What I Read in April 2016

I’m pretty impressed with myself. It may not be that evident from this year’s What I Read posts, but I’m actually reading way more than I usually do. Last year I read 52 books overall, and that includes a dozen or so graphic novels. This year, I’ve already read 43 books (still including my beloved graphic novels, natch). In April I read seven books, only one of which was a graphic novel, and one of which was an audiobook. That means I read five actual, proper, bonafide books. Which is more than one a week. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before this year.

Why am I reading more than usual? Partly because I’ve prioritised it. I read most days, especially in the mornings and evenings, as well as if I ever wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. I also think it’s partly because I started this column, and that makes me want to read more so I can include more. I can also thank audiobooks for my increased book count – listening to audiobooks means I get through an extra one or two (or even three!) books each month. The main reason, though, is because it’s become a habit. By prioritising reading, I forced myself to do it more. And now I don’t even think about it. I just do it. Every day.

What I Read in April

The Time MachineThe Time Machine, by H.G. Wells
Finished on: 3 April – Kindle – 3.5/5

I enjoyed this, although, I dunno… it wasn’t phenomenal. You can tell it was Wells’s first novel, I think. The structure was pretty scattered, and I expected more adventure. Still, it was a quick, engaging read (I read it in a single afternoon) and I enjoyed the end-of-the-world descriptions. War of the Worlds is waaaay better though. I think I’ll read more of his stuff.

EPL Made Me Do ItEat Pray Love Made Me Do It
Finished on: 8 April – Paperback – 4/5

I whizzed through this in one day. I do love me a collection of essays, especially when they’re around the theme of changing your life for the better despite other people’s expectations. Some of the stories were more interesting than others, of course, but on the whole I think it’s a great collection. Not as good as the book it’s based on, but worth a read nevertheless.

Attack on Titan 18Attack on Titan, Vol. 18, by Hajime Isayama (graphic novel)
Finished on: 9 April – Kindle (iPad) – 4.5/5

OBVIOUSLY I LOVED THIS. Attack on Titan is my ongoing addiction, and now I have to wait three more months for the next instalment. (Well, theoretically. I neither confirm nor deny that I have torrented the upcoming chapters. Either way, I will still buy them when they’re officially released in English on Kindle. I want to give Hajime Isayama ALL MY MONEY.)

The Bell JarThe Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
Finished on: 10 April – Audiobook – 4/5

I first read The Bell Jar when I was a teenager who didn’t have much life experience. I may have been in my early 20s, actually. I didn’t get it. In fact, if you’d asked me before I listened to the audiobook last month what happened in it, I couldn’t have told you. I was still in my ‘finish every book you start’ phase the first time around, which meant that I persevered to the end, even though I wasn’t taking in the words my eyes were breezing over. However, this time I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maggie Gyllenhaal (pretty impressed I spelled that right on the first shot) did a great job of narrating it, and the fact that I’m now 30 probably aided my understanding and enjoyment, too.

The Rest of UsThe Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness
Finished on: 15 April – Hardback (signed copy!) – 4.5/5

LOVED THIS. Easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. It’s a YA novel revolving around the fact that not everyone can be the Chosen One (you know, like Buffy or Katniss). This is the story of the ordinary kids who live in the background of the Chosen One’s adventures. And it is awesome. I loved all the characters, especially the lead, Mikey. I saw Patrick Ness speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival last summer, and he was hilarious (and swore moderately, despite the fact that his audience is largely kids, which makes him extra awesome in my eyes). So, now I plan to devour the rest of his books.

Rejection ProofRejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible, by Jia Jiang
Finished on: 29 April – Paperback – 4/5

I saw Jia Jiang speak at WDS in 2013, and he was one of the highlights of the whole conference. Standing ovation material. He wrote this book after that, and expanded on the lessons he learned from 100 days of rejection. After his fear of rejection started impacting his life negatively, Jia decided to get over his fear. He challenged himself to make 100 crazy requests that nobody in their right mind would ever grant. Or so he thought. Heart-warming and thought-provoking. Well worth a read. I plan to write about some of the lessons I learned from this.

Not That Kind of GirlNot That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham
Finished on: 30 April – Paperback – 3.5/5

I like the show Girls, which Lena created. She’s an interesting person, so I thought I’d give her collection of essays on sex, relationships, work and life a bash. And, hmm, it was okay. Engaging enough to get through, but nothing much I could relate to. If you want to read about some of a girl’s formative, bizarre and often fucked-up experiences, go ahead and read this.

My Book Statistics

Books read in April: 7

2016 goal: 75 books

Total books read: 43/75

Progress towards goal: 57%

Average books needed per week to reach goal: 0.8

Books bought in April: 17

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, Vol. 1 – Hajime Isayama (graphic novel)
Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It – Various
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Girl Waits with Gun – Amy Stewart
Hope Unseen – Scotty Smiley
In The Darkness, That’s Where I’ll Know You – Luke Smitherd
Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael Morpurgo
Me, Myself & Prague – Rachael Weiss
Mindless Eating – Brian Wansink
My Fight Your Fight – Ronda Rousey
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
The Gift of Fear – Gavin De Becker
The Island of Dr. Moreau – H.G. Wells
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
The Latte Years – Philippa Moore
The Princess and Curdie – George MacDonald
Travels with My Aunt – Graham Greene

Hmm, actually less than usual. I’m getting better!

I’ve decided not to include a ‘currently reading’ section from now on, because it’s not that relevant over the span of an entire month, plus sometimes it will take me ages to finish something, and that’s just embarrassing.

If you want to keep up with what I’m currently reading, you can follow me on Goodreads.

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