April was an exciting month for me! There was so much going on bookwise. I participated in numerous readathons: OWLs, spring into horror, and of course Dewey’s 24 hours as well as Dewey’s pre-readathon scavenger hunt. I’ve linked to my updates for each respectively at the end of this post. I am still trying to figure out how to best blog about ongoing reading challenges like that. Do you have an idea? How would you like to read these updates? I’ve been trying to be more active on Twitter @evilbibliotaph and then just have one ongoing blog post per readathon, but I fear that those posts get kinda buried. Anyhow, I really pushed myself this month: I read a lot AND I listened to audiobooks.
***SPOILERS POSSIBLE *NOTE: UNDERLINED TITLES WERE SHOPPED FROM MY OWN SHELF
Misery (Stephen King) ♠♠♠♠♠
Um, I can’t even begin to describe how much I enjoyed this book. The story is creepy and twisted. Annie Wilkes is the perfect villain: you hate her and you don’t. You feel for Paul Sheldon, her captive, as she tortures him physically and mentally, and yet sometimes you think he had that comin’. Is this quickly becoming my favorite King novel???? I don’t even know. All I know is that the audiobook held my constant attention; and if you know me and my struggle with audiobooks, this means a lot. The narrator, Lindsay Crouse, did a fantastic job. And yes, I heard Kathy Bates the entire time Annie was talking! She truly is the ideal cast for that role.
Read this book if you: want to be creeped out a lot, love a good mutilation story
Don’t read it if you: didn’t like the movie at all
Honestly, though, I recommend this as an audiobook read by Lindsay Crouse. For real people, get on that!
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo) ♠♠♠♠♠♠
Well, this book is something! I came across it from a different post by [x] and had to basically read it right away. It was lovely and I am definitely going to buy this book for my sweet niece. As her godmother, I am taking it upon myself to be her reading buddy and to get her reading in German and English! As a side note, soon I’ll have two nieces, and I am thinking we should form a trans-Atlantic book club :). Anyway, you should read this book, even if you have no nieces or nephews or children or anyone young in your life. This is a wonderful story of growing up in the best way possible: from the viewpoint of a stuffed animal. Of course, this book was specifically touching to me as I lost my favorite stuffed bunny as a young child, so the whole time while reading this I was hoping ‘Hase’ went on this adventure, and maybe ONE DAY our paths will cross again, too.
This book is for anyone who: has kept their childish imaginations or would like to rediscover them, likes illustrations
This book will not appeal to you: if you are the Grinch (before his heart grew three times in size)
The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Kelly Barnhill) ♠♠♠♠♠
I have been reading a lot of middle-grade lit lately and I have been so impressed with the quality of the stories and the writing. This book was one of them that just really blew me away. You think this is going to be a fluff fairytale kind of read and then you’re just so wrong. It was complex and well-developed. It had adult themes centering around human emotions and human interactions. It had dark moments. It had intricate language. I don’t want to write about the plot itself because I think this is one of those books where you’re best of knowing as little as possible in advance.
This story is for you if you like: fairytale retellings, female leads, witchy things, questioning the status quo
This story is not for you if you: cannot get into the mindset of a middle-grader, cannot suspend disbelief in magic
Sour Candy (Kealan Patrick Burke) ♠♠♠♠
Um, this was one f***ed up story. So twisted. So dark. So descriptive. I loved the imagery and really hope this will be a movie one day! The cover is gorgeous and truly stands for what you find in the book. Honestly, I wish this story would’ve been longer. Burke is going to be an author I am going to read a lot in the future and I cannot wait!
Read this short story if you: are a sucker for messed up things, like to read about the dark forces
Don’t read this short story if you: scare easily
The Orphan Band of Springdale (Anne Nesbet) ♠♠♠♠♠
Well, this is another middle-grade book that is setting the bar high for future middle-grade books. The plot and associated characters felt more complex than many adult books I’ve read. There was so much going on. Gusta, the main character, is 11 and has to grow up. She lives in an orphanage because her dad is on the run and her mom is busy holding down the fort. She is surrounded by working-class people who are suspicious of everything. Their fears are fueled by a potential draft (WWII), unfamiliar communist-tendencies and organized labor unions, unregistered aliens, and barely scraping by. Gusta is torn between her child-like fantasies that making a wish upon an enchanted coin will fix all her troubles and a reality that includes adults who lie and can’t be trusted and adults who lie to protect a loved one. The historical setting of this novel gives this book depth that I haven’t come across often in middle-grade lit.
You should read this novel if you: like complex characters, like experiencing plots from the viewpoint of a child
Skip this book if you: are uncomfortable facing the truth that we are all wrong or doing something wrong at some point in our lives
Fury of the Orcas (Hunter Shea) ♠♠♠ and 1/2 ♠
This was an interesting novella. It was suggested to me in a Facebook group and I had not heard of the author, so naturally, I was intrigued. I found the topic very timely as we currently, as a society, face issues such as should we keep Orcas in captivity. The idea that they could turn against us is not far-fetched in a way. What makes this book creepy are the organized and coordinated Orca attacks at seemingly anything – alive and inanimate. Finding out what causes this kept my attention. I quite enjoyed the main characters but I got annoyed when the author spent too much time on the budding relationship between Chet and Rosario, especially since it was riddled with sex and sexy talk and weird inner, “deep” monologues. I could’ve done entirely without that. It didn’t add much to the story or to the character development. In fact, it often felt ill-timed and crammed into the plot. Overall, though, I will seek out this author as I did enjoy his eerie descriptions of the Orca attacks and the feelings of the innocent bystanders.
Give this book a try if you: enjoy creepy animals, conspiracy theories, mysterious descriptions
Avoid the book if you: get easily offended by explicit language
The Three-Body Problem (Liu Cixin) ♠♠♠♠
This really is sci-fi at its most proper. So many physics concepts. So many heavy science references. Yet, it reads light and airy – the language is flowery and almost ethereal. It was a joy to read this novel, mostly because the writing is so different to how the Western world writes stories. The dialogues are almost philosophical in nature. The plot is very, very slow, so don’t expect to be sucked into a whirlwind story. Most of the action takes place in the last 80 or so pages. I really think this is a set-up book for the next two in the series, and I will definitely read those books. The idea what definite knowledge of aliens could do to our societies scares me. The not knowing if said aliens are good or evil is downright creepy. Liu Cixin paints a very real picture how people would be divided in their opinions, how some would welcome them, how others would declare war, and how we, as a world, need to find a balance in between. The characters in the book are relatable. They’re flawed, they’re selfish at times, and they’re often misguided. This series is important and I now understand why it has been recommended to me on so many occasions.
Read it if you: like hard-core sci-fi, enjoy Asian writers and lit, don’t mind getting bored at times
Don’t read it: if none of the above apply to you
Shadowsong (S. Jae-Jones) ♠♠♠♠♠
Oh. Em. Geeee. What a book! What a sequel! I flew through this. I couldn’t put it down. This book is everything. As I said after reading the first book in the series, Der Erlkönig is one of my favorite poems and I am a total sucker for folktales and pagan beliefs. This sequel had all of that and more. It had a real purpose! In the introduction, the author explains how her own experiences with Bipolar Disorder have shaped her characters Liesl and Josef. With that in mind, I read the story and couldn’t believe how well done the character development was. Pure genius to depict parts of the disorder in the character’s actions and feelings. I bow to you S. Jae-Jones! Aside from this deeper meaning, the story itself was fabulous, magical, dark, ominous, and both uplifting and sad. This is one of those series that I will just recommend to everyone! I am looking forward to what the author will do next.
There will be no ‘read it/don’t read it’ section for this. Just read the damn books! Then report back on what you thought.
The Flight of the Silvers (Daniel Price) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
First of all, I read this book fast. I was engaged in the story. I wanted to know what happens next. BUT, unfortunately, I just didn’t like it that much. There were a few things that bothered me that I couldn’t forget about and I dragged along throughout the entire plot. For example, the behavior of the main characters at points was to grossly YA that it seemed out of place. This person liked that person, then they fought, then they made up, then they lost interest. Your f***ing world just collapsed, no way is your mind even remotely focusing on love triangles right now. It just seemed like such a stretch. I feel like the protagonists should’ve been grieving and angry and depressed and felt helpless. They should’ve stumbled through that new earth. They should’ve been confused. They should’ve been questioning anything, including each other, while desperately trying to hold onto the familiar. The concept of the plot is really cool and that’s the reason why I am going to read the sequels. There were enough twists and turns in the story that I have hopes the next book will be just as engaging. I do really hope though that the characters will have more depth and will feel more real.
Pick up this book if you: like a good mix of sci-fi and fantasy, enjoy not knowing who is good and who is bad
Don’t even bother if you: are looking for in-depth character development
Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green, David Levithan) ♠♠♠
Let me preface this by saying: I read this novel while being pretty sick with a cold (maybe even the flu) so my judgment may be biased because of this. Anyway, I only sort of liked this book. I enjoyed the idea to read the inner thoughts of two different characters written by different authors and I was expecting to see a noticeable difference between the protagonists but alas that wasn’t the case. Yes, I know they have essentially opposite sexual preferences and for example, living situations (single mom versus intact home for example) but their personalities were quite similar and to me, that was a disappointment. Or at the very least a missed opportunity. I guess there is always the chance that this was done on purpose but what seems more reasonable to me is that John Green read and edited David Levithan’s chapter and David read and edited John’s chapter and thus two voices became intermingled and created too much overlap. I think this is going to be one of those books that is going to be lost in my memory and I am sort of sad about this because I like both authors and I felt this novel had a lot of potential. In addition, the character of Tiny Cooper was just too much. Does someone like that actually exist? In high school? I don’t think so.
This book is for you if you: enjoy over the top characters (I am looking at you Tiny Cooper), high school drama, John Green and/or David Levithan
This book is not for you if you: are looking for believable characters
Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) ♠♠♠♠♠
I freakin’ loved this book. It was perfect for my opening read during Dewey’s readathon. I got sucked into the story right away. It was fast-paced and fun. Leigh Bardugo created a believable world, every aspect of it was well thought out, and I want to kinda live in it (almost as much as I want to live in the Shades of Magic trilogy and be an Antari). In fact, this heist, which involved sailing across the sea reminded me very much of the second (and my favorite) book in the Shades of Magic series. Both have strong female leads acting like outlaws! I couldn’t possibly pick an absolute favorite character in Six of Crows but I am partial toward Inej. I think Delilah and her would be great friends! I have to say both these series are my favorite fantasy series in a long time!
You should try this series if you: want to read about quirky and strong characters, enjoyed the Shades of Magic trilogy, love complex world-building
Don’t try this if you: cannot suspend disbelief aka don’t like fantasy novels
Milk and Honey (Rupi Kaur) ♠♠♠♠♠♠
There are really no words to convey how much I loved this poetry collection. I knew it was good, but it took me by surprise how much the poems spoke to me. I had so many emotions and I want to just re-read this book over and over again. Thank you so much dearest friend (you know who you are) for gifting me this wonderful piece of art!
This poetry is for you if you: support feminism, believe in love, aren’t afraid to cry
Stay away from this poetry if you: get easily triggered by rape
The Doll’s House (Neil Gaiman). ♠♠♠♠♠♠
I am going to forego writing about this graphic novel. I am just going to list all the words (in no particular order) that come to mind. Weird. Dark. Illustrations. Lovely. Imaginative. Creepy. Angsty. Beautiful. New. Old. Complex. Smart. Graphic. Font. Lonely. Careful. Poetic. History. Paganism. Underworld. Dreams. Disturbing. Forceful. Language. Violence. A-MUST-READ.
Get on the Sandman train if you: really like dark and disturbing yet beautiful graphic novels
Nah to this book if you: cannot deal with violent or creepy themes
Updates on this month’s readathons:
O.W.L.s Magical readathon
Spring Into Horror readathon