Books I Read in April

Man, I would poke a baby in the eye for a good book.  The stack on my bedside table seemed so hopeful a few weeks ago, but good lord.  Stinkers, all of them! Well, almost all.  Also I kept getting bogged down by boring books that would put me to sleep almost instantly, so I didn’t get as much read this month as I would have liked.

46. girlchild. I wanted to love this book so much more than I did. The author does have the coolest name in the world, though. And it wasn’t a bad book, I just went into it expecting something different than what I got, and I found the back and forth style of it confusing. Well written, but ultimately not my favorite. (And it deals with childhood sexual abuse, if that’s something you try to avoid in your fiction.)

47. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.  This was a little bit stupid, but I enjoyed it.  The main problem with it is that the romantic lead is a complete and total dillhole, and somehow this is supposed to make us fall in love with him? No thank you.  God, that kid was a buttface. It makes me realize how hard it to straddle the line between “jerks we fall in love with because they’re not really jerks even though they are sort of jerks” and “just plain jerks”.

48. The Way We Fall.  DEAR GOD AM I TIRED OF CRAPPY DYSTOPIAN YOUNG ADULT FICTION. MAKE IT STOP! Except his is a trilogy! Oh wowsers.

49. Chopsticks. I thought this was a super weird book.  It’s told sort of scrapbook style.  Reminded me a little bit of those hilarious Griffin and Sabine books, minus the envelopes. Also, I really liked it. It takes all of about twenty minutes to read, so you don’t have a lot to lose there. It had a creepy vibe that I really dug.

50. In the Woods.  I really like Tana French. I really liked this book.  It was incredibly depressing, and I enjoy that in a book.  Mr. E read it after I did and the ending seemed to sort of tick him off. I don’t know. He wanted to talk about it as I was falling asleep so I wasn’t really in the mood to discuss the symbolism and the fate of the Irish middle class in the eighties, but if you’d like to, I’m sure he’d be happy to engage in some pithy emails on the subject.

51. Bond Girl.  This was sort of dippy but it was entertaining. Although quite frankly they talked way more about food than any sort of actual bond markets and I never did figure out what the main character did or how she was so successful since she admitted to not knowing how to do anything she was asked to do, ever.  As far as I can tell managing hedge funds just involves building Excel spreadsheets and eating Philly Cheese steaks, so now at least I have a future career plan should mommy blogging not lead to paths lined with gold.

52. The Odds.  I wasn’t so much a fan of this book, which made me sad because Emily, Alone was easily one of my favorite books of last year.

53. What They Do In the Dark.  I started off liking this book, and it was definitely well written, but it just kept putting me to sleep and after awhile I gave up on it because I just didn’t care anymore.

54. Good In a Crisis.  Yeah, I don’t know, this was just not that interesting.

55. Wild. I loved this book.  Read it, get it, do it. This was my bright spot in a month of stinkers. I knew I would love this because I love Cheryl Strayed, although I will say that most of the reason I loved it is because of the great attention to detail.  This is a true story of the author’s solo hike on the Pacific Coast Trail, and although I respect her “finding myself” journey, I was a lot more interested in hearing about what she ate, what she packed, what she wore, all that kind of stuff.  I have to say though she does a great job of weaving minutiae and personal tragedy together into this story.  I never really did get why she got a divorce and some of the “I did it with a random guy in the back of his truck” stuff is maybe not for everyone, but still.  Favorite book of the month.

56.  Prayer and Lies.  Ugh.  Seriously not a fan of creepy lascivious V.C. Andrewsesque descriptions of what is actually sexual assault. It reminds me of those icky “Girl With The ____ ” books. Are there really that many Swedish sex perverts in the world, or do you just like writing way too much about Swedish sex perverts? No thank you.  I refuse to link to this.

57.  Hidden Kitchens.  This was interesting and I’d read about southern food any day of the week but I didn’t like the way it was laid out. Confusing to read.

58. Froi of the Exiles. Holy shit was this long and confusing. I ended up having to skim at least half the book.  I mean, this book is FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY THREE PAGES LONG.  And so insanely detailed and so many plot twists and in no universe could I keep this business of who was what and gave birth to who and then abandoned who and then left who on a Lumateran altar straight.  And for me it did not compare to Finnikin of the Rock, but still. Melina Marchetta knows how to build a world, yes she does. And she can write a male lead like nobody’s business.  This was easily one of the most entertaining things I’ve read this year. I just needed half of it.

59. Wonder. I really shouldn’t check out Middle Grade Fiction anymore.

60. The False Friend.  I couldn’t get past the clunky sentence structure.  Also, I’m sort of tired of reading about mean girls doing bad things.

61. The Might Have Been. I’m also tired of reading about jerks making endless bad decisions.  GET OVER IT AND QUIT BEING A TURD FACE, DUDE! Great cover though.  Love that cover.

62. Under the Never Sky. Oh no. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

63.  A Very Young Dancer.  God, I loved these books when I was a little kid. Someone please for the love of god bring these back into print so I can stop checking them out from the library over and over again.

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16 Responses

  1. I watched the book trailer for Wild on Goodreads and was like, Must IMMEDIATELY put this in my library queue. Which reminds me…why haven’t I gotten it yet. HUMPH. I also had a lackluster book month. I got so desperate I read (and enjoyed) a Jane Green book. It was desperate times…

  2. “A Very Young Dancer” – did you see the NY Times piece where they follows up with the dancer from the book? so interesting.

    I love your book reviews. I’m reading “The Tiger’s Wife” and loving it so far.

    • No, I will have to look for it! I was just wondering about her when I was reading the book.

  3. Have you written before about how you choose the books you’re going to read? I’m curious. I was going to comment last month, in a totally non-snarky way, whether you get discouraged with the percentage of books you read that sorta suck. I’m curious about that too, because I am a person who gives up on books after a few chapters if they don’t grip me.

    A recommendation for you: The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes. Not super heavy, nothing too disturbing and an engrossing story. I very much enjoyed it.

    Hmmm, now I am wondering whether I got that recommendation from you…excuse the senility if so. 🙂

    • A little bit here: https://princessnebraska.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/the-system/

      Mostly I feel happy that I didn’t pay for all these books (since I check them out from the library) but sometimes I do feel like I wish I could just read 12 great books instead of 150 crappy ones. I tried reading all the Pulitzer Prize winners, but holy cow were those dull.

      And yes, I have read that book! It was really good, wasn’t it? I really liked it.

      • Yes, loved it.

        I may have already recommended, but I love Marisa de los Santos. I have read her first two, Love Walked In and Belong to Me several times each, and I am about to read her latest for a second time. LOVE these books.

        I pretty much exclusively read library books now…I think I have about 90 active requests!

  4. I love your book reviews. And I am sort of… soothed that you hate so many of them. Not because I want you to waste your time, but because there is SO MUCH JUNK out there and sometimes I feel like a huge book snob for getting all eye-rolly about certain books or not finishing other certain books. Seriously. How does some of this stuff get pubilshed though? I mean, I know book quality is largely subjective and all, but some of it is (I subjectively believe, I suppose) OBJECTIVELY BAD.

    • and also, to be fair, I hate almost everything. Seriously. I like no movies, no music, and no books. It’s just my discerning tastes, I suppose. E

    • I second this. Sometimes when I write up my own reviews, I feel like I’m being mean, but I’m just being honest. I feel like there’s too much untrue niceness going on round the interwebs.

  5. Am I to understand, from this review, that you are not a fan of Steig Larsson’s brilliant Millenium trilogy? I can’t believe it! (Sarcasm. Of course you hate them.I love them.) Just for kicks, I put some of these on my library list. Yay!

    • Ha ha ha, not I am not. Of course you loved them. Of course. How do you feel about “A Prayer For Owen Meany”, have I ever asked you this?

      • I’ve checked it out from the library twice, I think. I’ve never made it past the first ten pages or so. Maybe I’ll put it on my list AGAIN.

  6. Love your book reviews!!

    I just bought my first book in over a year based on several recommendations – Wild by Cheryl Strayed. So great to see your positive review, too. Any lingering book-buying guilt is gone!

    I was obsessed with A Very Young Dancer as a … young dancer. I saved the book and my older daughter likes to have me read it her from time to time and I swear I can almost repeat it verbatim from memory. The NYT story on her as a grown up made me sad, though. I think I wasn’t ready to read about her later reality or anything negative or hard she had to say.

  7. first time commenter; i love your reviews. it was you who turned me onto the HG trilogy before EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH GOOD GOD, so thanks. anyhoo, i’m commenting about the above query regarding owen meany- i love me some john irving, and once stayed up all night (for the first and last time) to finish owen meaney. i loved, loved loved it. granted, this was yeeeeaaars ago, and i haven’t re-read, so…anyway, most of my faves are your faves, and i have a recommendation, if you haven’t already: the weird sisters, by eleanor…somebody. the story was a little weak, but the sentence structure and metaphors were awesome. and also, pleased to ‘meet’ you!

  8. okay, so maybe i should have searched ‘owen meany’ first, but! good news! i also hate 18 or so things on that list! so…yay?

  9. The only Swedish book I’ve read was let the right one in, and it had to be one of the most explicit and disturbing books I’ve ever read. I loved it, but some of the subject matter made me actually want to throw up. And I am usually pretty thick skinned. So as much as I want to check out other Swedish thrillers I am slightly…scarred.

    Also- I feel for you and books that are so long and detailed that its frustrating. I’m currently reading one of those ridiculous high fantasy trilogies that are three books, all 700+ pages long, filled with intricate world building and lots of unhappy things. I’ve reached the point, just after the first book, where I am like “do I have to read thousands of pages just for the tiny chance of a vaguely happy ending?!” Most likely I will. 😦

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