Happy end of April, everyone! I had a really great reading month, and ended up finishing… wait for it… eighteen books! And I liked (almost) all of them. But I’m extremely happy, not just with the amount I was able to read, but also the fact that I read quite a few classics, I finished my read through of all of Shakespeare’s plays, and I revisited some favorites. This is going to be a very long wrap up, so I’ll just jump right in.
What I Read:
Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson– ★★★☆☆. I believe this was one of my Book of the Month picks a few months ago. I decided to pick it up because I was in the mood for a thriller, and they’re usually pretty quick reads. This wasn’t a favorite, but I did enjoy it. Check out my review of Before She Knew Him for more of my thoughts.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells– ★★★★☆. This was a reread, because why not? I remembered enjoying this in college, and that there are eloi and morlocks, but that’s about it. I definitely enjoyed my reread. It was a nice reminder of how much I like Victorian science fiction.
Botanical Shakespeare by Gerit Quealy & Sumie Hasegawa Collins– ★★★☆☆. I picked this up since I’ve been meaning to read it, and April marked the end of my adventures in Shakespeare – check out my rank list – and I thought it’d be interesting. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t a collection of quotes about each plant mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays. The illustrations were beautiful, but unless you’re a massive fan of the Bard, you don’t need to run out and pick this one up.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón– ★★★★☆. I finally got around to reading everyone’s favorite historical fiction novel, and… I didn’t love it. I had a hard time rating this one, because, objectively, it’s good. I just couldn’t get into it. I had high expectations, and was definitely a bit disappointed.
The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian– ★☆☆☆ ☆. Obviously, I have a lot of thoughts. And very few of them are good. This book just wasn’t executed well – I was shocked to find out the author has a masters in English – and was actually kind of offensive. If you’re curious, you can read my review/rant of The Great Pretenders to find out why I disliked it so much.
Animal Farm by George Orwell– ★★★★★. Another classic reread (I figured out how to read Kindle books on my work computer…). It’s been a while since I’ve read Orwell, but it was nice to revisit this one. I just love his books so much.
Bad Blood by John Carreyrou– ★★★★☆. This has been featured everywhere, and it I had to pick it up immediately after watching HBO’s documentary about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. It’s absolutely fascinating and completely insane. I’d definitely recommend this one.
She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai– ★★★☆☆. I was thinking about genres I don’t read enough, and manga came to mind. It’s something I never read, but have been curious. And what better way to dip my toe into manga than with a story told from the point of view of a cat? It was cute, but not amazing. Still, I’m glad I tried it.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray– ★★★★☆. I was bored one day at work and figured what better time to pick up a 900-page classic that’s been haunting my shelves for a decade? I ended up flying through this and enjoying it quite a bit. Plus, it felt awesome to FINALLY cross it off my TBR.
Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare – ★★★★☆. I had two Shakespeare plays left going into this month, and decided to finish them both. I knew nothing about Timon of Athens, but ended up really liking it. Probably because people who buy their friends instead of actually being nice drive me crazy.
As You Like It by William Shakespeare – ★★★★☆. This was my final Shakespeare play, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I knew I would like this one, and I’m glad I saved it for last. I needed to go out on a high note.
Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid – ★★★★★. I love TJR, and when I saw this for free on Amazon Prime, I jumped on it. It’s a short, epistolary story, but isn’t any less heartbreaking than Daisy Jones or Evelyn Hugo. Would definitely recommend (as long as you have tissues on hand).
How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery– ★★★☆☆. I’m not sure why I picked up this audiobook, but it ended up being perfect to listen to while I was doing some data entry at work. It’s a memoir told in the animals that had an impact on Sy Montgomery’s life, and I thought it was really clever. Not the best book I’ve ever read, but I enjoyed it.
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery– ★★★★☆. This is they Sy Montgomery book that was actually on my TBR this year, and I did enjoy it quite a bit. I didn’t love it as much as I was expecting to, but I do think it’s a really great book. It was light on the science, but that also made for a pretty quick read.
The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri– ★★★★☆. I picked this up a while ago at the dollar bookstore, and I’ve been staring at it on my shelves ever since. Admittedly, I either forgot or was not aware this is actually a short story collection until I picked it up. The stories are kind of a mixed bag: some were just okay, and others I loved. But, overall, worth reading.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling– ★★★★★. I was bored a lot this month, because I decided to reread Harry Potter. It’s been years since I’ve read it, and figured it was time. Bonus: I can read it on Kindle on my computer at work, so…
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling– ★★★★★. I moved right along onto book two after finishing the first one. I’m planning on rereading the entire series, and hopefully I can read another couple books in may.
Anna of Kleve: The Princess in the Portrait by Alison Weir– ★★★★☆. This is the fourth installment in the Six Tudor Queens series, and one of my most anticipated reads of the year. While it wasn’t my favorite of the series, I really enjoyed it. Alison Weir just writes great historical fiction. If you want to find out more, check out my review of Anna of Kleve.
What I’m Currently Reading:
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I’m not sure I can even talk about this one yet, because I have so many feelings. This is like Game of Thrones brutal. And I love it.
The Psychopath Inside Me by James Fallon. I don’t remember how this was brought to my attention, but I decided to pick it up on a whim. And while it’s really interesting, it’s also kind of difficult to read because it’s pretty technical, and also, the author is definitely psychopath with narcissistic tendencies, and it’s just a lot.
What I Watched:
The Battle of Winterfell. Okay, not spoilers, but YES. That’s all.
What I Did:
Visited the Museum of Natural History in LA. I couldn’t resist all the ads for their new Antarctic dinosaurs exhibit. It was really cool, but I also just loved the hall of dinosaurs. I haven’t been to that museum since I was a kid, and it was a lot of fun.
That’s it for April! I hope you all had a great month! What was the best book you read this month?