There was an unusual (for a single month) number of books I rated 4 or more stars (out of a possible 5) so I decided to include the star rating I gave each first-time read. Keep in mind that the enjoyment I got out of the book tends to weigh heavier than the quality of writing, style and narrative, so you might see some ratings that surprise you. Sometimes these components come together into something sublime, which is when I find myself compelled to give more than the top rating of 5 stars. In any given year only a handful of books gets this 5+ rating, but the ones that do always end up – when I own the copy I read – on my keeper shelves, or – when I don‘t – I end up buying a copy, and vigorously recommend the book to my friends, family and coworkers.
The standout for May was I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven, which I reviewed yesterday. I must also mention another classic, Stephen Crane‘s The Red Badge of Courage. It’s an excellent psychological study of a young soldier during his first battle. Unfortunately I never completely connected with the protagonist, so it didn’t perhaps get from me the score it might have deserved, but that’s how it goes. I also enjoyed the Griffin & Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock, not because of the story (which is actually rather trite) but because of the packaging, which is fantastic.
- Nick Bantock: Griffin & Sabine. Mystery, art book.4 stars.
- Nick Bantock: Sabine's Notebook. Mystery, art book. 4 stars.
- Nick Bantock: The Golden Mean. Mystery, art book.3.5 stars.
- Stephen Crane: The Red Badge of Courage. Novel, war, coming-of-age. 4 stars.
- Margaret Craven: I heard the owl call my name. Novel. 5.5 stars.
- Jennifer Crusie: Anyone but you, Welcome to Temptation, Crazy for You, Strange Bedpersons, Bet Me. Contemporary romance. Reread.
- Jennifer & Bob Mayer Crusie: Don't look down. Romantic suspense. Reread.
- Julia Delaney (ed.): Chocolate: York's Sweet Story. History, summary (brochure).
- Terry Pratchett: Nation. YA, alternative history. Reread.
- Nora Roberts: Morrigan's Cross, Dance of the Gods, Valley of Silence. Romantic fantasy. 3.5 stars.
- Sverrir Kristjánsson & Tómas Guðmundsson: Í veraldarvolki. (English: Adrift in the World). Biography. 3 stars.