I felt like I was counting down to May for so long--we closed on our house and moved at the start of the month, and so much time and preparation and stress went into that countdown that it sort of seems unreal that life went on after those all-important events. And I solemnly swear that one of these days I'll share some pictures of our new place, but I keep waiting for the house to magically clean and stage itself for photos. Weirdly enough, it hasn't happened yet.
Nevertheless. Another month of books to review! And I'm super excited to share them with you, because I read some excellent ones this month.
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell // I read this in high school, and I'm 90% sure I finished it . . . but I remembered basically nothing about it. My sister read it for the first time recently, and couldn't say enough good things about it. So I read it for the second time, 10ish years after my initial reading (and counted it towards my 2015 challenge). And just like my sister, I can't say enough good things about it. Amazing setting, incredible characters, fantastic story. Loved it. If you haven't read this yet: do.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng // This YA novel about a family before and after the death of their teenage daughter/sister has gotten plenty of buzz. I listened to the audiobook, and oh, it is a heart breaker. Do you ever find yourself shouting at the TV screen when characters make stupid choices, or refuse to talk to each other when an honest conversation could fix all of their problems? If so, get ready to shout aloud in frustration while you read (or in my case, listen to) this book. So sad to watch a family ripped apart when honesty and openness could have changed everything.
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley // I read Mariana in April and loved it (despite not being crazy about The Winter Sea, which seems to be Kearsley's most popular). And The Rose Garden? Even better still. Kearsley certainly has a formula (modern woman, some form of time travel, a romance in the past), and all of her books that I've read so far follow the same basic steps, but it's a formula that works for me. And it has never worked better for me than in Rose Garden. Definitely recommended for fans of historical fiction.
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty // I listened to this one on audio--a historical fiction about Cora Carlisle, a traditional Midwestern wife who spent a transformative summer as a chaperone to the young (and wildly unconventional) Louise Brooks, who would go on to become a silent film star. I definitely enjoyed this book, and loved watching the uptight Cora evolve. It was perhaps a tad preachy on occasion, and I think it easily could have ended earlier than it did. Enjoyable all the same, and the narration was excellent.
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber // Now, here's a book that's nearly impossible to describe and review. Peter leaves his wife on Earth (which is swiftly falling into total chaos) so he can work as a Christian missionary among the alien life on the recently discovered planet of Oasis. But it certainly isn't traditional sci-fi . . . we're told almost nothing about this planet, the reason we have sent people there, or what is happening back on Earth (although we know it is falling to pieces). It focuses almost entirely on Peter's relationship with his wife and the emotional distance that stretches between them throughout the course of his mission. It is completely bizarre--possibly the weirdest novel I've ever read--but offers lots to think about (like the power/purpose of relationships, the role of religion in communities, the changing nature of the characters' faith, etc). I'm not sure how strongly I'd recommend it, especially if you're bothered by unanswered questions and untied loose ends (of which there are gazillions in this book). It is somewhat reminiscent of Station Eleven, which I loved and included in my best books of 2014.
What did you read this month? Any recommendations for me?