April 2016 Reading Review


Credit: Kathy Bell, kbella photography.

And there goes April in my rear view mirror….. WHOOSH!

April fairly whizzed by and although I was aware of time passing, I don’t really know remember much about the month. Perhaps that is what makes it so notable – that nothing notable happened. 🙂

Book reading is still on the slow(er) side of things for me (carrying the trend on from December of last year). I’m not a person who runs solely on data collection, but I am interested to see any trends or anything, and 2016 is so far the “Year of Not Reading As Much As Usual”.

The reasons for this are varied, but I can explain most of April’s comparatively slow progress on my ongoing health crappy issues. On the upside, these are sorting themselves out day by day, but progress can be excruciatingly slow for someone impatient (comme moi) and it’s been an exercise in learning patience, control (or the lack of it), and acceptance.

Oh, and editing an engineering text book which has been time-consuming but strangely and addictively fun. (I don’t claim to be normal. No sirree, Bob.)

On the flip side, I did get to go to Mexico with D. and spend a gorgeous long weekend there so April was nothing to sneeze at too much, thank goodness.

To the books:

I read the following titles (with links to reviews):

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere – Z. Z. Packer (short stories) – fantastic collection of short stories. I am notoriously picky with my short stories, but Packer hit every one of her selection out of the park and I loved this read. Gushy but true. The fact that there was no proper blog post about this haunts me, but life goes on and that neglect is truly not aligned with how good that read actually was. I will definitely be picking up more of her work in the future.

No Idle Hands (social history of knitting) – Anna Macdonald (NF). Good solid book which does exactly what it says it will do on the outside of the tin. May have been more of a timing issue for me.

Humans of New York: Stories – Brandon Stout (NF). This was really a book that I dearly wish that I had done myself as it hit the target on so many levels whilst I was reading it. Attention has been in short supply so since this is a graphically heavy book, this was very pleasing to me. I adore the idea of “everyone has a story” and Stout takes this to the nth degree with this project, and I really admire his photography skills. Here’s the blog if you’re curious,  and I highly highly recommend a read of this project. I read it three times back to back. (Excessive? Perhaps. Enjoyable? Very.)

Brooklyn – Colm Toibin (F). Another book that was the perfect read at the perfect time. One of those sentinel experiences when everything converges into perfection: the writing, the book presentation, the narrative arc, the characters… There was not one molecule of this read that did not make me happy and I’m wondering if the rest of his work is as stellar. (Nothing like a little pressure of the first read being magnificent, is there? Cross your fingers.)

Happenstance – Carol Shields (F). 80% read but a DNF in total. Why (do I wail to the gods), why did I waste resources on this read? Waaaah. One good thing: it’s now off the TBR bookshelf and out of the house. Note to self: No more Carol Shields. (I’m sure she’s very wonderful as a human being, but her fiction leaves something to be desired (for me at least).)

Total number of books read in April: 4. (A bit low for me, but April is historically a really busy month for me in my non-reading world.)

Total number of pages read: 1,398 pages (av. 350).

Fiction/Non-Fiction: 2 fiction / 2 non-fiction

Library books vs. books I owned (and thus removed from the home abode): 4 library books and 0 owned books. (However, there was a clean-out of the shelves which resulted in three large grocery bags of books going to the FoL sale. I’d say that was progress.)

For May, any plans? Scale back my expectations a bit with regard to book numbers etc. and just go with the flow a bit more. Pick up some more fiction with the caveat of also putting it down if it’s not the great experience that I’m looking for. (Must remember to resign membership in the “Complete the book” club.)

Oh, and my wonderful and lovely mum (in England) had her 80th birthday on May 03.

So life is coming along, it’s almost summer (for us here in the Western Hemisphere), we don’t have the really high temperatures just yet (which I love), and things are good. I hope that you can say that your world is good as well.

4 thoughts on “April 2016 Reading Review

  1. I don’t like Carol Shields either, and have felt guilty about that, so hoorah there! Hope you have a good May. And I can understand the editing thing totally!

    • Hooray! A fellow writer/editor who understands that appeal of nerd-dom. 🙂 And also hooray for someone else who feels the same about Carol Shields. I was feeling guilty bc so many other people love her stuff, but the two I’ve read have not been impressive, and thus, bub-bye to her. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but I don’t get on w her novels. Moving on – here’s a to fab May for both of us!

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