April Wrap Up

How is it May already, I mean seriously this is getting ridiculous. One minute you’re thinking ‘new year, new you’ and the moment you start making decisions on how to change your diet it’s almost halfway through the year. This past month has been packed with essays and finishing uni and my dissertation, but somehow it feels like I’ve read more than ever. I’ve been trying to do a 30 day reading challenge, which started off fantastically (reading at least 50 pages a day), but then I became really ill and didn’t read a word for several days. So, up and down, but what can you do?


So first up for this month I finally finished reading Paradise Lost by John Milton, something which I have been reading for one of my university modules. I really enjoyed it actually, especially with all the classical references and allusions, and would highly recommend this edition (pictured above) if you’re interested in studying it. On every page there is an array of criticism so if you’re writing an essay on certain passages there is bound to be some great details that you can get in.

Then I finished The Art of the Publisher by Roberto Calasso, a short book about Calasso’s experience of being a publisher. It’s a short, quick read and really interesting if you’re interested in books and the process of publishing. There are some beautiful passages in there as well – my favourite being that of him describing the insert blurb of the book as a letter to a stranger.

If you’ve seen my last few posts, you’ll know that I finished the glorious Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, which I did a review of here. Definitely give the review a read if you’re curious about the book, but for now all I’ll say is it’s packed with magic, stories, and dreamers.


This month I also finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I have been listening to on Audible for a good few months! I haven’t been listening to audiobooks much recently, so I was really happy to get back into the rhythm. This book was especially fantastic and, as I’ve found with all the Harry Potter books, the final quarter always has me up until the early hours of the morning listening with avid anticipation.

I picked up Saga as well this month, a graphic novel by Brian Vaughan. I’ve heard some really good things about it and was recommended it by a friend, and I can honestly say I loved it. Great sci-fi fun with a perfect balance of action, pathos, and humour with brilliant characters and an immense imagination.

Finally, last night, I also finished reading The Power by Naomi Alderman. When I try to think of what to say about it, I’m kind of lost for words, but to sum up I gave it four stars on Goodreads and wrote this when I finished it: The only thing I can say for a fact is that I’m conflicted. There are many elements of this story I loved, and think maybe overall it could have landed itself better as a short story. There are however elements that I wasn’t sure about. I think what the author was trying to do was very clever, and I agree that although the ending is unexpected and I’m not entirely sold on it, I can say that it is a challenging move for the author to make. Basically I just want to discuss this with someone – especially as some parts are really oversimplifying gender as we understand today.

SO, this is how I’m standing for this year in my reading challenge:

  1. *4 ‘Classics’
  2. *A Man Booker nominee
  3. **A Baileys nominee
  4. *A Feminist Book cover to cover
  5. **‘A Blue Cover’
  6. *A Graphic Novel
  7. A Horror Book
  8. *Finish a series you’ve started
  9. A friend’s favourite book
  10. Poetry book
  11. *Book over 500 pages
  12. *Book under 150 pages
  13. Book with a character with your name
  14. An autobiography
  15. **A play
  16. *A book from your TBR
  17. ***Book published in 2017

Harry Potter was the only book I couldn’t find a slot for on my list, but for the others I could tick some things off! Art of the Publisher sorted out a Book under 150 pages, Saga ticked off the Graphic Novel, and I’m on my way with the 4 Classics target as Paradise Lost is being counted as one. Strange the Dreamer I chose as a book published in 2017, though really it’s as blue as blue gets so could have been another mark for ‘blue cover’, and The Power is nominated for this year’s Bailey’s prize! I’m really happy with the amount I finished this month, what with all the uni work that I had going on, and it’s terrifying to think that in my next wrap up I will have finished my exams and university completely! This year needs to slow down, stat.


April Wrap Up

I keep making excuses about the amount I’ve read and I keep on wondering why that is – making excuses, I mean. What should it really matter if I’ve read eight books in a month or just one? For me, ideally, I want to read as many books as possible because I love reading and there are so many books I’m desperate to read that only finishing one or two makes me a bit of a grump. At the moment I’m buying more books than reading, and I blame my dissertation reading for that entirely – I’ve had to go on two separate occasions to buy books for my dissertation, and a third this weekend, but just buying books for my dissertation is a bit sad so I tend to buy a ‘nice’ book alongside them. So long my money, it was nice having you for the short time I did.


First book that I finished this month was The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, which I found to be a good debut. A contemporary, young adult, with interesting characters and a twist (if you can call it that) I did not see coming. In fact, I had to reread that page over again because my mind just couldn’t quite contemplate what was going on, and then I felt down for the rest of the day. A slightly darker book, and definitely not happy-go-lucky, it definitely has things to say and says them well. My only gripe was the ending, as everything seemed to be tied up a bit too nicely and was a bit anticlimactic after the rest of the book.

Then we have two kindle books, written by Kristen Ashley who is such a great writer for these reasons: they’re all fast-paced, packed with action, and are long. Most Kindle books I buy are for pure escapism – I’m not looking for intellectual masterpieces, I’m looking for fun, light-hearted reading. Yet I hate it when Kindle books are just so short it feels like a waste of money, even if I only spent 99p. So I picked up Sebring and Bounty by Ashley, and they were both sweet and lovely in their own ways. Overall would probably give them three stars.


Then we have one last book, which almost ended up being two but I finished the second on the 1st May. The book that I did finish in April was The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. I didn’t know that this was actually a book for a very long time, as it used to be one of my favourite films as a child growing up. Reading it for the first time as an adult was such a wonderfully nostalgic experience for me, and I loved it. There was some brilliant sections that I don’t even remember from the film; copious self-reflexive, self-referential scenes, such as one character saying to the other ‘you’re in the story with the rest of us now, and you must go with it’. It was beautiful, lovely, and full of surprising wit. The character of the unicorn is just so well thought out, her lack of humanity emphasised because, hello, she’s not human. Just a marvellous read, and I don’t even care that I’m biased.


That brings me to 19/50 on the book front, and 30 in total. Not my best month, but it may not be my worst – May is exam hell, April was essay hell. June though? I have high hopes.