I finally made it to the library! 😀
My normal practice when I move to a new place is to introduce myself to the nearest library the first chance I get, but since I’ve already lived in Towson and know the library I just couldn’t seem to get it together long enough to visit for almost the first three months. Then last Saturday I finally got organized and hotfooted it to the library (getting rear-ended in the process – but that is another story), and the parking garage is………….really different from what I was remembering. On the other hand, the last time I set foot in that library was probably about 15 years ago, so it’s been a while, and at least the library validates parking. At any rate the interior of the library was still more or less the same as I remembered, with the addition of self-checkouts and a quiet social space for teens, and I promptly made off with probably more books than I can read in the next three weeks.
May Reading Stats
- The Stranger – Albert Camus
- Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath – Bill Browder
- Daughter of the Moon Goddess – Sue Lynn Tan
- Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice – Bill Browder
- Pachinko – Min Jin Lee
- Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 – Nam-Joo Cho
Total Pages Read: 2,047
‘Twas a good month. It took me a little while to get off the ground (or off my 3DS, as case may be, because I’ve been playing Pokémon X in French and rememorizing all the French names has really been a drag), but I’m going to go ahead and say I think the worst of the reading slump is over. I’ve probably just jinxed myself right back into Slumpsville, but I’m feeling optimistic. As usual, I have a lot of planned reviews lined up, and have not started any of them. Regardless, I’m actually moderately proud because I managed to restrict to myself to one reread this month, which was The Stranger.
The Stranger was part of my on-again, off-again campaign to reread all the books I can remember reading in grade school (for which I naturally have a list), because I wasn’t the most literature-positive kid. I’m also a card-carrying procrastinator, which means I winged it on the essays and often didn’t finish the assigned reading in time for the test. And, no, I was not a delightful student. That being said, The Stranger was one of my very favorite books and I actually did read it in its entirety, and I cannot believe how long it has taken me to pick it up a second time.
And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this is apparently the world we live in now: the Bill Browder books were fascinating. I’ll admit the high finance crap went right over my head, but that’s a me problem because I’ve never understood high finance anyway. The financial escapades were an important part of both books, but they were integrated into the overall narrative in such a way that I didn’t get lost, and they laid out the main story – the background of the Magnitsky Act, and then the struggle to get it enacted – very effectively. I got so into these books that I ordered a copy of the Mueller Report. I haven’t read it yet because it’s like 800 pages, but it’s on my shelf. I highly recommend both books, though if you read them you should really start with Red Notice because I didn’t and I’m mildly sad that I read them out of sequence.
The Diary of a Bookseller
Current rating: 5 stars. If I ever snap and run off to the countryside to buy a bookshop in a small town y’all gonna know what happened because this book is coming with me :’D This one has actually been slow going for me (I started it about a month ago), partly because I keep getting distracted by other books and forgetting to read it, but also because I don’t feel like I need to rush through it. I love the narrative voice. I love that Bythell has an ongoing war with one of his employees, a Jehovah’s Witness who keeps moving the evolution books into the fiction section while he keeps moving the Bible into the novels section. I don’t particularly love that he keeps adding to my TBR, but you can’t have everything and I am going to try to read both Any Human Heart and Dead Souls this year. Dead Souls might happen first, since I already have that anyway.
The Cat Who Saved Books
Current rating: 5 stars. THIS BOOK IS SO CUTE. It relates the trials and tribulations of one Rintaro Natsuki, a bookish Japanese high school student who recently lost his grandfather and is now facing the inevitable closure of Natsuki Books, the secondhand bookshop owned by said grandfather. Into the middle of this perfect storm of woe saunters Tiger the Tabby, a sardonic talking cat who rescues books from unworthy owners. (My mom said the cat reminded her of me, and I have no idea why.) So far Tiger has dragged Rintaro along on two book-saving quests, and he’s done splendidly. Aside from Rintaro’s reluctant adventures, the book also offers some lovely observations on reading, books, and the role of literature in modern life. I am slightly disappointed that only Western books have been name-dropped so far, aside from a very brief mention of Osamu Dazai’s Run, Melos!, and am hoping that will change. Western literature is so pervasive in this book that I almost wonder if those works were inserted in place of Japanese works during translation.
April Showers Bring May Book Hauls
You guys, I’m so proud. We are now in the second week of June, and as of this writing I haven’t bought a single book this month. However, I’m here to talk about May, not June, and at the end of May I did go slightly crazy.
This is literally why I work, so I can wander through a bookstore and pick up whatever I want and take it home with me. On this particular occasion I had a Memorial Day coupon to burn, so I don’t feel as bad about blowing through my imaginary budget, but, well, my book habit is definitely not cheap. T___T (I didn’t even know what I was looking for when I went to the store. This all just sort of happened.)