Bookends: April 2014

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!

A two-week, 3,000-mile road trip in the middle of the month made April an audio-book-heavy month. And when we weren’t in the car, I fear I might have developed an affinity for reading classics on my Kindle. Although I don’t like the way the highlighting works, I kind of like having the pages all cut up into little screen-sized bites. But I’m fighting it because I really like refusing to embrace e-readers. Next thing you know I’ll have a smart phone. *shudder*

Anyway, here’s what I finished in April:

Grown-ups’ Books:

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (Aslan, a biblical scholar, outlines the distinction between the historical Jesus and the Christ of religious faith)

Two Treatises of Government by John Locke (I actually only read the second treatise, in which Locke explains how man has a natural right to own property.)

Breathing Room: Open Your Heart by Decluttering Your Home by Melva Green and Laura Rosenfeld (Self-helpy but unique approach to material, emotional, and schedule clutter.)

Out of Silence: Selected Poems by Muriel Rukeyser (I hesitate listing this one with my “read” books because I really read very little of it. Poetry requires so much more effort to read than prose does, even (or perhaps especially) good poetry.)

I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson (audio; re-read) (Bryson moves back to the States after 20 years in the UK. The first time I read this, I’d not yet lived in New England. I have a much better sense of what he’s talking about when he talks about New Hampshire now. My nearly-nine-year-old loved this audio book, by the way.)

Kids’ Books:

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald (audio) (A boy in a small town in rural Utah at the turn of the twentieth century narrates the exploits of his brainy brother.)

Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (audio) (Second book in the series of prequels to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. I stopped reading/listening to this one. I liked Peter and the Starcatchers better.)

Holes by Louis Sachar (audio) (A boy is wrongfully accused of stealing a pair of sneakers and is sentenced to dig holes in the desert.)

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (audio) (Kind of like the Little House books but with less hyper-idealized parents. I should really write a review of this one, because I really enjoyed it.)

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (started in print, finished in audio) (Third (chronologically) of the Narnia series. Decent book, and I like that it functions as a stand-alone story although it’s part of the series.)

Currently Reading

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot (Sisters Book Club May selection)
  • ‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Laura Frances-Sharma (LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (audio; read by Brooke Shields)
  • Writing the Sacred Journey by Elizabeth Andrew (yes, I’m still reading this one)

To-Read for May

I’m pretty much abandoning my “five books a month” plan in favor of a “read whatever I feel like and try to make at least one of them a classic” plan. With this in mind, for May I have on deck (after my currently-readings are read):

  • My Accidental Jihad by Karen Bremer (LibraryThing Early Reviewers)
  • In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (for our local library book club)
  • My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead
  • Some undetermined classic, preferably fiction. Maybe Oliver Twist or something by a Brontë (Villette or Agnes Grey, most likely).

I should also read Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes since I bought a copy of it at Malaprops in Asheville, but I’m not sure if that one’s going to happen this month. I’m feeling tired, and I might just opt to hem some pants or convert trousers with holes in them into funky skirts instead of reading. Although I could get one or more of these on audio and still do my sewing. I’ll have to mull that one over.

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).

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