01 April 2014

Last Month in Review: April 2014

Probably my favorite book of the month  
The first two months of 2014 were not stellar reading months for me, but I'm happy to say that March turned that around.  Three cheers for March!  Hooray, huzzah, o frabjous day!

Okay, enough of that.  Expending all of that energy just wore me out.  You see, I have a cold.  Or, if you heard me say that aloud, it would sound more like, "I hab a code." Into every life a little virus must fall, but I'm a tad resentful that said cold interfered with my enjoyment with my visit last week to Nashville. Boo.

Anyway, here, in chronological order, is what I read in March. Some of 'em I even reviewed.  Wonders will never cease. Three audio books and a YA novel helped increase my stats for the month, but there's not a single work of nonfiction here. Gotta work on that for next month!

1. Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken.  The first story in this collection still haunts me, but I wasn't the right reader for most of the others. I don't believe I will review this one.

2. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.  A sweet YA book.  I liked it a little less than The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, but it's still a quick, easy read. Two teens form a connection when they're stuck in an elevator during a power outage in NYC.  They really click, but they both end up moving away from NYC soon after that chance meeting. You know the drill.

3. The Painter by Peter Heller.  Read this one as an e-book, so I'm eager to see if the finished copy of this novel will have full color illustrations of the paintings referenced at the head of each chapter.  So there's this guy, and he's a painter, and life is complicated.  His daughter is dead, he's killed a man who was trying to kill a horse, and he possibly is being stalked by the man's brother.  It's a really interesting book, and if you liked the disjointed inner monologue from Heller's previous novel, The Dog Stars, you'll feel like you're settling into familiar territory with this one.

4. The Horse and His Boy by C S Lewis.  I re-listened to this one on audio because I was in a pinch and needed something for a short trip but didn't want to buy something new.  Here's my older review of this one, but suffice it to say that the reader is very good, and while I was filled with nostalgia listening to this one, there are a lot of complicating factors listening to this book as an adult.   Namely the Islamaphobia and anti-Arab sentiment running through it.

5. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.  Review here.

6. Tease by Amanda Maciel.  An unconventional novel featuring teen suicide.  I expect this one will raise some eyebrows upon publication.  Review here.

7. The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones.  Despite the frivolous-sounding title and the light cover, this is NOT a funny novel. It's good, but definitely not funny.  Review here.

8. The Invention of Wings Sue Monk Kidd. This novel has both head and heart.  It's so, so satisfying and engaging and informative and entertaining. Review here.

9.  The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland. Slightly disappointing. A woman who works as a transcriptionist for a prestigious NYC newspaper decides to investigate the death of a blind woman who apparently committed suicide by breaking into a lion enclosure at the zoo and being devoured. Sounds like it would be awesome, but it's just so-so.

10. The President's Hat by Antoine Laurain.  Finding and wearing the president's hat can change your life, but then it seems to deliberately detach itself from you to find the next person in need of its special powers.  It's kinda like Mary Poppins meets Tolkien's One Ring, but with benevolence. I hope to review this one soon.

11. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.  This was a re-read via audio.  I loved the listening experience so much that I updated my original review of this book, found here.

12. The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith.  Fascinating collection of short stories that incorporate traditional Vietnamese ghost stories into the modern Vietnamese experience.  Mini review here.

13. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.  Listened to this one on audio, read by Dan Stevens, aka Matthew Crawley from Downton Abbey.  Enjoyed it to bits, not least because Dan Stevens is one excellent, not to mention dreamy, reader.  I'd love to see a modern film version of this, so somebody please make this movie.  

14. Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson.  Holy shit!  This book is truly excellent and dark and disturbing and I hope to write a review of it eventually.  I finished it on the plane back from Nashville.


  1. You read so many books! I also had a much better March (reading-wise, anyway) than January or February, so go March! I am a fan of you!

    I'm ever so slightly upset about the Islamaphobia in The Horse and His Boy though... I'm not entirely surprised because I feel like there's a lot of disturbing subtext in Narnia (well, now I do...) but still... I kind of loved those books when I was younger! CS LEWIS IS EVIL.

    1. The Narnia books basically saved me as a child, so I have lots of complicated, nostalgic, icky feelings when I read them now. CS Lewis was clearly a product of his time, and there's SO much good stuff in the Narnia books even now, but I hope that kids today are picking up on things that I didn't as a child.

  2. Intriguing list. Haven't read any of them - yet - but one or two caught my eye and my interest: THE PAINTER and THE TRANSCRIPTIONIST. And maybe the C.S. Lewis book. I hate to admit that I've yet to read any C.S. Lewis and have always meant to.
    AND THEN THERE WERE NONE has been made into several movies over the years - have you seen them? My favorite is the one with Louis Hayward. All the films have a different ending than the book.

    1. I haven't seen any versions of And Then There Were None, but i'd like to see a modern remake of it that still pulls it off in the midst of technology, etc.

  3. YAY for March reading! Look how many you read. Looks like March was a good month all around!

  4. The Transcriptionist DOES sound mightily good, and yet no? Boo. But I am SORRY you are ill and wish you all the Vitamin C and tissues imaginable.

    1. It wasn't a bad book. It just didn't live up to its potential. Or my expectations. It's a pretty good book. but I will take all of the Vitamin C and tissues you have.

  5. I think I'll add Fourth of July Creek to my list of books to look out for. Hope you feel better soon! Everyone in my part of the world is sneezing, but it's the pollen!

  6. These books sound great. I'm adding them to my TBR list. I'm especially interested in The Painter and The Transcriptionist.

  7. The Transcriptionist does sound good. I'm sorry it was disappointing!


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