By the time April rolls around, we’re usually well into spring. The birds are singing in the mornings, and the trees are just starting to bud. Early flowers are blooming, and people are clearing winter’s detritus from their yards and gardens in preparation for spring planting.
Not this year. This year, April opened with a snowstorm and continued the trend for the next three weeks. Migrating birds were imperiled, as were the early budding trees that spent most of the month being covered with snow instead of leaves.
But winter has finally given way to spring, and birds, trees, and flowers are responding accordingly. I’ve been able to have my windows open for most of the last week, so my apartment is fully aired out and ready for May.
Because I spent most of April either being sick or recovering from being sick I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to, especially when it came to reading. I read nine books all month, and only one of them counted toward my Read the World Challenge (and I didn’t even like it!).
- The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit
- Arresting God in Kathmandu by Samrat Upadhyay
- Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Rumi: A New Translation by Rumi, translated by Farrkukh Dhondy
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold
- The Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous, translated by N.K. Sandars
- Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery
- The White Dragon by Anne McCaffery
- Dragonsdawn by Anne McCaffery
I wrote several reviews for books, and one for a movie I watched for the first time this month:
- Book Review- Memory
- Book Review- Komarr
- Book Review- A Civil Campaign
- Book Review- Diplomatic Immunity
- Movie Review- Wind River
- Book Review- Cryoburn
- Book Review- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
- Book Review- Dragonflight
Most of April’s reviews were devoted to Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, save for Dragonflight, which was the first book published of Anne McCaffery’s acclaimed Pern novels. I hadn’t read any of her books for years, so I decided to go back and revisit some of them. They’re as engaging as they were when I first read them in high school, but I find that I’m not as taken with them now as I was then, so while I enjoyed re-reading three of them, I don’t think I’ll go any further with the series.
Now that I’m more interested in reading fantasy series than I have been for a long time, I’ve been thinking about why I love some series and loathe others. I wrote a post about what makes me dislike a series: Fantasy Book Series: A Personal History. I plan to continue this little series about series in May, though I’m not sure yet what direction I’ll go with it.
As far as my personal reading goals go, I only finished one book for my Read the World Challenge, unless I can count books from earlier time periods, which means that Rumi: A New Translation and The Epic of Gilgamesh would count, but for what countries? Babylon and Persia? Hm…
So if we stick with modern stories, then I only have Samrat Upadhyay’s collection of short stories, Arresting God in Kathmandu to count toward my goal of 75 Non-American/British books read in 2018, bringing my yearly total so far to a measly fourteen. I have a lot of reading ahead of me to catch up with my goal…
My goal to read more books by women is going swimmingly, however, thanks to Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga and Anne McCaffery’s Pern novels. Add in the collection of essays by Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions, and I get six of the nine books I read in April having been written by women.
I bought four books this month. One, Samarkand by Amin Maalouf, I got from the used bookstore downtown. I bought the other three from Barnes and Noble online (with some handy coupons!) because they weren’t available at the public library, and B&N didn’t have them in-store. C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire Trilogy opens with Black Sun Rising, which is followed up by When True Night Falls and Crown of Shadows. I read them in college and loved them then, so I’m excited to read them again when they arrive.
Though I doubt I’ll hold to this list, there are several books I plan to read in May:
- Samarkand by Amin Maalouf
- Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
- When True Night Falls by C.S. Friedman
- Crown of Shadows by C.S. Friedman
- Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir
- The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
- The Palace of Illusions by Citra Banerjee Divakaruni
- Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende
- My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
This is in addition to the two books I’m currently reading, The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar and A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse. There will be other books, no doubt, because one of my local library branches is on my way home, and it’s my habit to stop there at least once or twice a week to look around. I also have some books on request that will undoubtedly arrive for me, including a couple of upcoming releases I’m looking forward to reading. Assuming I don’t get sick again and my energy improves as I get over the latest cold, I’ll have a lot of reading to do in May!