Bookends: April 2013

The first day of each month, I’m posting a summary of what I read the previous month and what I plan to read in the coming month. I would love if this could become a conversation in the comments about what’s on your reading list, too!

I’m not sure where April went. One minute it was March 31 and crocuses, and the next it’s the first of May and azaleas. I’ve done lots of activities with church and with friends and with the kids. I organized a homeschool ASL class. (ASL=American Sign Language. I thought that was common knowledge, but I’m getting a lot of blank stares when I tell people about the class.) I’ve gotten more sleep (overall) than I usually do. All of this means I’ve had a pretty light reading month.

Grown-ups’ Books:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Murder/abduction mystery about a man who acts squirrely when his wife goes missing; includes an account of their whole squirrely past together.)

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (18-century British satire/fictional travel journal told by a narrator of questionably trustworthiness)

Some of My Best Friends Are Black by Tanner Colby (Semi-memoir which attempts to answer the question, “Why is the United States still so racially segregated?”)

Usually I put a little note here about which book I liked best, but I seriously don’t think it makes sense to compare these three books to one another. The Tanner Colby book challenged my assumptions about race relations in the U.S. and challenged me to recommit to seeking out and eliminating (or at least being aware of) white privilege in my life; Gulliver’s Travels challenged me with its 18th-century language and cultural references; and Gone Girl challenged me to look past a couple of inaccuracies to see the story itself and to tackle Monday on only about 2.5 hours of sleep. They all had their strengths and weaknesses, and I enjoyed each as I was reading it.

Kids’ Books:

We read lots of books this month but nothing that really stood out as outstanding. We all liked Mike Venezia’s series about artists. We read Pieter Bruegel, DaVinci, and Michelangelo. My daughter loved the little cartoony comments and illustrations throughout.

We also enjoyed Starry Messenger by Peter Sís, which offers a brief account of Galileo’s life and work. The illustrations are beautiful and the story engaging.

Currently Reading

I’m still reading Fanny Stevenson: A Romance of Destiny by Alexandra Lapierre, and I seriously need to either finish it or quit reading it and give it back to its owner this month. I’m also reading Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, which I think could easily spawn several blog posts once I’m through feeling angry at it for reinforcing the message that I need to be doing all kinds of things I don’t want to do (like have fun and feel grateful for stuff).

My kids and I are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together. My daughter asked me if I enjoyed the Harry Potter books when I was a kid. I had to break it to her that they’d not been written when I was a kid, but that I had enjoyed reading them in my late 20’s.

To-Read for May (and beyond)

I’m not making much of a reading plan for May. I plan to read Fluent in Faith by Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar for a discussion group at church, and I want to read something from my Cavalcade of Classics, but I’m not sure if that will be Dickens’s Oliver Twist or Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. I was going to re-read John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany for the library book club, but it turns out I’m joining a community band with my daughter, which has rehearsal the same night as book club meets. I still might read it (it’s one of my favorite books), but it will probably end up on the back burner.

What have you enjoyed reading in the past month? What’s on your to-read list for May? If you blog your answer, please post a link in the comments (and/or link back to this post, if you’re so inclined).

9 comments

  1. Pingback: 2013: My Year in Books | Imperfect Happiness
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  4. Stacy · May 1, 2013

    I read Gone Girl recently as well,, didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. The ending felt contrived to me.

    Curious if you’ve read “Project Conversion” by Andrew Bowen. he immerses himself in a different faith each month for a year and writes about his experiences. I have it on my Kindle, haven’t tackled it yet.

    The only thing I know for sure that on the reading list for this month is “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry for both my girls and me. We’ve largely finished our formal curriculum, so we’re going to experiment with a more unit studies type approach as we explore this book together. We’ll see how it all pans out.

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    • CJ · May 1, 2013

      I’d not even heard of Project Conversion! I’ll have to check it out. It sounds interesting.

      I’m glad to hear you didn’t love Gone Girl, either. I agree about the ending, but I also felt like that’s where most of the really good commentary about marriage/intimate relationships was. But then, that probably could have been included in the earlier parts of the book without needing to say it outright at the end.

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  5. Ellery Davies · May 1, 2013

    This month, I plan to read “Critical” by Robin Cook (2007). I picked it up at a library book fair this weekend. Like all of his books, it is a medical thriller. (Robin is a male and a physician in Boston).

    My past read was “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton* (2004). That was on a return flight just over a year ago. So you can see—I haven’t exactly been a book worm.

    *Crichton is author of Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain and Terminal Man. He died in 2008.

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    • CJ · May 1, 2013

      I know Crichton. He was the creator of E.R., too. I was absolutely enthralled with Jurassic Park and the follow-up books when I was in high school. I’ve heard of Robin Cook, but I’ve not read anything by him (I’ve not had positive experiences with medical thrillers…I read The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen last year and wasn’t super-impressed. I just don’t think that kind of book is my thing).

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  6. marlajayne · May 1, 2013

    My bookclub read A Prayer for Owen Meany a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. Gone Girl is on my Kindle, but I haven’t gotten to it yet because last month I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy (beautiful and haunting book), The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant (actually listened to this on CD), The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (marvelous and uniquely written) and The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin (kind of chick lit but nicely written). I’m reading The Cove by Ron Rash on my iPad Kindle app at night. It’s an eerie but contented, happy feeling to lie in a quiet, dark room with only the backlight of my iPad glowing.

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    • CJ · May 1, 2013

      Your April reads include several of books on my to-read list! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed The Road and The Book Thief. I didn’t realize The Last Days of Dogtown was set on Cape Ann (until I looked up the synopsis just now). I’ve been trying to read more New England books, so I’ve added that one to my list, too. I should get some books on audio so I can do some crocheting/knitting while I listen. There’s a mini baby boom among my friends, and I’m way behind on gifts.

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