May Reading Recap

Back up to speed after two slower months! Up to 87 books for the year, 21 this month alone (22 less one DNF); 11 fiction/10 non-fiction.

Completed in May:

  1. Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, the Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class (hardcover, nonfiction). My dad is a chef who taught me a lot of French methods, I stole his copy of Escoffier’s book decades ago, and I’m a service and theater geek, so this was 100% up my alley. If you don’t care about the history of commercial kitchens, the interior mechanisms of a hotel, and the added drama of the Savoy Theater, you might want to give this a pass. I loved it.
  2. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century (hardcover, nonfiction). Another book that hits a couple of my weird interests at once. If you are a museums nerd with an appreciation for taxonomy, and also love a good heist, this is totally the book for you.
  3. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet (paperback, fiction). This is a tie-in to the YouTube series, and was an entertaining bit of nostalgia, if you can be nostalgic for something that didn’t happen very long ago.
  4. The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra (paperback, fiction). This was a fun light-hearted mystery. Definitely recommend if you enjoy a “cozy mystery” with the extra added cuteness of a) the inspector’s relationship with his wife and b) AN ADORABLE BABY ELEPHANT.
  5. We Need to Talk About Kevin (paperback, fiction). Ugh. This was a book group read for me, and I really didn’t enjoy it. I’m going to leave it there, lest this become a 40-page rant.
  6. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (paperback, fiction). I don’t remember how I stumbled upon Sarah MacLean, but I’m so glad I did. Her romances are steamy and laugh-out-loud funny, with strong female characters through and through. This one was no exception.
  7. The Zillionaire Vampire Cowboy’s Secret Werewolf Babies (ebook, fiction). I was looking for a Z title for the Litsy A to Z challenge, and jumped all over this. It’s effectively a parody of bad romance, and really rings of Tumblr fanfic circa 2012. A++ would recommend. Best 99 cents I’ve spent in a long time.
  8. But What if We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present as if it Were the Past (hardcover, fiction). Interesting take on what “fact” is, not in the sense of fake news, but more…what if what we know about, say, gravity, was wrong?
  9. The Definitive Guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game (ebook, nonfiction). Professional development woo! I’m studying for my scrum master certification, but it’s a book, so it counts!
  10. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time (hardcover, nonfiction). Not actually for the studying I mentioned above! This was a high-level view of how scrum is used outside of tech companies – at the FBI, for example, in NGOs, and in manufacturing. It was a very interesting read, and helped me to see how much I’ve been using scrum principles long before I knew what they were.
  11. The Witch of Blackbird Pond (hardcover, fiction). I started listening to this on my flight to France in April because I remembered loving it when I was a kid. Because I was on vacation, the audiobook auto-returned to the library, so I picked up the physical copy to finish it out. Why did you love this book so much, past me? It’s entertaining but also full of people treating other people terribly.
  12. Leia, Princess of Alderaan (hardcover, fiction). I love Claudia Gray writing Star Wars – Bloodline was terrific, as was this, but holy cats, I’ve never actually yelled “OH YOU BITCH” at the ending of a book before.
  13. Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life (hardcover, nonfiction). I expected something a little bit more hard-hitting from two former White House social secretaries, but it was still a good read, especially for anyone client-facing or in a high-pressure job.
  14. Run For It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought for Their Lives (hardcover, fiction). A graphic novel about slavery in Brazil, the art in this book is breathtaking, and the stories are incredibly powerful. A++ would recommend.
  15. Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together (hardcover, nonfiction). A beautiful, beautiful book. I especially love that he took the time to address not just interfaith relations, but secular/faith relations.
  16. Brown Girl Dreaming (hardcover, nonfiction). Jacqueline Woodson’s story of growing up, told in gorgeous prose. Fantastic.
  17. The Art of Possibility (paperback, nonfiction). This was a re-read for me, and well-worth it. A great look at the power of assuming the best in people and situations.
  18. Q-In-Law (paperback, fiction). Lwaxana Troi meets Q. Q plays games. Q gives Lwaxana Q powers. Q pisses Lwaxana off. Lwaxana goes on a rampage. Highly entertaining.
  19. Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys (hardcover, nonfiction). This was a fun read, because I’m a huge Cure fan, but it was also a little bit rough, as it felt like it was part of Lol’s recovery.
  20. An Extraordinary Union (paperback, fiction, DNF). I started off being SO EXCITED by the spies concept, lost some of my suspension of disbelief on later plot points, and then DNF’d it about 2/3 through.
  21. The Cow in the Parking Lot: A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger (paperback, fiction). This was a re-read for me, and I didn’t get as much out of it as I did the first time around, I think that’s a good thing? Looking at my answers scribbled in the workbook sections from years ago allowed me to see how far I’ve come with my anger.
  22. Fever Dream (hardcover, fiction). This was weird. Good weird, enjoyably weird, but weird.

Started in May and Still Going:

  1. Bedlam’s Bard (paperback, fiction). I didn’t realize when I started it that it’s actually two books in one! I finished the first one and paused before starting the second. This is my purse book, so I’ll probably keep picking through this one for another month or so.
  2. Thinking Fast and Slow (audio, nonfiction).  So far I’m not impressed. The first 40% of the book is basically “everyone has unconscious biases, even you, and you have to work to overcome them”.
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