Book Reports
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Book Report: May 2015

Book Report: May 2015

It has been a little quiet here so I played with my theme. I feel the need to do that whenever nothing is happening on this blog. Aside from that, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. In fact, it has been a long while since I managed to finish more than five books within a month. I checked my reading history and found out that in the first half of 2012, one of my two prolific reading years, I clocked in between five to seven books per month. I even set a record for May 2012: nine books.

Why am I obsessing over this? Surely, it’s not the quantity but the quality, eh? No, I don’t subscribe to that idea. There’s so little time that I must not waste for kissing and fondling my quality books for inordinate periods when there are so many more possibly quality books waiting to be discovered. Also, I like setting goals. If there’s a number that I have to beat, I feel compelled to keep reading. However, this does not mean that reading goals are my main motivation for reading. It’s a sort of challenge to make a solitary activity more exciting.

Okay, so there’s one ugh book in my report this month but it was assigned reading. I even got to write a review for it, which is quite ironic because I didn’t bother with the others. But I will make time for them. I’ll do my best to stop watching random videos on YouTube and to come up with write-ups.

Books Finished:

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – Our book of the month for May. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin – One of my picks for my book club discussion in August. 4 out of 5 stars.  (USD 15.30, The Book Depository, May 7)
  • The Middleman and Other Stories by Bharati Mukherjee – The Year of Reading the NBCC (18/40). 3 out of 5 stars.
  • Monstress by Lysley Tenorio – One of my reading dares/challenges for this year. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • October Light by John Gardner – The Year of Reading the NBCC (17/40). 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by James Asher – 1 out of 5 stars.
  • Ubik by Philip K. Dick – 5 out of 5 stars. It looks like this will be the book that I’ll be discussing with the book club. We’ll find out in a few more days after the voting period is over. (USD 12.69, The Book Depository, May 7)

Currently Reading:

  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson – On page 51 of 261. I restarted because I want to.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson – On page 101 of 271. I am so close to abandoning this.


  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashielle Hammett
  • Rabbit Redux by John Updike
  • The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
  • The Year of the French by Thomas Flanagan

New Books:

  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – A signed gift! Thank you! (from Bennard, May 19)

Here’s a little background about The Year of Reading the NBCC. When Lila won the 40th NBCC Award for Fiction last March, I decided to read all the NBCC fiction winners. Why? Because I have them all, because I think this award has a very good taste, and because so far, I don’t hate any of the winners unlike the other awards (Mambo Kings for the Pulitzer, Charming Billy for the NBA, and Last Orders for the Booker).

I have instantaneously made this official but think I mentioned this aspiration somewhere. If I have only imagined it, let me tell you that my to-read list is pretty much filled up by the 25 titles that I haven’t read yet. The 25 titles are now down to 22 (Billy Lynn last April, October Light and Middleman last month). So yeah, I’ll note my progress in these reports just like what I did above. As a matter of fact, I’ll also edit the previous report for Billy Lynn.



  1. Good luck with Robinson, I was not a fan. And hopefully you like Hammett, I strangely enjoyed The Thin Man because it was something I would never have read without some urging.


    • (As a side note, it took me a minute to find the “Like” button for your post. The set up was a little weird.)


    • I’m glad you enjoy her, so many people do. I know I’ll try her again in about 10 years to see if I improve with age.


  2. I also despised ‘Thirteen Reasons Why!’ It was such a bad message. And I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of ‘The Buried Giant’ for my shelves after Ishiguro’s book tour stopped near me. He’s really lovely in person.
    Happy reading!


  3. You do much better with your goals than I do. Of the books you’ve just read the past month I have read precisely none!


    • But you’ve been on vacation, right? I get no reading done whenever I go out (but I still bring a book with me).


  4. I’m a big fan of Toni Morrison. You might like her too. Wait, have you read all her other novels, especially the mind-boggling and creepy BELOVED?
    I’ve been looking for other Robinson’s novels. There’s something mesmerizing about her writing styles. ^^


    • I actually heard bad reviews. It’s hard to translate the ghostly elements into film, accdg to the reviewers. There’s a graphic novel coming out. The illustrations look gritty yet stunning.


  5. I have a copy of Monstress, but put it away as soon as I bought it :P Good to know that it’s a good read. Isn’t that a book of short stories?

    5 books a month, I think you’re on a roll :) Post reviews though…it has been pretty quiet on your blog lately :(


  6. Monique says

    It really is funny and coincidental that I got Mambo Kings and Charming Billy on the same visit to Book Sale, and they are the two books that you didn’t like from two separate awards. Haha. I don’t know when I’ll have time to read them, though.

    Also, why is The Maltese Falcon on your “Maybe” list? :)


    • I didn’t bother separating the Maybe and Must Read lists so I just dumped them all together. (Update: I’ve already started it after this post was published.)


  7. I listened to a few lines of Ubik in audio, and it got me interested. I wonder, because I remember not liking ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’

    Oh, I’m going to read Lila this month, too! :)


    • Perhaps it’s the aural experience? And yay to Lila! I like these novels, how each character gets to tell his or her version of the story.


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