April was a long and busy month for me. Don’t even get me start on why May is already almost over and I am JUST NOW posting my April monthly overview. I suck, I know. But listen, this adult life won’t pause for some reason.
And I’m even more mad that it took me this long to do this, because I read some great stuff in April. Although I stayed on track with my book-a-week goal, I didn’t cover as much literary ground as I would have liked to during this “Spring” (extended winter) month. Yet, the overall quality of the books I read is probably higher than any other month so far. I’d recommend all of these gems, all for different reasons, of course.
- Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng || 👍👍
- There is so much to say about this novel that follows photographer Mia and her daughter as the move into the community of Shaker Heights and lives of the Richardson family. The novel opens with the close, revealing the next-to-last scene before backtracking to explain how we got here. The how-we-got-here is the riveting part. Expect a full review ASAP!
- Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri|| 👍👍
- I’m so happy that I finally got around to reading this Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories involving folks of Indian descent in different times and places. It’s beautiful. Partly devastating, partly sad, partly reality, partly just confusing, but completely human. The titular story is so creative, and so captivating, I was tempted to re-read it. I love when something lives up to the hype, and this book of short stories certainly does.
- The Death of Rex Nhongo – C.B. George || 👍
- I enjoyed this novel that follows several people whose lives collide in modern Zimbabwe. It’s an engaging story, but more importantly, builds engaging characters. Finally, I can say thank you to an author. Thank you, C.B. George. Thank you for doing what I so often complain that other writers fail to do: creating characters who are dynamic, who seem to breathe on the page, who we care about. I can’t say that this is the best book I’ve ever read, but man, I have felt the pain (and joys and pressures and hurts and motivations and desires) of all these characters, at one point or another.
- We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver || 👍
- We Need to Talk About Kevin unfolds through letters written by Eva, but the true protagonist is Kevin, her teenage son who we learn very early on has massacred several students and teachers at his high school.
- War Trash – Ha Jin || 👍
- This novel follows a Chinese POW during the Korean War. The thing I appreciate the most about this novel is that it sticks very closely to the writing style that I imagine a Chinese native, who learned English and later moved to the U.S., would maintain. Writers can be tempted, at times, when writing from the first person to write in a way that showcases the author moreso than the character. Novels that are written in journal or memoir form are most powerful when you feel like the character is actually writing to you (think Precious by Sapphire or The Color Purple by Alice Walker). I also learned so much about the Korean War, which is not well taught to my generation. A book that can make you feel that you know people you’ve never met and make you sympathize with people you never thought you would has done its job.