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May Reads

Most of May's pages were read in airports and metro stations, which is fitting: my feelings on these books are all over the place.

1. Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel. She's one of my favourite authors, and this book didn't disappoint. It explores lost connections: anything from dead languages, missing family members, to breakups. I will say I like her most recent work more.

2. Think Like a UX Researcher by David Travis. A UX Researcher on my team recommended this book, and I'm glad I picked it up. These sort of guides tend to be pretty dry, but this offered a few concrete tips to make research more meaningful.

3. Nightfall & Other Stories by Isaac Asimov. Ah, my true love. He's the master of short fiction, and I'm glad he's written so much that I don't risk running out of stories. The titular story was my favourite, but there wasn't one in the bunch I didn't enjoy.

5. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I read a few of his previous books with mixed reviews, but I had to give this one a try. I mean, libraries, parallel universes? Come on. But this is one of those books where the idea and execution don't quite match up. It came off as very preachy and self-help-ish.

7. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. I thought this would be similar to Lily and the Octopus, a book about man's deep connection with animals; in reality, this was closer to a Hallmark movie. My biggest issue with the book is that you learn the "twist" about a third of the way through the book, then have to trudge through to the end until the characters finally get there themselves.

8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. A classic; I still remember being freaked out by the movie in high school. Maybe my memory isn't as good as I thought, because I don't remember hating the main character. In the novel he's despicable, even if the nurse is, too. I think it's worth a read in the way most classics are, and I can't say I hate a book that gives me mixed feelings.

9. The Invention of Love by Tom Stoppard. Have you read Stoppard's plays? Go! Now! I feel like I see life through a new lens every time I read his work; if you're new to him, I'd recommend starting with Arcadia, but you'll soon find yourself adding the rest to your to-be-read pile. 10. At The Edge of the Woods by Masatsugu Ono. I know I read some weird stuff, but this one takes the cake. It's...unsettling, in the way that good creepy stories are, but Ono took it a bit too far for my taste: I can only take so much imagery about babies and mothers fighting for control of the umbilical cord.

So: this month was a mixed bag. I'd like to start reading more short story collections; I'm always hesitant, since I tend to work through them more slowly, but usually find them worthwhile. For June, I have three or four books that were recommended to me by friends. Recommendations are also a mixed bag. Just because I love a person doesn't mean I'll love what they love. Sometimes they hit the mark, but if not, it's great to see what they enjoy.

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