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. 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), 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.
🌵 Untold Night and Day – Bae Suah (translated by Deborah Smith) | ★★★ | full review
🌵 The Bass Rock – Evie Wyld | ★★★.5 | full review
🌵 The Empress of Salt and Fortune – Nghi Vo | ★★.5 | full review
🌵 Strange Flowers – Donal Ryan | ★.5 | full review coming closer to release date
Oh boy. I did not like this book. I’d read one Donal Ryan book before, A Low and Quiet Sea, and didn’t much like it, but decided I’d give his books another go since I was hearing a lot of positive buzz about 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 | ★★ | full review
🌵 Funny Weather – Olivia Laing | ★★.5 | full review
🌵 Beach Read – Emily Henry | ★★★ | 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 | ★★★ | 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 | ★★★.5 | 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) | ★★★.5 | 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 try 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.
Other than that, I’m currently about 35% into A Little Life 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), 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 😊