I decided that I am going to be taking things easy on the reading front in May. Writing book reviews got put on the back burner for the past few months, so I am ridiculously behind. It’s time to bite the bullet and sit down and knock some reviews out. Therefore my TBR is going to be on the lighter side in terms of number of books & the size of the books I’m planning on reading.
Let’s see what I have on my TBR for May shall we?
I decided I would knock out a few of the shorter books on my NetGalley list this month. Each of these books is under 250 pages.
» The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash
After a vicious fight with her boyfriend followed by a night of heavy partying, college freshman Amanda Greene wakes up in her dorm room to find things are not the same as they were yesterday. She can’t quite put her finger on it. She’s sharing her room with a peculiar stranger. Amanda discovers she’s registered for classes she would never choose with people that are oddly familiar. An ominous shadow is stalking her. Uncomfortable memories are bubbling dangerously close to her fracturing world, propelling her to an inevitable collision between fantasy and reality. Is this the mother of all hangovers or is something bigger happening?
Total pages: 130 pages
» Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay
Life gets even tougher for Lloyd, a boy from a Jamaican fishing village, when his grandfather goes missing at sea – ‘gone to drift’ as the local fishers say. Lloyd sets out to find him but no one will help except for an uptown girl who studies dolphins, his best friend Dwight and – just perhaps – a mad man called Slowly on a sun-baked beach.
Truth? Respect? Survival? Gone to Drift is a powerful adventure story in which Lloyd discovers that the enemies of his grandfather – and of the Caribbean Sea that he loves – are closer to home than he could ever imagine.
The author, Diana McCaulay, is an award-winning Jamaican writer. This is her first Young Adult novel.
Total pages: 210 pages
» The House by the Lake by Ella Carey
Anna is content with her well-ordered life in San Francisco. But her world is turned upside down when her beloved grandfather, Max, reveals a startling secret: Anna is part of an aristocratic family who lost everything during World War II. What’s more, Max was forced to leave behind a precious item over seventy years ago in their estate in old Prussia. It’s now his ardent wish that Anna retrieve it.
Anna burns with questions as she heads for Germany: What memento could be so important to her grandfather? And why did he keep their history hidden? As she searches for answers, she finds herself drawn to Wil, a man who may hold the key to unlock the mystery. Together they discover that her family’s secrets are linked with an abandoned apartment in Paris, and these secrets go deeper than she ever imagined.
Alternating between 1930s Europe and the present, The House by the Lake illuminates the destiny of a family caught in the tumult of history.
Total pages: 246 pages
Blogging for Books TBR:
» The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
» The Double Blind by Chris Bohjalian
In Chris Bohjalian’s astonishing novel, nothing is what it at first seems. Not the bucolic Vermont back roads college sophomore Laurel Estabrook likes to bike. Not the savage assault she suffers toward the end of one of her rides. And certainly not Bobbie Crocker, the elderly man with a history of mental illness whom Laurel comes to know through her work at a Burlington homeless shelter in the years subsequent to the attack.
In his moments of lucidity, the gentle, likable Bobbie alludes to his earlier life as a successful photographer. Laurel finds it hard to believe that this destitute, unstable man could once have chronicled the lives of musicians and celebrities, but a box of photographs and negatives discovered among Bobbie’s meager possessions after his death lends credence to his tale. How could such an accomplished man have fallen on such hard times? Becoming obsessed with uncovering Bobbie’s past, Laurel studies his photographs, tracking down every lead they provide into the mystery of his life before homelessness — including links to the rich neighborhoods of her own Long Island childhood and to the earlier world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, with its larger-than-life characters, elusive desires, and haunting sorrows.
In a narrative of dazzling invention, literary ingenuity, and psychological complexity, Bohjalian engages issues of homelessness and mental illness by evoking the humanity that inhabits the core of both. At the same time, his tale is fast-paced and riveting — The Double Bind combines the suspense of a thriller with the emotional depths of the most intimate drama. The breathtaking surprises of its final pages will leave readers stunned, overwhelmed by the poignancy of life’s fleeting truths, as caught in Bobbie Crocker’s photographs and in Laurel Estabrook’s painful pursuit of Bobbie’s past — and her own.
Behind The Double Bind
While Bobbie Crocker, the photographer in The Double Bind, is fictitious, the photographs that appear in the book are real. They were taken by a man named Bob “Soupy” Campbell, who, as Chris Bohaljian explains in his Author’s Note, “had gone from photographing luminaries from the 1950s and 1960s to winding up at a homeless shelter in northern Vermont.”
Bohaljian’s viewing of Campbell’s work after the photographer’s death provided an inspiration for The Double Bind. “We tend to stigmatize the homeless and blame them for their plight,” Bohjalian writes.
“We are oblivious to the fact that most had lives as serious as our own before everything fell apart. The photographs in this book are a testimony to that reality.”
This appears to be a “love it or hate it” type of book by the looks of the reviews on Goodreads. Sometimes these make for the best book club discussions, so we shall see how it goes.
Which books are on your TBR for May?
Have you read any of the books on my list? If so, what did you think?
Comment below and let me know 🙂