys know me, I like to mix it up, so after a rather heady book I switched to a YA novel.

Grade B- I’d seen a lot of hype for this book so I thought it was going to be really amazing. I guess my expectations were too high. Compared to gripping YA books like Eleanor & Park and The Fault in Our Stars, this one fell below the mark. One main issue I had was that Laurel is supposed to be a freshman in high school, but her voice seemed a lot younger to me, more like an eleven- or twelve-year-old. Also, over the course of the book, the cause of her sister’s death is really built up and when it was finally revealed I was disappointed. I thought it would provide further insight into Laurel’s character and her actions, but it didn’t for me.

An-Untamed-State

About- While visiting her parents in Haiti, Mireille is kidnapped and endures thirteen days in captivity.

Why I picked it– I listen to a couple podcasts about books and there was a lot of early buzz about this one. Then I read an excerpt of the first two chapters on Longreads and I was hooked- I bought the ebook immediately after.

Grade A I could not put this book down. Seriously, I read the first two chapters in the afternoon, bought the book when I got home from work, and stayed up until 4 in the morning finishing this book. Once you start this book, it reaches out and grips you and won’t let go. Ugh, it is brutal though. There are chapters about what Mireille endures that I almost couldn’t read. You know when you’re watching a scary movie and you cover your face with your hands because you can’t look, but at the same time you’re peeking through your fingers because you want to know what happens? That’s how I felt while reading this book. If you’re sensitive, I would say this probably isn’t the best book choice for you.

A-Prayer-for-the-City

About- Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell’s quest to save his city from the edge of bankruptcy.

Why I picked it– It was chosen for our book club.

Grade B If you saw my recent video, you heard me talk a bit about this book and the next one. I’ve mentioned that I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. If left to my own devices, I probably would never have read this book because the subject matter doesn’t particularly interest me. However, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by the writing. When the author focused on specific people’s lives and their stories, I found that much more interesting than the politics and statistics. If you have an interest in city government or Philadelphia, then I bet you would like this book.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

About- Jacob grows up listening to his grandfather’s fantastical stories, but it’s not until his grandfather’s horrible death that he discovers that all of those stories are true.

Why I picked it– When I saw it in the store, the cover felt familiar to me and looked intriguing. I thought someone had recommend it to me, but I couldn’t remember who or when. I finally figured out where I’d seen the title before- turns out my best friend had mentioned that she’d recently picked it up.

Grade A- This novel features a combination of words and photographs, which I loved. The author does a wonderful job of describing each image, but being able to see the photographs for yourself really adds to the overall experience. I read a bit of the information in the back of the book and the author actually collects vintage photographs, which gave him the inspiration to write this book. I just found out that a sequel was released earlier this year, so I’ll probably be picking that up too.

I’ve told you guys that a friend and I are reading the Harry Potter series together from start to finish, so I’m sure those books will feature heavily in next month’s post. I may sneak a few non HP books in-between though. Not to be too much of a tease, but there’s an interesting story behind my decision to read the series now, which I’ll talk all about next month!

Tell me: What was the last book you read?