April Summary

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Well, so much for my plans to be back on track with reviews by the beginning of May: April is well and truly over and I’m further behind than ever!  There seems to have been so much going on in the real world this month, including three amazing burlesque shows, two entertaining theatre trips, two satisfying says making our wedding invitations and one nasty visit to the dentist, that blogging just hasn’t really happened and I’m not quite keeping up.  I did manage to review most of the books that I read as I went along, so once I get those awkward, lingering March reviews out of the way I’ll finally be caught up and can move on to the new month’s books.

I also mostly kept to my resolution to read larger books this month (though a bout of feeling sorry for myself did mean that some smaller books snuck in here and there), and although I read a 4,387 pages this month which is a similar figure to last month this was spread over only 13 books, averaging 337 pages each (362 if you don’t include the tiny 46 page poetry book that I read).  I decided to do this last month in the hopes of reading meatier books that would be more absorbing, and that’s by and large been successful.  Although I haven’t had a five star read in April I’ve had a lot of books that have been worth four stars and the rest have been three stars, so it’s been a very good month in terms of bookish enjoyment.  In reading order, the books I read in April are:

  1. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
  2. Perfume from Provence by Lady Winifred Fortescue
  3. Dawn Chorus by Joan Wyndham
  4. The Circle Cast by Alex Epstein
  5. Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney
  6. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  7. The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind
  8. Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons by Gerald Durrell
  9. Wedding Tiers by Trisha Ashley
  10. Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
  11. Alexander’s Bridge by Willa Cather
  12. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  13. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The Mill on the Floss is a book that I’ve tried to read twice before now several years ago, but somehow I’ve never managed to make my way through to the end.  When I picked this one up again there was a bookmark at page 139 marking the furthest I’d ever got with it and I was determined not to let it defeat me again.  My decision to persevere turned out to be a fortuitous one in this case, as I fell in love with George Eliot’s writing which was so engaging it almost (but not quite) made up for the horrible way the plot developed.  I have Middlemarch waiting on my shelves and hopefully I’ll be able to knock it off the TBR pile and into the main library by the end of the year.

This month has been a good one in general for the Victorian Literature Challenge, as I also read Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Victorian writers rather lend themselves to my aim of reading longer books), both of which I enjoyed.  I’ve discovered that, while Dickens is verbose and his characters tend towards caricatures, I usually enjoy him more than I think I’m going to, and that I vastly prefer the Sherlock Holmes Short stories compared to the full length novels that I’ve read about the character before.  He’s far less irritating in small doses.

Other favourites from this month included the charming memoir by Lady Winifred Fortescue Perfume from Provence which has me longing to visit the south of France and Dawn Chorus by Joan Wyndham which is part family history and part memoir.  Both books have me wishing that I kept diaries, but then I remember that a) I don’t live in the south of France or a stately home, b) my diary would read “Woke up stupidly early, spent two hours on the train, went to work, spent two hours on the train, went to gym, came home” for five days out of the seven, and who wants to read that? and c) it would only be another thing to have to keep up to date with writing.

In terms of book acquisitions, this has been a very modest month, mostly thanks to the tail end of Lent which, unlike last month where I had a few slips, I managed to adhere to properly.  I put in a book order online on Easter Sunday to celebrate, so no doubt I’ll have plenty of new books to talk about in May as they start to trickle in.  However, one book somehow got separated from the rest of the order and made it through before England shut down for the bank holidays, so I have a very speedy copy of They Tied a Label on My Coat by Hilda Hollingsworth waiting to be read now.  It’s a memoir of a girl who was evacuated during the Blitz and promises to be a good read.

My copy of the latest Persephone The Sack of Bath by Adam Fergusson which I had pre ordered for £1 back in February arrived at the beginning of the month.  I haven’t read it yet, but it looks interesting and very short, if quite different from a lot of the other Persephone books that I’ve come across.  I’m saving it for a time when I’m in the mood for some non-fiction.  Also arriving out of the blue was a review copy of the latest Scarlett Thomas novel, Our Tragic Universe.  I won this from LibraryThing Early Reviewers back in January and had all but given up hope of it arriving when it finally turned up mid way through April.  I got stuck in straight away as I’d been dying to read it since I first saw it in hardback, so a review is already on its way.

Amazingly, that’s it for this month!  No one is more shocked than I am, I assure you.

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