May In Review

May was a pretty decent reading month for me, so I seem to be getting back in the swing of things.  I'm just not really sure what to do with my blog.  I like blogging, but I think that I want to make a few changes.  Starting with, doing monthly review round ups instead of individual book reviews, so, here is the first!

 I read three print books last month:

1. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
2014/Simon and Schuster/Essays and Stories/208 pages/ Bought

This book is a collection of essays and short stories posthumously collected after Yale graduate Marina Keegan died in a car crash soon after her college graduation.  Marina was a talented young writer with a job lined up at the New Yorker, so her teacher, Anne Fadiman, collected and published her work.  The children's librarian at the public library where I volunteer recommended this to me, because I work with college aged writers, and I am glad that she did.  This book was so moving and compelling, and it reminded me why working with young people can be so inspiring.  Marina's words are so hope-filled and optimistic and joyous that it makes her loss all the more tragic.  However, the book isn't about manipulating the emotions of the reader, it is about celebrating a true talent that  didn't have the chance to fully bloom.

2. The Noble Hustle  by Colson Whitehead
2014/Doubleday/ Nonfiction/ 234 pages/ Bought

In this novella length nonfiction piece, Colson Whitehead details his preparation for and participation in the world series of poker.  This book began as a long form piece for Grantland, which I read and loved, so I couldn't wait to pick up this book.  I was a little disappointed, although not by Whitehead's voice.  I think that the book was better as a shorter piece, and there is some detail here that didn't add to the vivid picture that Colson paints of his travels. There were great moments though; in particular, a description of a post-college road trip that Whitehead takes with Darren Aronofsky to Las Vegas.

3. The Martian by Andy Weir
2014/Crown/ Fiction/ 369 pages/Bought

THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD!  I credit it for ending my reading slump, and I feel so lucky to be able to pass it onto a friend to read.  If you haven't heard about it, the book is about a guy who is stuck on Mars, and  also about Nasa's plan to rescue him.  The book has tons of scientific detail which adds to the realism and never once detracts from the excitement of the narrative.  I mean, I don't really have much to say, but READ IT!  It is a delicious beach read, but you will also feel like you know a lot more about space when you finish.

I also listened to two books on Audible:

1. Gulp by Mary Roach
2013/Tantor Audio/ Nonfiction/ 8 hours 21 minutes/ Audible

I love Mary Roach.  Like a lot. Stiff  is my favorite of her books, and this one didn't have what it takes to dethrone it.  This is not to say that I didn't like Gulp.  It made my treadmill running and dish doing filled with interesting facts about things like Elvis's colon and fistulas.  This book, honestly, is a little too gross for me in parts, and my interesting/gross meter was a little off balance.  But, I still dug it.

2. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman
 2013/Tantor Audio/ Memoir/ 6 hours 20 minutes/ Audible

Jen Kirkman is a comedian, and this is basically her memoir, which is loosely organized around a discussion of why she doesn't want to have kids.  I am always interested in books about women's decisions to either remain childless or to start a family, which is why I picked this one up.  Kirkman is funny, and some of her anecdotes about her romantic history made me chuckle aloud, but this didn't completely satisfy my desire to read a thoughtful meditation on a decision not to have children.  I can totally understand her annoyance with people who insist that she must want kids somewhere deep down, but her telling of her story is a little one (albeit funny) note.

So that's it!  What did you all read last month?  Any audiobook recs?

P.S. All the images in this post are Powell's Affiliate links.  Click on the picture to buy the book and support The Scarlet Letter. 


  1. Good to see that you loved The Martian. It's on my wishlist already as I've heard many positive things about it.

    So, will you be only writing a blog post once a month? I'm trying to dwindle down my blog, but once a month seems very little. Anyway, glad you're out of your reading slump!

    1. No, I'm trying to ramp up and post more often, just not so many reviews. I might start participating in a few memes again and try to come up with some original content. I'm working on a travel post right now. We'll see:)

      The Martian was such a fun, quick read. Hope you love it!

  2. Thanks for an interesting compendium of books that I hadn't heard much about. Except for the Colson unrequited crush on him is ongoing :). I like your idea of a round-up of shorter reviews. Sometimes it can seem like a chore to write a full review of every single book I read....

    1. Yeah, that was sort of where I was at. I want to blog more, but I don't want it to feel like a chore.


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