on the bookshelf :: May

on the bookshelf :: May

During one of our early recording sessions for the upcoming fourth season of our podcast, we chat accountability and motivation, and I offhandedly threw out the idea of a low-key bookclub/accountability group. It stuck in my mind, so I mentioned it on Instagram, and the response was overwhelming. Within a day or so, the Barefoot Bookclub was born. Because accountability is my love language, and saying my goals out loud is one of my key motivators, I blame credit the bookclub chat thread with boosting my monthly tally – from four books in April, to TEN in May!

Of the ten books I read this month, three were audio books, one was a hard copy, one was a kindle ebook, and the remaining five were borrowed on my library’s apps. Genre wise, there were two non-fiction, three suspense/mystery, three family saga, one drama, and one contemporary fiction. Both non-fiction were by Australian authors, and of the fiction, four were Australian, three American, and one European.

The links below are mostly affiliate links – I have included Amazon, and for the Aussies, QBD options. Where I have listened to an audio book, it is through my Audible subscription and I have linked to the version I listened too. If you haven’t signed up for audible previously, you can get a free 30 day trial here. Books marked with a ^ mark are also available with a kindleunlimited subscription that also has the option of a free trial here, and † denotes a kindle book available through Prime Reading – you can get a free trial of prime here. The kindle links will also show hard copy options from Amazon. 

The Woman In The Library :: Sulari Gentille {kindle // hard copy} My most recent finish, this was a suspense that was light enough to read in a day. I managed to pick the whodunnit ahead of time, but it was still fun watching the rest of the characters catch on. I’ve called it suspense, but it certainly wasn’t a scary or unnerving kind of suspense. (source: am a total scaredy cat and anything too creepy is either a day time read or risk nightmares!)

Orphans Of The Storm :: Celia Imrie {kindle} based in early 20th century Nice, this family saga is the story of a young girl suckered into a relationship, and the tug of war that ensues when she attempts to file for divorce, before all coming to a head aboard (or otherwise) the RMS Titanic. I didn’t realise until the end that it was based on a true story, and even at some points thought it a bit overblown…proof yet again that truth is stranger than fiction!

Phosphorescence :: Julia Baird {audible // kindle // hard copy} I’ve been dipping in and out of this one for a couple of months, and finally finished it while quilting my mum’s mothers day present. It was interesting to hear Julia’s perspective on joy and contentment even in hard times, and I enjoyed particularly the chapter on faith. It not only challenged my preconceived notions of the author, but echoed in parts the way our household tries to live based on matters of faith. A couple of chapters felt a bit self-indulgent, but maybe would be less so in the hard copy? The format of an audiobook, in a non-fiction book, narrated by the author, gives a sense they are talking directly to you. To hear “a letter to my…” spoken, felt almost uncomfortably intimate at times. But overall, a good book with lots of food for thought.

The Blackout :: Ruth McIver {audible} This one was an audible freebie from memory, and I picked it one weekend afternoon when I was settling in for some crafting and wanted something quick. It only had about a 5hr run time, but man…once I started, I couldn’t stop! Focused around a fictional podcast on a fictional serial killer, set in Perth, it had me hooked working out who did what! Not super scary, thankfully!

Lessons In Chemistry :: Bonnie Garmus {kindle // hard copy} after waiting since DECEMBER to get this one via Indy Reads, I was so excited to finally have it. A story of love, loss, and pushing back against societal expectations, it was beautifully written and I really enjoyed it. I will confess I am coming to the tail end of a Bones rewatch, so I pictured Elizabeth as a 60s version of Temperance Brennan.

The Bookshop on Jacaranda St :: Marlish Glorie {kindle // hard copy} Another family saga, centred around mental health, the inner lives we don’t share with anyone else, and lessons we can learn from both. It was slightly different from what I expected reading the blurb, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. The protagonist had a redemptive growth arc, going from almost insufferable in her insistence in projecting her own dreams and ideas onto those around her, to becoming more flexible and empathetic, learning to let go of her “main character syndrome”.

A Woman’s Work :: Victoria Purman {kindle // hard copy} A portrait of life as a housewife in the 50s, I finished this book very thankful to be a housewife in the 20s!! With accurate depictions of gender roles, with some modern, sympathetic takes on trickier issues of the era mixed in, it had me hooked beginning to end.

Seafaring :: Victor Briggs {kindle // hard copy} I picked this one up a couple of weeks back when we were in the big smoke. It’s written by a semi-local Indigenous author, and is well researched and explained. I described it to a friend as “Dark Emu meets Moana”, and it was not only interesting and informative, but also thought provoking and had me thinking about the way things were taught in school in the 90s, along with plenty of “oh duh of course that makes total sense” moments. It’s reasonably short – only 90 pages – but jam-packed with information on culture and society.

The Road Towards Home :: Corinne Demas {kindle^} our first bookclub book, it probably wasn’t quite as good as what the blurb made it sound like. I found the pacing a bit off, and some of the plot didn’t quite work for me. But it was fluffy and readable, and sparked the bookclub, so we’ll call it a win!

The Call :: Christian White {audible} I have listened to a couple other of Christian’s books, and while I’m not normally a big suspense reader (despite what this month would suggest!), I like his books enough to give this one a go. It was interesting to see the interlinking stories play out, and I definitely didn’t pick the twist! It was another reasonably short listen, a good one for weekends where you want to knock over a book in just a sitting or two.

Ten in May brings me to 39 books for the year, out of my goal of 100 for the year. In theory I will need to read 11 in June to be on track, but I’m only aiming for eight, knowing July holidays are coming up, and with them the chance to add a heap more to my tally – it’s not uncommon for me to read 10 books in two weeks over our winter holidays! What’s on your TBR this month?

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