Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April 2013 Reading Update

Hi everyone.
Another month gone by, another pile of books read.

I always enjoy drawing some sort of theme with monthly reads, but I can't think of much for April.

I did read two books with two individual friends in the book club spirit (a first for me). I've never imagined being able to be part of a book club since my reading can be rather spontaneous and random depending on my mood, but that experience was rather enjoyable. So maybe a theme about sharing experiences...or....yeah I got nothing. Let's just get on with the update.

As usual, I'll list the books in the order finished, followed by my reaction and links if you're interested to learn more. Enjoy!

The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka

Very quick read. Surprisingly funny at the start and increasingly sad throughout. I enjoyed the writing. Makes me wish I could read and understand it in its original German.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Potentially my new favorite piece by Neil Gaiman (Coraline is hard to surpass). I found Gaiman's writing especially funny in this piece.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

Refreshing realistic YA romance novel. A definite recommendation if you need a palate cleanser from the YA/chick-lit books. Full review here.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Persuasion - Jane Austen

Not my favorite Austen piece but still very enjoyable. It falls beneath Mansfield Park in my favorite Austen novels primarily because I did not love Anne as much as Fanny, Emma, or Elizabeth. I did enjoy that Anne was a woman who was supposedly "past her prime." Still better than Northanger Abbey.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Escape from Camp 14 - Blaine Harden

My first semi-biographical read of the year. This novel is a shocking story of North Korea-born Shin, who is the only known defector from Camp 14, arguably North Korea's harshest political prison camp. Informative, eye-opening novel. Made me think about what it truly means to be human. Full review here.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

The Lover's Dictionary - David Levithan

This novel was much more abstract than I anticipated it to be. It was enjoyable to read, however by the end I felt I had read more of a poem or a novella than an actual novel. Full review to come. 

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Jules Verne

My first read by Jules Verne. And I'm immensely happy at my choice. Very fun novel written in a language that really allows you to get a sense of the time and the beautiful imagery of the undersea creatures (however, if Verne decided to dial back one some of the sea animal talk I wouldn't argue). I will definitely be reading more Verne in the subsequent months.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Shardes & Ashes - various authors, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

Fun read if you're not already exhausted by the high influx of dystopian novels (I'm not). However, I was rather disappointed with this anthology as a whole. Full review here.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Catch-22 - Joseph Heller

So many amazing comments to make about this book. Not only is it hilarious and has a great cast of characters, but I love the artful style of how the narration drifts between different storylines while still allowing you to get the overall picture. I can only rave about this classic.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Real Live Boyfriends - E. Lockhart

Final installment in the Ruby Oliver quartet, and I must say, I'm not thrilled. My enjoyment of this series elevated with each installment, but it dropped after this one. I still enjoyed it, but I felt Ruby slightly digressed. Also, her mom was almost unbearably annoying. Still like this series though. Full quartet review to come.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Fragile Things - Neil Gaiman

Probably one of my favorite short story compilations I've read thus far. I can't even name my favorite stories because as I read I kept thinking "this is my new favorite story!" But it happened with almost every story, so... I can't pick.
Two stories from this collection overlapped with M is For Magic that I read back in January. Luckily, the number of stories it contained was about twice as much, so I still had plenty to read and enjoy.

Links: Amazon | Goodreads

As far as my progress on my 2013 Reading List goes, I've made my usually monthly progress. I was able to read another Austen novel (Persuasion) as well as Catch-22. Hopefully, next month I can make even more progress.

Okay, so I know essentially every month I say I have a hard time picking the Book of the Month in addition to its runner-up, but I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the hardest month to choose from yet. So hard, in fact, that I'm just not going to do it.

Instead, I'm just going to pick ONE book as Book of the Month and leave the rest to battle in the mental rankings.

So...April's Book of the Month is....

Catch-22 is a masterpiece. It is so beautifully crafted that I read in envy at how amazingly Joseph Heller set up his story. It has to one of my favorite war novels (even more than Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, which I really liked), if not of one my favorite novels in general. Catch-22 was a book I finished and felt I could immediately go back and reread. Definite recommendation for everyone who has yet to read it.

Lastly, an announcement about May...

I have been overhauling books in the past few months and decided to do a "no buy" month for May. I have so many great books sitting on my shelves. All I need is a little push to read them, so this will be my push. 

Here's to hoping I can keep my finger off the "place order" button!

1 comment:

  1. Best of luck to your "no buy!" One month should be do-able :)!

    I have yet to complete Catch-22...I know I should but I couldn't go with the flow of the narration �� I'm just not meant for those books right now...

    Sad to hear the short stories didn't hold a ton variation.