Just two books, but updates, and a couple of scams to be aware of are included in this month’s roundup.

Books read in May

At the recommendation of Jeremy (who at this point should be receiving a commission) I read Shadow and Bone in 2019 and then binge-read almost all of Leigh Bardugo’s books on the Grishaverse plus The Ninth House.

The only novels I haven’t read are the companion ones, which after reading Rule of Wolves I will have to tackle since I’m caught up on this fun and fantastic world that I wish I lived in.

The King of Scars duology.

Bardugo does a great job of creating an alternative world with characters who are believable, dynamic, and often humorous. So recommend.

Every work of literature has both a situation and a story. The situation is the context or circumstance, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer: the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say.

Vivian Gornick

This slim novel is considered required reading for essayists and memoirists. Gornick takes the reader on a tour of the best of personal narratives and reveals why these pieces are so powerful.

Damn scams.

πŸ’€ The two scams are targeted towards writers (but readers need to beware of the second one). Firstly, there’s a “We’re seeking qualified writers to be part of our conference” which is apparently part of a phishing scheme. And secondly, is the “Goodreads extortion scam” where they threaten to one-star your book if you don’t give them money.

Just another reason why I don’t trust or approve of rating systems based on the good opinion of others. I much prefer a paragraph (or full review) on why you like or don’t like something. In any case, don’t trust one-star (or even two) that are obvious attacks on the writer. Sigh.

So far so good. I’m 3 books ahead to meet my reading goal of 30 books for 2021.

No surprise here. I love YA and historical fiction. [Storygraph screenshot]

3 quick updates:

πŸ‘‰ I feel like I haven’t made any updates in while, but that’s because I’ve been keeping up with my newsletter. It’s semimonthly and in it’s THIRD year! I’ve updated my landing page so you can read the previous letters without signing up, but I’d love it if you did.

πŸ‘‰ Something else I’ve also done is update my book cover. I was never happy with the older ones. What do you think? I’ve finally embraced the ‘teacher’ theme with the chalkboard and chalk. Audio + free PDF copy of the book is available on Gumroad, and it’s on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

The Missing Teacher book cover

πŸ‘‰ And I’ve written a couple of humor pieces for publications on Medium recently. For Asian American month, I did a “You know you’re a child of an Asian immigrant when…” type of bingo board. And before that What are spirit animals? And do I have to take mine to the vet?

Whew. How was your May? Did you read any good books?

24 replies on “πŸ“š Reading Roundup: May 2021

  1. You are so busy, Lani. Congratulations for all you’ve been doing and accomplishing.
    This month I read Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian. It was fictional, but it sure educated me about Puritans and the Massachusetts witch trials.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Dugoni’s new mystery/police procedural.

    Before that, I read Rabbit in the Moon a memoir by Heather Diamond about her marriage to a Chinese guy from Hong Kong and her adjustment to living for several months with his very large Hong Kong family. I must have read Claire Chao’s memoir about her mother, Remembering Shanghai, in April. It’s well worth reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool, thanks. You’ve been busy yourself. I downloaded your book, just so you know! It’s on my ever-growing TBR list.

      I really like witch trial books so I’ll have to refer back to this and the Rabbit memoir sounds fascinating. I started reading Remembering Shanghai last year but couldn’t really get into it… I might have stopped a quarter or halfway in. I don’t know why ~ I’m such a moody reader.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the new book cover – very apt for the title. I can’t believe I didn’t know about your book. It’s going to be my first read for the month.

    Wow – I didn’t know about these scams. That’s crazy! Did someone approach you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. And don’t feel the need to read my book because I fear your reviews. πŸ˜€ Hahahaha.

      As far as the scams, I read about it, thankfully, no, it wasn’t personal. Whew.


  3. I love the new book cover, Lani. It is striking, yet very simple – book covers can often be a bit too busy. As for reading, I’ve been dipping in and out of books, struggling for something to hold my attention. On the other hand, these days I only read about a page or two before falling asleep, so I guess I’m just not in the right frame of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jolandi. I would imagine you are doing lots of out-of-doors work and prepping for the colder months to come.

      Reading can be seasonal, just like many other things – rhythmic, cyclical and moody πŸ˜›

      Sometimes I read so much for work during the day that I don’t want to read again at night so pleasurable reads get pushed around for a few days or so.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the idea that reading can also be seasonal. It has always been such a huge part of my life that I’ve never thought of it like that. Well, now that the days are super long and it is getting hot, I’ve decided that an afternoon siesta is just the thing to get me through the day, and I guess I will start it with reading something.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I def have to read your book, and I love that cover btw. I took a big work-writing gig, so I’ve been swamped and not really reading much, except for a few pages of Marilynne Robinson’s HOME before bed. (So far, it’s no GILEAD, but then nothing is.) I love your humor writing–the spirit animals one had me laughing so hard! Good to know about those scams. Ugh. People are sometimes crap. The Gornick sounds like something I should pick up–but when to read it!? I am getting away for a writing retreat (just a couple women writers in an old farmhouse in VA) soon, and I hope I’m going to be able to finish my novel draft there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooo. I’ve always wondered and wanted to be part of one of those writers retreat. Sounds divine. Please give us an update or email me and told me how it went. I REALLY want to know how it goes.

      And thanks, you def do not have to read it as it was an attempt many many moons ago to get down a story that felt very important at the time. I feel like I’ve learned so much since then.

      And I’m so so glad to hear that I made you laugh. It’s such a high compliment. Truly.

      I was going through Erika’s newsletter and https://www.craftliterary.com/ looks like a good site for those quick and inspirational bursts on the craft.

      Good luck and have fun on your retreat! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lani!! First: Love your new book cover! Especially since I’m a believer of the real board and chalk thing and don’t like the digital blackboards. πŸ˜‰ There was even a National Geographic article about that I think, something about physicists and mathematicians preferring it too.
    Ugh about the scams, that just sucks.
    Thanks for the Shadow and Bone recommendation, Netflix tried “pushing” me to watch it but I had no clue about it, but like that it’s based on a book series. Did you watch it? And if so, what do you think I should do first: read the books or watch the series? Normally I’m a book first kind of girl but I’ve heard about some shows that they’re almost as good as the books so I’m open to this approach. πŸ˜‰
    And yay for being 3 books ahead in your book goal for this year!!
    I’m currently reading “The Martian-Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury and “Fair Warning” by Michael Connelly. Also started with “Unf*ck Yourself” by Gary John Bishop, the audio version, which is kind of fun because I think it’s being read by someone with a Scottish accent.
    Loved your Newsletter! Congratulations on 3 years!!! Your rock girl!!! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sarah. So much love!

      Chalkboards are better and will never replace whiteboards.

      The Shadow and Bone trilogy ROCKS. I’d read that first, definitely before watching the series which is wonderful. They did such a good job with the casting. Then, I’d read the Six of Crows duology which takes place in the same world but has a different storyline.

      I liked Martian Chronicles. Sometimes these classics don’t do it for me, but Bradbury matched my melancholy mood. Unf*ck Yourself sounds familiar. Let me know if it works! Hahaha. What a promise, eh?

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll definitely read the books first then!
        Yes, it’s the same with me about the classics, but I figured since I was having more time to read I could give it a try. πŸ˜‰
        Not sure the other book can keep its promise but it is rather interesting so I’ll keep at it for the moment.
        Have a lovely weekend! xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  6. You have been busy! No wonder it is just two books. But hey, that is still two books. The new cover is nice. Kind of reminds of a David Sedaris cover actually but not sure which one. And rolling my eyes on the scams. Like seriously people have to stop. Ugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I was really hoping to have a couple of books done and dusted but my students who I was reading them with had exams so we kept pushing back the date. But thank you, looking back it does seem like a lot happened.

      Me Talk Pretty One Day – that’s what it looks like! πŸ˜›


  7. Hey!! I just read Six of Crows and its follow up book. I was surprised at how it sucked me in!!! Do you like Shadow and bone just as much? Any favorites from the Grishaverse you can recommend as my next read?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Leigh Bardugo! Great to meet another fan. Yes, I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, loved the Netflix series, and read the Six of Crows duology as well as the King of Scars… And other than the short stories, I think that pretty much catches you up. Her other book Ninth House (which is not part of the Grishaverse) is ALL KINDS OF AWESOMENESS so I’d recommend that one next. πŸ™‚

      OH, it occurred to me that I might have read your comment incorrectly. I read S & B before Six of Crows and really enjoyed it. Since you read Six of Crows first you already know the big ending of S & B, but if you like her style… I think there are die hard fans that fall into either camp, but I did enjoy all of her books.


      1. Yes, I’m a huge fan. I’m so jealous of her ability to create such a vivid world and write such memorable characters. I love Kaz — he is such a witty and smart character!

        I have absolutely zero idea what Shadow and Bone is about exactly… I’m debating if I should watch the netflix show first or read the books first! I guess I’ll go with S&B next and then I’ll move onto King of Scars. I’m so happy to meet another Grishaverse fan, yay!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yesss! Read the book first, read the books first! The second season won’t be out in like forever. Whaaaaa.



  8. WTF about that extortion scam?? People are crazy (and very imaginative regarding criminal activities…)

    In May I finally managed to finish The Brothers Karamazov. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it was a bit dense at the beginning, and then I had to move…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that’s quite the accomplishment. I should read that one day. Currently, reading The Poppy Wars at over 600 pages and let me tell you, I can’t wait to read sth else. Sometimes I don’t like long books – I get too antsy over all the other books I want to read!


  9. Ah, do you know what’s been one of the first things I’ve done when arriving to Spain? Getting a library card for me and Baby A. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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