This year has been pretty crappy and I think May tops it off. Boy am I glad to see the back of it. I go back to work later this month and while I'm a little nervous about being back out in public while the COVID crisis continues (and the British government continue to screw us all over), I'm excited to see my lovely bookseller friends and adjust back to normal life (whatever "normal" is). Of course, what I'm most excited about is being surrounded by hundreds of books. I miss their smell. Is that weird? Probably.. eh who cares. What I'm not so excited about is saying goodbye to all my wages as I purchase the entire store because hi I'm Liam and I have no self-restraint. Like literally zero.
Take this month, for instance. Over the course of May I purchased thirteen new books. Thirteen. And that's not to mention all the Audible credits I spent on audiobooks! Disgusting. I've managed to justify it to myself because the majority of those purchases went straight to my employer. So Liam buying more books = Liam staying in a job. That's sound logic, right? Someone agree with me please!
Anyway, this is my #BookHaul for May:
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
Mic Drop by Sharna Jackson
The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Aladdin and the Arabian Nights - B&N Leatherbound Edition!
Check Please by Ngozi Ukazu
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi
What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi (MinaLima edition)
I'm not gonna lie, some of these books have been bought purely for aesthetic purposes. I have no intention of reading Pinocchio or Aladdin anytime soon - but boy will they look good on my shelf. I'm hoping to read October Mourning, Check Please and The Gravity of Us this month seeing as it's Pride Month! (I've already read What If It's Us - I just wanted the US hardcover version to add to my Adam Silvera collection). I also want to read Songbirds and Snakes this month too. I'm scared that the longer I leave it, the more likely I am to come across spoilers! So if you've already read it, you better keep your mouth shut around me! There's not a lot of things that would cause me to end a friendship, but book spoilers is one!
As for the books that I've read this month, well... that list is considerably shorter. But, in my defence I am an incredibly slow reader! So five books in one month is actually a pretty big deal for me!
Books I read this month:
First up I want to make a point of saying: I do not endorse J.K. R*****g. She's made herself known as a TERF and it's really disappointing to see that an author with her platform whose books have inspired so many young people and adults alike is such a toxic and hateful person.
As a kids bookseller and someone with a degree in children's literature, I've been ridiculed endlessly for never having read the Harry Potter series. I guess I was just never interested in it as a kid and by the time I was a teen the hype was so big that it just kind of ruined it for me. But finding myself in lockdown with a lot of time on my hands, I figured this seemed like the perfect time to finally cross this series off my TBR list. So I've been making my way through the books and this month I finished Prisoner of Azkaban. I had considered doing a blog feature about reading the books for the first time as an adult, but honestly, I don't want to direct any more attention toward R*****g. She doesn't deserve book bloggers' time and energy (and money). Plus it would feel like I was doing a disservice to all my trans friends in the book community. I can only imagine how awful it must feel seeing people constantly sharing content that celebrates the work of a transphobe who denies your very existence. I'm not about that. So needless to say, I won't be reviewing these books and I won't be featuring any Harry Potter content on my blog in the future.
As for the other books I read this month. Well... The Picture of Dorian Gray was a colossal disappointment. I really wanted to love it but it just didn't do anything for me. It was a clever story but I found it so tedious with all the witty comments being made every five minutes. I've come to the conclusion that Oscar Wilde is the Jessie J of literature. We get it, you're phenomenally talented but you don't need to make everything so intricate and complicated just because you can. Yeesh.
Then there's Burn by Patrick Ness. I published my review of this one a couple of days ago so if you want to know more you should check it out. To summarise, I really enjoyed this one. It's a typical Patrick Ness novel so you can expect beautiful writing, complex characters and philosophical twists. Oh, and dragons. They make an appearance too.
And finally that brings me to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I've heard good things about this one so I decided to give it a go. I wasn't expecting to love it as it's written in verse and I am not a poetry person, but wow... it's incredible. Beautiful, poignant, raw. One of the best books I've read this year and I can't wait to share my full review with you guys.
So that was May! Here's hoping June is slightly easier on my wallet! I hope you guys have a great Pride Month. Remember to share pictures of all your rainbow reads with me! And please continue to show your support for #BlackLivesMatter. There are plenty of ways you can help. Sign a petition, take part in a protest (there are currently some being organised in the UK), pledge money, amplify BAME voices. At the very least, make a conscious decision about the books you read. If you're reading LGBTQ+ books for Pride Month, could you include more BIPOC authors? Think about the authors you're giving a platform to and who would benefit from it the most. There are tons of ways you can show your support.
sold by Black bookshops?
And if you want to make a difference here in the UK, please consider making a donation to the #InclusiveIndies project - helping to support books written by Black authors, made by Black publishers, and sold in Black bookshops. KnightsOf is one of the project organisers and they produce some outstanding children's books, making sure that every child gets to see themselves represented in the books they read. It's a truly worthwhile cause and it's the last week of their fundraiser. Wouldn't it be great if we could help them reach their target?
That's it from me! Hope you all have a great Pride month!