Another month has passed, and now we’re almost halfway through 2022. Where does the time go? I’m going to turn around to do something, and suddenly it’s going to be September.
To be clear, I am not looking forward to Summer. But really, where does all the time go?
What I Finished Reading in May:
I finished reading nine books in May, which is far lower than my normal total. I attribute this to spending most of the month reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and getting utterly hooked on the podcast The Magnus Archives. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was a combination of fascinating and frustrating, while The Magnus Archives has become my favorite fiction podcast. I’ve already started listening to it again and am searching for another horror podcast to fall in love with.
- Spear by Nicola Griffith
- The Might (The Raven Rings #3) by Siri Pettersen, translated from the Norwegian by Sian Mackie and Paul Russel Garrett
- Chivalry by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Colleen Doran
- Basilisks and Beowulf: Monsters in the Anglo-Saxon World by Tim Flight
- The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
- Hafiz: The Mystic Poets by Hafiz, translated from the Persian by Gertrude Bell
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Carolyn Seymour
- Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
- Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin and Cristina Garcia
- 55.6% of what I read was written by women, 33.3% was written by men, and 11.1% was written by a collaboration of a male and female author.
- 44.4% were written by English authors, and 11.1% each were written by Mexican-American, Chilean, Persian, British-American, and Norwegian authors.
- 62.5% of what I read was written in English, while 37.5% were works in translation.
- 75% were physical books, while 12.5% each were audiobooks or ebooks
- 37.5% were fantasy, 25% were poetry, and 12.5% each were nonfiction or Gothic
- 62.5% were from my own shelves, and 37.5% were from the library
- The dates of publication ranged from 1398 to 2022
My favorite new-to-me works were The Might by Siri Pettersen and The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas. What’s not to like about a fantasy novel with unexpected turns and fantastic character beats or a debut Gothic novel where the author fully understands the genre tropes?
While I could say that Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was my least favorite of the month, there were many parts of it that I fully enjoyed. It’s a complex novel that deals with fantasy tropes, and the conventions of eighteenth-century English novels, and it’s clear that Susanna Clarke had a firm handle on her story– nothing went off the rails in this story. But it was also so long, and there were so many parts that grew tedious for me. Mostly, it was Mr. Norrell and his ideas that made me want to throw things at him. So while Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is an amazing book, it was not my favorite and it was not an easy tome to get through.
I didn’t buy many books in May. I got a couple from Barnes and Noble and one from the library’s sale shelves:
- Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations 1-3) by Michael J. Sullivan
- Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes by Bernadette Banner
- Chivalry by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Colleen Doran
Theft of Swords was the book I got from the library sale shelves, and it was $1. The other two came from Barnes and Noble and were about $18 each. Worth it, I say, as I love Colleen Doran’s art, and Neil Gaiman’s stories are always great. Make, Sew and Mend has so much information about fabric and sewing, and I look forward to using it to help me in whatever sewing projects I’ll make in the future, as well as helping me get through my list of clothes that need some bit of mending or another.
What’s On Tap for June:
I grabbed several of my unread books to set aside for June, and I realized that they’re all fairly long, at least 400 pages each. Most of them are standalones, and I for a while I wondered why I had gravitated toward a bunch of long books, as it’s going to take a while to get through them. Then I realized that I generally read fantasy, which seems like it’s made of nothing but trilogies and series, and I rarely give starting one of those a second thought.
So why, I wondered, was I put off by the idea of reading chunky standalone novels? They’re one and done, and there isn’t another big book I have to read to finish the story. It’s already done! So I’m just going to dive into these big books on my shelves and stop worrying about the fact that they’re long.
- Redwall (Redwall #1) by Brian Jacques
- The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Europe by María Rosa Moncal
- The Widow Queen by Elżbieta Cherezińska, translated from the Polish by Maya Zakrzewska-Pim
- Powers and Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages by Dan Jones
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
I read many of the Redwall books when I was in junior high, and I bought several of them in the summer of 2020 (a bit of stress shopping), so I want to see about going back through my favorite Redwall novels. What’s not to like about swashbuckling mice defending their home from evil snakes and rats while?
The Ornament of the World and Powers and Thrones are both nonfiction books that reexamine various parts of western European history in the Middle Ages, so I am greatly interested in both of them.
The Widow Queen is a historical fiction novel about a Medieval Polish queen, and from the description of this book, she sounds fascinating.
Project Hail Mary has been on my shelf since last summer, and nearly everyone I’ve seen who has read it has loved it. The Martian is one of my favorite science fiction novels, and this seems to be in the same vein as that, so I think I’ll have a great time with this one, too.
I’m still working on Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, as well as listening to Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor. Addison’s next Goblin Emperor novel, The Grief of Stones is due out mid-June, so it seemed appropriate to go back to this world that I love so much. I will probably reread The Witness for the Dead, too, but I haven’t decided if I will or not.
I probably will.
As for my other reading selections? I don’t know. I have a couple of pending library holds, but I don’t know when they will arrive, and my current podcast fascination has put a bit of a damper on my audiobooking.
Because it hasn’t gotten particularly hot yet (except for a few days here and there), my energy levels have been pretty high, so I’m looking forward to getting through most or all of these books and then some, as well as doing a bunch of writing, drawing, and all sorts of other things.
Now I just need to find the time for all my hobbies. There is so much to do to, and not nearly enough time!