How is it nearly April already? I can’t quite believe it. It’s been an absolutely manic month at work, and I’ve been really quite ill and it’s all just gotten away with me really. Somehow, in and amongst all of that, I have read 10 books, bought 7 and so that’s a net gain of 3 books off my bedside table (which is rapidly becoming the go to phrase for my TBR list).
At the start of the month, I did a list for my “Five…Books to Read in April” post. I actually wrote the post after April had started, so I’d already read some stuff… either way, it’s now the end of April and I thought I’d revisit!
In my earlier post, I had listed:
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
- Autumn by Ali Smith
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
- The Illiad by Homer (not Simpson)
I have successfully achieved 3/5 and the reviews have been linked in the list above. I was disappointed by Autumn, enjoyed A Skinful of Shadows and felt overwhelmingly “meh” about The Cruel Prince.
However, that is just three of my ten reads this month. So I’ve decided to summarise/categorise how I felt about each book into “Disappointed” “Unexpected” and “Meh”. I love the onomatopoeia of “meh” – it just such a great way of expressing nothingness. So, Disappointed, Unexpected and Meh – the three emotions while reading.
Books that I found disappointing
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
I bought this and read it because it was on prize lists, and was the book for a book group I never actually went to. I felt it was too “literary” and tried to deal with too much and ended up just being 300 pages where nothing actually happens. I liked the colour of the cover though. I took it to the work shelf because keeping a book because the colour would look good in aesthetics pictures is not a good enough reason when you haven’t much space.
Autumn by Ali Smith
Picked this up because it was on a list. Read it because the library wanted it back. I have no idea what was going on, or why. Very literary again and I just don’t get it… Luckily it was shorter than Swing Time
The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is overwhelmingly hit or miss. I think this was a miss. I was expecting some good story and characterisation and I got an extended monologue on Noone Listened To Me When I Was Alive so Ima Gonna School You Now I’m Dead. It was annoying.
Books that I thought were unexpected
Everless by Sarah Holland
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I actually enjoyed Everless and how it handled increasingly problematic YA
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
I think that I wasn’t expecting this book to be as good as The Lie Tree. It was certainly different, but not better or worse, so I did enjoy it.
A Room With A View by E.M Forster
I think this was unexpected because I was worried I would only like Howards End, but never fear, this was a super Edwardian satirical commentary on society.
Books that were a bit “meh”
Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli
I loved the movie though. To me, the book was just … neither great nor awful, it was just a YA romance with the added bonus of gays. If it’s going to be a cringey American drama, I preferred the film.
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Again, like Simon, this was a very romancy romance with meet cutes and the best bit for me was having a very openly lesbian MC and not having to justify/come out at any point of the film. It’s set in LA in the film and feels like a hallmark movie.
Circe by Madeline Miller
This actually really disappointed me by being a bit “meh”. I’ve been looking forward to it for ages, but when I actually read Circe, I just felt a bit underwhelmed – like, so much of her life is defined by the men she meets/loves and it just irritated me sometimes. Smashing cover though.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
…was a fairly good YA fantasy book where most characters are thoroughly unlikeable, and it becomes a case of “which is the least awful”. I liked the idea, I just feel a little… well, “meh” about the book. I’ll read the next because an interesting dynamic has been set up, but I don’t think there is a single healthy relationship in that book. I think that’s the point.
Looking forward to May?
I’m actually going to have to Kindle it for at least half of May, so I don’t really want to start my long hardback books unless I am certain I can finish them. Like the mermaid and mrs Hancock is right next to me as I type and I can’t decide if I should start it now and hope I’ve read it in the thirteen days before I need to go paperless.
Other than that, we’ve got The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society to look forward too, and many other books – but I’m focusing on mermaids and potato peel pie for now.
I know May Day isn’t technically till Tuesday, but Happy May Day and I hope the weather sorts itself out, I quite enjoyed reading in the sun (by which I mean I read in the doorway with enough shadow to keep a headache at bay.