Hello again! Hopefully you’re having a good week so far. Today, I’m doing my first monthly wrap-up! In case you aren’t familiar with wrap-ups, at the end of each month I’ll talk briefly about all of the books I completed throughout the month and give them each a rating. Since I don’t post reviews for every single book I read, this will be the best way for you to read about all those other books I don’t review. If I have a longer review for any of them, I’ll post a link. And since it’s now June, it’s time to talk about everything I read in May!
1. Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire, Joan Pinkham, and Robin D.G. Kelley
My Rating: 4/5 stars
I read this for my world history class because it pertained to some of the ideas we were discussing about colonialism and colonization. This book focuses especially on struggles in Africa and Latin America and is critical of the hypocrisy of Western powers of the time. In the introduction, one of the authors states in regard to the piece, “It is poetry and therefore revolt…Destroying the old is just half the battle.” As an English major, I find this to be true with poetry in a majority of instances. That line made me think about the purpose of poetry as being something to call attention to problematic behavior but not necessarily expecting change just yet, only recognition. I actually ended up referring to this quote in one of my English classes as we discussed the poem “Power” by Audre Lorde with contained many themes that backed the statement. I enjoyed this book because it is historical (I love history), but also because it made several references to literary pieces that I had read and because I appreciate when themes in different classes overlap and connect. It was one of those “I read it at just the right time” kind of instances.
2. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
My Rating: 5/5 stars
The Raven Boys is the first book in the paranormal The Raven Cycle series, and I posted a complete review recently which you can read here. To be brief, I really enjoyed this book. Like, way more than I expected to. If you haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend you do that asap!
3. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Immediately after finishing The Raven Boys, I jumped into book #2 of The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves. Oooh man, this was a good one! I didn’t think it was possible for this book to be better than the first since that one was already amazing, but clearly I was wrong. It’s difficult to talk about this book without spoiling stuff since it is a sequel, but I will say that the characters become even more interesting and complex, and the plot becomes ten times crazier! I picked this up during finals week at school and was having such a hard time putting it down so that I could study or write essays – It basically took over my mind for the duration that I was reading it. I was in too deep. I cared too much about what happened to these characters. I almost started looking up spoilers because I could hardly read fast enough. I just wanted to know everything. Yeah, that’s how much I loved this book.
4. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
My Rating: 3/5 stars
Even though this novel was published in 2012, I read this for my 20th century American lit. class because my professor wanted to throw something a bit more modern into the mix. This Is How You Lose Her is a collection of stories centered around love and longing told by a Dominican narrator who has grown up believing all of the stereotypes that his own culture had conditioned him into. The narrator is unreliable and not always likable, but he is extremely honest. I enjoyed the writing style and the change from 20th century to modern lit. I can understand why many believe this novel to be important, but sometimes the narrator frustrated me too much. I also thought that some stories were more interesting than others. It was a decent novel, but not exactly memorable in the long run. If you’re interested in reading Latino literature, this could be a good one for you. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it either. It was just in the middle, hence the 3 star rating.
5. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Bet you saw this one coming, right? Yep, I read Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) once school finally got out for summer break. Not to sound repetitive, but I loved this book. Maggie Stiefvater is such an amazing story-teller. Often, there are my novels that I read and love, but then that’s it. Sometimes though, there are some (far fewer) novels that I read and then wish I had written. I have genuine writer envy over this series, let me tell you. This is my idea of the ideal series to get published. I just don’t understand how Maggie Stiefvater writes her characters so wonderfully. They are so unique, so complex, that it makes me hate my own writing. This sounds extreme, but I’m serious. I wish I wrote like Maggie. The fourth and final book in this series doesn’t come out until Feb. 2016, but I’m sure it will be just as fantastic. And if all this hasn’t convinced you to read The Raven Cycle, then I don’t know what else to say. Just go. Do it.
That’s it for May! I guess I really didn’t read too, too much, but that was mostly because of finals, and I hope to read a lot in June! A few books that I have lined up include A Clash of Kings (Book #2 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series) by George R.R. Martin, Into the Still Blue (Book #3 in the Under the Never Sky trilogy) by Veronica Rossi, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I’ll definitely read more, but these are the ones highest on my TBR list/ones I’ve already started.
Let me know what books you read in May and how you felt about them!
Until next time, keep reading and writing! – Veronica