What I Read in May 2017

Despite May being a busy month with my mom visiting, I read 10 books – well on track to make my goal of 100 books this year. As of today, June 6, I’m at 50 books for the year, and I’m in the middle of a few good books right now too! Without further ado, here’s what I read over the last month.


I gave four books four stars in May – all very different from each other!

4 stars:

Dark Matter, by Blake Crouch: My neighbor recommended this page turner, and it took me a little while to get into, as I found the science a little bit hard to follow. But by the end, I couldn’t it put down! Not quite as realistic/relatable as the type of sci fi I normally read, but I still really enjoyed it.

The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment, by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener: This was a great social psychology book that presented the flip side of a lot of happiness research I’ve read. This was fascinating and well-liked by my book club, and the takeaways at the end of each chapter made an easy summary for those who didn’t have time to read the whole thing. My only complaint would be that I found the principles a little difficult to put into action, since so many run counter to happiness research. As a bit of a spoiler for my June books, I am currently in the middle of Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant’s Option B, and I find that to be a great companion to this book.

Little Beach Street Bakery, by Jenny Colgan: This was a sweet novel set in a beach town in the UK, though not terribly realistic – kind of like a rom com in how things developed. However, I got really invested in the characters and was happy with the ending. I just finished the sequel yesterday! More on that to come in June…

The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando: This was a really intriguing plot, though I got annoyed by the weird backslash patterns in the text… and they were never really answered. Just creativity on the author’s part, I guess? I thought this was a pretty good read but not totally satisfying. If you like suspenseful mysteries like The Girl on the Train, you’ll probably like this.

3 stars:

Behind Her Eyes, by Sarah Pinborough: This was a really interesting and creepy novel with a bit of the supernatural thrown in. It was written very realistically, so I kept waiting for a non-supernatural explanation to the story, but that didn’t happen, which disappointed me. However, it was definitely a page-turner that made me keep reading.

Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, by Jenny Colgan: After enjoying the Little Beach Street Bakery, I put myself on the waiting list for all of other Colgan’s books at the library. This was a sweet novel (ha – pun!), and turned out slightly differently than I expected – which was good, since I at first thought it was completely predictable. I didn’t like it quite as much as Little Beach Street Bakery, but I’ll probably get the sequel anyway to continue following the characters.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson: At first, I was really put off by this book. The title was irreverent and clearly meant to draw in younger readers, but the first few chapters were SO curse-filled that it was nearly impossible to take the author seriously; he came off as incredibly unintelligent. But since so many people had recommended this to me, I powered through… and the cursing tapered off somewhat after a bit and gave way to some really fascinating ideas. It’s really too bad that the poor language choices masked some great concepts; I wish this could be revised/republished with better language thrown in.

The Beach Club, by Elin Hilderbrand: This was a typical light/sweet Hilderbrand novel, but I didn’t love the characters as much in those in some of her other books. Not great, but not bad either.

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins: This was an interesting thriller with a twist, but I didn’t find it nearly as awesome as all the hype surrounding it a few years ago. I’m glad I finally read it, but it just didn’t live up to the expectations. I am on the waiting list for Hawkins’ next novel though…

2 stars:

The Color War, by Jodi Picoult: I knew going in that this was a short story and not a full book, but it still really disappointed. It just felt unfinished, with no real problem/resolution set up. I’ve greatly preferred Picoult’s other short stories to this one.

Any book recommendations for me? Follow me here on Goodreads to keep up with what I’m reading in real time.


  1. I just read Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo for one of my book clubs, which I really enjoyed. Next we are reading The Talented Mr. Ripley. I also just finished Here But Not Here: My Life with William Shawn and the New Yorker by Lillian Ross. Entertaining because the author is just so delusional.

    For my non-fiction book club, we are reading The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace.

    The NY Times just came out with a list of travel-related summer reads and a lot of them look interesting: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/30/books/review/summer-reading-best-travel-books.html

  2. Rebecca says:

    I just added The Upside to Your Dark Side and The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck to my to-read list! Those sound great.

    My book club read The Handmaid’s Tale and we all loved it! I also read Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield and thought it was great, kind of a real-life version of High Fidelity. I’ve also read two “self-help” type books this month, which is a rarity for me but I’ve actually found both of them very helpful. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and I’m almost finished with Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. I’m already putting some of the recommendations into action!

    • I read Rubin’s Happiness Project and Happier at Home, but Not Better Than Before… putting that on my list now. And my work book club read Triggers last spring! Self help books get a bad rep but I think they’re really useful for identifying small changes that can make your life a lot better.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I haven’t read The Happiness Project yet, but I keep hearing it’s good. I’ve had it on my to-read list for a while, I don’t remember why I ended up picking up Better Than Before first.

    Haha, I have a HUGE to-read list!

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