From the Bookshelves of May 2014

06.1.14 / may books
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that all of the books I read in May were by women? And it was completely unplanned, but it makes me pretty happy, especially considering I liked each book I read. It also looks like I’m about on track for my goal for the year, so overall this month is turning out to be a pretty good roundup. I think overall I’d recommend every book I read this month. They each had something to offer and were just intriguing.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

I saw this pop up a lot on tumblr after it came out, but I didn’t have a huge idea of what it was actually about, so when I saw it at the library I gave it a look, and while I wasn’t falling all over myself over it, I was interested enough to give it a shot (especially for free). Previous experience told me Anderson was pretty reliable for quality, and The Impossible Knife of Memory lived up to expectations. It’s a heavy book (much like the majority of what I read for the month), but I thought it was handled wonderfully, though I can’t speak from experience.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I will completely admit that I read this because the movie is coming out soon. Before I saw the trailer for the film, I knew very little about the plot, but after, I was more than a little intrigued. I was also surprised to find the book was much shorter than I was expecting when I picked it out, but I think I find that a little more impressive than making it a four-hundred-page novel. It stuck to the point, which I think helped make the novel stronger. My only complaint was that it made me even more terrified of driving, but I guess I’m willing to take that in exchange for such a wonderful piece of work.

Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block

Picked up on a whim at the library because I had actually planned on getting a copy to go with Dangerous AngelsPink Smog was a nice break between the heavier books of the month. Not that it was without its own serious moments, but the Weetzie Bat novels tend to be more fanciful (on the surface). It was a good emotional break from death and alcoholism and abuse and a lot of the hard topics in other books I read through May.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Love Letters to the Dead was an absolutely beautiful book. It caught my eye at the bookstore with its beautiful dark blue cover, and after I read the synopsis, I was hooked. Love letters to famous old people like Kurt Cobain, Judy Garland, Amy Winehouse, and so many others? Count me in. But underneath the clever classic pop culture references was a somewhat dark-but-touching story. There were rough parts, and I had to skim paragraphs at one point because it was just really tough to read, but it was wonderful nonetheless.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

This one was tough to get into when I started it, not because there was anything wrong with it, but because each time Dorothy was described, I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of adorable Judy Garland turning into something as vile as the Dorothy in the book. It definitely grew on me as I went, though, and I kind of can’t wait for the next book (because, spoiler, it’s going to be a series). I think this is such a creative twist on the story, exactly for the reason why it was strange to me at first: no one would expect Dorothy to become the villain. She’s so innocent, naive. I definitely wouldn’t consider it “Oz canon,” because I like my Dorothy to be a gentle farm girl, but it’s still an awesome twist on the original.

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