Monday, May 31, 2021

Goodbye May, Hello June - Month in Review

May was a good month up until Memorial Day Weekend made it a bust. 3-days of heavy rain and cold 50 degree temps certainly put a damper and canceled our outdoor plans.  The bad news is most of the coming week looks like rain as well.  (Those April flowers bring May flowers arrived a month late here). 

Our thanks and appreciation to all who served
our country, we are forever grateful.

In May we caught up on a new series for 2021 called: Mare of Easttown starring Kate Winslet (which we loved) and, we disappointed to learn in the season finale of This is Us that there will be just one more season of the series.

Good news was that my book group met in person at the park to discuss Normal People, Sally Rooney which I read in 2019 and thought was good but not great. I didn't read it a second time just reviewed my notes but, I was surprised that only (1) person in my group liked the book. I'm guessing it was because the story involves an exasperating college-age couple and most everyone in the group is 65+ and most really disliked the characters and their failure to communicate.  Have you read this book?

June's book is one I haven't read and heard was very good: Before We Were Yours; Lisa Wingate. 

May Reading

Here's a breakdown:

  1. The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida; Clarissa Goenawan - 4.5/5 Setting: Japan (May)
  2. The Story of Joe Biden: A Biography for New Readers; Frank Berrios - NF - 5/5
  3. The Story of Climate Change: A First Book About How We Can Help Save the Planet; Barr & Williams - NF - 5/5
  4. If Cats Disappeared From the Earth; Genki Kawamura - 4/5 Setting: Japan
  5. The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America's Wildlands; Jon Billman - NF - 4/5
  6. Hour of the Witch; Chris Bohjalian - 3.5/5 Setting: MA
  7. The Perfect Daughter; D.J Palmer - 4/5 Setting: MA
  8. What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience & Healing: Oprah Winfrey & Dr. Bruce D. Perry - 4/5
  9. The Nightingale; Kristin Hannah - 4.5/5  Setting: France
  10. The Plot; Jean Hanff Korelitz - 4/5  Setting: NY, VT
  11. Cold Caller; Jason Starr - 4.5/5 Setting: NY
  12. Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; Jeff Gottesfeld - 5/5
  13. One Two Three; Laurie Frankel - 4/5  Setting: MA
  14. The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye; Jane Yolen - 4.5/5
  15. Family Reunion; Nancy Thayer - 5/5 - Setting: Nantucket, MA
  16. Under the Wave at Waimea; Paul Theroux - 3/5 Setting: Hawaii
  17. What Comes After; JoAnne Tompkins - 4/5 Setting: WA 


READING: My reading choices for May were mostly winners with just a few so so books.

I read (17) books.

(4) children's books

(13) Fiction

(4) Non Fiction

(7) print books - (7) from my shelves of which (5) were sent by publishers and (2) I purchased.

(6) audio books - (3)  library  download and (3) publisher download (0) purchased

(4) eBooks/eGalleys/ARCs - (3) publisher (1) purchase

(8) female authors  (YTD) (62)

(9) male authors     (YTD) ( 24)

YTD Total (86)

Countries traveled to through the books I've read:  France,  Japan  (2X).

US States NY (2X), MA (4X) WA, OR, VT and HI.

June Plans (plus a few as the spirit moves me titles)
  1. Heaven; Mieko Kawakami
  2. When the Stars Go Dark; Paula Mclain
  3. Count the Ways; Joyce Maynard
  4. The Music of Bees; Eileen Garvin
  5. The Disappearing Act; Catherine Steadman
  6. Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz; Gail Crowthers
  7. Six Weeks to Live; Catherine McKenzie
  8. The Photographer; Mary Dixie Carter
  9. Haven Point; Virgina Hume
  10. That Summer; Jennifer Weiner
How did your month of May go? Any exciting plans for June?


  1. Have not read Normal People but am intrigued after reading your review. Looks like you've a great reading month in May! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on The Disappearing Act and Six Weeks to Live.

  2. Hi Melody, I wished Normal People had been more popular among our group, but, most felt they didn't like or couldn't relate to the characters and their issues.

  3. How disappointing that your book club book was a bust. Other than that, you had a fantastic month of reading.

    1. I know:( It does seem that our group (not necessarily me) does better with historical novels, and NF.

  4. Fantastic job on reading!!! Happy June!

  5. You do find lots of really good 4 or 5 books! We will always remember our heroes, always.

    1. I've been lucky but, I tend to do some research before taking the plunge:)

  6. Diane, you had a great reading May. I agree with you about Normal People ... it was okay but not great. I found the characters exasperating too. Sorry to hear about your rainy weather - we just got out of that (finally)! Your June reading looks good ... I'm hoping get to the Paula McLain novel soon too. We can compare notes ... ha.

    1. Thanks Susan. Yes, the weather was a total disappointment but, thank goodness for having plenty to read.

  7. My family and friends in NY are all complaining about the weather this weekend, too. My poor brother is out camping in the Adirondack Mountains - yuck! Glad your book club got to meet in person. I liked Normal People more than you (loved the audio production) but the characters drove me nuts... maybe I'm too old to appreciate them, lol. I haven't read Before We Were Yours either, but my mother loved it. You had a great reading month in May and some interesting titles planned for June.

    1. The one person that really loved Normal People listened to the audio (she's Irish too) and LOVED it. Hope June is a good month for you.

  8. Nice selection of books! I haven't read Normal People, but since I enjoy YA novels, I don't think the age group would bother me. On the other hand, I do get tired of exasperating people.

    1. Jen, perhaps if you don't mind reading about college-age drama this might work for you. I wanted the individuals to communicate (root of their issues) but it didn't happen.

  9. Lots of good books! If Cats Disappeared From The Earth and Family Reunion are on my list to read.

    I see a few others I want to check into.

  10. Thanks for sharing the series with Kate Winslet. I will look for it.

    I was disappointed with Normal People. It’s probably my age. Nice that you were able to get together at the park to discuss the book.

    1. Deb, The Kate Winslet role is a very different one for her but, it's a very good series. Normal People would appeal more to a younger audience or people with college age kids perhaps.

  11. Excellent reading month you had. I haven't read Normal People either. Like your other over 65 members I think I might find myself a bit exasperated with the couple in it.

  12. We had friends over for the first time on over a year yesterday (outside) and it was perfection. I so needed it. Our book group read Before We Were Yours a few years ago, so good! Make sure you read some of the true stories after, it's crazy.

    1. How nice Stacy, any easing back into a more normal life is a good thing.

  13. Wow, you read a lot in May! I only read six books (two were audios). That's the lowest monthly total for me in years! Life has become busy. I'm not complaining but I missed my reading time!

    1. I like busy but not too much. Life was rather boring in May for the most part. I am looking forward to the girls getting out of school in a few weeks.

  14. May is a big blur. I think from here on out my months will all blur together until the girl leaves for college.

    I missed our first in-person book club meeting due to senior award night. I believe we are meeting in person this month but maybe not. The host for this month has some health issues so it might be Zoom again.

    My reading was pretty good but over the weekend, while we were in Palm Springs, my reading time was spent at the pool and those lovely retired folks are starved for interaction so we had lovely conversations for hours!! My kindle was set to the side whenever this happened. Tonight, graduation so this week will be a catch up week for me. Just try to catch up when I have a moment to do so.

    1. I can understand how the summer will be different for you and the family. I can't wait to meet in person again and today was our 3rd meal out and it felt delightful. Funny, about the seniors taking you away from my reading. It's weird I almost never initiate beach conversation with strangers yet, if they do I blab and blab and blab...LOL

  15. You can send that rain out to Oregon! We are already entering our dry period and the fire season has begun. :( I am sorry your outdoor plans were cancelled, though.

    We finished watching Mare of Easttown, which we thought was outstanding. Kate Winslet was exceptionally good in her role, but the supporting cast members were also great. I enjoyed it so much, I might have to watch it again. I have my fingers crossed for a second season, but everything I've read makes that wish doubtful. I'm also catching up on This Is Us and have enjoyed this current season, but haven't watched the finale. I think I'll be ready for things to wrap up and come to an end after next year. I feel like it's run its course.

    Yes, I read Normal People (on audio) and thought it was awful! In a nutshell: A weak (almost nonexistent) plot with tedious details of everyday occurrences. Unlikable, unrelatable and annoying characters. Angst-ridden and navel-gazing young adults who are in an on-again-off-again relationship that made absolutely no sense to me.
    (my full review is here)

    Now, I did enjoy Before We Were Yours, which I read with my book group. I gave that one a 4.5/5 rating.

    You sure got a lot read in May. Sadly, I only managed to finish two books and they were both duds!

    Hope your weather improves soon!

    1. Les, I wished I could have sent some of the rain your way. Now the upcoming weekend will bring 90 degree temps - can't win lately although, today was lovely.

      Mare of Easttown was awesome and hoping for a Season 2. I agree with you about This is Us. My favorite series is The Good Daughter, have you watched it? Highly recommended. We also loved a 6-episode series called Your Honor (Bryan Cranston) on Showtime - awesome as well.

      LOL - you nailed the comments echoed on Normal People from my book group. Glad you enjoyed Before We Were Your, I know Stacy did as well. Hope you find a couple good books in June and hope you try Family Reunion, I just loved it.

    2. Thanks for the recommendation for The Good Daughter. I've added it to my list (at the top, so I don't forget about it!) and will give it a try next month after we are back home. I think we already have Your Honor on the list, but I'm glad to hear that it's also a winner.

      I gave up on another book this week (The Overstory). I may have to focus on mysteries while we're camping since they hold my interest much better than heavy novels.

    3. Sorry Les, that was supposed to read "The Good Doctor." LOL Overstory sits on my shelves, waiting for the spirit to move me to read it.

    4. :) I'll make the correction to my list!

  16. I'm sorry to hear the plans for Memorial Day didn't go as planned due to the rain but wow, to be able to be back with your book group is wonderful! Little by little there are signs that we are moving to normalcy right? You had a great reading month and hope June will be just as great!


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