Books I Read Last Month – May 2020

Hi, friends! It’s already June, and I can’t keep up with 2020 anymore. I didn’t get a lot of reading done during May with all that is happening in the world right now. Here are my thoughts on five books I did read:

LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly

This book was recommended by quite a few friends, and it definitely lived up to the hype for me. The story follows three women during and after WWII—a Polish teenager working for the underground movement, a German doctor who can’t find a job because she’s a woman, and an American philanthropist volunteering at the French Embassy. Their stories merge together in connection to Ravensbrück, one of the women-only Nazi concentration camps. As expected for a book set during the WWII, there was a lot of pain and horror, but also hope and strength.

LITTLE WHITE LIES by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This was the fun, lighthearted read of the month! I was struggling to get into another book (which was supposed to be a fun, lighthearted read!) for a week and a half, and Little Whites Lies saved me from my reading rut. One day, Sawyer, who grew up with a single mother (after she was disowned by her family), is approached by her affluent grandmother and agrees to participate in the debutante season in exchange for college tuition. She’s also motivated to find out about her biological father. The plot develops around debutante drama and family mysteries, and there are definitely surprises. The premise is so different from my reality, and it was a great escape!

THE MOMENT OF LIFT by Melinda Gates

The Moment of Lift is about women around the globe Melinda Gates met through her philanthropic work at the Gates Foundation. I hadn’t realized how invested and involved Melinda Gates has been in empowering women and women’s rights. Some parts of the book are heartbreaking—the book tells stories of women and girls who die because they do not have access to healthcare systems, girls who are forced into child marriages, and families who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. I definitely cried a few times, but these stories are powerful. In telling these stories, Melinda Gates reminds us lifting women means lifting all people in their communities and that we need to listen to the women in order to lift them up.

UNTAMED by Glennon Doyle

To be frank, I had no idea who Glennon Doyle was before reading this book and I typically don’t like self-help books. With that said, this book reads like half-memoir/half-self-help book, and I did appreciate how vulnerable Doyle is in sharing her journey to finding herself. Though her advice on trusting your internal voice to find happiness sounds extremely clichéd, I found her story to be courageous, and it’s worth listening to. You’ll especially get a lot out of this book if you are a white Christian woman who is or wants to be a mother.

THE LIBRARY BOOK by Susan Orlean

This book surprised me! I only read this since it was one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks and I read all of her book picks. I expected the book to be solely about the Los Angeles Library Fire (which I had not known about before). The story does follow the fire and the aftermath of rebuilding the library and the arson investigation. However, a good chunk of the book is about libraries—the history (and all the drama) of LA library system and librarians, all the details and moving parts of library operations, how a public library is one of the most equally accessible space to the community, and more. Like the author, I grew up going to the public library every weekend and have a fondness for libraries. This book made me appreciate libraries and librarians more and also want to work at a library!

What did you read this month? Do you have any recommendations for me?

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