April reading wrap up | 2019

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Hello! I’ve had a bit of an extended break but now I’m back. With a reading wrap up, on time for once!

I had a bit of a struggle with my reading last month, I wasn’t sure that I would actually be able to make my target of eight books for the month.

I also decided to participate in the O.W.L.s readathon, a month-long readathon during April, for which I finished my last book on April 30. Master procrastinator in action there. I’ll do an entirely separate post for that, which should be up shortly.

This month, I’ve got some stats for you, as my six month wrap up with charts was quite popular and I’d like to put more effort into the stats I’m giving you each month.

There’ll be a list and mini reviews under the stats, scroll down if (like me) you aren’t into maths!

The statistics

As I said, I read eight books throughout April.

Altogether, my total page count came to: 2,689.

Which is an average of 90 pages a day (89.6).

 

I read six books by female authors, one male author, and one other. This month, my other was a book by two authors – one female and one male.

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I’ve been trying to read more of my physical TBR, as I’ve been buying more books from the store, whether that’s a discount store or a book store.

In April, I read: three audiobooks, one ebook, three physical books and one library book (which was also in physical format).

This pie chart breaks down the total percentage:

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The books

Last month, I was trying to get through some of my Women’s Prize longlisted books that I hadn’t read yet in preparation for the shortlist being announced at the end of the month. Spoilers – totally failed.

Anyway, enter March. Which was apparently my historical fiction month. Guess I have a favourite genre!

 

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My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Format: Audiobook

Pages: 331

Genre: Historical fiction

Stars: Four

I knew absolutely nothing about this before I went into it. I’d seen that it got really good ratings, and one of my friends really enjoyed it, so I was fairly positive. I ended up really loving it, although I despise Lila. Even then, it didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the novel. It’s about these two friends, Elena and Lila, and is told from Elena’s point of view. There’s four books in the series, this one follows their early school years, and how they ended up being friends, moving into their middle school years into their mid teens. It’s a story of their friendship, but also a story of the community and how they change as people. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend to everyone. The only downside to it is they’ve all got nicknames, so they’re referred to by different names throughout the story, and there’s quite a lot of relations and families to try and keep straight in your mind.

 

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The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Format: Library book

Pages: 336

Genre: Historical fiction

Stars: 2.5/3

I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this, because myth retellings aren’t usually something I’m massively into. I probably should have trusted my gut and avoided this one, but I did read it for my O.W.L.s readathon prompt. Silence of the Girls follows the Trojan War, told from the perspective of Briseis, who is married to a King’s son before her whole family is killed and she’s shipped off to be a slave of Achilles. This book is supposed to give a voice to the women of the Trojan war, focusing on Briseis’ side rather than Achilles, but I found her to be very one sided, and completely lacking personality. As well as that, you only get from her perspective, and then there’s quite a chunk of the book that’s from Achilles’ point of view, which is odd because it’s a book specifically supposed to be about the women? I didn’t feel like I could connect with any of the women because they weren’t really fleshed out. As for the story, I enjoyed the beginning and the end but couldn’t muster up any excitement in the middle and just pushed through. There was nothing wrong with the writing style, so I’d probably read more from Pat Barker, just this one wasn’t for me.

 

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The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

Format: Audiobook

Pages: 471

Genre: Historical fiction

Stars: Four

I enjoyed My Brilliant Friend so much I picked up the second book in the series. Obviously, I can’t really tell you much about what happens because it’s the second book, but it essentially picks up from where the first book left off, and follows Elena and Lila again as they get older, into high school and university years. I loved this one as much as the first one, and bought the third and fourth instalments so that I can read them too.

 

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Format: Ebook

Pages: 602

Genre: YA Sci-fi

Stars: Four

This is a book that was not on my radar, and probably would never have picked up had it not been for the fact it was the only book I could think of for the O.W.L.s readathon prompt which asked for a book written by two or more authors. I have only one on my bookshelf, and it’s almost 800 pages long. So, I picked up this not expecting much and actually ended up loving it. It’s definitely YA, it’s a bit cringey in the dialogue the teenagers use but I thought it was actually pretty close to how teenagers would actually speak so let it slide on that basis. I’m not usually a big sci-fi fan so this did surprise me, especially as there’s a romantic storyline the entire way through. Basically, this book is about these two characters who live on a planet that is attacked by BeiTech corps, and they manage to escape. One is on the ship Hypatia, whereas the other is on Alexander. It follows an AI called AIDAN who goes mad and destroys another one of the ships, and they have to work across the clock to make sure it doesn’t kill them as well. Oh, and there’s a bunch of people with this mad virus that makes them go crazy and kill people. My favourite thing about this novel is that it’s told in multimedia, in journal entries and in chat dialogues etc. It’s such a fast paced, easy to read book and I highly recommend.

 

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An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Format: Physical book

Pages: 320

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Stars: Three

An American Marriage deals with a lot of difficult topics, and tells the story of Celestial and Roy, who have only been married just over a year when Roy is falsely accused of raping a woman while they are staying in a motel room, and is sentenced to 12 years in prison. It’s about his and Celestial’s relationship, and how that progresses while he’s in jail, how their lives change and how they are altered as people. Can’t really give too much away without ruining it, but it’s told from three perspectives, and includes letters written to and from each other in prison as well. I did enjoy it, but it didn’t really wow me, and I found the characters to be quite unlikeable, so I ended up just giving it a three star rating.

 

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Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton

Format: Physical book

Pages: 304

Genre: Historical fiction:

Stars: Two

This was one of the Women’s Prize longlisted books that I was the most excited to get to, and I ended up being so disappointed. It’s about a family where the son is involved in a tram accident where a few people are killed, and he is suspected of deliberately causing their deaths by driving into the crowd and a shop. So, I expected it to be about that, and how he was blamed because of his race, and what actually happened. But this book is actually about that, and then him lying in hospital while his mum, who isn’t really his mum, tells him the story of her life, and her mum’s life. But it’s told from the perspective of characters that don’t have any direct relevance to the story other than they’re in the mum’s life for a short while. It’s about slavery, and then the abolishment of slavery and what that means for the family and freedom, but I’ve read several books this year about slavery and this one just wasn’t for me unfortunately.

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

Format: Physical book

Pages: 95

Genre: Classic

Stars: No rating

I didn’t rate this because it’s 95 pages long. I think most people will be familiar with Animal Farm, and what it’s about, but essentially a group of farm animals drive out the humans and decide to create a more ‘fair’ farm where the animals are equal. However, the pigs begin to take control, and change the rules of the society to fit them, persecuting the other animals. It’s obviously laden with metaphors, and is a critique of communism. If you’re familiar with the Russian Revolution you’ll probably get on with this, and if not then I guess you can enjoy a slightly grim story about animals on a farm.

 

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Where the Line Bleeds by Jesmyn Ward

Format: Audiobook

Pages: 230

Genre: Literary fiction

Stars: Three stars

I don’t think that choosing to listen to the audiobook of this was the best decision, as Jesmyn Ward has a lovely way of writing that I feel this book entirely missed out on because I didn’t get to read it on paper. It’s about two twins who graduate from high school, one gets a job in the docks and the other can’t find one despite desperately trying, and ends up dealing drugs. It looks quite a lot into family, and the presence or absence of family members, and how that shapes people. I thought it was just alright, there was a lot of layers in this that I either didn’t really connect to because I’ve never been around that sort of lifestyle or because I didn’t feel I had enough time to analyse the characters.

 

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