Thursday, May 01, 2014

April Reads in Review (2014) incl. a poetry month wrap-up

Wow, April flew by pretty quickly, didn't it?

April reads (with links to reviews, where applicable):

46. Itch Rocks - Simon Mayo
48. Tooth and Claw - Jim Arnosky
49. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
50. Femininity - Susan Brownmiller
51. How to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon
55. The Other Typist - Suzanne Rindell
56. When the Cypress Whispers - Yvette Manessis Corporon
57. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
59. Poetry for Young People: African-American Poetry, ed. by A. Rampersad and M Blount
60. Birds of America (stories) - Lorrie Moore
61. Fidelity (poems) - Grace Paley

I'm quite happy with my April reading -- a little less thrilled with my reviewing rate but I did manage to catch up on all of the reviewing I needed to do for March. Only 5 of the books without links to reviews, above, are from publishers so hopefully I'll be finished with those, soon.  I actually have read more than 61 books, this year, but some of the children's books I still need to review are so shy on words that I didn't feel right listing them as books read. I might list them in May, just to create a convenient place to link back to them. 

Itch Rocks, Tooth and Claw, How to Lose a Lemur, When the Cypress Whispers and The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry are the books I still need to review for publishers. I either liked or loved every single one.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is from my home library. It's a fascinating book about a man who is part of the servant class in India. He is able to get a better than average education and training to become a driver. But, even working for a fabulously wealthy man, he's still poor and very much aware of his place in society, so he decides he must take charge in order to lift himself out of the poverty chain. A strangely upbeat book with a sinister undercurrent, The White Tiger is a fascinating read. I really enjoyed it.  I don't think I'll review it separately, though. This is it.

The same goes for Femininity by Susan Brownmiller and Birds of America by Lorrie Moore. Heck, I'll just do one paragraph for each:

Femininity is a book about how women are viewed, both by men and other women. It has sections on the body, hair, and clothing, among others. While parts of it were quite dated, it's still a terrific feminist read because it makes you think about what's changed, what hasn't and why.

Birds of America is Lorrie Moore's award winning collection of short stories and I was kind of stunned at how disappointing I found it.  She's a sharp writer with a witty sense of humor so you can't help but admire her clever sentences; but, I found it very difficult to relate to, like, or understand the characters in a way that made me feel like the stories were in some way meaningful or fulfilling. The final story is an exception. "Terrific Mother" is both painful and beautiful, the story of a woman who blames herself for a baby's death when the bench she's sitting on while holding her friend's baby breaks. I loved "Terrific Mother" because if was one of the few stories that ended with the ray of hope I always seek in short stories.

And a wrap-up of my reading for National Poetry Month:

I read 4 poetry books: Ode to Childhood, Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost, Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry and Grace Paley's last volume of poetry (and final work), Fidelity. Of the 4 books, 3 were set aside at some point. So, while I already know myself to be a moody reader, this month I came to the realization that poetry can be even trickier when it comes to timing. And, incidentally, I loved them all. Naturally, there were some poems that meant more to me or which I liked more than others but in general I really loved the reading and came out of it thinking that I need to work harder at injecting more poetry into my reading life.  

Fidelity by Grace Paley was given to me by my lovely daughter-in-law and I don't know if I'll bother reviewing it but I definitely recommend it. Since she was nearing the end of her life when she wrote the book, Paley's poetic reflections were a mixture of sadness for her losses, love of family, reflections on life and humorous looks at being old or being a writer. Fidelity is a lovely little book.

I think there must be a Star Trek line or phrase that applies to every facet of life. This, for example, is about the distance to the bottom of my TBR pile:

At least, it feels that way. So, I'm back in catch-up mode and ignoring review requests. No idea how long that will last, this time.  How was your reading month?

©2014 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. That's a great reading month! I'm impressed.

    1. Thanks, Jenny! I'm very happy with my reading but the month went so fast!!! Where does the time go?


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