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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Swindler

May Reading Roundup

“Any story could be a comedy or a tragedy, depending on where you ended it. That was the magic. How the same story could be told an infinite number of ways.”

–Emma Straub, This Time Tomorrow

Harlem Shuffle – 3/5

I had a hard time rating this book. It was not what I expected, and I often found myself lost as the story was misconstrued in details. It was also hard for me to root for the characters. I wish there would have been a little more backstory or character development. At times it felt more like a description of a timeline. If you are looking for a fast past heist book, I don’t think I’d recommend it.

Funny You Should Ask – 4/5

This book is fun and fast-paced and great to get you out of a reading rut. If you like celebrity profiles and rom-coms, I think you will love this book. Great beach read. Felt like a mix of Emily Henry and Sophie Cousens.

Do You Mind If I Cancel? – 3.5/5

I think this is either your type of humor or not, and you will probably be able to tell by the first essay. I enjoyed it, and there were some essays that I liked more than others. Overall entertaining and fun if you are looking for a lighthearted essay collection.

The Secret History – 4/5

The writing in this book is stunning. At times I had a hard time keeping all of the characters straight, and it really is a slow burn, but I really enjoyed it. Like The Goldfinch, this book is long and feels long but worth the read!

The Empire of Pain – 5/5

This book is incredibly detailed, so well reported, and a must-read. Before reading this book, I did not know much about the opioid crisis, but I loved Keefe’s book, “Say Nothing,” and I was looking forward to reading this. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in the pharmaceutical industry and the ongoing opioid crisis. I will be thinking about this book for a long time. I loved reading it on audio.

The Violin Conspiracy – 4/5

I really enjoyed this book. As someone who knew nothing about the violin, I learned a lot and was left wanting to know more. The plot was engaging and page-turny. However, I do wish the writing would have been a little tighter.

Marrying the Ketchups – 4/5

I really enjoy family sagas, and this book has such a fun setting. It is slow (nothing happens), but it is an excellent look at complicated family dynamics. It felt similar to Ask Again, Yes.

The Hunting Party – 3/5

Though this book held my attention, it was very predictable, and I found the characters to be dull. There was also way too much backstory, and I found myself not invested in the plot. However, I am glad I listened to it on audio, as I found it really well done.

This Time Tomorrow – 5/5

This book is stunning. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will resurrect your favorite 90s playlist. I flew through this book; it was the perfect mix of nostalgia and beauty.

The Unsinkable Greta James – 5/5

I loved this book. An Alaskan cruise also bookended my mother’s death, and when I heard about the synopsis for this book, I was really looking forward to reading it. It is a beautiful picture of grief and family. And while this is a story about the loss of a mother, more than anything, it is a story about a father and daughter, and I loved it. Read with tissues.

Apples Never Fall – 4/5

This book feels like the old Liane Moriarty, and I am here for it. Though this book is long, it was nearly impossible to put down. I love a sports adjacent book. The only thing that kept this from being a 5-star for me was the ending, though it did leave me guessing up until the last 50 pages.

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