May is technically still springtime, but because of how the semester rotation works at the University where I work, it feels like summer to me. This year, our spring semester ended in April, then I ran off to get married and have a honeymoon, etc. Consequently, April wasn’t a very heavy reading month and I skipped my “best books” post because a) honeymoon and b) I hadn’t actually read very many books.
With the release from wedding planning and the longest time I’ve taken away from work, possibly ever, the first few weeks of May had a bit of a surreal quality where time had even less meaning than usual. It’s also been a pretty solid reading month, even if I’m now four books behind schedule on my Goodreads challenge.
Free from the burdens of wedding planning, we’ve been doing some projects around the house, like installing our Little Free Library and cleaning out the closets. I also finally bought and put together a cart for my TBR, which has been a longstanding goal. In all, pretty productive for our first month as boring married people.
Even with all the wedding business, I genuinely missed doing this round up last month and am so excited to share my best books from the month of May! It’s been a really solid reading month, so the best of the best is a fairly long list.
(Full disclosure: Book links are Bookshop.org affiliate links which earn me a small commission if you choose to purchase).
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Format: Audiobook (Audible)
Why I Read It: I love D&D and kept hearing about this book, namely that it’s a nice, cozy read with that RPG flavor.
To paraphrase my least favorite Jane Austen novel, if I had loved this book less, I might be able to talk about it more. Legends and Lattes was such a delightful, idiosyncratic experience that I wish I could immediately experience again for the very first time.
This cozy novel of “high fantasy and low stakes” hit both notes perfectly, in opinion. I listened to it on audio and just sank into the world immediately. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a fun, comforting read that happens to feature orcs, succubi, and ratkins.
Early Morning Riser by Katherine Heiny
Why I Read It: I have enjoyed Katherine Heiny’s previous work and love the title of this one, being a morning person myself
I can best describe Early Morning Riser as a quiet, reflective sort of book. We follow teacher Jane over the course of many years living in a small town in Michigan, as she falls in love, navigates tragedy, and becomes a part of the town’s ecosystem.
It’s certainly what I’d call a character driven story, where not too much happens, aside from one or two big life moments. The heart of the story is the relationships between Jane and her community, how they grow and shift and change over time while forming the bonds that make life worth living.
I very much enjoyed this book, with its quiet humor and relatable look at a relatively ordinary life lived relatively well.
The F*ck It Diet: Eating Should Be Easy by Caroline Dooner
Why I Read It: Because I want to make peace with my body at its current size and stop worrying so much about what & how much I eat. Also, my therapist recommended it.
Every now and again, you read a book and realize it is going to change your life. Dooner’s The F*ck It Diet is one of those books for me. I’ve known for a while that the yo-yo of dieting and weight cycling wasn’t working for me. I just didn’t know how to get out, and once I did, I was afraid to actually do it.
This book grounded me in the solid science of why dieting not only doesn’t work long-term, but is also unhealthy for our bodies. I’m not here to shame you if you’re still in the diet cycle because pretty much everything everywhere encourages us to be, but holy heck is it liberating to have permission to break free and a foundation of knowledge to back it up when people push back.
As an added bonus, the tone of this book is approachable and hilarious, making this difficult, weighty topic a bit easier to tackle (pun intended). I cannot recommend this book highly enough if (and when) you’re ready to stop dieting and treating your body like it’s a project, but need a little help getting there.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Why I Read It: The hype
It feels weird to say how much I loved a book this sad and this frustrating, but wow did I love Lessons in Chemistry. The narrative voice is deeply compelling and the characters are fascinating and complicated and flawed. Plus, there’s a bit of a mystery or two surrounding the plot, which keeps things interesting.
If you want to hear more of my attempts to put my love for this book into words, you can check out my full review here: “Lessons in Chemistry” Uses a Compelling Storytelling Formula
This month had so many five st ar reads for me, which means anything that didn’t hit that mark doesn’t make the best books cut for May. Those books include…
- Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh — review in Your Book Friend
- The Emma Project by Sonali Dev— DNF
- Material Girl, Mystical World by Ruby Warrington — review in Your Book Friend
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