April books

I started April strong on the book front, stalled in the middle, and regained my footing at the end. Lesson I keep learning: If I’m resisting reading a particular book, it’s because it’s not for me. And it’s okay to let that one go.

perfecto-capucine-746359-unsplash

OF COURSE this is taken from my real life, what are you even talking about? Photo by Perfecto Capucine on Unsplash.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvatar. This was the fourth and last book in a series, but the first one I read. Like, ever, not just in April. I must have heard good things about it because it made my “to read” list. This is one of those magic/teenager books that are popular at the moment, but you know what? The writing was good, the plot kept me interested and I didn’t seem to lose anything for coming in at the top floor instead of starting at the bottom. I’ll probably read the entire series just for something to do. (I’m no purist on my book choices. Give me entertaining any day of the week.) No regrets.

Educated by Tara Westover. (Nonfiction.) Where to even start? This book is absolutely fascinating — Westover comes from a large, devote Mormon family, was barely homeschooled, had her life endangered practically daily by her father and/or brother, was mentally abused … eventually went to BYU against the family’s wishes, where she had to learn basic things like hygiene and how to take a test, finally earing her Ph.D. after a serious bout of depression. So just, like, props to her for managing, seriously. What made this book hard to read, however, were the pages upon pages describing the messed up antics of her father. The guy is probably bipolar, but it’s infuriating to witness someone with so little regard for anyone else — who purposely puts his wife and kids in dangerous situations because he’s got a Jesus complex (and a unhealthy distrust of the government, medical care, even dance lessons). That’s abuse. I was glad to see that Westover finally escape and prosper, but damn! The cost of her education was so high. Definitely recommend.

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. This was okay. It’s a book on writing and grief and dogs. No characters are named. I felt it was a bit too hyped, but eh, I made it through and it was fine. Wouldn’t necessarily recommend, but that’s more because of my personal tastes than anything else. It’s clever enough.

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. (Nonfiction.) Holy shit. This book crushed my soul. It’s nonfiction and well researched, but written in story form. That made it very easy to digest. I felt like I got to know the girls who worked painting radium on watch dials to make them glow in the dark beginning in 1917 — and it was devastating to see them suffering so greatly because of company negligence. Well, beyond negligence, really — calculated cruelty. What absolutely floored me was how, after everything these women went through to bring the company to justice, radium was STILL being used and other women STILL being exploited doing THE VERY SAME WORK as late as the 1970s. (All caps because WHAT?!) I mean, I probably shouldn’t be surprised. We think that businesses/government agencies have our best interests at heart, but most do not — the bottom line means more than human life. (If you’re charging almost $1,000 for two EpiPens, then you clearly value something, but it ain’t people.) So now I’m all fired up. Definitely recommend. Because knowledge is power.

Books I tried to read but couldn’t:

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I just … I didn’t make it very far into this book, which is too bad because I could have used a good distraction as I was sitting for hours at a time in the ICU waiting room with Eric’s family. I felt like the writing was fine and the storyline had potential, but got tripped up on the actual reading part. Not for me.

On my list:

I’ve got six on hold from the eLibrary — but it might take a while to get any of them (like, six months for some of these): The Wicked King, The Good Neighbor, Becoming (by Michelle Obama, I love her), Stardust, There There and The Invention of Wings (recently added to my list via a recommendation last month).

Which means I might just go on Amazon and buy something. Feeding the beast, but I love my Kindle so much. I think Abby has a couple of real books she wants me to read, but she won’t be home from school for a couple of weeks and I can’t wait that long. 😉 We’ll see what I settle on. There’s a long list of books that aren’t available via eLibrary that are in the running.

Now I want to hear about what you’ve been reading. Because I have plenty of room to add to my list.

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6 thoughts on “April books

  1. sarahn says:

    Aha! Remember me saying I didn’t rate the Immortalists? You neither!

    I heard someone recommend The Radium Girls on a podcast lately. And I meant to read Educated and ended up with an Australian book in teaching which was equally fascinating and devastating.

    I’m reading The Poisonwood bible which is heavy reading for a holiday in Greece, but hey?! I did get recommendations for books set where I was travelling but didn’t actually action GETTING any of them cause… I don’t like buying books and library books are madness travelling and I don’t do ereaders. So yeah. I’ll hopefully find book exchanges on my travels as I’m a few days into a month of travelling.

    I enjoy the Obama book, but found the first third the best as she seemed unhindered by national security/protocol of govt. It’s not to say later thirds were bad but they just lacked some of the clarity I’d felt early on; and just seemed so frenzied (which was likely her life!)

    We should link up on goodreads!

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    • Trisha Walker says:

      I do remember you saying that about the Immortalists! I didn’t even make it through Simon’s chapter.

      It’s been years since I read Poisonwood Bible, but I liked it. It is a little heavy, maybe, for a holiday reading choice, but eh, you gotta pass the time somehow, right? In the States, we have Free Little Libraries in neighborhoods, parks, etc., where you can take a book or leave a book, free of charge. They look like oversized doll houses, although they can be anything. I don’t know how prevalent those are in the rest of the world, though. We’ve got at least 15 in our town … which doesn’t exactly help you if you’re in Greece, but maybe you’ll run into something similar.

      I’m on Goodreads but you might have to find me (or tell me exactly how to find you) because I’m too impatient to figure that kind of thing out. I was just updating my lists last night. Some of my “to-reads” got the boot. 🙂

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      • sarahn says:

        I ended up buying two books, and finding some on my journey. I bought The Hate U Give (which rapidly left the hostel’s book exchange shelves) and one based on Naples around art. I also collected one on Jeruseleum, but it’s weighty. And my brother bought me (for 1 pound) The Kite Runner which was great.

        IN Australia, we have heaps of small libraries you mention. Travelling, you see book exchanges in many accommodation
        places and some cafes

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  2. Kizzy says:

    Some really great sounding books here. I read loads in March but not much this last month. I’ve been listening to podcasts more. The Radium Girls sounds like an interesting one, think I will add that one to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jenni says:

    So many people I work with are reading Circe by Madeline Miller (Song of Achilles is her first book, also highly recommended). I work in a library and we all keep reading and passing on this one copy! I read both her books and absolutely loved them although they are like nothing l would normally read. A UK blogger I was reading tonight said she is currently reading Circe so I think it is very popular all over the globe.

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