APRIL 2020 WRAP UP

dpofdf


Time for my monthly reading wrap up, which is going to be a bit of a downer because April hasn’t been a great reading month for me.Β  I read 10 books this month, but I disliked/was bored by most of them, and there were only a few that I can genuinely say I enjoyed. Below is a pretty grim breakdown of my ratings. The highest rating I gave this month was a 3.5 stars, which is not bad, but I still wanted to read something that I loved (i.e. a 4+-stars book),Β and that just didn’t happen this month.

1.5 stars –> I
2 stars –> III
2.5 stars –> II
3 stars –> II
3.5 stars –> II

A lot of these books come out later in the year, so I’m posting their reviews on my blog when their release date is a bit closer. But if I’ve written reviews for any of them, I’ve left a link so you can check them out on my Goodreads page.

e8c49b0298e4b

what i read

podjf

🌡 Untold Night and Day – Bae Suah (translated by Deborah Smith) | β˜…β˜…β˜… | full review

🌡 The Bass Rock – Evie Wyld | β˜…β˜…β˜….5 | full review

🌡 The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo | β˜…β˜….5 | full review

🌡 Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan | β˜….5 | full review coming closer to release date

Oh boy. I didΒ notΒ like this book. I’d read one Donal Ryan book before, A Low and Quiet Sea,Β and didn’t much like it, but decided I’d give his books another go since I was hearing a lot of positive buzz aboutΒ Strange Flowers. And it just did not work for me. I thought the story was fine, but the writing was UNBEARABLE, especially in the first half. I have a full review of this that I’m gonna post in August, so I’ll go into more detail there.

🌡 Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart | β˜…β˜… | full review

🌡 Funny Weather – Olivia Laing | β˜…β˜….5 | full review

🌡 Beach Read – Emily Henry | β˜…β˜…β˜… |Β full review coming soon

I really enjoyed this one! It’s not my new favourite book, and I did think some of the dialogue in it was kind of stilted and trying too hard to be witty/funny, but at the end of the day it was a really endearing, optimistic book, which I don’t read a lot of these days.

🌡 A Kind of Compass – edited by Belinda McKeon | β˜…β˜…β˜… |Β full review coming soon

A very diverse and wide-ranging anthology of short stories, all centered on the theme of distance. My favourite story from this collection was definitely Elske Rahill’s “Terraforming,” a sharp and haunting story about grief and space.

🌡 What is the Grass – Mark Doty | β˜…β˜…β˜….5 |Β full review coming soon

This is easily my most surprising read of the year, and my favourite book of the month. The story of how I found this book is: I was scrolling through Twitter one day, I found a tweet about it from Lit Hub, I quickly looked at the synopsis, added it to my Goodreads TBR, and then got the ebook from my library.

This is a book about Walt Whitman’s poetry. I had not read a single line of Walt Whitman poetry before reading this. That said, I have no idea why I decided to read it, but I did. And I loved it! Mark Doty is an excellent writer: personal, passionate, specific, and measured. To enter into this book is to automatically share his love for Whitman’s poetry, even if you haven’t read a word of it before.

🌡 Based on a True Story – Delphine de Vigan (translated by George Miller) | β˜…β˜…β˜….5Β  |Β full review coming soon (maybe)

Ended the reading month on a low note with this sadly underwhelming and disappointing book. I’m not one for literary thrillers, but I decided to go ahead and tryΒ Based on a True Story anyway because a reviewer I really trust on Goodreads loved it. But like I said, I found this very underwhelming. It was way too repetitive, one of the main characters was very irritating, and there was too much buildup and like zero payoff in the end. Also I predicted the ending, which was supposed to be some kind of amazing mic drop moment but which decidedly was not.

e8c49b0298e4b

A Little Life: A Novel: Yanagihara, Hanya: 8601423597638: Books ...

Other than that, I’m currently about 35% into A Little LifeΒ by Hanya Yanagihara, which I’m enjoying and which I’m hoping to finish by sometime next week. I have no idea what’s gonna happen but from what I’ve heard from literally everyone else who’s read this book, it’s going to PAINFUL.

I’ve also learned my lesson from last week and will not be posting a tentative/potential TBR because of the 4 TBR books I listed last month (Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight, Mary Toft; or The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer, Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, The Everlasting by Katy Simpson Smith, and A Kind of Compass edited by Belinda McKeon),Β I read one, so not great lol.

I’m just going to read whatever I’m in the mood for in May, and whatever I think I’ll enjoy, and hope for the best. I really want next month to be a good reading month, especially because this month was kind of depressing re: me disliking most of the books I read. When you read for enjoyment and you don’t end up enjoying a lot of what you read, it can get very discouraging very fast.


Anyway, let me know what your favourite books from this month were! Were there any books you were surprised by? Did you have a good reading month? And how have you been finding reading what with the current pandemic and all–are you reading more? less? the same?

As always, I’m happy to hear from you 😊


Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

ae0e8704c55f9gggfg

MARCH 2020 WRAP UP

post header template #7 (light pink, discussion)


it’s end-of-the-month wrap up time!! March has been quite the month..

anyway, here are the 12 books I read this month!

PS: I am majorly behind on my review writing this month, so most of these books don’t have full reviews yet, but I’m gonna catch up on my reviews this weekend (or so I’m telling myself) so I’ll update this post with links if any of them end up going up on the blog. for now, I’ll just leave mini-reviews in case you’re curious what my general opinion is for each of these books. 😊

e8c49b0298e4b

what i read

podjf

🌡 Real Life – Brandon Taylor | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… | full review

🌡 How to Pronounce Knife – Souvankham Thammavongsa | β˜…β˜….5 | full review going up here on April 21, but if you’re curious you can also check it out on my Goodreads here

This was a very middle-of-the-road read; I didn’t think there was anything wrong with these stories per se, it was just that unfortunately they didn’t make any impression on me.

🌡 Travelling in a Strange Land – David Park | β˜…β˜…β˜…

Again, like with How to Pronounce Knife, I thought this was okay. I wish it had more of an emotional punch, especially considering that a big part of its plot was about grief, but it just didn’t end up being all that memorable or emotionally affecting for me.

🌡 We Are Okay – Nina LaCour | β˜…β˜…

I decided to read this cause I needed a short audiobook and this fit the bill. I gave it a shot, but I didn’t much like it. 😦 The dialogue was stilted and I didn’t particularly care about the story, either. YA these days tends to be more miss than hit for me, unfortunately…

🌡 The Fire Starters – Jan Carson | β˜…β˜…β˜….5 | full review

🌡The Harpy – Megan Hunter | β˜…β˜…β˜… | full review going up here on August 11, but if you’re curious you can also check it out on my Goodreads here

🌡 Young Skins – Colin Barrett | β˜…β˜…β˜…

There were a couple short stories from this collection that I loved–specifically the last three: “Calm with Horses,” “Diamonds”, and “Kindly Forget My Existence”–but the rest I mostly felt lukewarm about. I’m definitely interested in what Colin Barrett writes next, though, as I do think his writing is quite promising.

🌡 My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was a tough read; it made me very uncomfortable to read, but that has more to do with the subject matter than anything that Kate Elizabeth Russell did wrong because this is an excellent debut. My Dark Vanessa is definitely one of the best character studies I’ve read this year. I can’t wait to see what Russell’s future novels will be like.

🌡 All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld | β˜…β˜…

I read this because I was hearing a lot of praise for Evie Wyld’s newest novel, The Bass Rock, and wanted to check out this novel before I tried The Bass Rock. Sadly this novel didn’t work for me at all. It tried to use an ambitious structure which it couldn’t quite pull off, and the main character was just a little bit too elusive for my liking.

🌡 Milkman – Anna Burns | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… | full review coming soon

I LOVED this; definitely one of my new favourites of the year. Anna Burns is a one-of-a-kind writer.

🌡 You Will Never Be Forgotten – Mary South | β˜…β˜…β˜… | full review coming soon

As with Young Skins, I thought this was just okay. Mary South experiments a lot with her short stories’ structure, with mixed results.

🌡 False Knees – Joshua Barkman | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… | full review coming soon

The False Knees comics are some of the best things to ever come out of the internet. Adorable, beautifully drawn, funny, and so wholesome. I love these dumb birds and their antics. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

e8c49b0298e4b

dsfosdjf

I don’t really do TBRs because I’m too much of a mood reader and I tend to randomly pick up a lot of stuff depending on what I have access to and what pops up on my radar during the month (also I DNF a lot 🀷), but here are some books that I would ideally like to get to this month.

the list includes: Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight, Mary Toft; or The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer, Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, The Everlasting by Katy Simpson Smith, and A Kind of Compass edited by Belinda McKeon.


did you find any new favourite books in March? have you read any of the books I mentioned? let me know; I’d love to hear! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°


Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

5767aac6e08a4ebf5eff23bf121b9bc4

JANUARY WRAP UP

fdfdf


january is over which means time for a wrap up!! and let me say, january was good to me. i read 14 books, THREE of which made it to my 2020 favourites shelf, which was such a pleasant surprise. AND 2 of those 3 books were nonfiction, which is so unheard of for me. there’s some amazing nonfiction out there apparently, who knew?? (everyone knew)

e8c49b0298e4b

what i read

gfdhdh


🌡 January 1-2: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan | β˜…β˜…β˜…

this one doesn’t come out till june so i won’t say much, but i have a review of it that’s going to be posted to the blog around that time. if you’re curious though, i wrote a review for it on goodreads.

🌡 January 3-4: Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson | β˜…β˜…

woman likes shitty man, woman sleeps with shitty man, woman is sad because shitty man ghosts her. the end. (what was i supposed to get out of this, exactly ???) needless to say, i didn’t particularly enjoy this.

🌡 January 4-5: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin | β˜…β˜…β˜…

β–ΊΒ this was enjoyable, but i had a lot of little gripes about it that just accumulated over the course of my reading it.
β–ΊΒ by far my biggest problem with this book was that the romantic dynamic between its 2 main leads was SO SIMILAR to matthias and nina’s dynamic from six of crows. like pretty much identical. the nina character, lou, speaks her mind, is free-spirited, embarrasses her love interest, is part of a group of people that the love interest has vowed to exterminate, loves desserts, and has magical powers. the matthias character, reid, is uptight, has been indoctrinated into a group of people with an oppressive ideology, is good at fighting, but ultimately falls for the nina character. it was just way too similar for me to able to disentangle it from six of crows. also let’s be honest the nina/matthias dynamic is SO much more well-executed than the lou/reid dynamic.
β–Ί did not like how possessive/territorial reid was. im so bored by male characters who feel the need to protect their female love interests at every second. chill
β–ΊΒ i am also so bored by male love interests who are angry all the time. chill
β–ΊΒ the inclusion of french in this book is so forced and randomly done that it added absolutely nothing to the story. telling me a character is drinking a “chocolat chaud” at a cafe is not worldbuilding lol. nor is adding the occasional french swear word.

🌡 January 6: “Color and Light” by Sally Rooney | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (reread)

(listened to sally rooney’s narration of the story on the new yorker podcast)

“He’s seen the display ten or twelve times now, or however many years the festival has been going. The first time he was a teenager, still in school. He thought that his life was just about to start happening then. He thought that he was poised tantalizingly on the brink, and that any dayβ€”or even any minuteβ€”the waiting would end and the real thing would begin.”

so tantalizingly short. there’s a feeling, here, that something is on the brink of happening, that something important has maybe already happened–and then the story ends.

it’s just so damn good.

🌡 January 6-8: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid | β˜…β˜….5

What compelling story this book had was completely overshadowed by its weak dialogue. There isΒ so muchΒ extraneous dialogue in this book.Β So. much. unnecessary. dialogue.Β I like “unnecessary” dialogue when it helps build character dynamics or establishes a social atmosphere of some kind, but that wasΒ not the case here. Like Emira and Alix would be talking and literally every other sentence would be Briar interrupting them with some weird observation (do kids really talk like that ?) that completely detracted from the oftentimes serious conversations being had.

Also I didn’t like the ending of this at all. I’m just so tired of endings that deflate all the conflict that had been building up in the story by tying everything up in a pretty little bow with zero nuance or time to actually flesh out the implications of what the characters did.

One more thing that irritated me: the constant references to Alix’s weight. Always the fact that Alix hasn’t lost her baby weight or has gained weight or her friends telling her she needs to lose weight or her eating too much and thinking about how she needs to drop the baby weight. This was never questioned or challenged; we were just supposed to accept that being fat is bad and that shaming your friends for their weight is okay. (Hint: it’s not.)

🌡 January 6-13: The Idiot by Elif Batuman | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜….5Β 

haven’t reviewed this yet, but it’s one of my favourite books of this year. psychologically astute, thematically complex, and compellingly written.

🌡 January 14: Fox 8 by George Saunders | β˜…β˜…β˜….5 stars

such a cute lil book complete with fun doodles and some interesting, relevant themes about environmental conservation. a quick, enjoyable read.

gfdgdh

🌡 January 8-16: Know My Name by Chanel Miller | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

wow wow wow. this is one of the most powerful books i have ever read, and i don’t hesitate to say that for a second. it is searing, arresting, masterful. it seems false, somehow, to give this a numerical rating, given how monumental of a read it really was, but this book deserves nothing less than 5 stars.

🌡 January 15: Lucky Caller by Emma Mills | β˜…β˜…β˜…

definitely my least favourite emma mills. the dialogue was weak and a little repetitive, the jokes never quite landed for me (i barely laughed at all while i read this, which is a travesty considering this is anΒ emma mills book), and the characters just didn’t end up feeling all that fleshed out. the story needed more pages and more time to breathe; sadly, it didn’t get either.

🌡 January 14-19: Solace by Belinda McKeon | β˜…β˜…

sadly a very forgettable book. the characters didn’t feel fleshed out, and the plot meandered. i didn’t feel like it was going anywhere, or that it even had anywhere to go. definitely recommend reading Belinda McKeon’s TenderΒ though. it’s leaps and bounds better thanΒ Solace.

🌡 January 16-22: Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett | β˜…β˜….5 | full review

🌡 January 21-24: The Book of X by Sarah Rose Etter | β˜…β˜….5Β 

the prose here is what didn’t work for me. it was trying to be poetic but couldn’t quite get there, so what you got as a result was writing that felt clunky and forced more than anything else. the book is also very episodic in terms of the way its toldβ€”typically in half-page mini chaptersβ€”and so that, too, ended up making the story feel more fragmented and less cohesive as a narrative.

i do appreciate the focus on loneliness and isolation in this story, though. etter definitely didn’t sugarcoat her protagonist’s experiences of sometimes unbearable solitude and longing.

🌡 January 26: Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell | β˜…β˜…β˜….5Β 

will review this soon, but it was a really lovely collection of short stories, all centering on the experiences of adolescent girls in northern ireland.

🌡 January 22 – February 3: Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

it’s kind of cheating to include this in my january wrap up since i technically didn’t finish it till february, but i really wanted to include it anyway because it was AMAZING. i read the audiobook and WOW. i’m gonna try and write a full review for this soon because it was honestly one of the best non-fiction books i’ve ever read. it doesn’t get better than this.


Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

500983a2b794afa9de700a1bf4c978b7