Saturday, June 1, 2013

May 2013 Reading Update

May is over. And man is the year passing by quickly.

I normally post these reading updates at the end of the month (as opposed to the beginning of the next) but I've been so busy these past couple weeks I almost forgot about these updates entirely.

This past month has definitely been the most sporadic month in terms of book choices. A large chunk of these books are comics/manga. We also have a couple picture books, a little bit of non-fiction, and of course my old reliable, YA. I can't get through a month without reading some of that YA. It's been a fun month.

As usual, I'll mostly talk about my reactions to each book. If you want a synopsis, use the links.

And without further ado, here are the books I read in May, in the order finished.

Grandpa's Soup - Eiko Kadono

My decision to read this book stemmed from the news of Kiki's Delivery Service being made into a live action film. I love, love Miyazaki's film adaptation and actually really wanted to read Kadono's book that he used for the basis of his film, but unfortunately, it was incredibly difficult to find the English translation (I couldn't even find it at the library). I opted for another work of her's, not realizing that it was an illustrated book. Still cute.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Thirty Seconds to Die - S.G. Holster

Teen/YA paranormal romance book. I did not particularly enjoy this one. Full review here

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

The Incredible Book Eating Boy - Oliver Jeffers

Cute children's illustrated book. It's about a boy who eats books and gets smarter because of it. Read it to your kids, kid siblings, or just to yourself.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

Oh, Rick Riordan, where were you in my childhood?
I had seen The Lightning Thief on countless occasions when I visit the HP section (because yes, I like to go stare at brand new HP books despite my well-loved collection at home).
I finally picked it up and its been an incredibly fun read. Must get more Rick Riordan.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

That Was Then, This Is Now - S.E. Hinton

I read this as a friend recommendation who said she liked this novel more than S.E. Hinton's most famous The Outsiders (which I also hadn't read). As I read I felt very engaged with Hinton's writing, and was very open to reading much more of her works. When I did eventually read The Outsiders, I thought it was deserving of the greater attention its gotten. Still enjoyed this one though.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris

Before this, I had only read select essays by David Sedaris, but they were all incredibly humorous. I had been wanting to read more so I picked up this and Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls. I read the first page of each and decided to start with this one. It's a book of short stories, each containing some sort of flaw within humankind. It was amusing, reminiscent of Animal Farm, and definitely shone light on those specific aspects it brought up, but overall, I just liked it. More so leaning to the "just okay" end of the spectrum. 

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Blankets - Craig Thompson

My first graphic novel, lent to me by a friend. This became my bedtime read every night after he gave it to me until I finished. This book, for me, was all about finding yourself in this world. Whether it be in religion, relationships, families, etc. It had its sad and happy moments, moments that I had in my life, and moments I never had but could greatly relate to. I need more graphic novels in my life.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton

I really enjoyed this S.E. Hinton piece. Great cast. Touching story. I would recommend this over That Was Then, This Is Now. Or, you know, just read both.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Saga, Vol. 1 - Brian K. Vaughan

Friend recommendation. Very cool. I'm anxious for Volume 2 to be released next month. 

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Make Good Art - Neil Gaiman

If you haven't already listened to Neil Gaiman's commencement speech, you should. I'm too lazy right now to link it, so just youtube "Neil Gaiman Make Good Art" and you'll find it.
This book is a beautiful piece of art. When I read it for the first time, I cried tears of joy. Literal tears. I've read it at least half a dozen times since.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

As an American Born Chinese, this book hit me hard, in all the right places (that's what she said). And even if you aren't Chinese, I think the feeling of alienation is strong enough in this piece that you can still greatly enjoy and appreciate it. Loved it.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

I've read an abundance of Neil Gaiman books at this point and each time he still surprises me. The writing was great. He always manages to sneak in moments of humor. I enjoyed all the different storylines and characters and how they crossed. Does not surpass Neverwhere or Coraline but it was still great.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster

This is one of those books that makes me want to scream "I wish I had this as a kid!" It's adorable. Very Alice in Wonderland-esque. Extremely fun worldplay.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, Vol. 1 - Robico

I don't read manga ever. I did a little bit back in HS, but even then it was very rare. This manga series is a favorite to two of my closest friends so I had to give it shot. It began a little generic but it got better towards the end. The art is cute too.

Links: Goodreads

The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

Second installment in the Percy Jackson series following The Lightning Thief (which I already talked about above).

Good sequel. Rick Riordan is proving himself to me as a great children's author. Will definitely pick up the third book, just until after I attack the ones in my library haul.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Where Things Come Back - John Corey Whaley

I have some much to say about this book I will probably just do a full review. I read it on the pretense that my friend didn't love it but couldn't stop talking about it. And I really, really, really liked it. Great YA novel. Great writing. Great characters. Full review to come.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

The Princess Bride -William Goldman

I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time. It didn't disappoint. The storytelling was fun. The stuff about S. Morgenstern confused me a little bit at first, but overall, it's a book I'd want my hypothetical children to either read or have me read it to them.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Well, that just about sums it up for this month.
I have read a total of 0 books on my 2013 Reading List. But I explored new works and read some books I had been meaning to for quite some time. So I'd say its still a success.
However, I do apologize for being severely behind in book reviews. Life really is taking over at the moment and hopefully doing this update is a sign that I'm still trying to stay afloat with this blog.

On to the superlatives...

For this month's Book of the Month, I decided to pick 2 that I found to be very different. There were quite a few contenders,
But the winners are...

Neil Gaiman's 'Make Good Art' speech 
Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese

Neil Gaiman's speech was an obvious favorite from the moment I purchased it and began reading. His words just move me to no end. And I think the fact that I shed tears of joy while reading this book in public is a sign that it's just that worthy of this title.

Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese was a surprise pick. I tried to think about which books I could recall the easiest and why. And this book immediately came to mind. I loved the art. I love the different stories. And I loved the message of being your true self.

I'd love to know what you've been reading too.
Any favorites this past month?

Until next time~

1 comment:

  1. "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" would be this month's favorite. I'm not sure if I will stick to the 3 choices that one via sticks game.

    I must listen to the speech.