I’m not sure how I managed to read so much in April, although two long flights including a three-hour delay certainly helped. We visited Seattle for a lovely weekend with my in-laws, where we tasted wine, enjoyed science fiction and fantasy exhibits in the Museum of Pop Culture, took a boat tour, and of course visited the Pike Place Market, where I picked up this little find – if you look closely, I bet you can figure out what it’s made of.
April was a good month, except for the nasty cold I picked up at the end of it. My big accomplishment was planting this year’s garden. Last year we had to wait until late May because of fence repairs. This year I’ve planted eggplant, banana and jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, basil, and a few different tomato plants. Every year I try something new, and squash is this year’s newbie. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m reading a lot more this year! A lot of that has to do with being out of grad school, but also I’ve given myself more permission to read. Instead of feeling like I should be doing something else all the time, I’m taking more time for me. I’m also not trying to review every book, so I’m not putting pressure on myself to write so many reviews. I’d still like to write more discussion posts, though.
Here’s what I read in April:
- The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
- Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild
- A Study of Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
- The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill
- The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
- Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
- Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
- Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman
My favorite read was Atwood’s Hag-Seed. I was skeptical at first, and I haven’t seen good reviews for some of the other Shakespeare retellings in the collection. But Atwood is every bit the wizard she describes in this re-imagining of The Tempest. I also thoroughly enjoyed The Bear and The Nightingale and found The Underground Railroad very powerful.
My most disappointing read? I was left with mixed feelings about Bijan’s Café Leila. There were times the book infuriated me, and times it left me a little bored. Somehow I didn’t get swept up in the warm family feelings Bijan described (maybe because I prefer a read about dysfunctional families). Still, I learned more about the revolution in Iran.
It was a great month for challenges:
- Reading All Around the World: The Last Days of Café Leila (Iran); The Lonely Hearts Hotel (Canada); The Bear and the Nightingale (Russia); The Shadow Land (Bulgaria).
- Read Diverse 2017: The Underground Railroad; The Last Days of Cafe Leila
- Six Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win: Strangers in Their Own Land
- Award Winners and Nominees: The Lonely Hearts Hotel; Hag-Seed; The Underground Railroad.
ARCs/review requests: The Shadow Land; The Last Days of Café Leila
Discussion posts: Reading Around the World (What Counts?)
What I’m reading now: The Leavers by Lisa Ko (from NetGalley) is about a boy in New York whose Chinese mother disappears one day. It’s really good so far.
What’s coming up: I have Rose Tremain’s The Gustav Sonata and Britt Bennett’s The Mothers from the library. In May I plan to read A Raisin in the Sun for the Classic Book a Month Club. I failed on April’s book, Tender is the Night. I read a little bit, and watched some of the series Zelda, and I’ve decided I’m just not a Fitzgerald fan. I’ve read Gatsby twice and never felt the love.
So that was April! Here’s to May, long summer days and reading outside.