Wrap-Up | May

I’ve managed to read a fair few titles this month, which I’m really pleased about as it’s been quite a hectic month. I’ll be updating you all soon about the exciting developments I’ve had going on! Some of the books I read were part of the A-Z Readathon – although I didn’t quite manage to complete the challenge.

So, here’s the list of the nine books I read this month.

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SPQR by Mary Beard

I’ve had this on audiobook for a while, and this was my chance to complete it. Such a fascinating insight into Roman history, revealing so many things I didn’t know. The depth and structure of the book really helps for people who don’t know much about the material (like me). It felt like it dragged sometimes, as there is a huge amount of information to take in, so I think it might be worth getting the physical copy of the book as well to go back to certain aspects in the future.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I’d heard great things about this YA series, and knew it was probably something I’d enjoy with the Celtic mythology connection. And – hot damn – I was not disappointed. This first book was not what I was expecting, but dragged me along with the story until I was completely hooked. The rest of the series is now waiting on my shelf for me to read soon.

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

I just love Le Guin’s science fiction. The Dispossessed is the first in the cycle and is a fascinating story about what it means to be on the outside and on politics – communism versus capitalism. But it’s not preaching, merely presenting the way things could be and asking you to decide. The imagery is perfect, the character’s beautifully flawed and engaging.

The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood

Another master of her art, this is a retelling of The Robber Bridegroom and explores the lives of three women who are tied together by the friend who betrayed them. It’s blend of darkness and light makes for an enjoyable read that looks at how the past makes us who we are, and how women grow throughout their lives.

In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant is one of my favourite books. It’s taken me a long time to get around to read this one – more fool me! It’s a rich tapestry of life in Renaissance Italy, centring on the life of a courtesan as told by her dwarf companion. Forced to flee Rome as it is sacked by the Spanish and the Germans, they head to Fiametta’s birthplace in Venice to start a new life. Beautifully written and full of interesting twists.

Beatlebone by Kevin Barry

What happened when John Lennon went to go find his island in 1976? Really weird stuff, that’s what. Full of fractured, poetical prose and some really bizarre events, Beatlebone looks at ageing and masculinity as the world comes down from its Summer of Love high. Enjoyed it – but very weird!

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

A bit of something different, this is a high fantasy short story collection that forms part of the basis for the Witcher video games. If you’ve played the games at all, it’s clear the developers wanted to stick closely to the original material, and so the stories are a great return to the world and the characters. The prose is a little rough at times, but the stories themselves are entertaining and heartfelt. It’s is also hyper-masculine in places – lots of swords and half-naked ladies – but there is a depth too that almost makes up for it.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Another audiobook, and a truly great one at that. The novel alone – a Bailey’s Shortlisted title – is stunning and frightening; add to that the narration from Adjoa Andoh and you have a great experience. I’ll have a full review soon.

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

A Hogarth Shakespeare retelling, this is actually my first Winterson read. A ‘cover version’ of A Winter’s Tale, it’s a beautifully crafted and heartbreaking book. Fragmented and lyrical, it draws not only from the original text but from Winterson’s own experiences too – something I understand happens frequently with her work. It isn’t always a comfortable reading experience – she stays true to the ‘problem play’ aspect of the original – but it is done with a careful touch. I adored this, as I have done many of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, and will definitely be reading more of Winterson’s work in the future.

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Well, that’s everything for May’s reads! Hopefully I can keep up the progress in June.

What have you all been reading lately? Let me know down below 🙂

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