May was a pretty busy month for me – I had coursework to hand it and I was back and forwards from University for exams which meant that most of my time was spent either on a train or holed up in my room revising. At the end of the month I also moved out of my current University accommodation which meant packing and transporting a whole load of things including some pretty heavy books!
With all of this going on I didn’t necessarily read less this month, I just read differently. Normally my monthly roundup consists of a few fiction books, some of which I am studying at University and the occasional non-fiction. This month, though, I read three non-fiction books mainly, I think, because I find it much easier to read non-fiction while revising for exams (I’m not sure why, I would have thought I’d prefer fiction to get away from the real world of revising but obviously not!), and one YA fiction book.
The first book I read this month was ‘The Bookshop that Floated Away’ which is about the author, Sarah Henshaw, travelling around Britain on her bookshop barge. This book has been on my ‘to-read’ list for a while as I love books about books and in fact, this book was recommended in ‘The Bookshop Book’ by Jen Campbell (a great book about different bookshops all around the world). I really enjoyed this read, mostly because I really like Sarah Heshaw’s narrative voice. I also massively admire Sarah’s determination and drive and since reading have been telling myself to ‘be more Sarah’, meaning if things don’t work to try harder and that just because I don’t think I’m good at something doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. There is also a really interesting section of the book written from the boat’s perspective which is a cool change and has also given me my current favourite book quote ‘we were made of sterner stuff than feather’ (p. 183).
The next book I read was ‘Almost Adulting’ by the YouTuber Arden Rose. I should point out now that I have never watched any of Arden’s videos and that might have been my first mistake. I was more drawn in by the title of the book than anything else because I often feel like someone struggling to fit into the world of adulthood. The book was more biographical than I expected but, again, this was probably more to do with me than the book. Ultimately, this wasn’t one of my favourite books this year but there were bits that made me laugh and I feel like everyone could find something they liked in there.
Next I went for ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ by Bill Bryson which my Dad gave me. Here, Bill Bryson travels around Britain and gives his opinion on things he finds funny or strange or anything else between. I actually really enjoyed this book, it was the first Bill Bryson book I have ever read so I enjoyed a new, unique and often funny narrative voice (although I didn’t agree with everything he said, but you never can!). It was also really nice reading this book, about travelling, on sunny train journeys with my headphones plugged in because it was a real escape from the stress of exams.
The last book I read this month was after my exams had finished (yei!) and it was ‘The Names they Gave Us’ by Emery Lord. Earlier this year I read another book by Emery Lord ‘When we Collided’ which I didn’t enjoy so much, but I really loved this one! It is about a Christian girl called Lucy who goes to work at a camp for troubled kids over the summer as a favour to her mum whose cancer has reappeared. Although I guessed quite a few of the twists before they happened (no spoilers!) this was still a really enjoyable read. It had some good messages about accepting people and was really interesting for me personally as I think it’s the first YA novel I have read that really explores faith so that was cool too.
Onto my current read, then, and I’m really excited because I have finally (finally) picked up The Book Thief (by Markus Zusak) again. At the end of May I could feel myself sliding into a reading slump so I decided that it was finally time and I was not mistaken! I am currently enjoying it just as much as the first time I read it. Interestingly, though, I have realised that I’m reading it differently and I think this is really to do with studying English literature at University. I always loved the language of this novel but now, not only do I think the writing is beautiful, I know more why i.e. I know more what Markus Zusak is doing. Amazingly this has made me appreciate the novel even more than I already did!
I think for my top pick in May I have to go for ‘The Bookshop that Floated Away’ because it really made me laugh and, without getting too cliché, I feel like it has actually changed the way I live a little bit (be more Sarah!).
So, there we have it, onto June (half way through the year!), when I will hopefully finish The Book Thief and get a few more reads in, although I have no idea what yet!
P.S. I promise I will write a blog post sometime that doesn’t include The Book Thief (but what can I say, it’s in the name of my blog!!).
P.P.S. Almost Adulting doesn’t appear in the feature image because somewhere between my University accommodation and my family home I seem to have misplaced it!