One of my favorite things about reading in April is that I did … in new places and situations, and in places that weren’t new to me, but were finally (maybe?!) feeling comfortable for my new companion-in-the-chair. I took the photo up top the day after I got back from Beaufort (also to be remembered as the day before Lucy’s season began) … I love that I captured her being with me reading, totally comfortable. I love that she likes to sit by me (and sometimes on me – she’s not really a lap dog, but she makes it work) when I read.
Maybe for all those reasons, April’s reading still felt a little off (y’all I cannot overstate the impact of last month’s DNFs … it took weeks!) AND I loved diving headfirst into the Women’s Prize and dipping my toe into Carol Shields.
I truly love those three 5-star books. I’ve copied the short reviews I shared on Instagram below.
Here are a few other thoughts from my book journal:
♥ Re-reading Anne of Green Gables (mostly on audio – Rachel McAdams’ narration is lovely) was one of my favorites. Goodreads says I last re-read this in 2015, the summer before my dad died; my dad had a lot of Matthew in him, and the first time I heard Matthew’s voice, I teared up. Novel Pairings Patreon bookclub chose this book for April, and I loved sitting back and just listening to the discussion. It is a lovely thing to listen to people you care about talk about a book we all love. (gah! even typing that I tear up again…)
♥ Missed Connections for Till We Have Faces and I Have Some Questions for You … both these books underwhelmed me. I felt like I missed key things. I read them both thinking I’d have the opportunity to discuss, and that didn’t happen. hummm…
♥ Homesick – I read this last spring, when it was a memoir and included photos. The edition that was nominated for the Women’s Prize wasn’t a memoir and there weren’t any photos. The first book I read was amazing; and the second was very good. and I still want to know about how we got from the first book to the second!
♥ Sharing Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club on a weekend away. Y’all so cool! My sister and I are fans of J. Ryan Stradal – we pre-ordered his latest and it was perfect for our Thomasville trip.
♥ Reading Once There Were Wolves – for our weekend away. I really enjoyed this one, and got so much more from it after we talked about it.
Here are the reviews for those 5-star books (slightly edited):
📖 Violets, by Alex Hyde – thank you margene for the recommendation (we cannot figure out why this book isn’t available in the US and we ❤️ @blackwellbooks) – a beautiful story about two women named Violet whose lives connect through a child, initially seen on the page as lines of poetry (reminiscent of Max Porter’s Lanny). Highly recommend, especially if you love Max Porter, Audrey Magee, or Niall Williams.
📖 This Here Flesh, by Cole Arthur Riley – 15 personal essays, which Riley calls “storied contemplation”, exploring a spirituality of “intergenerational, dignity-affirming, embodied liberation.” Riley’s writing is simply stunning; and her message is both welcome and necessary. “Practicing wonder is a powerful tool against despair. It works nearly the same muscles as hope, in that you find yourself believing in goodness and beauty even when the evidence gives you every reason to believe that goodness and beauty are void.” This is one to read slowly, to savor, to contemplate.
🎧 Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, performed by Rachel McAdams – a re-read of one of my all-time favorites (and happy to report that McAdams does an excellent job!), made even more special since this was Novel Pairings April bookclub selection. Listening to Chelsey & Sara and my fellow bookclub members discuss their love for Anne and her story made me appreciate these kindred spirits all the more.
and finally, a look at May’s TBR, alongside April’s finishes:
I carried two books into May and I’ve since read both. I tend to get pretty committed to books that make it to my monthly TBR … do you think about your TBR that way?
What favorite book memory are YOU carrying into May?
8 thoughts on “Reading Better | April.”
I read Edna Ferber when I was a teenager and still remember the summer of So Big and Giant. I probably should revisit those soon.
Anne of Green Gables is one of my all-time favorites, and I love that it’s held up to both childhood and adult re-readings. I once read the whole series of all the Anne books but don’t think I have the fortitude to do that again. I did have to chuckle about being committed to your TBR. My own TBR is very fluid and depends on what comes in at the library, what I get from NetGalley, and what I feel like reading next. There are very few hard and fast commitments to my TBR!
I always enjoy reading your thoughtful posts about your reading. I’m carrying The Island of Missing Trees with me this month. I reread it last month because I am facilitating my local group’s discussion very soon. The first time I listened to the story but found much more from reading it with my eyes. Or maybe it was just the second time around. I am sort of faithful to my season’s list for reading. However I often read something else that occurs to me. I also discard any book that just isn’t for me at the moment. I listened to about half of The Hero of this Book is my Mother. The author is the narrator and in my opinion, doesn’t do her writing justice. Eventually I’m going to read the memoir with my eyes.
Ha! Like Bonny, my TBR list is very, very fluid. And, my taste does change periodically. I loved (as you know) early Kingsolver, so am looking forward to your take on The Bean Trees. I really enjoyed Bel Canto as well (only recently read). And Edna Ferber!!! Like Marilyn, I may need to re-visit her. Always enjoy your book posts Mary!
Anne is still one of my all-time favorites, though in reading I don’t think I ever made it past the second book, and I’ve been thinking lately that I should really make a point to get through the rest of the series.
I’m really looking forward to the day when I can make a monthly TBR plan and more or less stick to it. With my life as it currently is, I can prioritize titles that are for a book group with a discussion on the calendar, but I can’t always predict that I’ll have the time to read everything I’d like to.
I’m so looking forward to more J. Ryan Stradal and am thoroughly enjoying Claudia Gray’s The Murder of Mr. Wickham and hoping I’ll enjoy the next installment as well. So new authors that are delightful will carry me into my summer reading.
I am nearing the middle of The Covenant of Water and I don’t want to read anything else right now!
You’re a planner. I’d rather fly by the seat of my pants. The only books I know I’ll read are Book Group books. I usually have 5-6 for groups. Otherwise, I want room for something *I* want to read as well as space to read a book I JUST read a review for that sounds right up my alley. Flexibility is how it goes around here. 🙂
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