Hello, everyone! I hope you had marvelous May. I didn’t finish quite the number of books I was hoping to this month but I didn’t do too badly. And I’m officially halfway done with the 2017 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge–ahead of schedule for once! One thing I noticed this month as I was going over my reading spreadsheet is that nearly half the books I’ve read so far this year have been audiobooks. It’s normal for audiobooks to make up about a third of my total annual books read but half is a bit much. I don’t absorb audiobooks as well as I do regular books (visual learner here!) so I’d like to balance out those percentages.
In other news, I wrote a guest post over at Book Oblivion about purging my bookshelves. You can read it here.
You may notice that this edition of The Inkwell is missing a section. “Where are the book reviews?!” you ask. These posts tend to run on…and on and on, reaching upwards of two thousand words, so I’ve decided to separate my end-of-the-month mini-reviews and publish them in their own post. This will also allow me to flesh them out a little more. The reviews will be more like one paragraph rather than one or two sentences. All of my TV and movie mini-reviews will still appear in The Inkwell.
Now then, let’s see what wormed its way into my mailbox this month…
Note: this post contains affiliate links. Many of the books mentioned here are complimentary copies sent to me by publishers.
- The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne (ARC)
- The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andrés Reséndez (Birthday Gift)
- Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War by Leymah Gbowee with Carol Mithers (Birthday Gift)
- The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for All the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso & Russ Hudson (Birthday Gift)
- Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening by Manal al-Sharif (ARC)
- Unearthly Things by Michelle Gangon (MyBookBox)
- One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- New Boy by Tracy Chevalier (Blogging for Books)
- The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought by Marilynne Robinson (Birthday Gift)
- The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (Birthday Gift)
- The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman (MyBookBox)
- Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel (Unsolicited Review Copy)
- The War on Women: And the Brave Ones Who Fight Back by Sue Lloyd-Roberts & Sarah Morris (Purchased)
- Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O’Brien (Birthday Gift)
Film + Television
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – The latest addition to J.K. Rowling’s film canon has amazing special effects and one of the best male leads to come out of Hollywood in a long time. (See excellent commentary on that here.) Unfortunately, it suffers from a meandering script and lacks the sense of mystery and adventure that made Harry Potter so great. 3/5 stars.
- Hidden Figures (2017) – This adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s 2016 book about black women working at NASA during the Space Race knocks it out of the ball park. Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe are magnificent in the lead roles. 5/5 stars.
- Logan (2017) – I had astronomically high expectations going into this and for the most part it lived up to the hype. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart give outstanding performances but it’s Dafne Keen who really steals the show. I wish that some of the secondary characters (especially Caliban) had been more developed and that a bit more context had been given, but overall a great swan song for everyone’s favorite mutant. 4/5 stars.
- The Girl with All the Gifts (2017) – Based on M.R. Carey’s 2014 novel, this certainly wins the prize for most thought-provoking zombie movie, though what exactly it’s trying to say is a bit of a mystery. The ending is mind-boggling and totally unexpected. I think I will probably write a full spoilery review and analysis at a later date. 3/5 stars.
- The Girl on the Train (2016) – Based on Paula Hawkins’ much-lauded 2015 novel, this adaptation is a slow-moving, unsuspenseful mess. Instead of dropping clues and building anticipation along the way, it devolves into pointless voyerism. By the end, I was just happy to find out what really happened and be done with it. 2/5 stars.
News from the Book World
- To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Pottermore is forming a Wizarding World Book Club. The goal of the book club is to “create a global community of Harry Potter readers who are communicating with each other as they are reading the same book, at the same time.”
- In other wizarding news, a valuable handwritten Harry Potter prequel was stolen from its owner, who had purchased it at an auction to benefit English PEN, a charity that promotes literacy and free expression around the world.
- Bill Clinton and James Patterson are writing a novel together called The President Is Missing. (Is Bill planning to kidnap Trump? Stage his own death? Run away with Obama to a deserted island? So many possibilities!) It’s a suspense novel that will “offer readers a unique amalgam of intrigue, suspense and behind-the-scenes global drama from the highest corridors of power.” It’s set to be published next summer.
- 2017 marks the bicentennial year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, author of the beloved classic Walden. To commemorate the occasion, the U.S. Postal Service designed a Thoreau Forever stamp and held a ceremony at Walden Pond on May 23. You can buy the commemorative stamp here.
- Denis Johnson, the award-winning author of the short story collection Jesus’ Son, died at the age of 67 on May 24th. Random House will posthumously publish his new short story collection, The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, in early 2018.
Best of the Bookosphere
- Rebecca Solnit: The Loneliness of Donald Trump – Literary Hub
- 11 of the Most Disastrous Vacations in Literature – Electric Lit
- 6 West African Books with Unconventional Approaches to Gender and Power – Electric Lit
- When Tweeters Attack: Why Do Readers Send Authors Their Bad Reviews? – The Guardian
- Cheap Books, High Price: Why Amazon’s ‘One-Click’ Sales Can Cost Authors Dear – The Guardian
- 100 Must-Read Books About Christianity – Book Riot
- Books About Books: 8 Unputdownable Literary Mysteries – Off the Shelf
- 20 Recent Books That Will Hook You from Page One – Goodreads
- Sorry, but You Have Been Pronouncing Roald Dahl’s Name Wrong This Whole Time – BuzzFeed
- 24 Incredible Books to Add to Your Shelf This Summer – Huffington Post
The Most Popular Posts This Month
Summertime is almost here, which means lazy weekends at the beach and afternoons in the garden. If you’re looking for the perfect book to read while lounging in the sunshine, look no further. Here are fifty of the most exciting books hitting stores in June, July, and August!
If you are one of the 30-50% of introverts trying to thrive in an extroverted culture, here are ten books that will give you the tools you need to succeed in your work, social, and love lives.
WINTER IS COMING…And you know what that means. Books. So many books. EPIC books. Gird your Goodreads profile. Here are the 50 most exciting books hitting store shelves this winter.
6 Books to Watch for in June6 Books to Get Excited About in June + More in The Inkwell: Vol. 3, Iss. 5Click To Tweet
- Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
- Everybody’s Son by Thrity Umrigar
- The Lost History of Stars by Dave Boling
- Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening by Manal al-Sharif
- Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian Owen
- A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna & Samuel H. Sternberg
What did you read in May?