153/2024 – Books I’ve Read in May 2024

I’m sure I mentioned earlier this month, that I stopped rating the books on a 1-5 stars or any other scale. Inspired by something Christian wrote here (in German). In May I’ve read 12 books! To be fair 11.75, because I just finished the last one today, but I’ll count that as a May book. Four of the 12 – 33% – also were super short stories, which only count as “book”, because they are released as standalone ebook, I think. Anyway.

Books lined up on a sofa: The first 4 of the Chronicles of St. Mary's, Ties that Tether, The Violin Conspiracy, The Guncle
Some of the books I’ve read this month

Even if I don’t rate book as such anymore, I’ll now share them in order of how much I enjoyed reading them. Favourite first, obviously.

The Guncle, Steven Rowley, 2021
I came across this one through a recommendation (on Instagram?) for the sequel and of course I thought I should start with this (first) one. I didn’t read the summary too carefully or I would have clocked that tragedy equals tears. Lots of tears on my part. OMG. Maybe it was a book I needed right now. It’s not just sad though, far from it, it’s also very funny and warm and life-affirming. Definitely one of my favourite reads this year so far.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, Jodi Taylor, 2013 – 2023
I’ve read the first 4 (of 14) so far plus the forementioned short stories between those books, which make up 8 of the 12. I won’t include all the reviews for all the books here. I very much enjoy exploring this universe and the trips up and down (mostly down) the timeline of our history. Reading them back to back can be a bit overwhelming though, because stories and plot tend to blend in to each other. Starting with different worlds / universes in book 4 didn’t help to make it less confusing, but it’s been a lot of fun so far.

What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez, Claire Jiménez, 2023
This was a powerful story about siblings and families and also for me a valuable insight into the difficult life of a Puerto Rican family in the US, doing their best to get by. It’s mostly told from the point of view of Ruthy’s older and younger sisters and while the drive of the story of course was to find Ruthy or get her back, we also learned a lot about what it is like to grow up in the US, when you’re not part of the white middle-class. It also made me feel sad for all the thousands or more “Ruthy’s” who disappear every year in the US and elsewhere. I thought the whole reality show bit – including the showdown – was a bit over-the-top and often silly. I don’t know anything about the current state of reality shows., though. Maybe they actually are like that.

The Violin Conspiracy, Brendan Slocumb, 2022
I enjoyed this one for the most part as a story of a young black man who overcomes many obstacles to succeed in the classical music world. I’m well aware that it’s a privileged perspective to say that the blatant racism he faces (based on real life experience of the author) surprised and shocked me. And it broke my heart from time to time. I don’t know a lot about classical music, but I tried to listen to the pieces that are mentioned in this novel while reading it and I enjoyed that as well. The ending of the story left me a bit underwhelmed though, to find out who stole the violin and why. But all in all an entertaining and informative read for me.

The Great Divide, Cristina Henríquez, 2024
I had written a review, accidentally deleted it (long story) and couldn’t be bothered to type it all again. I enjoyed learning more about that period of time in that region of the world. On the one hand I liked the writing and the various points of views and the small insights into the people’s past and future. On the other hand there were so many people and points of view, that it was hard to get attached to anyone.

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