May was an incredibly busy month for me, but I still managed to squeeze in a lot of reading time.
Unfortunately this month I decided to abandon my plans to read the Longlist of the Bailey’s Prize. There were some outstanding novels that I may not have picked up otherwise (The Gustav Sonata and Stay With Me were my two favourites) but overall I wasn’t won over by the nominated novels. Of the 16 books on the longlist I read 9, I started but abandoned 3, and completely ran out of enthusiasm for the remaining 4.
What I did manage to read last month was some YA, some graphic short stories, a graphic memoir, and some victorian porn – so quite a mixed bag.
Here’s my selection of the best books I read this month:
I adored Kiran Millwood Hargrave‘s first book (The Girl of Ink and Stars) and I hope to review her second novel, The Island at the End of Everything, very soon. This tale of friendship, family, and prejudice is told with beautiful prose. I adored it. I read Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff and I’m sorry to say I wasn’t charmed by it like many have been. There were moments of gripping drama but also many times the story seemed contrived, bent to fit a first person narrative that didn’t suit it.
Easily my book of the month, and hot contender for book of the year, was Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green. Simon has such a brilliant style and I instantly fell in love with Noah and heard his awkward embarrassed voice loud and clear.
I also read two books that were nominated for the Green Carnation Prize. I am a massive fan-girl for anything Kirsty Logan writes and A Portable Shelter is no exception. A series of short stories interconnected by the mothers who are narrating them to their unborn child. This beautiful, quirky, and emotional book of short stories is exquisite. London Lies Beneath is the first book by Stella Duffy I’ve ever read, and I was blown away by how she managed to weave such a rich tapestry of history into the lives of her characters.
Also on my read pile for May: The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill; Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs; Stan and Nan by Sarah Lippett; Lost Tales by Adam Murphy; The Sins of the Cities of the Plain by Jack Saul.