What I read in May

Have you ever run out of time when you borrowed a book from the library? Yeah. This happened to me this month. I was on the waiting list and I missed the opportunity to ‘pause’ the book. It became available when I still had two other books to read and then by the time I got around to read it, it expired before I could finish it. (Also, this month just flew by.)

So, I technically read 3,5 books this month, but I won’t be able to list one of them until I can re-borrow and finish it. Bummer.  

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú (★★★★☆)

This book is about the experiences of the author, Francisco Cantú, and the 4 years he spent as a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Arizona and Texas.

While reading this book, I realized that I had listened to an interview on NPR between Steve Inskeep and the author and remembered being intrigued by his story. It’s an interesting point of view from an American with Mexican heritage. He joins the Border Patrol to better understand what’s happening at the border and I think in many ways it ‘broke him’.

The narrative is somewhat linear, but not consistent in the thoughts and memories he shares. I think the point is to understand that the border situation is first and foremost a human issue and people trying to cross into the United States are first and foremost this: humans, who should be treated as such.

What’s intriguing about the book is that the author looks at the issues from two sides, the side of a law enforcement official, who has to do his job, but also from the side of someone with deep roots to the Mexican heritage that is apparent everywhere in the border region and the connection he feels to the people who cross the border in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

It ends with us by Colleen Hoover (★★★☆☆)

I wish I could have given this book more than 3 stars. The writing was good, even great in parts, the story did pull me in, but ultimately, I thought it was all “too much”.

I don’t want to give away what this story mainly is about, because Hoover deals with a very personal subject and there were parts of the book where I thought she did such an amazing job of conveying feelings and thought processes around the subject, but I don’t know how many times I also rolled my eyes because OMG, it was so unrealistic. Besides the fact that some details where just “too good to be true”, others were just “too hard to believe”. I get that people in real life have all kinds of issues, but if you try to address each and all issues of every single character, but then don’t give it equal and considerate attention, the narrative becomes really mind-bogglingly trite.  EVERY single character had something seriously messed up happen to them in this book and it was just too much for one story line.

Maybe I am too critical, but I don’t understand how this has an average rating of 4.5 stars on Goodreads. I mean, part of me couldn’t put this book down, but at the same time, I was so annoyed by so, so many parts of the plot. (If you really wanted to know how I felt and why, or if you have read the book, email me! I’d love to discuss.).

Before I go by Colleen Oakley (★★★★☆)

I really, really enjoyed this book. I mean, as much as you can enjoy a book about cancer. Having experienced my own best friend go through cancer treatment, I found so many nuggets of wisdom in this book. We talked so many times about how she was feeling, how she experiences the people around her reacting to her diagnosis, and how she felt she was responsible to make sure the people around her were “ok”. In this way, Daisy’s reaction to her relapsed cancer diagnoses and the worry about what might happen to her husband seems all too realistic. The book synopsis is surprisingly straightforward, there are not too many surprises in the story line. We know Daisy is dying and we know how she intends to spend the last few months of her life. It’s like this ‘one last project’ she wanted to finish. But I felt like the book was more about the emotional process of dealing with such a terminal diagnosis than it was about the actual story line. Oakley was able to capture the stages of grief, the irritability, the alienation that people involved in such a diagnosis might feel, and it did make me shed a tear in the end.

Clearly, the moral of this story is an important one. Spend quality time with those you care about, focus on what’s important to you. Enjoy what you have while you have it because no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.

What was your favorite book last month? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.

  1. These sound like some great reads. I’m really curious about the second one even though you didn’t rate it as highly, I kind of want to see what it’s all about just to see if I end up feeling the same way! I need some reads for my upcoming vacation, so I might have to check a couple of these out for sure!

    1. If you decide to read “It ends with us”, I would LOVE to discuss it with you :)

  2. I haven’t read any of these books, but I have heard that Before I Go was really good. I may have to add that one to my list of books to read. I think I may also add The Line Becomes A River. It sounds like a great read.

    1. Both were excellent. Definitely worth putting on your to-read list!

  3. I’m living vicariously through your reading, since all of my reading lately has been for school! I listened to the border patrol interviews on NPR as well, so that book sounds interesting to me.

    1. I am happy to read for the both of us while you finish your degree :)

  4. I hate when I lose a library book before I’ve been able to finish it! Sorry you didn’t really love the Hoover book, but the others sound great. :)


    1. It was stupid, I should have been on top of my library list and ‘paused’ the book when I had the chance ;)

  5. The Line Becomes a River sounds really interesting!

    1. Definitely worthwhile!

  6. The Line Becomes A River has been added to my want to read list. ;)

    I just replied to your comment over at mine, in case you did not tick to be notified of replies. :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by :)

  7. These books sound interesting – I’d like to read “Before I go” it sounds like a good one.
    I need to join Goodreads sometime!

    1. Oh yes, get on Goodreads, girl. It’s awesome to track and find new books!

      1. I’ve just joined :)

  8. I think I had heard about The Line Becomes a River before, i’m requesting it from the Library now.

    There must be something about the nice weather, that everybody is finishing books. I had to return a book half way through it, and the waiting list is crazy!

    1. I’d love to hear what you think!

  9. I’m most curious about the last book you read. I should add that to my list of requests at the library.

    I definitely have had books become due before I could finish them. I had 3 ebooks become available within days of each other and was so sure I wouldn’t read all 3 but I read one of them pretty quickly so I’m going to get to all of them, I think. I hate when I don’t finish a book before it’s due!

    My fave book from last month was ‘The Garden of Small Beginnings’. It was a pretty light read which is perfect for this time of year (for me at least). Right now I’m reading Lilac Girls which is a WWII novel.

    1. I also hate when I can’t finish books before they’re due… esp. when you can extend the borrowing period because there are so many on the waitlist!
      Thanks for the recommendation – I will look into ‘The Garden of Small Beginnings”.

  10. This happens to me all the time with library books! I’m currently waiting to finish about 3 books right now. So frustrating.

    1. Definitely look if your library has a ‘pause’ feature where you can pause a book without losing your spot on the waiting list!

  11. I currently have 10 library books on my nightstand and I’m not sure how I’m going to get around to them all – I just keep extending the due dates when I can and trying to read the books that won’t be able to be extended first. Eeks!

    I read It Ends With Us and I’m curious as to what you found to be too unrealistic. Unfortunately, I lived through a very similar situation and I found the book to be a little TOO realistic for me. It was very triggering for what I’ve been through, so I had a hard time with that book.

    1. 10 books! Gah…. but you’re a fast reader! I am sure you can do it :)

      I emailed you my thoughts about It Ends With Us… I didn’t want to put spoilers here in the comments! ;)

  12. I’ve not read any of these books before, but they all sound so good. I’m looking for some books to take to the beach with me, so I think I’ll add these to my list. Thanks for sharing your reviews!

  13. The Line Becomes a River sounds like something I would enjoy. Our borders are so complicated, whether they’re the ones we share here in the U.S. or the ones overseas and it sounds like the author brings a pretty unique perspective.

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