Reading Update: May


This month I managed to read quite a bit, whilst simultaneously working on my Masters thesis (yes, I’ve finally started! No, it’s not going too well). I decided to mix it up a bit and read a couple of graphic novels too. I had forgotten how much fun they are to read! So here’s my list of monthly reads. 

  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

I adored this novel and I’m still not really sure why. Even though plot development is rather slow and repetitive, I found the prose and the easy flow of the narrative to be so appealing. My only gripe is that it ends rather abruptly, not really a cliff-hanger, it just stops suddenly. Since it’s part of a quartet, I guess I’ll have to read the other books to find out what happens… 4/5 stars

  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I. Loved. This. Book! Probably the best fantasy novel I’ve ever read, it was seriously amazing! The characters are great (Vandemar and Croup have to be some of the best villians ever created. They’re seriously evil!), the setting is ingenious (London Below. Like the regular London but more complicated), and the plot is exciting (quite a few characters don’t seem to do what you expect them to do). What more can you ask for from a novel? 5/5 stars

  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

A brilliant sci-fi novel! Exciting, thought provoking, and nothing like I’ve ever read before. The novel follows a kid called Ender (it’s a nickname, you have to read the novel to find out why this is significant) who’s been delibrately bred to command Earth troops in a war against an alien race. This is definitely in my top ten list of favourite sci-fi novels (which is saying something since I read quite a lot of sci-fi and it’s super difficult to chose a favourite). 5/5 stars

  • Fortunate Slaves by Tom Lanoy

A lot happens in this novel. Drama, drama, drama. But it’s so great! The novel follows two men, both from Belgium, both called Tony Hanssen, both involved with some dodgy stuff, neither knows the other exists. Things go from bad to worse as the two men are thrown together by bizarre coincidence. 4/5 stars

  • Never Let Me Go by Kazou Ishiguro

I had managed to avoid this book since its release in 2005. People seemed to really like it, but it made them very very sad. If I know a book is going to make me cry I usually avoid it like the plague, so I had deliberately decided not to read this one, ever! As it turns out, I broke that promise this month. I had to read this novel for a university course, and, to be quite honest, I actually enjoyed it. It was melancholic and bitter-sweet, and it, thankfully, didn’t make me cry. Instead it made me think about what it means to be autonomous and in control of your own body and your own destiny. 3/5 stars

  • After Dark  by Haruki Murakami

This was a really addictive read, so much so that I read it in a couple of hours. The story unfolds in the space of one night and follows the varied ‘adventures’ of 19 year old Mari Asai. I particularly enjoyed the interaction between Mari and Takahashi, who plays the trombone (randomly significant) and speaks his mind. Typical of Murakami, there is also a fantasy element within the narrative, which provides more questions than answers, but that’s part of the reason why I enjoy reading his novels so much.  4/5 stars

  • An Unfinished Business by Boualem Sansal

Another fantastic novel from an Algerian author. The book follows two brothers who are half German and half Algerian, but grew up in France away from their parents. After their parent’s death, Rachel, the eldest brother, discovers his father’s sordid past as a member of the Nazi party. Rachel goes on a sort of pilgrimage to atone for his father’s sins during the events of WWII. Malrich, the younger brother, remains in their banlieue fighting against Islamic extremism which has become a threat due to the mass immigration of Algerians to France. The novel successfully links the Algerian civil war, the events of the Holocaust, and cultural/religious tensions in France in a way that is both educational and very emotional. I highly recommend! 4/5 stars

  • Guardians Team Up – Guardians Assemble by Brian Michael Bendis

I was given this comic/graphic novel as a gift from a friend who acknowledges and supports my love for all things Marvel. It’s the perfect gift because it contains some of my favourite Marvel characters: The Guardians of the Galaxy (Rocket Raccoon is so bad-ass!), The Avengers, and The X-Men (my all time favourites). I really enjoyed reading all the different stories, and in particular, I loved the artwork! 4/5 stars

  • Talisman by Carla Speed McNeil

The images in this graphic novel are so beautiful – part of the reason why I bought it in the first place. It’s about the power of stories and the magic of reading, both things that I  can really relate too. 4/5 stars

  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

I enjoyed this novel enough to read it in one sitting, but it left me feeling unsatisfied and confused. It follows Tony Webster, a man who is trying to piece together the events of his past in order to understand the strange circumstances in his present. Problem is, nothing is really understood and that was rather furstating for me. But, it was a pretty decent novel and I particularly liked the engaging prose. 3/5 stars

  • Habibi by Craig Thompson

The artwork in this book was simply gorgeous but the story wasn’t quite cutting it for me. The essence of the plot – two orphans struggle to survive together, get ripped apart, and are then finally reunited – was touching. However, the sexual violence, misogyny, and stereotyping was a bit too much for me and I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I hoped.This is definitely a visual masterpiece, but it lacks in the narrative department. 3/5 stars

  • A Palace in the Old Village by Tahar Ben Jelloun

This Moroccan novel discusses immigration, Islam, and the clashing contrasts between French and Moroccan values. This is all shown through the way the protagonist, Mohammed, interacts with his children, his family back in Morocco, and the people he meets in France. It was touching, captivating, and a little heartbreaking. I can’t wait to read more from Jelloun! 4/5 stars

  • Headhunters by Jo Nesbo

I really like Nesbo’s style of writing; it’s exciting, fast paced, and clever. This crime novel involves stolen paintings and murder – definitely my cup of tea. The overall plot was a little disappointing though, not nearly as intricate as I thought it was going to be. Even though I did rather enjoy this novel, it’s nowhere near as good as The Redbreast (another Nesbo novel that I read in February this year). 3/4 stars

That’s all of them! What did you read this month? Anything you’d recommend?


9 thoughts on “Reading Update: May

  1. I read an array of different novels but the two that stick out the most for me are: To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I aim to read between four-six books every week, if possible. It helps being a speed reader.


    1. 4-6 books a week! That’s impressive 🙂
      To The Lighthouse is on my TBR list. Hopefully I’ll get to that soon.
      I have read The Bluest Eye though, multiple times, and I think it’s amazing. I should really try to read more of Morrison’s novels. Have you read anything else by her?


      1. It helps being a speed reader. I’ve read Jazz by Toni Morrison, it’s very intriguing and thought provoking, but I liked The Bluest Eye much more. I’m finishing Adolescence by Fyodor Dostoyevsky today. Crime And Punishment is incredibly well written and depicted, but the animation and emotional resonance in Adolescence is unmatched. Have a wonderful Wednesday.

        Liked by 1 person

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