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What I Read: May 2019

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I only write about the books I genuinely love on here. When I first started blogging about books — back in 2010 on my Tumblr — I would write about every single book I ever read, whether I liked it or not. And then I discovered something incredible: I don’t have to spend any more time or brain space working through the books I don’t like. I’m making the rules about this practice — rules I can change. So in 2018, I stopped writing about the books I don’t enjoy reading. And it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

May was an embarrassment of riches. I started with Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom, a short story by Sylvia Plath that was found in her archives. It’s not a perfect short story by any means. It’s definitely a young piece of writing, one that we wouldn’t give a damn about if it’d been written by anyone else. But I love Sylvia Plath. I’ve read The Bell Jar more times than I could count (though I’m definitely due for a re-read) and I’ve read all her poems and journals. I recently got The Collected Letters of Sylvia Plath as a birthday gift from my brother and I’m excited to dig into that. So is Mary Ventura for everyone? No. But was it incredibly entertaining to read one of my favorite authors’ early writing? Yes. Yes it was.

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by my friend (!!!) Kim Fu was so incredible and everything I could ever ask for in a novel about trauma, adventure, and the way our past ripple effects right through to our present. The way Kim wove these girls’ stories together was so perfect. I finished reading this book almost a month ago and I’m still thinking about Nita, Andee, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan.

I’ve been anticipating Good Talk for a while now and it was so much better than I could have ever imagined. The graphic memoir starts with a series of conversations between Mira Jacob and her son about his newfound obsession with Michael Jackson and then keeps zooming out on her history, exploring how conversations about race and politics have shaped her over the years. It’s an epic and it’s masterfully done. Kid Gloves is a wonderful graphic memoir of another stripe, weaving together Lucy Knisley’s difficult pregnancy with a feminist history of maternity. I’ve loved Knisley’s work for years and this memoir did not disappoint.

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Somewhere Only We Know by YA author extraordinaire Maurene Goo is a rollercoaster of a romcom. This contemporary adaptation of Roman Holiday follows two Korean American teens living in Hong Kong. Lucky is a K-Pop star trying desperately to keep her identity a secret. And Jack is moonlighting as a member of the paparazzi, certain that this exclusive story about Lucky is going to catch him his big photography break. But then they start falling for each other. And that’s where things really start to get messy.

I loved Bad With Money, even though I didn’t really learn a whole lot from it. I’ve always treated my credit cards like cash, I’ve paid off my student loans, and I can’t fully lean into a freelance career because I need the stability of a biweekly paycheck. But it was helpful to read about one person’s journey to become more financially stable and just happier overall with how things are financially going. Because that’s something I’m struggling with on the whole. I can have my finances in order until the cows come home, but if my entire household isn’t thinking in terms of long term spending and monthly budgeting, how are we ever going to live in financial harmony?