May Reading Roundup

On May 1st I was in Switzerland and since then, I’ve made my way through Austria, Croatia, Montenegro and now Albania where I’m settled in for another three weeks, working at a hostel on the beach. (Can you say paradise?) It’s been busy, to say the least. But the reading continued and I’m quite pleased with how much I’ve managed to finish in this past month. And of all of them, Shantaram really stood out as a book for the ages, so if you’re thinking about reading it, then do so!

This was also a strange month because I read exclusively stories, memoirs and fiction, and no informational nonfiction at all. Surprisingly, though, I feel as though I’ve learned just as much (if not more) than any of the other more “intellectual reading” months. Shantaram and The White Tiger gave me an in depth view of what India’s culture is like, The Book Thief updated my knowledge of WWII and Wild taught me a lot more about long distance hiking than I thought it would. Ask me about what you should pack for a hike and I can tell you that a fold-able saw is not necessary, but a ski pole just might come in handy!

Special thanks to Steve (who has been linked to below) for recommending several of the books I read this month!

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Nonfiction / Meh

While the description of the hiking trail and all the people she met along the way was fascinating (and made me want to get my hike on!), for some reason I don’t think this will be a book that’ll stay with me. But props to the author for being a wilderness bad ass nonetheless!

Thank you Steve from Twenty First Century Nomad for the recommendation!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Fiction / Recommended

Writing a book from death’s perspective is already a challenge, and the author did a fantastic job of it. The details of World War II were an education and the main character quite lovable (and pitiable).

Thank you Steve from Twenty First Century Nomad for the recommendation!

Shantaram: A Novel by Gregory David Roberts

Fiction / Recommended

There’s a lot of debate about how much of this “novel” is based in the author’s actual experiences, but really it doesn’t matter. It’s a masterpiece of philosophy, wanderlust-inducing descriptions of India and one that’s really left me thinking about morality and how we define it.

Thank you Steve from Twenty First Century Nomad for the recommendation!

The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga

Fiction / Recommended

This novel, while also about India, was so totally different from Shantaram in every way and I almost gave it a “meh”, probably because every book would be overshadowed by such an epic tale. But The White Tiger was pretty funny and not so long, so it’s worth the time to read, for the laughs at least.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Fiction / Meh

I have really mixed feelings about this book; on one hand, I couldn’t put it down but on the other, I find the premises a bit childish and impossible to really believe, the same way I believed in The Wheel of Time and other fantasy novels. But, still, I couldn’t stop reading, so that must say something, right?

 

As for next month, I’ve got time on my hands and books on my Kindle, including a collection of Maya Angelou’s works that I’d like to get into, in memory of her fantastic, inspirational life. I’m looking forward to it!

Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? And as always, send your recommendations my way too!

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10 thoughts on “May Reading Roundup”

  1. You’re welcome Sally…plenty more for you if you’d like. Ask Leslie, too…she has a million great recommendations.

  2. Shantaram is one of favourite books of all time, and I’ve anxiously been awaiting the sequel for 3 years! Getting impatient! Whereabouts in Albania are you? My hubby is Albanian, and he’s always interested to hear about travellers there. 🙂

    1. There’s going to be a sequel?! Well I hope it takes a solid three plus years to write or it may not be even close to as good as the first. 🙂

      I’m in Saranda right now, working at a hostel and soaking up the sun. It’s really wonderful! Where in Albania is your husband from?

      1. It’s been 11 years since Shantaram was first published, and the publishing date for the sequel has been pushed back already 3 or 4 times. GAHHH!!! It’s so frustrating. Lol. But apparently there are 4 books planned in total, though if it takes him 11 years to write each one….hmm?

        Oooh, Saranda is really pretty. Albania in the summertime is lovely. Are you enjoying the food there? I always found Albanian food to be so fresh and tasty! Tried the BBQ goat yet? It’s one of my fave dishes there. Hubby’s family is from the mountains in the north, but they escaped to Greece, then Italy, then Canada, after Communism fell…

        1. No way! I didn’t realize. I think Shantaram stands alone quite well, though, I don’t really need a sequel. But now that I know… hmmm

          Saranda is beautiful, agreed! And I haven’t tried too much of the food, I’ve been saving my pennies and cooking at home hehe. But that sounds spectacular, I’ll look for it!

          My friend is working is Peshkopi at the moment, he must be close(r) to where your husband is from. He says it’s really beautiful! I hope he’s been able to be back since things have settled down.

  3. I loved The Book Thief. <3

    Wild looks really interesting. Might have to check that one out.

    Yikes, I better get back on the reading wagon though! My reading's come to such a slump. Oops!

    1. Twas wonderful! And Wild was good. It’s a solid addition to the my-life-was-fucked-and-I-put-it-back-together memoir genre. Nothing like a compelling read to put you back on the reading wagon, though, maybe you just need to pick up the right book!

    1. I’m becoming that person too, I keep telling people about it and that they’ve got to read it! It’s amazing too, if not simply for the insight into Indian culture that you get from the descriptions. Fantastic all around.

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