Books that I read in May 2021
The summer months have always meant more reading for me. But that wasn’t the case this year. May saw me hitting a kind of reading slump or rather a shortened attention span that made me look for shorter reads. The books that I read in May 2021 were quite diverse (or I’d like to think so). I never got around to posting my reading wrap up in May earlier, but I really wanted to write this. So here are the books that I read in May 2021.
1.Mr. Portobello’s Morning Paper by Amanda Prowse
Since I was on the lookout for shorter titles and I had also just gotten a Kindle Unlimited Subscription, this was one of the first titles that I picked up.
Sophia Perkins finally realizes her dream of opening her own secondhand bookstore after leaving her job as a schoolteacher. She is still coping with the loss of her parents and feels lonely. The bookstore seems to be the only thing that makes her happy, but business is also slow.
What she looks forward to each day are visits by Mr. Portobello- the former occupant of the shop that is now her bookstore. The old man has a charm of his own and slowly they become good friends. During their daily conversations Mr. Portobello makes Sophia question everything about her life. While she is trying to make sense of all the things that are happening in her life, suddenly Mr. Portobello’s visits stop and then Sophia is in for a surprise!
This was a heartwarming tale. Often, we take for granted the things in our lives. We focus on things that we don’t have or all the things that could’ve been. Often, we think about other’s lives being better than hours, that we do not realize what the other person has been through. This is one book that reminds us to be grateful, to make the best of what we have rather than thinking about what could have been.
My rating: 4/5
2.The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
It had been a while since I read an Agatha Christie book and her books have always gotten me out of a rut! This time was no different!
Two deaths happen within hours of each other in the otherwise peaceful village of King’s Abbot. The widow Ferrars is found dead and the reason is found to be a drug overdose. And then, Roger Ackroyd-the man whom she was planning on marrying is found murdered.
There is murder, blackmail, suicide, and a lot of secrets! This is brilliantly written crime fiction. The characters, their alibis and how new information comes to light is all so well done. Though I figured out who the murderer might be when I had finished reading two-thirds of the book, this book kept hooked till the end!
My rating: 5/5
3.The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
This book was just the kind of book I needed to read at that point in time because I needed a feel-good book, and this was just that.
Nina loves books, has a world class planner in which she tries to fit in a lot of things, works at a bookstore, is a part of a trivia team and has a cat. This is just the way she wants her life to be. But then things change.
She gets to know that the father she never knew has died and that she has a lot of relatives living close by. When she meets them- some she likes, and they like her, and others are not so welcoming. And there is Tom- the guy from a rival trivia team whom she likes. And suddenly Nina’s quiet life becomes a busy one with so many new people.
How will she deal with the knowledge of the death of the father she never knew? How will she deal with the drama of have a big family where not all everyone is accepting of her? And will she tell Tom about how she feels?
Though I love books as much as Nina does and I have a planner that I rarely use, I did not connect to Nina’s character much, but I still found myself rooting for her. Her journey of learning to deal with all the changes around her, accept her own emotions was beautiful.
The style of this book is funny. I listened to the audiobook and it felt right to be the kind of book to listen as an audiobook (if you know what I mean).
My rating: 4/5
4.The Cleaners by Ken Liu
My search for shorter reads led me to this one. The Cleaners by Ken Liu is a short story about the memories and a little bit of magic.
There is Gui who cannot feel memories himself but scrubs off all the memories from his customers belongings. There are sisters Clara and Beatrice – one who does not want to retrieve memories and one is ultra-sensitive to memories.
They live in a world where emotions and memories exist on objects that belong to or are around people. When the person is no longer there, their feelings can be felt by anyone who picks these objects. This being the case it is hard to forget things from the past that people would like to forget and they need to get help from a professional who is blind to these memories to rid the objects of the pervious owner/user.
This short story offers an interesting perspective about memories- what we would like to hold on to and what are the things that we would like to forget. Sometimes the memories that we would like to cherish may slowly fade away with the passage of time and the unpleasant ones surface when we least expect. So how then do we deal with it all?
My rating: 4/5
5.Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
I like Japanese Mysteries for their suspense, and I like other books translated from Japanese for their quirk!
Keiko is different from others. She has been this way since she was a child. She never understood the need to conform to the norms of the society. She doesn’t like doing things the way others do them but is forced to live in a certain way and follow what others do just so that people like her.
When she finds a job as a convenience store worker, she feels like a different person now, like she has been reborn. She is no longer just Keiko but Keiko, the convenience store worker. And she goes on doing this job for 18 long years because she is comfortable the way things are. But the society isn’t.
As she is almost 40, people begin to ask her how she can continue working as a convenience store worker and why hasn’t she gotten married yet. These aren’t things that really trouble her but when everyone asks her about it, she feels that she is doing something wrong. She even tries to pretend that she is in a relationship so that people don’t think something is wrong with her.
This a funny, yet thought provoking read. It is sad and disturbing in parts too. Sometimes fitting in to norms of the society isn’t easy. Sometimes what may not seem right may be just right for someone else.
I kept thinking about Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine when I read this. But this felt more realistic.
My rating: 4/5
6.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling:
When going through a slump, pick out your old favorites and read. That is the reason why I picked this up yet again! And, also because the Kindle in motion edition was available as a part of Kindle Unlimited so I decided to read it for that experience.
I am not going to write about the book itself because it is my comfort read and I have lost the count of the number of times I have read it! But reading the Kindle in motion edition was fun! It made parts of the story come alive! The illustrations are lovely and add to the reading experience.
That being said, I wouldn’t pick up a lot of Kindle in Motion books. This is mainly because I read mostly before I go to bed and reading on an iPad isn’t great if you want to get proper sleep. But maybe on a gloomy weekend, when you feel like meeting your favourite characters this would be great!
7.A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This is another one of my favourite reads. The first time I read it, it took my while to get into the book and begin to appreciate the story. But reading it for the second time made me realize some parts that I’d overlooked, reminded me again of some of my favourite quotes and made it worth reading it again.
Ove lives alone in his house. He has now lost his job, the only thing that kept him going after the death of his wife. Ove is grumpy. He likes routine, he likes the old way of doing things and he is quick to lose his temper. And then he has new neighbors who make him angry, annoyed, maybe sad at times but also loved!
This is beautiful story with some really interesting characters- Fredrik Backman’s books always have interesting characters! This book has made me laugh and made me cry. Please read it if you haven’t already and if you have read it, read it again!
My rating: 5/5
Those were the books that I read in May 2021. Most of them are short reads that you can finish reading in a few hours. I was a slow reader in May and so it took me a while to get through these. I now realized that most of the books that I read in May have a person’s name in the title.
Did you find any of your favourites here? Or are you planning on reading any of these? Or are there any books that you would like me to read based on these books? Let me know!
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