Tuesday, May 2, 2023

April Reading Wrap Up+

I don't know what it was about April but I really had trouble getting into a reading groove this month. Some starts and stops. Some lack of motivation to read. A lot going on in the month that is enough of a mental distraction I didn't necessarily want to read. Also I currently have a trial of satellite radio and thus have been listening to the 90s station in the car instead of listening to books. Even with all that I still did get through a decent amount of books.

Since I don't have a good why, let's just get to the what. And by "what" I mean those stats.

Total Books read
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana 

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
I found my Kindle and I hadn't read this in a while but it was short and I remember it being funny. And it is. I felt like I'd rather watch it than read it, but then tends to be the same with any play. It's hard to find something to say about a book that has been around so long as is well know. It's funny and ridiculous and at times feels like a "best of Oscar Wilde" collection of quotes, but that's not really a fault in the play. (Though does remind me of when I was in high school a fellow student claiming Shakespeare used some cliched line when the teacher had to point out that line originated with Shakespeare, so wasn't really cliched at the time)
Rating: 4 stars

Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn
Four women of a certain age (60) have spent their lives working as assassins for "the museum" but they're all retiring and taking a lovely cruise as a retirement gift from the company. But of course things can't be that simple (because if they were that simple then this book would be short and boring). Instead they seem to be targeted by someone that works for the Museum. Now they have to figure out why they're being targeted and what they can do to make sure their retirement doesn't end too soon. It has less of the humor I was assuming, perhaps unfairly, since I was comparing this to The Thursday Murder Club books but it's a fun mystery and I do appreciate some variety in protagonists
Rating 3.75 stars

Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes
I didn't read many pregnancy books when I was pregnant. Really just one, Expecting Better. Despite no longer being pregnant by a good few years, I had seen this one floating about and my library finally got a copy so I thought I'd check it out. I think if I was actually pregnant it would have been more helpful and more interesting. Instead it was...fine. I liked what it was doing, taking away some of the judgement  that I have heard (though haven't read so couldn't say first hand) can be in found in books like What To Expect. It's part memoir, chronicling Garbes own questions when she was pregnant, and looking for information instead of rules of what women were and (very often) were NOT to do. The bit on breastfeeding comes off a little more on the rules side, with a few side mentions of "but maybe some women can't". Being someone who didn't for a variety of reasons, this section felt more preachy and because a bit of a turnoff.
Rating: 3 stars

Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I read this for book club and I'll say that I enjoyed it more than the consensus of the group. A sliding-doors style story, where we follow main character Hannah, recently returned to her hometown after jumping from city to city looking for what is right for her, through 2 different paths her life could take based on one decision: does she stay out with her old high school boyfriend or go home with her friend she's staying with? The chapters alternate showing what her life would have been like depending on this one choice. At the heart it's a love story (stories?) and how much role does fate play in our lives. There is a bit at the end I liked but would be a spoiler so I'll leave out. However, the writing for this was just OK and the characters are a bit weak. To quote a fellow book clubber "Liking cinnamon rolls does not a personality make". And I found myself nitpicking a lot of details that typically only happens when I find myself annoyed with the book. But I didn't hate it and sometimes you want something sort of mindless
Rating: 2.75 stars

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
I really wish I had it together enough to write down where I hear of books when I add them to my TBR list. I'm pretty sure this was a list of best new books in 2022 or something of that nature and would happily give credit if I had a memory better than that of a goldfish. The book is a collection of interconnected short stories all dealing with residents of a low-income high rise in Harlem. A new owner has taken over the building and residents are struggling to meet their current rent, let alone deal with rent hikes as new management is trying to push people out in order to get market-rate tenants in. The characters feel real and fully formed, each with a different and unique voice. The audiobook helped with this certainly (they had different voice actors for each short story, including Bahni Turpin who has read a number of books I like and it seems silly to get exciting for a narrator but hearing some bad ones makes you really appreciate someone so good), but the writing carries it as well. There is no mistaking a Mimi for a Quanneisha. My only real complaint is because the stories are interconnected it felt like there was going to be an over-arching narrative that would come to some kind of conclusion by the end. However, even without that this was an excellent collection.
Rating: 4.25 stars

Total pages read


Female authors

BIPOC authors

US authors

Book format
audiobook: 80%
ebook: 20%

Where'd I get the book
library: 40%
gift: 40%
Kindle: 20%



Book club

Decade published
1890s: 20%
2010s: 40%
2020s: 40%

Resolution books
The Importance of Being Earnest is by an Irish author and from before 2000 (by a good amount)
Like a Mother is by a Filipino-American author
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs is by a Black author