April was a tumultuous month, both for weather and reading.
My goal for April:
“For April, I’ll stick with 4 books – it seems to be working.”
Actual vs. planned: (Link to my Goodreads 2017 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)
Isaac’s Storm – Erik Larson – 3.5* – (Apr 7)
It’s been awhile since I read “The Devil in the White City” by Larson, but it impressed me enough that I’ve bought everything I can find with his name on it since.
I remember “Devil” having a lot more drama. This book was a slow read for me, only picking up at the very end after the storm hit. Otherwise, there was a lot of build-up that felt tedious and over-burdened by explanations of meteorology.
Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 4* – (Apr 9):
I gave this a 4 because it was interesting, but I’m not sure I liked it. I’m glad I read it though – it was recommended by my friend Sarah as we discussed “classics” I’ve missed over the years.
The summary says our protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, becomes unstuck in time after an alien abduction. I’m not sure if I was meant to buy that or to think this guy was just really screwed up with PTSD after being a POW.Also, the “so it goes” repetition made me really weary while reading it.
The Thing at the Foot of the Bed – Maria Leach, Kurt Werth – 4* – (Apr 10)
Recommended by Wendra in writing group when I mentioned “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” (Goodreads Review). A great complement. I knew some of these stories but it had that same vibe, minus the spooky illustrations.
Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher – 4* – (Apr 15):
I gave this 4 stars. However, I’ve since watched the series on Netflix and because I didn’t write this review first, I’m now confusing the two.
I thought the book was an interesting exercise in realizing we have no idea how our actions may be taken by those around us. Especially if someone feels piled on, what may seem like a somewhat small thing can have exponential consequences. One of the “reasons” that bothered me most in the book involved the guidance counselor. Without spoiling anything, I think it’s safe to say he wasn’t very helpful in preventing Hannah’s suicide. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen (I had some lousy HS guidance counselor experiences myself) but it SHOULDN’T happen. Unfortunately, if you’re feeling desperate enough to reach out for help and that help fails you, it can be hard to reach out for other help.
I don’t have kids – I don’t think this is for younger readers. And I don’t think the series should be watched by most teens without an adult and a lot of conversation.
15th Affair – James Patterson – 3* – (Apr 18):
I give this installment a three. More of the same from this series, especially lately. I don’t necessarily think all main characters need to stay young and single forever, but the way marriage and motherhood has been handled in this series really drags down the enjoyment I used to get from the books.
Putting aside the personal drama, the crime/mystery was engaging enough. While investigating a murder, a plane goes down as result of a terrorist act and somehow the two are related.
But if I have to read one more “HALP MAH BABY” or “I can’t trust my husband!” scenario, I might be done with this series.
The Girl Who Lied – Sue Fortin – 3* – (Apr 30):
I had a hard time getting into this book. It improved as I kept reading but I almost gave up on it. The story was ok but the writing was a little rough. The main character, Erin, aggravated me with much of her behavior – she was often selfish and thoughtless. Ultimately, the ending felt equal parts messy and too perfect.
I started with three reading goals this year, but I’m adding a fourth:
- Read 40 books: – Currently at 23, which is 10 ahead of schedule according to Goodreads.
- Complete the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge: There are 24 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed.
- January – 5 (set somewhere you’ve never been, set in a school, thriller, library, kick-ass woman protag/female author)
- February – 4 (teaches something new, recommended by a friend, embarrassed to be seen with in public, takes place during winter)
- March – 3 (collection of short stories, one-word title, adapted to tv/movie)
- April – 1 (new-to-you classic author)
- Decrease my TBR:
- January 1 – 88 physical/29 digital
- January – 91/29 (read 2 physical, added 5 – 2 were gifts)
- February 28 – 91/30 (read 1 physical, bought a few, donated and otherwise updated my shelf to reflect what’s actually there)
- April 6 – 88/31 (no new physical, despite my birthday, bought 2 digital)
- May 3 – 89/32 (bought 1 physical, received 1 at a writing conference, bought 3 digital)
- Read more political/activism books: I read one in February. None in March. I might count Slaughterhouse-Five for this category.
Diversity? A collection of scary stories, a couple of “thrillers,” a modern classic, nonfiction, and YA. Not bad.
Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.
- 5 stars: 3 books
- 4 stars: 12 books
- 3 stars: 7 books
- 2 stars: 1 books
- 1 star: 0 books
- 0 stars: 0 books
- January – 2936
- February – 1075
- March – 1380
- April – 1786
I’m setting a goal of 4 books again for May. It seems like a good number. If you haven’t joined the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge yet, consider checking it out!