What I Read in May

Abbott #2, #3, & #4 by Saladin Ahmed – As I’ve mentioned before, Abbott is my first foray into single-issue comic-reading. I didn’t mean to let three issues pile up, but I was sort of glad I had! Comic books are so tiny and I loved being able to spend more time with this story by reading all 3 of these in one sitting.

Hey Ladies by Michelle Markowitz & Caroline Moss was just as funny as everyone says it is.  If you liked the column on The Toast (RIP) or have ever been involved in a wedding, you’ll laugh. I think a lot about how perfect the ending was. It’s worth noting that there’s a lot of humor about body-related stuff (extreme diet/exercise) – all of it comes from a good place, but if that’s something you need to avoid, be aware.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows means I’ve obviously finished my series re-read! I’d started it right around Christmas, so it took longer than I predicted. This is definitely the book I’ve read the fewest times and I was kind of amazed at how many parts I just didn’t remember. I skipped the epilogue, as is correct.

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan was a much anticipated library rental, for which I’d waited forever, and then…eh. It was fine. Well-researched and atmospheric, but bloated. Also I kept thinking various lady characters were falling for each other and they never were. Toward the end there were two alternating point-of-view characters and I only cared about one of them. I never skim, but I skimmed that other character’s chapters because it was the only way I was going to find out how the whole thing ended. I regret nothing.

King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild may have been a bit of an attempt to course-correct upon realizing that my reading so far in 2018 has been very fluffy and fiction-heavy…but who cares about that, this book was incredible and I’m so glad I finally read it (I’d been sort of vaguely meaning to since, um, high school). It’s not short on stomach-turning details of atrocity because, y’know, colonialism – but it is also the story of one colonial system’s reform and eventual downfall, as well as the birth of the human rights movement, and there’s hope in that. The most incredible part, to me, was how close this story was to never being told – in the final chapter, you meet Jules Marchal, the Belgian civil servant who uncovered this story of millions of people needlessly dying and then dedicated himself to learning & illuminating what had really happened. And he was up against some odds, considering Leopold had literally burned most of the official records in a multiple-day bonfire! The connection between this awful past and modern global relations is not lost on Hochschild, either. I’m curious about his perspective on more current events, and I’m so happy to see he has a book of essays due out in the fall.

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