Bookish Post – May 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

books, wrap-up
Teacup on top of vintage books.

Number of books read: 7
Number of rereads: 0
Number of physical books: 2
Number of ebooks: 1
Number of audiobooks: 4
Number of ARCS: 1

5* reviews: 1
4.5* reviews: 0
4* reviews: 1

May was a bit of a non-month really. Work has been super busy compared to last year for obvious reasons. Then I’ve had a load of personal commitments to fit in. All meaning that I’ve not had as much time for reading. This has been my worst month for a while but I’m choosing not to focus on that. Instead I’m celebrating the fact that I’ve finished some books I’ve had on my list for a while.

FRENCH BRAID BY ANNE TYLER

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

A brilliantly perceptive, painfully true and funny journey deep into one family’s foibles, from the 1950s right up to the changed world of today

When the kids are grown and Mercy Garrett gradually moves herself out of the family home, everyone is determined not to notice.

Over at her studio, she wants space and silence. She won’t allow any family clutter. Not even their cat, Desmond.

Yet it is a clutter of untidy moments that forms the Garretts’ family life over the decades, whether that’s a painstaking Easter lunch or giving a child a ride, a fateful train journey or an unexpected homecoming.

And it all begins in 1959, with a family holiday to a cabin by a lake. It’s the only one the Garretts will ever take, but its effects will ripple through the generations.

Read my review.

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? BY LEE ISRAEL

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Lee Israel’s hilarious and shocking memoir of the astonishing caper she carried on for almost two years when she forged and sold more than 300 letters by such literary notables as Dorothy Parker, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and many others. 

Before turning to her life of crime – running a one-woman forgery business out of a phone booth in a Greenwich Village bar and even dodging the FBI – Lee Israel had a legitimate career as an author of biographies. Her first book on Tallulah Bankhead was a New York Times bestseller, and her second, on the late journalist and reporter Dorothy Kilgallen, made a splash in the headlines.

But by 1990, almost broke and desperate to hang onto her Upper West Side studio, Lee made a bold and irreversible career change: inspired by a letter she’d received once from Katharine Hepburn, and armed with her considerable skills as a researcher and celebrity biographer, she began to forge letters in the voices of literary greats. Between 1990 and 1991, she wrote more than 300 letters in the voices of, among others, Dorothy Parker, Louise Brooks, Edna Ferber, Lillian Hellman, and Noel Coward – and sold the forgeries to memorabilia and autograph dealers.

Read my review.

THE BEST THINGS BY MEL GIEDROYC

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Sally Parker is struggling to find the hero inside herself.

All she wants to do is lie down.

Her husband Frank has lost his business, their home and their savings, in one fell swoop. Their bank cards are being declined. The children are running wild. And now the bailiffs are at the door.

What does an ordinary woman do when the bottom falls out?
Sally Parker is about to surprise everybody. Most of all herself.

Read my review.

THE BEASTIE BOYS BOOK BY MICHAEL DIAMOND, ADAM HOROVITZ, et al

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip-hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam “AD-ROCK” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers; their early collaboration with Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin; the almost impossible to fathom overnight success of their debut studio album, Licensed to Ill; that album’s messy fallout; and their break with Def Jam, move to Los Angeles and rebirth as musicians and social activists, with the genre-defying masterpiece Paul’s Boutique. For more than 20 years, this band has had a wide-ranging and lasting influence on popular culture.

With a style as distinctive and eclectic as a Beastie Boys album, Beastie Boys Book upends the typical music memoir. Alongside the band narrative you will find pieces by guest contributors and many more surprises.  

Read my review.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Set adrift by his wife’s suicide and struggling to keep a grip on reality, Bunny Munro does the only thing he can think of: with his young son in tow, he hits the road. To his son, waiting patiently in the car while his father peddles beauty wares and quickies to lonely housewives in the south of England, Bunny is a hero, larger than life. But Bunny himself, haunted by what might be his wife’s ghost, seems only dimly aware of his son’s existence.

When his bizarre trip shades into a final reckoning, when he can no longer be sure what is real and what is not, Bunny finally begins to recognize the love he feels for his son. And he sees that the revenants of his world decrepit fathers, vengeful ghosts, jealous husbands and horned psychokillers are lurking in the shadows, waiting to exact their toll.

At turns dark and humane, The Death of Bunny Munro is a tender portrait of the relationship between a boy and his father, with all the wit and enigma that fans will recognize as Nick Cave’s singular vision.

Read my review.

HOLES BY LOUIS SACHAR

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

Review coming soon.

NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER BY KEVIN BARRY

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis:

In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two ageing Irishmen — Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs — sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter (or is she?), Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence, romance, mutual betrayals and serial exiles, rendered with the dark humour and the hardboiled Hibernian lyricism that has made Kevin Barry one of the most striking and admired fiction writers at work today. 

Review coming soon.

4 thoughts on “Bookish Post – May 2022 Reading Wrap-Up

  1. I really liked Sachar growing up but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I read Holes and then watched the movie and I think I enjoyed it more as an adult than I would have as a kid. Looking forward to your review.

    Liked by 1 person

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