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2018 Reading Challenge | April

Well the sunshine and increasingly good weather certainly deserve some credit for the things I accomplished this month, in addition to the great books and blog posts I read. Again, I did not do a book haul for this month because again, I read mostly library books and a couple of ebooks for reviews. I’ll get into why I will have a book haul for May at the end of this post, but first, I’ll talk about the books I did read. And if this is your first time here (hello!) or you would like a refresher on my 2018 Reading Challenge, you can get all the details here.

Books I Read in April:

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman – In my March wrap-up I noted that this book wasn’t as much of a page-turner as I expected, but I’m glad I didn’t DNF it because I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I moved through the second half of the book. Which is a little interesting because the second half of the book is far more tragic. Nonetheless, I was able to appreciate the first (slow) part of the book more and more as the events and characters unraveled, so overall I loved reading it.

The Watchmaker’s Doctor by G.M.T. Schuilling – I quite enjoyed this novella, and since I reviewed it for my blog, I am linking the post here if you’d like to know more of my thoughts.

A Mercy by Toni Morrison – This is the first Toni Morrison book I’ve read, and I’ve been trying to sort out how to express my feelings. On the one hand, I enjoyed the pacing, and after getting used to it, the format of the narrative. On the other hand, I was am frustrated because I am too old to be reading Toni Morrison for the first time (25). After finishing this book, I couldn’t fight the disdain I felt towards my school and English class curricula that did not include one of the most important American writers (and people) in our history. Why the f*ck did I have to read The Old Man and the Sea multiple times or The Things They Carried or A Walk in the Woods or a number of other novels to discuss literature and the human condition?? Okay, so I can surmise why, which only makes me more frustrated. And shame on dull teenage and new-adult me for not looking outside my entrenched literary bubble. Anyway, now that I’ve made this shamefully about me, I definitely recommend A Mercy, as well as any other Toni Morrison novel. There is a plethora of interviews you should also read, but this one is one of the most recent conversations.

4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie – I hope that readers out there looking to start reading Agatha Christie don’t start with this novel. This really should have been a novella, in my opinion, because it went on for much too long with too little action. I didn’t hate it, but it’s definitely my least favorite [at this point in my Agatha Christie experience].

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie – Thank goodness this was much better. The title is quite crafty and all of the elements (death, poison, romance, small town drama) made for a quick-paced, exciting story. With that said, I think I’m going to move away from Miss Marple tales for now, because they still haven’t been able to really hook me like And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express did.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson –  This was a quick re-read, and I don’t know if it was because I already knew the story, my more-knowledgeable/aware adult self, or a combination of both that made it a little less shocking than when I read it as a young adult.

Books I Did Not Finish in April:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I am going to finish this book before starting any books in May, because it’s taken me longer than necessary to finish it. My reasons are that I’ve gotten quite distracted by other books and I’ve been working on book reviews for authors requesting them which obviously takes up time.

The Complete Poetry of Maya Angelou – I can’t read poetry collections all in one or two sittings (I really don’t think they should be read like that, honestly), so I’ve been going through a few poems at a time all month long. I’d like to finish it by the end of this week, though, because it’s quite overdue (library book). My favorites so far are “The Gamut,” “On Working White Liberals,” “Alone,” and “Wonder.”

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’m still picking away at this (is that too gross a term for a book?) and since it’s another re-read I’m not too concerned that I haven’t finished it yet. There are other books I have that have never been read, after all.

Books I Added to My Bookshelf in April:

Circe by Madeline Miller

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Lie Before Man by Margaret Atwood

Why We Can’t Wait by Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Sula by Toni Morrison

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein (I had the other books of this series in the Mariner Books edition but TFOTR wasn’t available, so when I found it I had to grab it)

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (I needed this Signet Classics edition, obviously)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Julius Ceasar by William Shakespeare (the Harper & Brothers, Publishers 1887 edition, to match the similar edition of Othello that I have, published in 1879)

I haven’t gone on a satisfying book buying spree in a long time, but I could not miss celebrating Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday (April 28th), so the last fourteen books (wow, did I really buy fourteen books?) are the treasures I acquired.

Books I Am Not Keeping:

None – I am keeping all of them. I’m actually considering un-hauling Speak next month because there’s likely a reader out there who it means more to than it does to me, but I haven’t totally decided yet. I’ve been saying this since February, but I really need to stay on track with my Reading Challenge. So to punish myself/stick to reaching my end-of-the-year goal, I’ve banned myself from checking out any library books in the month of May (with the exception of some resources on the Grimm brothers). I’m going to work primarily on getting through all of my Book of the Month books that are sitting unread on my shelves, and maybe rereading a couple of the shorter ones. I am selecting another one tomorrow (yay, first of the month!) so I will launch right into it to jump start my progress – well, after I finish Little Women.

I also wanted to talk about my #bookstagram goal that I set for myself at the beginning of April, which was to post a photo every day. Well, at least that goal was accomplished! It was sort of soothing to plan out the grid for the month with flatlays, up close shots, shelfies, and videos. However, I can’t help but feel uninspired when I look back on the photos I took. I’m feeling a little drab about the process of planning out days to shoot images and obsessing over the layout of the grid, so in May I’m going to still plan out some photos for Instagram, but I’m not going to purposely post every day; with the weather getting nicer and my weekends filling up with plans, I just can’t commit to that schedule.

So that is my April wrap-up. Thank you for following and interacting with me this month, here on the blog, on Twitter, Instagram, and elsewhere (hello, BUYBers!). I’m excited for a new month, and I hope you are too. Let me know if you’ve published a wrap-up, share your thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned here, and/or share your reading (and other) goals for May in the comments below.




  • FictionFan

    If it cheers you up, I was three decades older than you when I first came across Toni Morrison! Beloved for me – blew me away, as I think I’ve already told you, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her soon. And I’m glad you enjoyed The Moving Finger. Death on the Nile is one of the best Poirots… 🙂

    • Kelsey

      I was going to hop over to my comments about Agatha Christie on your blog later but you beat me to it! 🙂 If 4:50 From Paddington had been shortened to the length of The Moving Finger, I’d like to think I would have enjoyed it more.

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    I also DNFed Little Women! OMG, that book. I normally love classics, but it was just so moralizing!
    And I liked The Rules of Magic. In fact, I feel like I liked it a lot more than Practical Magic 🙂

    • Kelsey

      Oh no! I’m actually LOVING Little Women – I should have made that more clear. I sort of know about the more tragic parts that I’m getting close to so I’ve put off finishing the book in order to put off having to read those parts. But I do want to finish it!

      I’ve shamefully only seen the Practical Magic movie – I’ve never read the book – but I am with you. The Rules of Magic is my favorite between the two (furiously writes a reminder to read Practical Magic). 🙂

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