How was your April? This month moved a lot quicker than March — life at home is feeling more normal. I guess I like having a routine, and we’ve been keeping virtually busy, actually (online wine tasting, book clubs, zooming with family). Our cat, Harley, got really sick this month, so we had to go to the vet several times and hand our poor kitty off from the car and then talk to the vet by phone. She’s on the mend at last, and at 18 years old, we’re grateful for every bit of time we have with her.
We spent the month walking, cooking, and dragging out old “comfort movies” from our collection. We watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder version of course), Forgetting Sarah Marshall, WALL-E and Wallace and Gromit. For whatever reason we’re watching a lot of Jeopardy and Antiques Roadshow (and feeling very old doing it). That’s life in the time of quarantine.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about spending money during this time and who to buy from. I’ve made a conscious effort to reduce Amazon buying – I bought from my local bookstore and I’m looking at non-Amazon reading options like Kobo (if anyone uses one let me know). I’ve been buying household goods from Target because I think their employee policies are better. There was an article in the Washington Post recently about frivolous buying and people endangering workers to buy things like clothes and makeup. I guess I don’t know right now if it’s better to spend a bit to keep the economy moving (or if I’m being honest, just to treat myself) or if I should limit anything shipped to absolute necessities. Somewhere in between? What do you think?
It was a really fantastic reading month! Here’s what I read in April:
- Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (audio)
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
- Nimona (graphic novel) by Noelle Stevenson
- The Lost Man by Jane Harper (audio)
- No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder
- The Beauty of Your Face by Sahar Mustafah
- Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore (audio)
- The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
- Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
- Sadie by Courtney Summers (audio)
My favorite read: Rachel Louise Snyder’s No Visible Bruises about domestic violence is a thought-provoking must-read. Get A Life, Chloe Brown was one of the best romances I’ve read in a while, and Bringing Down the Duke was also surprisingly good. My surprise favorite this month was Jane Harper’s The Lost Man, which is a mystery set in rural Australia. It’s a slow-paced book with wonderful characters, just what I like. And Sadie was haunting, and a perfect book to listen to.
DNFs: I got a few books from the library this month that I started but decided not to read: The Topeka School by Ben Lerner, Strangers and Cousins by Leah Cohen and The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett Graff. Graff’s book about 9/11 looks pretty fascinating (it opens with an astronaut watching the events of 9/11 from space), but it just felt way too dark right now, and I had too many other books to read.
It wasn’t a great month for challenges:
- Nonfiction: No Visible Bruises
- Read Harder Challenge: The Lost Man (a mystery where the victim is not a woman), Get a Life Chloe Brown (a lead character with a disability)
What I’m reading now: I’m really enjoying Kwame Onwuachi’s Notes from a Young Black Chef and Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman, and I’m listening to Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow.
What’s coming up: I have one ARC I need to read, Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht, the sequel to the excellent Who is Vera Kelly? I also have way too many books pending at the library. I may post about my library hold list so you all can help me prioritize.
Added to my TBR: Based on a review on The Readers Room, I added Sharks in the Time of Savior by Kawai Strong Washburn, about Hawaiian mythology. From a review in the New York Times, I added When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann, about her father’s experience in Czechoslovakia during the Holocaust. That looks like a memoir that will really resonate.
Things that made me happy this month:
- Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version – I’m always happy to remember how damn good this movie is, even though I’ve seen it so many times.
- Cooking – I’m improving my egg-cooking skills but not getting better at baking. We had a cookie bake-off last weekend and Mr. CG’s peanut butter cookies beat my coffee-toffee cookies by a lot. I still keep trying though!
- The Parks and Recreation reunion — funny and touching, an impressive filming-at-home accomplishment, and for a good cause: http://www.feedingamerica.org.
I hope you and your family and loved ones are all doing well. Here’s to staying home and doing what we can to support each other. Take care.