What I Read – April 2020

READ:

The Mercies – Kiran Milwood Hargrave (Little, Brown and Company, 2019)

Lost Boy Found – Kirsten Alexander (Grand Central Publishing, 2020)

The Moment of Tenderness – Madeleine L’Engle (Grand Central Publishing, 2020)

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi (Anchor Canada, 2016)

Little Eyes – Samanta Schweblin (Riverhead Books, 2020) (translated by Megan McDowell)

Moonfleet – J. Meade Falkner (Puffin Books, 1994)

Beach Read – Emily Henry (Berkley Jove, 2020)

A Registry of my Passage Upon the Earth – Daniel Mason (Little, Brown and Company, 2020)

Still: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Motherhood – Emma Hansen (Greystone Books, 2020)

DID NOT FINISH:

Forty Autumns – Nina Willner

I read about 50 pages of this book someone loaned to me before I gave up. The premise – generations of a family divided by the Iron Curtain after the Second World War ended in Germany – interested me but the actual story felt very….American. Displays of American prowess in the Cold War interest me very little, it turns out. And while I have no doubt that life worsened for many German families under Soviet rule, it felt uncomfortable to me to laud the country’s previous management, that being, you know, Nazi Germany.

CURRENTLY READING:

Hold on to Your Kids – Gordon Neufeld & Gabor Mate

The Penguin Book of Mermaids

2020 GOALS:

Books Read: 34/100

Books Reviewed: 30/75

Current TBR: 172 (previously 176)

WHAT’S NEXT:

While March seemed to last forever, April flew by. I had hoped to read more but ended up spending more time with Moonfleet than I intended, simply because I didn’t enjoy it very much. I’m also feeling stuck with Hold on to Your Kids; I probably read a chapter over the entire month. If I don’t find myself reaching for it in the next week, I’m going to shelve it until all this is over and it looks like my kid might one day go to school.

My April reading highlights were definitely The Mercies and Homegoing.

As I did last month, I’ve chosen 5 books from my TBR that are already in my house to read for May, both a mixture of ARCs and books I’ve collected over the years but have never read.

ARCs: Drifts by Kate Zambreno, Shiner by Amy Jo Burns (both have pub dates in May)

From my shelves: Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility by Theodora Armstrong, How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

I’m also planning to participate with Melanie at Grab the Lapels and read Flannery O’Connor. I don’t have the Complete Short Stories that she’ll be reading but I do have an O’Connor story collection and have bookmarked the dates for the various stories. (Find out more from her post here.)

What were your April reading highlights? What are you looking forward to reading in May? Have you bought any new books recently?

14 thoughts on “What I Read – April 2020”

  1. I don’t know why I never noticed how much your reading focused on new books. There are so many 2020 publication dates on there! I’m very glad you’ll be joining me for the readalong and hope to see your thoughts either here on your blog or in the comments of my weekly O’Connor reviews! I can’t remember if I told you or not, but I did end up reading quite a bit of O’Connor’s collection of letters that you recommended to me. While I felt it was a much better work that the bio by Brad Gooch that I had been reading, I would get lost in these letters she wrote to a friend. The friend was a woman who wrote to O’Connor on a whim after reading Wise Blood, and they kept up a correspondence for nine years. However, the friend didn’t want to be identified in the collection of letters, and because we don’t see what she wrote, it could be hard to determine what O’Connor was writing (arguing) about. Yet, the other letters were wonderful and truly demonstrated her humor and deep Catholic faith, just like you said.

    1. That is an interesting choice – to only publish one side of the conversation. Though if the friend didn’t want to be named, it makes it hard to do otherwise. O’Connor was an interesting lady; I’m looking forward to re-reading some of her stories.

      I definitely have been reading more new releases recently. Between ARCs and following other book bloggers, it’s often the new releases that I get excited about. At the same time, I have stacks of books that I’ve never read that are older that I really should read! If the library stays closed, you might see some older pub dates appearing next month!

    2. I just bought Jennifer Weiner’s forthcoming book Big Summer, so I’ll have a 2020 book appear at Grab the Lapels soon! That’s uncommon for me. However, to stay closer to other book bloggers, I’ve been picking up their recommendations more willingly. Typically, I add a book to my Goodreads TBR and don’t get to it for years. Now I’m just doing it right away.

      All of the letters in O’Connor’s book are hers only, so you never see the other side. However, with most conversations you get a clear sense of what the other person wrote about. This mystery friend (I think) often challenged O’Connor’s religion and philosophies, so O’Connor’s responses don’t always capture the full argument this other woman put forth.

    3. That kind of reminds me of C.S. Lewis’ book “Letters to Malcolm”. Except in that one you don’t see the other side because there is no other side and Malcolm doesn’t exist.

      I find if I add blogger recommendations to my TBR and don’t read them right away, they languish there for years until I’ve forgotten why I wanted to read them in the first place or who recommended them! So I try to get to them while my enthusiasm is still high!

  2. I appreciate your take on Forty Autumns! I really enjoyed the book but I’m a huge sucker for any kind of memoir. This month, I’m hoping to read Other Moons, which is an anthology about the Vietnam War written by Vietnamese authors. It’s so important to learn about other events from other perspectives!

    1. Thanks! Are the first 50 pages a pretty accurate taste? Maybe I’ll try it again down the road…

      Other Moons sounds fascinating. One of the best things about books is their ability to provide a new perspective! There’s a great novel called The Sorrow of War which is about the Vietnam War from the perspective of a North Vietnamese soldier, if you’re interested in reading more along those lines.

    2. Wow, sounds interesting! For Forty Autumns, I think I liked the family aspect of the book more than the setting. (It’s been a while so I don’t really remember!)

  3. The Mercies and Homegoing are also two books I’m looking forward to reading, so I’m glad to see they’re your highlights! For some reason I’ve been drawn to books about writers recently (I read 3 of those alone in April), so I’m also interested in Drifts. I’m a little hesitant about picking it up because I hadn’t really enjoyed the author’s previous work, Green Girl, but I like the subject matter so I’m thinking of giving it a shot. I look forward to your thoughts on it!

    1. I hope you enjoy The Mercies and Homegoing when you read them! I’m not familiar with the author’s previous work but I was drawn to the description of Drifts so we’ll see how I get along!

  4. Yay for The Mercies and Homegoing!
    I’m also planning to follow along with Melanie’s Flannery O’Connor read along as much as I can and look forward to chatting about the stories.
    Hope you have a great month ahead! 🙂

  5. I loved, loved Homegoing!

    I did buy a few books this month – not because I don’t have enough books to read, but because there were a few I had on hold at the library that I was really looking forward to and I couldn’t wait any longer. The Dutch House for my Literary Wives group, The Waiting Hours by Shandi Mitchell, and Crocuses Hatch From Snow. I’ve read The Waiting Hours and it was excellent!

    1. The Dutch House would be an interesting one for your Literary Wives group – I’ll look forward to your thoughts on that. The Waiting Hours is also excellent. Have you read Mitchell’s previous novel?

      I probably bought more books in April than I normally would for a similar reason. There’s certainly no shortage of things to read in our house but with the library closed, I needed some new ones.

    2. Absolutely! I was on the fence about buying one of the books and then remembered that it comes from a small-ish BC publisher and that swung me in its favour. I want these bookstores and authors and publishers to still be around!

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