May 2021 reading wrap-up

In May, the good was really good, and the bad was pretty meh. I finished eleven books this month, including a few of the best books I’ve read this year, but also found myself disappointed by a few of my most-anticipated books of the year.

Read on to see what my favorite reads of May were.

Best of the month

“The weight of what has been lost is always heavier than what remains.”

From The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The Mothers / Brit Bennett

I haven’t had a lot of success with the books that I’ve read for my book club, but this month was my turn to select the book. Proving that I know my own taste pretty damn well, The Mothers by Brit Bennett ended up being my favorite read of the year so far.

Telling the story of three friends, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey, and the ways their lives are impacted and changed in the decade after an accidental pregnancy. The Mothers achieves the remarkable feat of being a page-turner without a propulsive plot. Bennett’s character work is so deep and empathetic, you feel everything right alongside the characters in the novel.

Bennett’s follow up to The Mothers, The Vanishing Half, was my favorite read of 2020, and her 2016 debut has skyrocketed to the top of 2021’s list already.

Other highlights

The Wreckage of My Presence / Casey Wilson

I have been a fan of actress and writer Casey Wilson for a long time, thanks to her starring role on the TV series Happy Endings and her podcast Bitch Sesh. The Wreckage of My Presence, her debut essay collection, was always going to be a favorite of mine, and she could’ve just written a book full of essays on the Real Housewives and her career. Luckily, for those unfamiliar with her work, these essays cover a far wider array of topics, delving into her childhood, her mother’s death, and the challenges of her own motherhood. As the old saying goes, I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.

The Housewives / Brian Moylan

This month is apparently the month that I reveal I am a secret devotee of the Real Housewives franchises (New York, Atlanta, and Salt Lake City are my main go-to’s, but I’ve dabbled across the Housewives universe). Brian Moylan has been recapping the Real Housewives for Vulture for about as long as I have been watching, and his new book, The Housewives, delves into the development, behind the scenes, and secrets of what makes these shows so insanely watchable. The book is full of revelations, and even casual watchers of the franchise will eat this up like candy.

Last Call / Elon Green

Back in February, I read and enjoyed Justin Ling’s Missing from the Village, which was a true crime book about a serial killer in Toronto’s queer community. Last Call is in the same vein, this time recounting a serial killer in New York City’s gay community, but writer Elon Green takes a different approach to the way he tells the story. Green’s book focuses on the victims and their lives, collecting stories from friends and loved ones to paint a broader picture of what was lost. So much true crime relies on sensationalism, which is what makes Last Call such a refreshing addition to the genre.

Complete list of may reads

  • The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller
  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  • The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson
  • Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertali
  • Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Last Call by Elon Green
  • The Mothers by Brit Bennett
  • The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
  • The Housewives by Brian Moylan
  • The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu

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