If April was the month of readathons, May is the month of MORE readathons and attempting to read as much as I can, being at home and doing nothing other than playing games on my Nintendo Switch. I also participated in the Asian Readathon hosted by the Youtuber Cindy @ Readbycindy. You can check out the prompts and links here.
I was so excited when this came in the mail! I haven’t bought a book online in a while, and although normally I would buy from Book Depository because they are cheaper, lately I’ve been preferring my local English-language bookstore called American Book Center. Mainly because I am a member and can get 10% discount, but also I want to support them during this hard time. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time, since everybody loved it for its beautiful writing and courtroom drama premise. Also, that cover is just gorgeous.
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
My second Gillian Flynn, and though not my favourite, it was still a really thrilling novel. I read this during my week-long readathon and read it as an audio, which I quite enjoyed. The main character is a feisty woman who survived a massacre on her own home, killing her two sisters and mother. The suspect, her brother, went to jail, and twenty-something years later, some events began to uncover the truth behind that night. We also follow other perspectives throughout different timelines, even towards the night of the murder. It is a combination of thrilling moments, great characters and plot twists that are super exciting to read. As usual with Flynn’s stories, they are very dark and I loved it.
Laut Bercerita by Leila S. Chudori
I’ve said it before to so many people who will listen when I first read Pulang, and I will say it once again: Leila Chudori is a genius! The book stars our quiet protagonist: Laut, also meaning “sea”, and sharing the title of the book which both means “the sea tells a story” or “Laut – the character – tells a story”. He is a passionate young man living his life in university, with a fire ignited when he meets a woman activist student, and joins their group of friends who love Indonesia and want to see a difference in its government.
Yes, this is a very fictionalized and sometimes romanticized version of what happened only a little more than two decades ago. But the essence that I think the author wanted to tell is us that yes, these are human beings, and yes they have families and people who still have questions until today. The disappearance of these men and the effect they have on Indonesian history, the lives of younger university students, their lovers, and of course their parents and siblings, span so far out that it is important for people like me, a normal Indonesian person going on their normal lives, to acknowledge it and be aware of it. The fact that it is still a mystery to us until today, and maybe will still remain a mystery. Beautiful writing, touching moments and strong characters. I would highly recommend this to everyone.
This also completes the prompt for the Asian Readathon: Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to. The author is an Indonesian woman and I am also one.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Goodreads review | Blog post coming soon
An immigrant family, a couple whose marriage is falling apart, a mother who is told by the world that she hates her son, a daughter wanting to come back to her home country… and one murder, one night where everything falls apart. One year after the horrible fire incident in a treatment facility owned by a Korean family, all the victims and suspects gather in the court hearing, and we hear their story of what happened that day, and all the days before and after.
As someone who used to read a lot of John Grisham, I loved the thrill of the courtroom scenes. But behind that we also have a lot of flashback, digging deep into the characters’ past, and I felt like those parts also shine in this story. Angie Kim is a master storyteller and I just loved every page of this book.
This also completes the prompt for the Asian Readathon: Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you. The author is an American with Korean background.
Educated by Tara Westover
Yet another amazing book this month! I was super excited to find out that my library reopened, and I was very happy to be able to reserve this book and pick it up several weeks ago. Everyone of course have been raving about this memoir, about a woman who was raised by survivalist Mormons and was not given the normal childhood as we all did, but rose up against the confines of her home to receive an education and find her independence.
I loved this book for its bravery and honesty. So many aspects of Tara’s life was not relatable to me at all, but I felt like I knew and cared for Tara from what she had been through. Such a mind-opening and interesting life that makes me inspired to work hard the way she does. I would highly recommend this to everyone.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Goodreads review coming up soon
I bought this book more than a year ago secondhand, not knowing anything about it. I really enjoyed Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger, but was a little intimidated by this one because it is over 500 pages long. Set in England after the war, the story focuses on a woman who lives in an old house, most of her family died from the war and her and her mother needing extra money to maintain her house. Therefore they accepted two paying guests, a young couple who at first seem vastly different from her and her life. Yet the lives of our landlady and the wife began to intertwine into friendship.
I really liked the premise of the story, and as always Sarah Waters’s writing is beautiful and slow. However I felt like the book was hugely divided into two, each other being vastly different in tone and pace from each other. Overall the story felt overly long, dragged out, especially in the beginning. I though the characters were very well written though, especially our main characters, but the plot was a bit weak by the end of the book. It could’ve gone so many ways in the middle, but the author chose a path for the story that was odd and frankly, out of place. A very interesting read and I’m glad I read it, but not one that stuck to me very well.
I still have one more book for my Asian readathon that I unfortunately didn’t complete, which is Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chung. I am reading it in audiobook format, but lately I haven’t had much time or interest to read in audio format so I mostly preferred reading physical books. However I am really enjoying the story so far and I hope to finish it soon.
Additionally I’m also currently reading Ship of Destiny, the final book of the Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb. I’ve been in a fantasy mood lately so I’m resolving myself to finish this trilogy in June. I love Robin Hobb’s world, and the story of Althea and Brashen and all the liveships in the trilogy. It is definitely a chunky book so I will probably spend most of my month reading this one.
What did you all read in May? Share with me your wrap up post in the comments so I can check out your wonderful reads as well. Let’s spread the love and positivity throughout all blogs!