My April Reading Wrap-up

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.20170430_173129_resized

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.

  7 comments for “My April Reading Wrap-up

  1. April 30, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Looks like you had a great month!
    How do you like The Leavers? I have it on my list to read in May.

    • May 2, 2017 at 7:26 am

      I’m about a third in, and I’m really liking it. I’m interested to see where it goes. More to come!

  2. May 1, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Curious what you thought of Strangers. I’ll be posting my review later in the week.

    • May 2, 2017 at 7:25 am

      I had mixed feelings, but it did give me a lot to think about, and talk about — although I can’t say I talked with people on “the other side”. Still very much in a bubble but with a little more understanding maybe.

  3. May 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I also read Underground Railroad in April and thought it powerful as well, but I’m not entirely sure I loved it as much as the rest of the world. I absolutely loved Hag-Seed–the story worked and the commentary it provided on The Tempest was simply great reading.

  4. May 8, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I LOVE your bookish art! I’m glad you’re taking more time for you lately—sometimes you just need to make a decision to do that.

  5. danielle hammelef
    May 16, 2017 at 10:05 am

    You had an excellent reading month. I do like your art you bought in Seattle. Seattle is one of my favorite places and I love Pike’s Place Market (I have an apron from there that I still enjoy and use).

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