April is my birthday month, so I didn’t bother expecting to stick to my 3-book buying rule. (So far I’ve met that goal only once in 2018, but there’s still time.) It’s been fun picking up way more books that I needed this month, but it has also reminded me of why the 3-book rule is in place: I’m starting to feel overwhelmed again about the unread books on my shelves. I think May will be a very different sort of month for me as a result, but before we get there, these are the new books on my shelf in April:
- In March I bought (and read) 6 books from the new Penguin Modern collection, and loved them enough to buy 6 more in April. I have not read any of this new batch yet, and all I know about them is: most of these authors were familiar to me, they cover a range of fiction and nonfiction topics, and they’re about 60 pages each (which is why I’m counting all 6 as one book here). I’ll provide more info in my upcoming reviews, but for now I’ll just list my new titles: Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell, Lance by Vladimir Nabokov, The Breakthrough by Daphne du Maurier, Vigilante by John Steinbeck, Food by Gertrude Stein, and Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer by Wendell Berry.
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. A classic, a birthday gift, and a recommendation from a friend. It’s been years since I read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and lately it’s bothering me that he has other great works I haven’t checked out yet. This one focuses on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s, a piece of American’s history that has always interested me.
- Origin by Dan Brown. Another birthday gift. My grandma has been sharing the books in this series with me for years, and I think part of the reason she was so eager to pick this one up for my birthday is because she wants to read it herself. I’ve already read this one so I can pass it on to her. This one is typical Robert Langdon, but while I still enjoy the plots of this series I am outgrowing their narrative style. A mixed-thoughts review will be coming soon.
- House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. The last of my birthday gifts. I’ve heard some interesting things about this book over the years, but all I remember at present is that Stephen King recommends it. I’m a big King fan so I thought I’d give this one a try. I think it’s supposed to be kind of creepy, so I’m planning to read this one in October.
- I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman. I’m a sucker for discounts and Barnes and Noble exclusive editions. This is the third B&N exclusive that I bought in March, though it didn’t arrive until April. It’s been years since I’ve read a Gayle Forman book, but I have liked what I’ve read and this newest novel features four lost souls helping each other find their way. Plus the cover looks perfect for spring, and now that the snow is finally gone here it finally feels like spring.
- Circe, by M Miller. I’ve heard some great things about this book and I do love Greek mythology. I caved and bought the beautiful UK edition, which is possibly the prettiest book on my shelf to date. I was hoping to read this one within the month but it just arrived days ago and I haven’t had time yet. I’m planning to get to it in May.
- The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil. Here is one of my April Book of the Month selections. I let myself break my one-BOTM-book-per-month rule for 2018 because birthdays only come once a year and what better (self-)gift than books? This one is a memoir, a genre I’ve been especially enjoying this year. This one follows an African girl through disaster in Rawanda and eventually to the US as she tries to move on from the war in her past.
- Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall. My second April BOTM selection is a Gillian Flynn-approved thriller set to release in May. I like early finished copies and I loved Flynn’s books, so this seemed like an obvious choice. But I read this one already and didn’t actually like it much. It’s about a weird sex-game gone wrong, but it was more than the plot that went wrong for me with this one. (Click the title to see my full review.)
- The Oracle Year by Charles Soule. And this is the April BOTM selection I was most excited for, a sci-fi drama about a man who wakes up one morning with certain prophecies about the future. I’m really bummed that I didn’t read this one within the month, but my BOTM box arrived so late in April that I only picked up the one that I thought would be the fastest read, and I decided to save this one for a time when I could read it more leisurely. I’m hoping that’ll be really soon now.
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I mentioned in March’s book haul that I’ve been in a mood for some YA fantasy, and while I haven’t actually read much of that lately, this craving has still been influencing my book buying. Here’s a first-in-a-series YA fantasy that I know absolutely nothing about other than the series has been getting pretty high reviews. Also it’s won an award, which seems promising.
- The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I don’t know much about the premise of this book either, but I do know it’s a completed trilogy that I’ve had my eye on for a while, and it’s becoming a movie soon. This is probably the next YA fantasy I’ll read, and hopefully that’ll happen soon because I feel a bad habit in the making, of buying rather than reading when I’m in a certain reading mood. That seems counterproductive.
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. Same fantasy-craving reasoning, although I do know a bit more about the premise of this one. Three princesses must battle each other for the throne of their kingdom. I believe these sisters possess different kinds of magic, and they’re trying to kill each other subtly rather than the usual brutal duel-to-the-death stuff. This is the first book in a trilogy that’s going to end later this year, so I’m hoping to get on board before the final book is released.
And that’s a wrap. 12 (technically 17) new books living with me now, and I’ve read 2 of them. I wish that I could have read every single one of these books in April because these are the books I’ve been excited about lately (and also because my TBR is feeling out of control again). But April was kind of a disappointing reading month for me (wrap-up coming tomorrow) and these new books are just staring me down now, making me feel guilty for buying more than I could handle. New books are exciting, and I’m ending the month 90% happy with my purchases, but… also with renewed determination to stick to my 3-book goal next month so I can read as I go instead of letting things pile up.
Which new books did you buy or read this month? Have you read any from this list?
The Literary Elephant