I thought that I could just split my April round-up in half, but then I realized that I read, um, 26 books so we’re slicing this into thirds. I know, 26 books seems like bookhead status but FULL DISCLAIMER: a lot of these were audio books because I have quickly realized that listening to audio books while working from my home is saving my sanity. Obviously, once I return to the office, my monthly book count will go back down to sane person levels because I don’t like listening to things / wearing earpods at the office, so I’m really living it up and trying to get in as much good reads as possible while under lockdown. It’s giving me life and distracting me from all the chaos happening outside, OK? WOULD YOU RATHER I DO DRUGS?! God.
Anyway, let’s get into this second part of my book round-up. As always, I’m sucky at synopses, so click on those handy-dandy links to find out more about any book that seems interesting to you!
9. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl – Mona Awad
I picked this up because I read Mona Awad’s “Bunny” earlier this year and loved it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this – each chapter is a different vignette from the life of this overweight girl, from the time she’s in high school, until an adult, with several chapters swapping out the POV with various men in her life. As someone who started obsessing over their weight in 5th Grade, this book slapped me hard. I can’t tell you how many times I looked up from it and yelled, “OMG RELATABLE” at Henry, who was like, “WAIT WHAT BOOK IS THAT I THOUGHT YOU WERE READING SOMETHING ELSE” and I just laughed, like, “bitch please, I been done with that one.”
At some point in the main character’s life, she manages to lose a ton of weight, and it made me take a good long look at myself because it’s like, “Oh look, you’re so skinny now but you’re no happier because now you’re terrified of food and everything is measured and you’re still self-conscious and everything feels weird on your skin and OMG UGH WHY.”
There’s a chapter from her husband’s POV and it is heartbreaking to see what it looks like from his eyes, how he’s walking on egg shells around her when it comes to food and she’s still comparing herself with women who are “skinnier” than her, and it’s just like, “OK I get it I will try harder to chill out.”
This book is definitely not for everyone but it resonated HARD with me, the writing was top notch, and also the author name-dropped the goth band London After Midnight which I hadn’t thought about for years.
I’m obsessed with Mona Awad.
10. Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo
I kept hearing so much about this Russian-flavored fantasy series on Booktube and apparently there is a TV series coming out at some point, so I bit the bullet and got the first book from Libby.
You know, it was OK. I didn’t really get a good feel for the world that Leigh Barduga is building here, and I didn’t feel very connected to the characters, but now this one expat I follow on YouTube who lives in Seoul has just gotten into this series and she loves it, so I guess I will give the second book a go? I actually had it on my Libby shelf but I returned it because my entire May TBR is dedicated to #asianreadathon, and THEN I FOUND OUT LEIGH BARDUGO WAS BORN IN ISRAEL. So it would have counted for Asian readathon. Goddammit.
11. Attachments – Rainbow Rowell
People either love Rainbow Rowell or hate her. I think this was the first I’ve ever read of her though and you know? I really liked it. It was kind of slow at first but the characters were lovable and the story was SO CUTE. It reminded me of my old office job at MSA for some reason.
This would probably a good book to read on a plane or the beach WHICH IS MOOT RIGHT NOW.
I wasn’t very gung-ho about the end, it was wrapped up way too nicely and felt pretty implausible, but it still made me cry a little (the happy kind) because I’m very unbalanced right now.
12. China Rich Girlfriend – Kevin Kwan
Yeah, I’m sorry, but I fucking love this series. And also, remember in my last wrap-up when I wrote about reading the first one and I said that I know this is wrong to think but I kept picturing Nick as Siwon from the legendary Kpop group Super Junior even though HE’S KOREAN AND NOT CHINESE, in this book, there is a scene where a bunch of Chinese ladies see Nick and start fawning over him because they think he looks like Kim Soo-Hyun WHO IS A KOREAN ACTOR THANK YOU VERY MUCH, KEVIN KWAN.
But yeah, if you want a fun and outrageous read, this series is it. I still have to read the third one!!
13. Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater
This is the third installment of the Raven Boys cycle and I fucked up big time with this one. I was able to snag the audiobook for it and it’s narrated by Will Patton whom I never had a strong opinion about before until now: FUCK YOU WILL PATTON. YOU RUINED THIS BOOK FOR ME.
OK, he didn’t fully ruin it. I still loved it because Raven Boys, but his narration was fucking awful. He did all of the voices so wrong and some of the female voices he did were so grating and obnoxious that I kept having to turn the volume way down.
Quick summary: 4 teen boys, 1 teen girl, a raven, and a bunch of middle-aged psychic ladies on a mission to find a thing.
I have one more book to read in this series and I am still very much a Gansey-stan, don’t think anything can change that for me at this point, and I would like to mention that I listened to this during a Thursday late shift and we had takeout from Mandy’s Pizza which has an entire separate vegan menu and I ordered a ham & cheese hoagie with vegan mayo and HOOOO BOY I will always associate this fantastic hoagie with this book and it feels like the warm essence of childhood in my belly.
14. After Dark – Haruki Murakami
This is the book that inspired me to write my Denny’s Memories post a few weeks ago.
I really enjoyed this book a lot. There really isn’t any big climax or anything, it’s just a very quiet book about several people and how their stories intertwine throughout the middle of the night in Tokyo. I really enjoyed it. It’s a good ‘rainy day with a cup of tea’ book. I dunno why I said that because I rarely drink tea at home, but there you have it.
15. I’m Thinking of Ending Things – Iain Reid
YES. So many big fat yeses on this one. Holy shit, I loved this so much. To the point of obsession. Henry and I listened to the audiobook together (lol, we’re That Couple). I always see this in videos for horror novel recommendations but back when I was going to the real library, none of the branches had a copy of it. But now that I’m on that online library tip, I found the ebook AND audiobook on Scribd, and since it’s pretty short, I thought it would be a good one to save for a weekend so that Henry could listen to it because our new pandemic past time is listening to audio books together while walking in a cemetery.
And even in broad daylight, almost from the very get-go with this book, listening to it while strolling through a cemetery gave me THE CHILLS. Henry was like, “No” when I asked him if he felt the same but he claims that nothing ever scares him which is a lie because one time he told me that he was scared of falling out of the sky and landing in the middle of a pile of mangled metal in a junkyard which sounds specific.
OK, quick: this book is about a couple several months into their relationship, on their way to meet his parents for the first time, and she is having this inner monologue with herself the whole way there about how she’s, you know, thinking about ending things. There is a lot of dialogue and story-telling between the couple, which really made me root for them, in some odd way. Like, I wanted her to change her mind because he seemed OK.
I’m not some big audiobook advocate (I’ve said before that I prefer to also have a print copy so I can read along), but I DEFINITELY RECOMMEND THE AUDIO BOOK for this one and you will see why but I can’t say because it’s a major spoiler.
We ended up finishing this later that night, sitting in the dark on the back porch and I WAS SO SPOOKED. Even Henry was like “That was good” and that is a big review for him!
There’s supposed to be a movie coming out for this, directed by Charlie Kaufman, and Toni Collette is in it, so this better actually fucking happen because I am this book’s number one fan.
OK, I’m ending this portion of the April round-up on that note, because what a solid read. Actually, a lot of the April books were solid. Stay tuned for part 3!