Monday, April 30, 2018

April Final Wrap-up

April is over! It was a good reading month, although not as good as March. But let's be honest, I didn't expect it to be. I ended up finishing 13 books this month, which is still amazing. I'm back with the wrap-up for the second half of the month and now realize that I haven't finished a single physical book in the past two weeks. I started a few books that I'm in the middle of but still have to finish. Audiobooks, on the other hand, have been a lifesaver. I had a lot of stuff to do around the house and I also had to travel, so I managed to finish quite a few of those. So here are the books I read in the second part of April.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice--Austen's own 'darling child'--tells the story of fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennett, one of five sisters who must marry rich, as she confounds the arrogant, wealthy Mr. Darcy. What ensues is one of the most delightful and engrossingly readable courtships known to literature, written by a precocious Austen when she was just twenty-one years old.*

I decided to continue my Jane Austen series this month and picked up her second book, which is also her most famous one. This time I wasn't as disappointed and quite enjoyed the book. It seems this was my second time reading it because I marked it as read in my Goodreads but I didn't remember anything from my first time reading it, which was probably ages ago and also in Romanian. The story in this book is still overly dramatic, but the characters aren't as annoying or boring as the ones in Sense and Sensibility. I quite enjoyed the characters of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I also felt a lot more irony from the author in this book compared to the other one. I listened to it as an audiobook and gave it 4 stars.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. *

Boy, was this a struggle! I have watched all the movies and was familiar with the story before picking up the book. I was always intrigued by the fact that they made 3 movies out of such a small book, but I didn't imagine that the book would be so much more boring. The movies were dragging at times but I quite enjoyed them. The book, on the other hand, has such a slow pace that I just couldn't follow. I listened to it as an audiobook and it was the first time I found myself thinking about something else all the time. I felt like rewarding myself when I managed to finish it. I was planning to read the Lord of the Rings series next but after going through this one I'm not sure that I'm gonna do that. It's a nice story and the writing is beautiful but I couldn't give it more than 2 stars.

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.*

This is last year's Man Booker Prize winner and one of the Goodreads Choice Awards top nominees in historical fiction. I'm a big fan of historical fiction so I had to give it a try. However, this is not a typical book in that genre. Yes, the subject is historical but this is more like literary fiction. It's also written in a very original form, most of it reads like a play and the plot isn't very elaborate. There's also the supernatural element that is central to the story. So all in all, this is a very different book. I enjoyed parts of it but was sometimes lost, so I wouldn't say this was my kind of book. I also didn't appreciate the random graphic sex scenes that were scattered around the book. They really didn't bring anything to the story so I felt they were there just to shock. I read it as an ebook and ended up giving it 3 stars.

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.*

Finally a YA contemporary that I enjoyed! This was such a nice, fluffy and endearing read. None of it felt forced like other YA books do. It had some of the YA tropes, but nothing that bad. Most of it was in email form, which was new to me and I quite enjoyed the cyber-romance. Given that I rarely am a fan of romance in books because it feels so unnatural and cliche, it's impressive that I enjoyed this. It's a quick, feel-good read. I listened to the audiobook and gave this 4 stars.

The Martian by Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. *

I've watched the movie of this years ago, when it first came out, but I've heard that the book is even funnier and the audiobook is nice, so we listened to it on out 8 hour long drive to a friend's wedding. It was quite enjoyable, although I couldn't pick up all the technical details while listening to it and also paying attention to the road. It was quite funny though and my boyfriend also liked it a lot. It was his first ever audiobook and I'm glad I chose one that he enjoyed. One thing though, if you aren't a fan of science don't pick this up! I feel like that is implied with the science fiction genre but with this one it's an absolute must. I gave it 4 stars.

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.*

I'm really not good with reading non-fiction, in fact I have some non-fiction books that I'm in the middle of and can't seem to get through, so when I do pick them up I usually go for memoirs because they are closer to fiction and easier to get through. This one was on my tbr because I love books about books and when it as in the 2 for 1 credit deal on Audible I just had to get it. I really enjoyed listening to it. It gave me an insight into the bookselling world and showed some aspects that I wasn't familiar with. It was also funny in a really sarcastic way, which  I'm a big fan of. The author is really cynical when talking about his customers so if you aren't a fan of that style you will not enjoy this. It also felt a bit repetitive at times, but other than that it was a solid 4 star read for me.

So yeah, quite a bunch of audiobooks. Hopefully next month I will have more physical books finished. Cheers for May! 

*Source: Goodreads

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