Book Chat

Reading Log: April 2015

This month passed incredibly fast, but I’m so glad it’s finally feeling like Spring around here. My reading has been all over the place, and as a result I have way too many books laying around that I haven’t had time to read. Ah well, c’est la vie!

Below is my Reading Log for April 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

April 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods,
written by Rick Riordan and illustrated by John Rocco
10/26/14 Still Reading TBD
HB
CL
Twelve Recipes,
by Cal Peternell
12/23/14 Still Reading TBD
HB
NF
Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists,
by Jenny Doh
1/20/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
C
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions,
by Randall Munroe
2/18/15 Still Reading TBD
HB
NF
The Woman in White,
by Wilkie Collins
3/1/15 Still Reading TBD
AB
F
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet,
by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
3/24/15 4/2/15 A+
LB
YA
Johnny Tremain,
by Esther Forbes
3/25/15 4/1/15 B+
K
CL
Sarah, Plain and Tall,
by Patricia MacLachlan
4/1/15 4/1/15 A
K
CL
Julie of the Wolves,
by Jean Craighead George
4/3/15 4/15/15 A
PB
CL
Case Histories,
by Kate Atkinson
4/3/15 4/5/15 A
PB
M
Stress-Proof Your Life,
by Elisabeth Wilson
4/8/15 4/17/15 A
K
SH
The Best of Everything,
by Rona Jaffe
4/10/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
F
The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #3),
by Louise Penny
4/10/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
M
My Real Children,
by Jo Walton
4/19/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
SFF
Seraphina,
by Rachel Hartman
4/21/15 Still Reading TBD
K
SFF

Thoughts:

That table above is getting a bit cumbersome… my “Still Reading” list is out of control! So to make things a bit simpler, here’s a list of titles that I picked up over the last 3-4 months that I still intend to read… but right now I haven’t had the time to read in the last month:

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, written by Rick Riordan and illustrated by John Rocco

Twelve Recipes, by Cal Peternell

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists, by Jenny Doh

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe

 …

And now, onto the rest… still a large pile of “Currently Reading” books but at least I’m actively reading them:

The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // March 2015 Reading Log

I am really enjoying this audiobook (via the CraftLit podcast) every chance I get… and I’m so, so close to the end! But alas, there just isn’t enough time in the day… and now that my weekends are full of house hunting instead of crafting, my listening time has been cut down.

 …

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick – A+

 The Amateur Librarian // March 2015 Reading Log

I always think I’ll like a retelling of a Jane Austen novel, but there are a lot more misses than hits (Bridget Jone’s Diary: yes! Mr. and Mrs. Darcy: Two Shall Become One? Not so much.) The Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series, a modern-day update of Pride and Prejudice that aired on YouTube last year, sounded really fun… but I could never really get into it. The cross-media vlogs, spinoff videos, corresponding Twitter/Pinterest/etc. social media accounts, etc. were a bit overwhelming. A novelization is much more my speed, and this recounting did not disappoint! The modern parallels for each plot point were really fun, like Mr. Collins offering Lizzie a job instead of a marriage proposal, George Wickham threatening Lydia with a leaked sex tape instead of a scandalous elopement, and Pemberly being Darcy’s startup tech company instead of a family estate. The characters were career-minded rather than marriage-minded (and aged up a bit) but most of all, they still felt authentic to the spirit of the originals. I even liked a Lydia character, for once!

 …

Johnn Tremain, by Esther Forbes – B

The Amateur Librarian // March 2015 Reading Log

This was… fine. Based on a true incident, Johnny Tremain grew up in Boston and helped the rebels of the American Revolution during the Boston Tea Party and first skirmishes. You could tell it was well researched and historically accurate, and probably great if you’re studying the time period in school, but it was difficult to get attached to any of the characters. The foreword points out that this book came out in the midst of WWII, when Americans weren’t sure which way the war would turn – an interesting juxtaposition of the two time periods. Glad to cross this one off the Newbery list.

Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan – A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

Short and deceptively simple, another story that seems straightforward from the outside but is really quite profound. A widower and his two children welcome Sarah, essentially a mail-order bride, to their family and pioneer life for a trial period before Sarah agrees to marry the father. The language is sparse and easy to read, even though it conveys the complex emotions of such a huge event in the children’s’ lives: a replacement for their mother, fear of abandonment, accomodating a new perspective, etc. From an adult’s perspective, Sarah is so interesting, and you only get a child’s glimpse of her, but you have to wonder about traveling across the country to a new land, a new family. I remember reading this in the third grade, and certain scenes have still stuck with me all this time, like all the ways the children try to make the prairie seem like the seaside home that Sarah misses so much. Great story.

 …

Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George – A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

At first, you think this is just a survival story – a girl lost in the Alaskan wilderness befriends a wolf pack and learns to communicate nonverbally in exchange for protection and companionship. But soon you realize there are so many more layers – “Julie” is the westernized name of Miyax, who’s stuck between the traditions of her father and the modern world of the Americans who are changing Alaska in many ways. Learning to live in both worlds is ultimately more of a struggle than merely surviving the winter. Quite a powerful book, although the ending was sad enough that I was in quite a funk for a few hours after putting it down. Sure, there’s a pointed message about the westernization of indigenous people that’s not exactly light reading, but it’s certainly thought provoking and treats the subject and readers with respect.

 …

Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson – A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

I brought this on our weekend trip to Chattanooga, and it was quite engrossing – I couldn’t stop thinking about it when we got home, so I settled down on the couch for a marathon session to finish it up. A private detective is called to investigate three different murder cases years after they have gone cold, but slowly they start to become entwined with the present. The darkly comedic characters were a hoot amid the gruesome circumstances, and it all wrapped up much happier than I would have thought possible. Definitely an enthralling but disturbing read – I think I’m ready to step away from grisly crime for a while.

 …

Stress-Proof Your Life, by Elisabeth Wilson – A

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

I can’t even remember how I picked up this freebie some time ago, but I was scrolling through my Kindle looking for a light read that didn’t require too much concentration and started reading with low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful the tips were and how fun it was to read. I really appreciated the humor and conversational tone that can be lacking in more serious “self help” books, plus the writer is British so the bits of slang are always fun. The author mentions that she writes for magazines, and this has a similar feel, like a distillation of all the “stress management” fads of the past 15 years. Even though a lot of it is common sense, I didn’t mind the refresher. I think my favorite tip is coming up with a mantra to repeat when you’re stressed out, like “I am serenely gliding towards my deadline and everything will get done.” It gives you some perspective and adds some lightness, and I like the way the author puts it : “It helps to include a word like ‘serene’ or ‘calm’ or ‘abundant’ or ‘sparkling’ – words that lift you emotionally – just for the hell of it.”

 …

The Best of Everything, by Rona Jaffe – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

I read an interview with Lena Dunham about her memoir Not That Kind of Girl, and she mentioned this novel as her inspiration for writing a modern take on the “working girl.” It was enough to pique my interest, and I’m so glad I found this book! Interesting pop fiction from the 1950s about four girls working for a publishing house in New York City.

 …

The Cruelest Month (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #3), by Louise Penny – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

It seemed appropriate to start this book in April, since it takes place around Easter. I’m finding that I enjoy the print versions of these mysteries, for whatever reason. Good bedtime reading!

 …

My Real Children, by Jo Walton – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

My breakfast book – the story of a woman who leads parallel lives, branching off after WWII when she either says “yes” or “no” to a marriage proposal… in one life, she is unhappily married but world events turn out as we know them, in the other she discovers a different kind of love and life work, but world events deviate to the point of chaos. The story sounds intense, but it’s told very quietly and evenly paced; I’m really intrigued about what direction this one will go.

 …

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // April 2015 Reading Log

I certainly didn’t need to start another book when I’ve got so many on my plate right now, but I picked this one up during a Bookbub deal. When I needed a new ebook, this one came to mind – and so far, so good! It’s more traditional “fantasy” than I usually read, but it’s fun – humans and dragons coexist in a medieval world, and the half-breed main character must figure out her place in society.

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of April.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – reading any good books?

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