April has been a mixed month for me and books. The numbers show I did a fair amount of reading, but I didn’t love much of what I read. I am glad that I read from a good range of topics, and I also liked how unique some of my books this month felt. But I don’t have that feel-good reading vibe a good month brings.
- I read a higher number of Book of the Month Club selections than usual in April. Unfortunately not all of them came from my personal stash, so I still have a sizable backlog to work through. I was really disappointed this month with how long it took to receive my BOTM box (3 weeks). It was the first bad experience I’ve had in over a year with BOTM so I was pretty bummed that it happened in my birthday month.
- I’ve been working a lot on my writing project this month, and the progress I’m making there feels great. But I think spending more time writing is probably why I spent less time reading. Apparently it’s true when they say “you can’t do it all.” I wish I could.
Book-to-film adaptations I watched:
- I read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express in August 2017 and rated it 4 stars, and now I’ve watched the new film adaptation. The movie was easier to immediately engage with, but I preferred the book. I felt like I had more of a handle on what was happening and could sift through the clues and explanations to make my own guesses in the novel, whereas in the movie I felt like I was just along for the ride.
Books I finished reading:
- New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. No rating. I’ve been rereading the Twilight saga for close to a year now, by reading only one chapter per day on only the days that I feel like it. This one took me over six months to finish reading. I’m doing this as a sort of way to explore my reading growth over the last ten years. Follow the linked title for my rereading experience and updated (spoilery) thoughts on the book.
- The Power by Naomi Alderman. 3 stars. I liked the concept better than the story with this one. I’m glad that I read it, but I wish I would’ve found the time back in October and gotten this one out of the way sooner; it’s a better fit for that time of year and it was not what I was looking for in my reading this month. Alderman has some great ideas, but I found the execution somewhat disappointing here.
- Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. 4 stars. I didn’t expect to love this as much as I did, and even having loved it it’s hard to explain why. It was just such a light and easy read that still felt important. Alzheimer’s is something that worries me (it runs in my family), and I found this such a great humorous/serious approach to it. Books like this are why I continue to appreciate BOTM so much, and why I keep trying with their selections even after some of them haven’t worked for me.
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. 3 stars. I love Ward’s writing but still haven’t found a favorite now that I’ve finished another of her books. There are some beautiful and important ideas about race, justice, and history wrapped into this novel, but the reading experience just wasn’t as enjoyable or powerful as I was hoping. I’m glad I read this one, and I loved Ward’s writing all over again, but I’m still waiting for one of her books to really impress me the way it seems that they have the potential to.
- Illuminaeby Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.4 stars. I haven’t read a lot of YA sci-fi, but I like certain sci-fi aspects and certain YA aspects and lots of interesting formatting, so I couldn’t pass this one up. It was a great ride, as promised. I usually can’t stand zombies, and space stories are hit or miss for me, but even with both of those elements featured this book did not disappoint. Teenage me would’ve been all over this trilogy and adult me found plenty to appreciate.
- I Stop Somewhere by T E Carter.4 stars. I also still like YA contemporaries that deal with social issues, and this was a good representative of that type. It reminded me a lot of The Lovely Bones, which I read years ago and… (loved? enjoyed?) regarded highly. I love books that tackle difficult topics in an un-put-downable way, and especially when they’re made accessible for young readers. This wasn’t my favorite YA rape culture book, but it definitely had some strong and worthy attributes.
- Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall. 2 stars. This really wasn’t a bad read, just boring. It felt so familiar, like every aspect of this book came out of another book I’d already read. But it wasn’t difficult to read and there wasn’t anything actually wrong with it. Something the author said in her author’s note about this book being a jab at the patriarchy made me feel a little better about the story even though I didn’t see evidence for that side of it while reading.
- Origin by Dan Brown. 3 stars. I started reading the Robert Langdon series in high school with my best friend, and at that time I loved these books. By the time I started book 5 (Origin), I was starting to worry I had outgrown them– and indeed I think I have. I still love the messages and ideas behind these books, but the narration reminds me of Hallmark movies and this time I could hardly get past the writing to enjoy the plot. I appreciate having read these, but I’m not sure I’ll be reading any future books in this series. Full review will be up tomorrow.
- Fave book this month = Goodbye, Vitamin
- Least fave book this month = Our Kind of Cruelty (yes, even lower than New Moon, though that’s a tough call. I think if I had been reading New Moon purely for entertainment it would have won this category hands-down, but because I was using it to learn about myself it scraped by.)
- average monthly rating = 3.3 (low for me)
- books hauled = 12
- owned books that I read for the 1st time this month = 3 (my TBR shelf grew by 9 books this month)
- total books read in 2018 = 41 (12 books ahead of schedule for my Goodreads reading goal)
A small wrap-up this month. 8 books isn’t bad at all, but without any 5-star reads this month I am left a bit disappointed. I wish I had enjoyed more of what I read this month. But my biggest regret is that my TBR shelf grew again by 9 books, which is a trend I was hoping not to see this year. I love getting new books, but I need to be reading them more promptly so that my unread shelves aren’t as full as my read shelves. That’s not a pretty sight when you know you’ll only be accumulating more.
Have you read any of my April books? What did you think of them?
The Literary Elephant