This is the first month this year that I’ve really felt like I’ve gotten my reading mojo back. The past three months have been a struggle, for various reasons, but in April, I feel like I kind of killed it. Despite the fact that I haven’t left the house in a month and my family is driving me insane, this month hasn’t been too bad. I read fifteen books, participated in the OWL Magical Readathon, and worked on some really fun plans for this blog. I can’t wait until I can get out of the house again, but maybe this whole quarantine thing isn’t too bad for my reading goals.
What I Read:
The Odyssey by Homer – ★★★★☆. I read the (relatively) new Emily Wilson translation and really loved it. I’d read pieces of The Odyssey before, but I’d never read it in full, and I’m really glad I waited until now do to so, because this translation was just so fantastic.
Sadie by Courtney Summers – ★★★★★. I feel like everyone has been talking about this for ages, and I finally read it. And everyone was right, this book was amazing. I listened to the audiobook, and it definitely made me enjoy multi-narrator audiobooks more. I also thought the story was really good. Overall, I loved it!
Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance – ★★★☆☆. I think the reason this one didn’t quite meet my expectations is that it’s actually the fourth memoir I’ve read set in Appalachia. And they other ones were just a little bit better. I think books like Educated and The Glass Castle just had a little bit more to say, and this one kind of paled in comparison. But it was still pretty good.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson – ★★★★☆. This was such a fun contemporary fantasy. There’s magic and witches and, obviously, undead girls. While the story was pretty different, it gave me strong Buffy vibes. Maybe that’s why I started rewatching Buffy…
Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson – ★★☆☆☆. This book was such a disappointment. It sounded like a really fun diverse romance. And I love knitting and books that involve knitting. But the writing in this book was… not great. I was looking forward to this one, but I didn’t enjoy reading it. A review will be up in a couple weeks.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★☆. This was a weird reading experience, because I started out with the audiobook and wasn’t really feeling it. Fortunately, towards the end, I decided to switch to the physical book and I liked it so much better. I will definitely be rereading this before book two, and I think I might like it more if I avoid the audiobook.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker – ★★★★☆. I am not a great sleeper. It took me nearly thirty years to come to terms with the fact that I absolutely have to sleep eight hours every night (I still settle for six or seven most nights). I thought it might help if I understood exactly why I have to sleep. And it did. Kind of. Either way, this book was fascinating, and I enjoyed reading it.
Lumberjanes Vol. 2 by Noelle Stevenson – ★★★★☆. I’m glad I finally continued this series, because I forgot how great it is. This volume had both dinosaurs and mythology, so you know I loved it. I will definitely be continuing this series.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – ★★★★☆. I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It was a great romantic comedy, and just might be in my top five. If you’re looking for a fun romance with great representation, I highly recommend this one.
The King of Crows by Libba Bray – ★★★★☆. This was the final book in Libba Bray’s four-book Diviners series. And it was really good. Not my favorite book in the series (that will always been The Diviners), but it was a really great finale.
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder – ★★★★★. This was a nice, short read about exactly what led to the situation we’re currently in. It was insightful and interesting and the audiobook was less than two hours long (which only took me about an hour on 2x speed).
One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – ★★★★★. I don’t know why I thought this was a good month to read a TJR book, because, while I love her books, I inevitably end up sobbing. This one was a bit different because the ending was actually not devastating. But the middle was. I definitely teared up a little. But I also loved it. I’m glad I finally read it, because I’m pretty sure it’s been on my shelves longer than any of her other books.
Katheryn Howard: The Scandalous Queen by Alison Weir – ★★★★☆. This is the fifth book in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series. I love this series, and this book was no exception. Katheryn’s story is heartbreaking, but definitely interesting. I enjoyed learning more about her, because she’s one of Henry VIII’s wives I knew least about.
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore – ★★★★★. I’m a little bit surprised it took me this long to read Anna-Marie McLemore. But I am glad it was this book that introduced me to her writing because it was so magical. I loved this one!
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★★. I absolutely love Seanan McGuire, but the only books of hers I’d read before this one were those in the Wayward Children series (which is excellent). I was pleasantly surprised to find that her longer fiction is just as amazing.
What I’m Currently Reading:
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. I actually started this at the beginning of the month, but had to put it on hold because the person I’m supposed to be reading it with has not yet started. It was supposed to be our March read, so if she doesn’t read it soon, I might just read it without her.
Ten Pills: How Plants, Powders, and Pills Have Shaped the History of Medicine by Thomas Hager. I am really enjoying this so far. It’s really interesting to learn about the origins of the medication we take today.
Hag Seed by Margaret Atwood. This is Atwood’s reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which is one of my favorite plays. I’m maybe a quarter of the way through, and, honestly, not loving it. It’s not terrible, but it’s also kind of a weird story. We’ll see how I feel after I finish it.
What I Watched:
Onward. Who doesn’t have Disney+ at this point? And yes, I am a single thirty-year-old with no kids and my own account. Zero regrets. I was so excited they released this one early because everyone’s stuck at home. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t quite up there with say, Big Hero Six, but it was really good. I enjoyed the mythology of it. Octavia Spencer as a manticore was excellent casting (can she please be in all the movies? thank you).
Mary Queen of Scots. Obviously, this has been on my watchlist since it came out. When I saw it was leaving HBO this month, I decided to go for it. And I loved it! This is one of my favorite periods of history, and I absolutely adored how they presented it in this film. Two of the most powerful leaders in the world were women, and they deserved to have their story told in a feminist way. This movie did that. Plus, Margot Robbie and Saorise Ronan and both amazing in literally everything, so it’s no surprise this is brilliant. (Side note: after watching both this and The Favorite, Joe Alwyn is definitely becoming one of my favorite period actors – he made a great Robert Dudley.)
Parasite. I’ve been wanting to watch this one since before it was ever nominated for an Oscar. But I was busy, and then I decided to hold out when I heard it was coming to Hulu this month. And I’m kind of glad I did because it was such a nice distraction from everything going on in the world right now. This movie was brutal, but oh so good. It totally deserved to win Best Picture, in my opinion.
What I Did
Read books. Yeah, I’m super exciting, I know. But other than playing Animal Crossing every day and ordering way too many things off of Amazon, I have done nothing this month. Send help (or at least a new game to play).
My new MacBook Pro. Honestly, I kind of had to reach to find a favorite. Because I’ve been staying home doing nothing this month and my other favorites are scrunchies. But I’ve been saving up for a new computer for months, and even though I had to buy it a little bit earlier than planned (my old computer is still usable, but starting to die and I couldn’t risk it now with having to work from home on my personal computer), I love it. It’s so nice. Even if I’m still getting used to the touch bar thing.
Self-Care You Can Do While Listening to Audiobooks. This month in particular, I have been listening to A LOT of audiobooks (both on Audible and Libro.fm). Almost half of the books on this list I listened to on audio (a few of them only partly, because the audiobooks weren’t that great so I finished on the physical copy). But, up until a few months ago, the vast majority of my audiobook listening happened in the car. Since I haven’t driven in a while, I had to find other ways to fit more audiobooks in my life, and decided to share some of my ideas. (I’m not a big podcast listener, but they’ll work for those, too.)
That’s it for April! I hope you all had a good month, especially under the current circumstances.
What’s the best book you read this month?