5 min read
After having been in a bit of a reading slump, May was a great month for reading so far! I have come across some excellent books that made me think and inspired me to write. I love when I feel compelled to create after finishing a book. So here are the books I read in May!
“Unfollow” by Megan Phelps-Roper
After listening to “The Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling” and being utterly fascinated (I wrote a whole post abbot about it here) I decided to pick up Megan Phelps-Ropers memoir.
She describes her childhood, teenage years and early twenties in the Westboro Baptist church. She grew up surrounded by a wonderfully close-knit, loving community. However, the loving nature of the church was only for those on the inside. As a young girl Megan already takes part in hate-filled protests, targeting the gay community as well as soldiers and Jews.
Conversations on twitter and some internal shifts and struggles prompt Megan to question more and more of the beliefs she held for so long. Bit by bit, her faith unravels and she feels compelled to leave the Westboro Baptist church. Which also means leaving her family, her community, all the people she was ever close with.
The rest of the book describes how Megan starts to build a life for herself outside of the church and how she continues to grapple with questions of faith and how to live.
It’s a very compassionate and honest account of her story. She manages to paint a very complex picture of the people and leaders of Westboro: one hand very kind and loving people but on the other, also deeply flawed and lacking in humility. Like most people.
It is so easy to villainise people who are part of groups or hold beliefs we fundamentally disagree with. However, we often overlook our own biases and prejudices and fail to question our own beliefs and opinions.
“Unfollow” is really well-written, a gripping story and it deals so well with difficult topics. 5 stars.
“Happy Place” by Emily Henry
This was quite a different vibe! Happy place is a romance novel. Very summery, fun and heart-warming. It has a good, yet predictable plot (but romance novels always do).
The main character Hariet and her long-time boyfriend Wyn were the perfect couple. But six months ago their relationship ended. But they still haven’t told their closest friends. Now, they are all staying in a cottage in Maine together and Hariet and Wyn pretend to still be in love…
I have read quite a few books by Emily Henry. Even though I enjoyed this one, it is probably my least favourite of all of them. The friend characters that play kind of a big deal in the story all kind of merge into one for me. They don’t get quite enough backstory. I think the characters would have lend themselves well to a series, and each book focusing on one of the three girlfriends.
However, overall it was a really fun, enjoyable read. 4 stars!
“Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin
You guys. This book is so good!
(I cannot be bothered to type out the title again, so I shall shorten it to “Tomorrow x 3”).
The story of “Tomorrow x 3” start in a hospital. Sadie, 11 years old spends many days in a hospital, due to her sister suffering with Leukemia. After an argument she heads into the games room, whete she meets Sam. He is the same age, just lost his mother in a car crash and has an extremely injured foot. But they don’t talk about those things. The connect over their love for video games. Sadie starts visiting Sam regularly and they become good friends until they have a falling out.
Years later, both Sam and Sadie are at college. They reconnect. And suddenly there is the idea to create a video game together. So, over the summer they get to work. They are joined by Sam’s roommate Marx.
The game is a hit. They start a company. Have some successful and unsuccessful releases, while also going through more or less successful relationships and making a life for themselves.
Sam and Sadie have another falling out. And then something unforseen happens. It is dramatic but realistic and it breaks your heart.
The characters in this book are written so so so well. They are believable and life-like and complex and illogical. I have never encountered characters like it in any other fiction book.
The language is wonderful and even though I have no particular interest in video games I found the story super engaging and fascinating.
This gets all of the stars with some extra. The best book I read this year for sure.
“You could make this place beautiful – a Memoir” by Maggie Smith
I picked this book up because lots of people I follow online were talking about it. I had no idea what it was about and was quite surprised to see that it was about divorce.
Maggie Smith is a poet and you can tell by the way her memoir is written. She went through a harrowing divorce. The way she describes her feelings and how it all was for her is beautiful and raw and terrifying.
She somehow manages to hold this tension between taking responsibility for her part in the breakdown of her marriage without failing to lament the wrongdoings of her ex-husband.
Even though I am friends with a couple of people who have been through a divorce, this book really made me appreciate how awful it is for your life to break apart in that way. All the years you invested, all the dreams you had, everything you built – either gone or tinted.
There were many chapters that really made me think and it made me want to write! Something about Maggies beautiful writing just inspired me so much.
And that’s all the books I read in May. Have you been reading anything good lately? I always love to hear your recommendations!
This is Day 95 of my 100 Day Project. You can learn more about my 100 day project by reading this post. If you want to do your own 100 day Project, I would recommend checking out the 100 Day Project website.