May 2022 Reading Wrap Up
In years gone by, my May reading wrap up would have featured all the authors I’d heard speak at the Hay Festival. This summer I’d been looking forward to winding my way over the mountains to the first in person festival for three years.
But at the last moment I got cold feet —although Covid numbers are significantly down the idea that I’d be in close proximity to hundreds of people in a closed space made me nervous. I knew I wouldn’t be relaxed enough to enjoy the talks. So I decided to postpone the pleasure for another year and instead take advantage of a membership package that enables me to watch recordings of most of the events. I know it’s not the same as being there in the flesh but actually I’ll be able to far see more events than I would if I’d gone to the actual event. It’s an incredible deal at £15 for the whole year.
Top of my list to watch will be the events featuring Elif Shafak, Claire Fuller, David Olusoga , Meiko Kawakami and Damon Galgut. And that’s just for starters.
May Reading in Brief
A very satisfying reading month with only one book I found disappointing
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield A cracking story about a famous author and her mysterious past. That, and the nods to Gothic tropes, would have more than satisfied me but the bonus was that this is also a novel about a woman’s love of reading.
The Day The World Came To Town by Jim Defede Until last year I hadn’t heard of this true life account of how one Newfoundland island got caught up in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US. It’s a detailed account of how the islanders provided food, shelter and support for the 6,000 plus passengers of 38 jets that were grounded when US air space was closed.
All Come To Dust by Byrony Rheam This entertaining crime novel set in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city, features a very strange detective
The Beach House by Beverley Jones. Hugely atmospheric psychological thriller set in a beachfront community in Oregon and also a picture postcard village in Wales. Adding to my enjoyment of this book was the fact that the Welsh section is quite close to my home.
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason We will know within a few days if this has won the Women’s Prize For Fiction. It’s considered a strong contender judging by what I’ve seen in Twitterland but I didn’t think it lived up to its promise.
On The June Horizon
June 1 marks the start of #20booksofsummer 2022, hosted by Cathy at 746books. I’m shooting for 10 books this year but have pulled together a list of 15 books to allow for changes in mood. The books I’ve selected are going to take me on a virtual holiday around the UK, dropping into some parts of Europe before heading east and then down under.
I’ll be starting at home with a book by a Welsh author that was shortlisted for the 2000 Booker Prize. The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi features the Gauci family who live in poverty in the docklands of Cardiff. It’s going to be interesting to compare her handling of the location and its multi cultural community with the depiction of the same place in The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed.
Also on the horizon is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury which is the book club choice for June. I’ve not read much science fiction since my teens but the dystopian aspect of this book is intriguing me.
Bookshelves Ins and Outs
I am undone! The TBR which was slowly coming down went up by six in May so now stands at 288.
Two of the books were bargain purchases in The Works to help complete my set of the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. i found an Angela Thirkell in a charity shop for 50p so couldn’t resist — I think I’ve read only one book by her which wasn’t great but also wasn’t all that bad. Worth trying again I thought.
And then somehow I found myself walking through the doors of a local independent bookshop and walking back out again, but this time with two books in my hands. I can’t think how that happened really. But now I am the owner of Breast and Eggs by Meiko Kawakami (it’s actually the second time I bought this but my first copy was loaned to my niece and never returned) and A Town Like Solace by Mary Lawson which was a Booker contender in 2021.
When will I ever learn!!
How was your May reading? Were there any stand out novels that you would recommend? I would love to know what you’ve been reading, and what you plan to read in June.
28 thoughts on “May 2022 Reading Wrap Up”
Some good reads there and well there are worse things to be addicted to than buying books, right? Mind you, we’ve got a new indie bookshop opening round the corner from me and you have to support people, so that could be dangerous … A wise decision about Hay, I think – it wouldn’t do to be there and just be nervous about every sniff and cough, would it. What a shame, though.
A bookshop that close to me would be so dangerous!
I been reading a lot of graphic novels lately.
Have a great rest of June.
Shall I confess that I have never read a graphic novel? Naive question – how do they differ from comics?
Comics are done in issues and are only a chapter or two of a story. While graphic novels come in volumes and are a complete story.
Ah, thanks for solving that mystery for me Ann. I’ve long wondered about it
Thanks for the tip-off regarding the Hay festival player. I’ve signed up now and there are some great things available. Better value too than the Cheltenham one, which only allows you to view / listen to the events for a couple of months.
I was surprised Jenny to find so much available from Hay – I thought it might have been just a few selected talks. Excellent value
I read a lot of your least favourite genre in May, and June seems to continue in that vein, sorry! However, I am currently reading a late Aldous Huxley novel – not sure where the plot’s going at the moment – and a curious dystopian novel by Muriel Jaeger originally published by the Woolf’s Hogarth Press, so fantasy is receding a little bit…
I’m willing to dip my toe into the SF waters – Bill from Australia gave me a lot of ideas via a post he did here https://theaustralianlegend.wordpress.com/2022/06/02/sf-issues/
Would be good to hear what you think of the suggestions
I can’t comment on writers I haven’t read – like the Australian authors – but I would support the ones he mentions. I have a copy of Fahrenheit 451 to reread, and even Bradbury’s non-SF titles are worth considering, especially his short stories.
Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed is another I want to reread, and I have a copy of Lessing’s Mara and Dan waiting, though I’ve only read its sequel. Hope that helps.
Great, I am building quite a long list of candidates now among which I am sure to find something that appeals to me
I hope you enjoyed watching those talks.
Covid has disrupted so much over the past few years. Good for you for putting so much thought into what risks you are and aren’t willing to take.
Thanks Lydia. It wasn’t an easy decision.
I’m currently reading The Day the World Came to Town. Enjoying it. The Hay festival sounds wonderful but I think you’ve made the right choice to enjoy it online. All the best and look forward to hearing about it.
Seeing the tweets from people who did go to Hay and were clearly enjoying the experience, was tough
I’m nervous about being with large groups of people as well!
It’s going to take a while for me to get over this I think. I’m still nervous in a shop when the person behind me at checkout is standing close to me….
You’ve got at least two winners in prospect: The Fortune Men, and A Town called Solace. I loved them both. Breast and Eggs keeps coming across my radar. Maybe I should just get on and read it.
I’ve already loved the Fortune Men and agree with you – what a fabulous book.
“And then somehow I found myself walking through the doors of a local independent bookshop”. Sometimes, strange things happen to us, lol
Even stranger is how often it happens….
The books I read during the month of May:
Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
SoulSpace Xorin Balbes
I really enjoyed Silent in the Grave because I fancy the era in which it was written; my favorite year (The Victorian era in England) to read historical mysteries. SoulSpace was quite a different read for me because it was about interior design and internal fixing of oneself as well; to make the place that you live in so much so that it is like a spa and there is no need to go out and seek something else. I try to read and keep count on two different blogs; one to do with tea findings in a book for my tea blog…I read and keep tabs on when there is a mention of having tea or something to do with tea. It is unusual but I do this tritely and never tire of doing it.
I didn’t know you had a tea blog. I’m curious though so will have to take a look
oh please do; tea is all that I have to live for these days but the tea folks at WordPress and other sites don’t like me because I don’t stick around, and I delete things and give up and this annoys them to no shame. It is not a good blog but I keep at it since restarting it again. Thank you very much.
It’s your blog, do whatever you want with it regardless of what other people say
May was full of *lots* of books for me – I read tons and am hoping to carry on that way in June!!
You said, . i found an Angela Thirkell in a charity shop for 50p so couldn’t resist — I think I’ve read only one book by her which wasn’t great but also wasn’t all that bad. Worth trying again I thought.
That’s not surprising unless you are immersed in Anthony Trollope. Because Angela Thirkell’s books have mid-20th century plots that rely heavily on Trollope’s Barchester-series characters and situations,