Books Read in May 2016

May was another good reading month for me. I read seven novels and one book of memoirs.

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf – a book I’ve owned for years. Virginia Woolf’s first novel about a young woman’s search for life, love and the world, an intriguing book.  Woolf explores the nature of Rachel’s mind, her obsessions and beliefs and through it her own thoughts about depression, suicide, death and the meaning of life. A sad book.

Crystal Nights by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen, crime fiction that moves between events in Germany in 1938 to Kalum, a fictional village in Denmark, in the 1960s. a story of how evil touched so many lives with such terrible consequences and how by patience and perseverance the truth was revealed. I was carried away by the story.

Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter by Diana Athill – memories, thoughts and reflections on her life as she approaches her 100th year (she was born in 1917). Her love of life shines through this remarkable book. I loved it.

The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers (LB) – a beautiful book that I enjoyed immensely, beautifully written, with the character of Agnès Morel at its centre. There is a mystery about her origins and also about her life before she arrived in Chartres.

Inside of Me by Hazel McHaffie – an excellent book. Hazel McHaffie’s novels cover medical ethics issues and the issues in Inside of Me concern body image, in particular, but not exclusively, about anorexia; identity, and relationships. There is also a mystery concerning missing teenage girls.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley – a mixture of historical fact and fantasy set in Victorian times, both in London and Japan. Bombs, clockwork inventions, the London Underground, Gilbert and Sullivan and much more more make up this fantastical tale. I loved it both for its historical settings and for its ingenuity.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson – the story of Ruth and Lucille, orphans growing up in the small desolate town of Fingerbone in the vast northwest of America. I found this a melancholy tale about a dysfunctional family, a story of loneliness, loss, suicide, death, and transience. I liked it but it’s probably the least enjoyable book I read in May.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini – I loved this amazing book, not an easy read emotionally, but one that will live in my memory as one of the most devastating and heartbreaking stories I’ve read. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them – in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul – they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. (Goodreads summary)

My favourite books of the month are:

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini

Impossible to choose between them!

11 thoughts on “Books Read in May 2016

  1. I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns, and The Cleaner, I’ve never read Virginia Wolf, I shall have to rectify that, Thank You for your thoughts.


  2. You did have a good reading month, Margaret. And there’s a solid variety in what you read, too. I’m more keen than ever now to try The Watchmaker…, too.


  3. Looks like another great month of variety! I am particularly pleased to see The Watchmaker of Filigree Street as one of your favourite books of the month – I think it sounds so wonderful I have put it on my wish list. I can also sympathise this month because I too found it really hard to pick a favourite book of the month. In the end the wonderful, historical fiction Turn of the Tide got it 😀


  4. Sounds like a great month! So glad to hear you loved the Hosseini! I loved And the Mountains Echoed, and am really looking forward to The Kite Runner as part of my 20 Books.


  5. Alive, Alive Oh is going on my must read list–sounds marvelous. Likewise The Cleaner of Chartes and The Watchmaker of Filigree St–Thousand Splendid Suns is already on the list, and I’m planning on taking that one slow. Housekeeping is also on my list, but I can’t seem to get motivated to read it–there’s only so many downer books my poor psyche can take, which is why I don’t even try to read Virginia Woolf anymore 🙂 Thanks for a list of good books to check out!


  6. Oh – love the eclectic array of books you read. I’m slowly starting to branch out a bit more but still very (boringly) mainstream in my tastes!


  7. Oddly I was sure I’d commented here but it seems not… Anyway, what an excellent reading month you had! I really must get around to A Thousand Splendid Suns. Those who’ve read it seem to be very affected by it.


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