Saturday, May 31, 2014

May 2014 Reads

Some really good books in May. As usual I'm all over the map, both geographically and figuratively. A dozen plus countries and a variety of subject matter.  Fifteen books didn't make a dent in my TBR pile since most of these were library books.  AND, I purchased 19 books,  rec'd 15 ARC's and other freebies, and have a stack of 8 library books.

All books on my May list are from libraries unless otherwise noted.

The best of the bunch, all amazing, each in its own way:
A Curse on Dostoevsky; Rahimi, Atiq; Polly McLean (Translator)
  The story is harsh, but there is an almost mystical, dream-like quality to the narration.
The Blazing World; Hustvedt, Siri
  Art as a gender statement. Amazing tour de force.
All the Birds, Singing; Wyld, Evie
  It's Australian Lit month. This was on the Bailey's Women's Prize longlist, it didn't make the  shortlist. I'd put it there in place of either of the two shortlisted ones that I tried to read and rejected (The Goldfinch and The Lowland).
Talking to Ourselves; Neuman, Andrés; Nick Caistor (Translator), Lorenza García (Translator)
  A family story told  in three voices: father, mother, ten-year old son. 
Shotgun Lovesongs; Butler, Nickolas
  Seems like an updated The Big Chill stretched out over a longer time period. But better.
Mr. Loverman;  Evaristo,  Bernardine (advance review copy)
  There is empathy and humor in this delightful tale. You like this guy in spite of yourself.
Casebook; Simpson, Mona
  A boy, with help from his best friend, spies on his mother and her boy friend and finds out more than he wants to. He has to decide how to deal with what he knows.
All the Light We Cannot See; Doerr, Anthony
  The stories of a young radioman in the German army and a blind French girl are told in parallel until their paths cross in German occupied St. Malo on the French coast in the summer of 1944.

A little less than the best:
The Painter; Heller, Peter
  Good but I liked The Dog Stars better. Personal taste, just wasn't as interested in this subject.
The Steady Running of the Hour; Go, Justin 
  Fine until the less than satisfactory ending. In fact, he didn't end it, he just quit.


The Paris Architect; Belfoure, Charles
  Should have exciting and interesting, but it fell flat on both counts.

Short Stories
The Cost of Lunch, Etc.: Short Stories; Piercy, Marge
  A good collection of stories written over several decades. Nice to look back on the 1960s and 70's

One excellent biography; one excellent memoir, both dealing with exile.  And a bio of a building.
The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World; Prochnik, George (advance review copy)
  A fantastic read!
The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis, #1-4); Satrapi, Marjane; translation of first part of Persepolis
Mattias Ripa (2003), translation of second part Persepolis 2 Blake Ferris (2004)
 A good use of the graphic format. 
House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address; Gross, Michael
  Not too bad, just a little more than I wanted to know about real estate development in New York City. 

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