What I Read: May 2017

May reading turned out to be pretty shitty. There is no other way around it. Every so often this happens, all the books you don't connect with end up in the same round of reading. There were multiple books I did not finish, a rarity, and a few I simply did not enjoy. While there were the occasional pleasant surprises, I'm ready to turn the page on May and start summer reading off right.  On a positive note, I realized I had not been linking the books in my previous posts so now all of the titles are links that will take you to their Amazon page. Happy shopping. 

Here is what I read (or read half of)

She Reads Truth (did not finish)

The website, She Reads Truth, has long captured the attention of the Christian community. The daily devotionals they product are wonderful, packed with scripture and application. When I heard about their book, I immediately added it to my Amazon cart. Truly, I think the problem here was my expectation. I expected this to be a book about knowing the Bible, how to study God's character in a deeper way, more of a teaching book. It ended up being a mix of personal stories from the two founders of SRT, but the stories were extremely dense and challenging to connect with. This will be one I put back on the shelf and revisit in a few months. For now, it wasn't a great fit but I do think with altered expectations, this book could be great. 

verdicts out for now

Emma (did not finish)

A Jane Austin remake from Alexander McCall Smith, an elderly Scottish writer (just my cup of tea!). Unfortunately, the language was as dense as Jane Austin and it didn't feel current or redone. When I realized I was having to bribe myself to continue reading by taking breaks CLEANING, I knew it was time to stop. This is again one I will keep on my shelf and revisit down the road. For now, it was too much like reading an actual classic when the title promised a fun souped up version. Perhaps this is more of a winter read.

verdicts out for now

Talking as Fast as I Can (did not finish)

I wanted to like this book. In fact, I wanted to love it. Gilmore Girls has been a permanent fixture in my life since middle school and Loralie Gilmore/ Lauren Graham is the center. When I heard she was releasing a book, I was thrilled. Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey's books have been some of my favorites- full of laughter, wisdom, and smart writing. Pretty much the exact opposite of this. Lauren Graham writes like a distracted teenage girl. That is the only way I can think to describe it. It felt needy, random, and convoluted.  I stopped after THREE chapters. Y'all, I couldn't even hang on until the Gilmore Girls parts! This was such a disappointment. For now, I'm cutting my losses and hoping Mindy writes another book soon.

erdict: SKIP


The Nest

This was a recommendation from Ellen, one of my best friends. After reading it, I can totally understand why she enjoyed it. However, before I grabbed this book at the library, I forgot to remember a crucial detail about our friendship. While we both love bright colors, smart humor, tacos, pedicures, and gluten, our taste in entertainment is vastly different. Ellen loves dark and twisty, I love lighthearted and hilarious. Prime example? She loves  Scandal, I love Mindy Project. (The Bachelor/Bachelorette is the one place our entertainment interests overlap because let's face it, it's both twisty and hilarious)

All that to say, this book was not a great fit for me. The story follows four siblings who have all been waiting on "The Nest", a small amount of money their father set aside that accidentally became a very large trust fund. As they approach the release date, they are all hungry for their share due to various financial mishaps in each of their lives. This novel is filled with big scandals, twisted family dynamics, tons of characters, and odd intersections. There is no tidy bow finish, which I actually enjoyed. It's more of a real life ending- not necessarily filled with the justice and closure you wanted but rather a realistic look at where the characters choices took them. *Please note, this book has quite a bit of language and a few graphic scenes. 

verdict: skip

Selected Poems by Robert Frost

Recently, I heard a podcast with a poet. He mentioned that everyone should interact with poetry, it teaches us how to edit and condense our words while still expressing emotion. (I'm still working on the condensing) American poets have always plucked my heartstrings. Frost, Emerson, and Cummings all write brilliantly, fluidly, and tenderly. That podcast (linked here) inspired me to start making poetry a part of my regular routine. It is worth the investment. A quick tip for reading poetry. Most often, poetry is best read aloud. While poetry format contains short lines and stanzas, the sentences are meant to be read until the punctuation. Reading a poem out loud prevents us from stopping at the end of the line and helps us continue reading until the punctuation. By reading poetry this way, you are setting yourself up to have a better understanding of the content. 

Verdict: Pick up a poetry book from the library and give it a go!


Picnic in Provence 

The one gem in the desert. If you recall, I read Lunch in Paris last month. This is Elizabeth Bard's follow up book and it was better that the first! After living in Paris for years, Elizabeth and her husband journey to the countryside for a babymoon. While there, the stumble upon an old home of a historical poet they loved and end up buying it on the spot. After moving to Provence, they decide to open up a handmade ice cream parlor filled with local flavors. The storytelling, recipes, and descriptions were all captivating. You don't have to read Lunch in Paris first so if you only have room in your life for one memoir/non-fiction, pick this one! It's a great summer read.  

verdict: read! 

It's a pretty bleak list. When reading started to get me down, I turned instead to music, podcasts, and binging Americas Next Top Model on Hulu. Here's to hoping next month's reads are much more engaging. If not, this may be turning into a "What I Watched on Netflix" series. Let's hope it doesn't because a number of titles on that list would be embarrassing .....


Need a few good titles? Here is what I read in January, February, March, April

Meredith Harper