May Reads

Yay, I read four books again. And I marked three books off my overall reading list! That’s a special accomplishment in my opinion. On top of that, those three were all physical books and only the fourth book was an audiobook. I love that I’m getting back to real reading again. Audiobooks totally count, but I love having an actual book in my hands.  

The Shining by Stephen King 

I think I’ve become addicted to listening to Stephen King’s books on audible. They’re so long that I fear I wouldn’t ever have time to finish them, or, if I did, I wouldn’t be fully immersed in the book if I could only read it in bits and pieces.  

Anyway, I loved this story. The descriptions were my favorite part. It was so easy to see where they were and feel what they felt. Every character popped off the “page” and you’re able to form opinions of them like actual people. The hotel manager, for instance, was such a rat. 

As Jack deteriorates, you feel it every step of the way. You know he feels ashamed; you know deep down he wants to try to be better, but the demons will have their way. The most terrifying part of the book was how real that situation can be. Anyone who has dealt with an alcoholic can tell you how that switch will flip and suddenly you’re dealing with an unfamiliar person; how sober promises mean nothing after the liquor starts flowing.  

The supernatural side of the story was also great. Poor Danny, knowing way more than any five-year-old should, had to deal with the “hallucinations” and appearances of ghosts that will haunt him for the rest of his life. But he’s so brave and he ends up able to save his mom and Mr. Hallorann. 

I will probably need to go through the book more than once in my life to enjoy it over and over again. My favorite King novel, for sure. Now I’m off to watch the movie for the first time.  

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 

It took a few chapters to get into this book with all the character introductions, but then I was hooked. Richard’s predicament was heartbreaking, and Door dodging her assassins was terrifying. These things and the magic swept me off my feet to keep reading.  

The world building was brilliant. London Below was described perfectly; a magical place for all types of people and creatures. It wasn’t overdone, you’re told what you need to know, and the rest unravels as the story goes along. Richard finds himself there, and he takes it all pretty well—even though he copes by telling himself it’s not real half the time. He takes each unfamiliar experience and tries to logic his way out of it, but in the end, he just has to accept what he’s seeing.  

The characters were beautiful—and disturbing, as sometimes the case may be. Door was my favorite. She was childlike and innocent, but also fierce and determined. No matter how hard a task, she faced it head on. Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar were great (and awful) villains. They were scary and evil, but I also loved the comic relief they occasionally injected with their odd banter. The Marquis was lovable, even with all his side deals and manipulations. He was good at heart (wherever his heart was) and followed through with his mission until the end, even when it meant harm to himself.  

Anyway, I better stop before I gush for hours. All in all, this was a fantastic book. It had magic, adventure, danger, and outstanding characters; all my favorite things. So glad I marked it off my reading list.  

Coyote Songs by Gabino Iglesias 

I’m still not sure what my complete thoughts are on this book, but I’ll try it.  

The story (or stories, really) are very powerful and moving. The descriptions are vivid, and the writing is beautiful. As a white girl reading this, though, I’m sure I didn’t fully grasp everything. It’s outside my world of understanding. Not only because parts of it were in Spanish, (I know a little Spanish and halfway translated as I read) but also just because it’s impossible for me to relate to these characters’ struggles.  

It made me sad, though. And angry. And want to get up and do something about the violence. Which, I’m sure, is part of the point.  

However, from a story point of view, I felt a little let down at the end. It was six stories woven together along the same thread. When I was about halfway done, I thought, “oh, they’re all going to intercept at the end for the finale.” But they didn’t. Not in the technical sense, anyway. They were connected, but didn’t interact. It’s not a bad thing, just not how I expected it to end. Still enjoyed it and feel it’s a very important piece of literature.  

Book Architecture by Stuart Horwitz  

My craft book for the month was on an original way to plot your story. As I’ve said before, I rate the book’s value on how many sticky notes are popping out the side at the end, but this book didn’t have many and I still feel like it was a good piece to read. I will be honest and say I don’t know if I fully understand the method he was teaching. I will go back through it and try to learn it more thoroughly, but it didn’t jump out at me as a method I will use often. Unless something clicks in my brain on the second time through and I realize how golden it really is. Because it looked awesome. The examples given were great, but it seemed more to me something I can use on a finished product and not on a work in progress. I don’t know, I’ll check back with you after the second go around.  

I feel super great about how many books I’ve already marked off my reading list this year. I’m hoping this means I’ll make my way all the way through it this time. My next book is my friend’s favorite and I can’t wait to get started. What have you all been reading?