May Notes | 2016

As usual, May was a transitional month for me. I finished my second semester of grad school early this month (with straights A’s, woohoo!), moved out of my first real apartment, and returned to Conroe where I’ll be spending yet another summer with my parents (hopefully my last). Most of my time since then has just been spent reading and relaxing as I mull over my future.

Last week were had some really bad weather that resulted in us losing our electricity (& thus A/C and wi-fi) for about 48 hours. It was horrible, but it could have been worse (luckily our house wasn’t hit by any trees and we still had running water during this time). I wish I had taken some pictures of the wreckage in our neighborhood, but my iPhone never had a full-charge over that time and we had to rely on charging our phones in the cars. I got a lot of reading done during this time, but sleeping was difficult because it was so warm.

The power outage also resulted in some difficulty posting here and threw in a wrench in some of my writing plans. But, overall, I feel like I’m ending this month on a high note.

What I Read

I completed four books over the course of May and am currently in the midst of two I also started this month. I had hoped to read more, but I actually did read quite a lot considering how big a few of these books were. Starting with the books I finished: At the Water’s Edge (★★★), A Court of Thorns and Roses (★★), A Court of Mist and Fury (★★★), and A Gathering of Shadows (★★).

watersedge acotar acomaf Gathering-of-Shadows_UKcover-400x586

At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen | This book is set during WWII in Scotland where the female protagonist Maddie, her husband, and her husband’s best friend go to get proof of the Loch Ness monster. It’s a wonderful tale of disillusionment and female empowerment. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, it was such a random read and just what I needed at the time I read it. (In case you recognize the author’s name, she also wrote Water for Elephants, which is another magical-seeming historical fiction novel with a movie starring Robert Pattinson & Reese Witherspoon.)

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas | This was actually I reread, I first read it last fall and had wanted to read it again before I started A Court of Mist and Fury which came out on May 3rd! This reread ended up feeling a tad tedious, and a lot less enjoyable than the first. The first 100 pages in particular was rough because reading about Feyre obsess over her family was frustrating. Then we she was reunited with them again, it was terribly slow again.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | I started ACOMAF directly after ACOTAR and it proceeded to take me around a week to finish and it was super long as I found myself needing to slow down parts of the way through. Overall, this book took me completely by surprise and what most impressed me was how well-thought out this book was considering how things changed in character relationships from the first book to the second. I have had to look at ACOTAR so completely differently now.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab | I decided to pick up A Gathering of Shadows immediately after finishing ACOMAF, because I didn’t quite know what I was in the mood for next. I had actually started AGOS in March and not gotten very far at the time so it was great to get this one out of the way this month. I’m disappointed to say I did not enjoy much about this book. Very little happens and nothing happens to further invest me in reading the next book, not even that ridiculous cliff-hanger.

Currently Reading

MIddlesex     stokes

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides | I did not have any concrete plans to read Middlesex this month but I started it after AGOS just feeling like I needed to read something that was going to be different. I hoped to finish this book in May, but it just didn’t happen! This book is deceptively long, but it’s also unbelievably good so I don’t even mind! This will be the first book I finish in June and there will most definitely be a “Thoughts on Middlesex” coming as soon as I finish it!

How to Do Media and Cultural Studies | This is the book that came with my order of ACOMAF which I should have bought last fall but didn’t because we didn’t need to read much from this book and it’s pricey. But I realized it might be a good one to get and study over the summer as I am essentially trying to do independent study right now. I’ve only read the first two introductory chapters, but I’m hoping to finish this one up early this month.

What I Watched

Over the course of May I found myself watching a few random movies earlier this month after I returned from Dallas. I watched two smaller independent films, the first of which being Infinitely Polar Bear which starred Mark Ruffalo as a bipolar dad in the late 1970s Boston who has to take care of his daughters in for 18 months as his wife (Zoe Saldana) works on her MBA in NYC. It was very sentimental and harm-warming, but lacked in any grit and was a little anti-climactic. But it showed a nice depiction of a modern family and mental illness.

The other independent film I watched was Ricki and the Flash which stars Meryl Streep as an aging rockstar who never quite made it to the big time but seems pretty happy performing regularly a bar with her band. I was surprised to find this movie was written by the same woman who wrote Juno, which was one of my favorite movies in high school. This wasn’t a great movie, but I loved how it touched on double standards for male and female performers who are parents. As weird as I realize it sounds, I have no trouble believing Meryl Streep could totally have been a rock star. Her voice is perfect for the classic songs she sings.

As far as TV shows go, I finally started watching The Night Manager with Tom Hiddleston which aired on the US channel AMC this spring shortly after it aired in the UK/Europe. I asked my dad to record it while I was still in school, so when I came back I had nearly the entire series waiting for me! It’s only 6 episodes and is a modern day adaption of the novel by the same name. It’s about an ex-soldier who turns spy in order to avenge the death of a woman for whom’s death he feels he is partially responsible. The locations are beautiful and Hiddleston does a great job of infiltrating the ranks of this horrible man’s inner circle in order to thwart and expose his plans to sell illegal arms.

End Note

I’m actually really happy with how May turned out and excitedly enter June. I don’t really know what to expect this coming month, but I have a few plans in the works that I will hopefully be sharing soon. Tomorrow I think I will be posting my June 2016 TBR + Goals. My review of Middlesex should also be out as soon as I finish the book. And I’m hoping to get back into the swing of writing so hopefully June will mark my return and hopefully some successes on that front.

Thank you for reading!
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