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Was I delusional about April or what? I was just saying the other day that April was a bit of a light book month for me. Perhaps I was thinking that way because I didn’t read a ton, but when I started looking back at April it was certainly a book-packed month.
April 6th: Met one of my literary heroes, Nathaniel Philbrick. His book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex is one of my all-time favorites.
|Kent and Donoghue|
April 8th: Went to a reading by Emma Donoghue (Frog Music) and Hannah Kent (Burial Rites) at R.J. Julia. For some reason I didn’t blog about this event. I’ve no idea why. Both authors talked about the genesis of their new novels, did a brief reading, and then took some questions. This was the second time I’ve seen Donoghue. She did a signing at the bookstore where I worked back in September 2010 when the buzz was first building about ROOM. I did blog about that event here.
April 26th 1st post: 2nd post, wrap-up post: Participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon for the first time. There’s going to be another one in October and if I can swing it I’m going to do it again. If you’ve never done it, give it a shot!
April was also National Poetry Month. However, I did not read much poetry. I tried. I started reading Willa Cather’s poems, but, as usual, my eyes glazed quickly over. I can enjoy a poem here or there when I stumble across one, but to focus on reading poetry? Well, that just doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea. And if I have a collection of poetry and try to read a poem a day or something along those lines, I conveniently “forgot” about the plan.
Books I read in April:
The Things We Carried by Tim O’Brien: When I’m in a reading slump, the best way for me to get through it is taking some time off of reading, doing outdoorsy stuff, and re-reading an old favorite. I re-read the lead story of this book and was recharged by the power of words. If you haven’t yet read this collection of short stories, I highly recommend it. If you’ve never read any war literature, its an excellent place to begin.
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson: Typical, outstanding Jackson in that your don’t really know what’s going on which creates a tension and compulsion to read on. This story is about two sisters and how they survive in the aftermath of family tragedy. Details slowly emerge and along the way are heartbreaking bits about love, what it means to take care of someone, and how destructive help can be.
A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean: A complex story masquerading as a simple story about two brothers. The story is told by the older brother who isn’t sure how to help his younger brother whose problems are escalating. Fly fishing, thinking like a fish, and knowing how to read a river help the narrator figure things out. This is one of those stories to be savored and there are some interesting comparisons that could be made between this story and James Dickey’s Deliverance, particularly about American manhood, wilderness vs. civilization, and male friendships.
The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel: A best-seller in Germany when it came out in 2006. Schenkel is a popular crime novelist in Germany and this is her first book to be translated for the English market [release date set for June 3, 2014] The Murder Farm is based on a true case where a family is murdered on their isolated farm in southern Germany. You can’t help but make comparisons to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. I’ll post a proper review around the release date, but if you like mystery/thriller/crime fiction, I recommend you put this one on your list. (Review copy from Edelweiss.)
This month I DNF’d (did not finish) two books:
Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr: I’ve always enjoyed Barr’s Anna Pigeon series and have been reading it since the first book came out in the early 90s. It was an unpleasant surprise that I couldn’t get into this one. I was about 1/3 of the way in after three days and realized I was making myself read it. Perhaps I’ll try it again later this summer.
Inferno by Dan Brown: I was in a reading slump and thought for sure I’d whiz through some Dan Brown, but, no, after the half-way point I realized I just didn’t care about anything in this book, nor did I despise it enough to keep reading.
The Street or Me: A New York Story by Judith Glynn: I received a review copy directly from the author. Just started this last night and its sucked me in. Its the story of how Glynn’s life became entangled with that of a homeless woman named Michelle. More on this one next week.
Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone by Mitch Joel: I read this one a few years ago and was jazzed by many of Joel’s ideas. I’m re-reading it for my new job as a PR/Marketing/Social media person (I don’t really have an official title…perhaps Media Goddess? I suppose I’d have to earn that first).
Coming up May 26-29 is Armchair BEA. I won’t be a participant this year due to the new job and house guests, but I did sign up to be a cheerleader.