April Book Haul

April is my birthday month! That means new books. I did somewhat try to resist, for most of the month, but the week of my birthday I went a little crazy with the online ordering. For May I’ll be back on the book-buying ban, but for now, here are some new books!

  1. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkein, including The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never read any of these or watched the movies. I always wanted to read the books first and just never got around to it. Part of the problem is that they’re not at my library, and I always wanted a matching set of my own if I was going to buy them, but matching sets are expensive and every time I almost bought them I ended up buying something else. But this time I found a sale and I bought them. And I’m going to make the effort to read them all this year. It’s one of my 2017 goals.
  2. One Day We’ll All be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul. This is my Book of the Month Club pick for April: a collection of essays written by an Indian Canadian, if I’m remembering correctly, about life and the internet and being a woman and all sorts of cool relevant things that I’m looking forward to reading about further.
  3. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller. I added this one as an extra in my BOTM box, although it was a selection from a few months back. This one’s been on my radar for a while, and every time I see anything about it I’m more and more eager to check it out. So I finally bought it (for $1, thank you, BOTM) and I think I might read it in a couple months while I’m taking my brother to swimming lessons, because that just seems fitting, although the book is actually about a woman who disappears, leaving letters behind for her family to find in their books.
  4. Eligible by Curtis SittenfeldOkay, this one’s exciting, because I won it from a Goodreads giveaway. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am very rarely a winner of anything that’s left up to chance. So receiving a copy of the new paperback edition 6 days before its public release and 3 days before my birthday was pretty darn exciting. Also, this one’s a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which was already on my list of to-read classics this year and I am so excited to be able to read this one right along with Austen’s original work.
  5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman. After reading Norse Mythology this month, I checked into other works by Neil Gaiman. There are several I want to check out, but this one’s soon to be a TV series so it’s especially high on the public radar lately and it was easy to find. Thanks to my mom for buying me this copy for my birthday!
  6. Classic Works by F. Scott Fitzgerald, including The Beautiful and Damned, and This Side of Paradise, as well as nineteen short stories. Again, thanks to my mom. This one’s a cheap bind-up, and it’s inconveniently huge, but I thought that was part of its charm. It matches another book I have from this same classics set, and I like the variety in this edition. I’ve been meaning to read more F. Scott Fitzgerald, so I think this will be good.
  7. The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. I bought myself a signed copy of this book at my favorite indie bookstore, on my birthday. A treat to myself. I had recently seen this one recommended with another book I’d already read and enjoyed, although I can’t recall at this moment what the other book was. Anyway, this one sounded good and the cover is beautiful and it was my birthday. (“Birthday,” in this case, meaning “excuse to buy books.”) This one’s about a girl who discovers her father’s rough past and realizes that while she was growing up there was a lot more going on than she was aware of–dangerous things.
  8. Mischling by Affinity Konar. This is a WWII historical fiction released last year with good reviews. I can feel the mood for historical fiction creeping back up on me, and I have several good choices now to select from; I’m thinking that once the mood strikes I’ll read several in a row, and this will be one of them. I’m patient, though. The thing about good historical fiction is that it never gets old. No matter how many years since its release, it’ll always be good, so I don’t feel pressed to read it right away even though I suspect I will like it a lot. So I included this one in my birthday Book Outlet order, and I will read it… eventually.
  9. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Here’s another case of “books that age slowly.” This was a Man Booker Prize winner in 2013, and though I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it when I get around to it, I’m not worried about enjoying it any less if I wait awhile to read it. Whereas other books, especially YA, thrillers, and series that are popular right now, I’m pretty sure will lose a bit of their magic once they’ve been thoroughly trodden by public opinion and have been replaced by the next current trend. With books like The Luminaries, I like to save the best for last, so to speak, like dessert. I’m going to like the chocolate pie whenever I eat it, but if I eat it first it might ruin the rest of the meal for me.
  10. A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab. I found both of these as signed copies! Someday, maybe, I’ll go to actual signings where I can meet the author and watch them sign my books in person, but I live in an inconvenient area for that right now, so I’m excited to find signed copies in any way I can. At least with two to compare from different sellers it’s pretty clear that the signatures are authentic. Anyway, I’m excited to start this series about alternative magical Londons ASAP now that I have all of the books.
  11. Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner. There are basically only two types of YA I still like reading in my early twenties: the action-packed crazy adventures, and the powerfully emotional. I don’t read much YA fluff anymore. This one, I think, will fall into the emotional category. I first spotted the beautiful cover, but after I read the synopsis I was surprised I hadn’t heard of this one before. It has good ratings, sounds powerfully real, and I am just personally  morbidly interested in the idea of phantom limbs, even the metaphorical kind. I wish I had spotted this one sooner. Its cover makes me think it would’ve been a perfect “April showers” read.
  12. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I could tell more or less the same story for this one as the last book. The gorgeous cover art caught my eye, and the synopsis drew me further in. I like books about self-discovery, realistic self-discovery more than the John Green-type crazy adventure self-discovery that doesn’t quite relate to my life. When I’m in the mood for contemporary YA, this is what I’m interested in picking up next. The title sounds irresistibly tragic.
  13. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson. Every now and then, I pick up a classic that sounds interesting to me. My year of classics is working out well for me so far, so every now and then I see another classic I had my mind set on reading eventually and I pick it up thinking I can add it to next year’s list when I will (probably) decide to try it again with fresh titles. Or, maybe I’ll stick in an extra classic some month in the nearer future. I do like classics. I just don’t reach for them as often as I should.
  14. The Goldfinch by Donna TarttI read and loved Tartt’s The Secret History last year, but I’ve been unsure of this one. It won a Pulitzer prize, though, and I did really like The Secret History. Although the premise doesn’t interest me quite as much as The Secret History‘s did, I’m confident enough in the quality of the writing that I’m willing to give it a chance. It’s not high on my list of priorities at the moment, but I’m happy to have it available. It was an impulse birthday buy, cheap on Book Outlet because that’s how I roll.
  15. Do Not Disturb and If You Dare by A. R. Torre. These are the second and third books in a series that starts with The Girl in 6E, which, admittedly, I also own but have not read. I’ve just been so sure that I would want to read them all that I kept an eye out for these later books in the trilogy and finally spotted them in limited quantity on Book Outlet. This was after my birthday and I wouldn’t have ordered anything further if it hadn’t been something I was looking out for and thought I wouldn’t find cheaper anywhere else. And now I can read the whole series, because clearly starting another trilogy is just what I need to do right now (I’m in the middle of several series simultaneously already, if you’ve missed my reviews).

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There’s my April book haul. I can’t wait to read these, but I’ve been looking back through older book hauls and trying to pick out more books that I’ve had on my shelf for a while and not gotten around to yet. I’m doing better this year than last year about picking up a few of my own books every month instead of just borrowing–I want to read all of the books I own, but the ones I don’t own just feel so much more precarious on my TBR (which I know is ridiculous. If someday I finish reading everything on my shelf I would not at all worry about buying more, assuming I have money).

Have you read any of these books? What should I pick up first?


The Literary Elephant


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