April 2024 Reading Wrap Up

April has been truly the world's longest month, but it has also not been particularly fruitful when it comes to reading. My life has turned into an absolute whirlwind, and not the kind where I just want to dive into a book. This month has been devoted to getting ahead on finishing classes, doing the first major chunk of my move out of LA, flying back home and starting work again, launching my freelancing career, and studying for finals. I've spent most of the month anxious, working through logistics, or devoting myself to school projects, so reading has been difficult. My brain feels too full to take in other people's words. Instead, I've been turning to music (shout out Alexander 23 and Taylor's brand new album and The 1975) to fill my time instead. That seems to be the way my brain wants to digest stories and escape at the moment. I've also been spending way too much time on the internet, unfortunately. As it tends to go, though, while this was a dud reading month, it's been a high point for my writing career. I'll take the tradeoff for now, but I hope to get back to reading when my life settles in to a normal summer routine after May 11. 

I did go to a book festival, though! I didn't make it to both days of the LA Festival of Books, but I did get to attend two panels and check going to an author event off my LA bucket list. My hometown has a few opportunities for that, but I wanted to make sure that I took advantage of being in a big city.

stats

The stats don't look as bad as my reading month has felt because it started strong. It's only in the second half of the month that everything fell apart. At first, I was reading the same amount as usual but constantly DNFing books and starting from scratch for next to no reason. Then, I realized that I wasn't in the right headspace to receive anyone's stories, so I quit trying. For the last handful of days, I've started on an ARC for May that I've really been loving, but I've only made it about 10% in a week from only reading a few pages each night before bed. Last night, I read a whole 10%, but I guess that counts towards May reading not April. I'm trying not to judge myself or worry that I'll never read as much again. 

I did make it to exactly 50 books in April, which was my goal from last month. I read 9 books total. That comes to 4 novels (including a YA book), 1 book of poetry, and 4 nonfiction books. I've been listening to music instead of audiobooks, which has lowered my typical average for the month, and my lack of focus when it comes to fiction is pretty evident here. 

fiction

A possible contributing factor to my downturn in reading, beyond circumstances, is that I struggled to find a book I loved this month. At best, I felt pretty indifferent to what I was reading, and I was largely disappointed by what I picked up. I think I've just hit a bad run with the books I've chosen, and I'm hoping I'll come to my next great read soon. 

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell

Overall: 4

I'm starting to realize there are real similarities, even in the plots, and especially in the structures, of O'Farrell's books. Oddly, I'm also realizing that I enjoy her books in reflection but not necessarily in the moment.

Worry by Alexandra Tanner

Overall: 3.5

This was a quick, interesting read that I wouldn't necessarily call enjoyable but I did want to keep reading? The ending should be skipped if you read this, though.

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan

Overall: 4

This was a quick, quality read but didn't particularly stick out to me.

Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao

Overall: 3

Maybe YA isn't for me anymore, but I also felt like this read extremely young for college YA and really underestimated the reader.

nonfiction/audiobook

The audiobooks this month were my preferred form of reading and had the highlights of my reading month in a few of the titles. Dead Weight, the last book I read this month, which I finished on April 18, was a new nonfiction favorite. I also enjoyed returning to Amanda Montell's writing through her new book. It's fun to get to read some new releases early on. I can now definitively say that I don't get the hype about Three Women having revisited it after close to five years away this month. 

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Overall: 3

I finally finished this book after trying to read it multiple times, but I've realized it's just very much not for me.

I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

Overall: 4

This book came out in 2008, and you can really feel it in some of the topics and sentiments. I did find a few gems here, though.

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell

Overall: 4

I preferred this one to Montell's last book but didn't like it as much as Wordslut. It's an interesting, grounding reminder of how strange it is to live half (or more) of our lives in the digital world.

Dead Weight: Essays on Hunger and Harm by Emmeline Cline 

Overall: 4

Cline takes on eating disorder culture and the internet in this series of essays that pull from both research and personal experience. No book about such difficult and nuanced topics is going to be perfect or right for everyone, but this is definitely a book I want to pick up again sometime. 

what I'm currently reading

I haven't done much reading since April 18, but I've given myself the permission to work through my ARC of Perfume and Pain by Anna Dorn. I'm really enjoying the voice and how the story is shaping up so far, but I'm only 20% in. I did finally start reading an audiobook again on April 30th called Disconnect by Emma Gannon. It's a super short listen, and I could use some advice on getting off the internet. Though, I've found that lately working your full-time job and finishing up school at the same time will certainly help in that. Though my night scrolling is staying strong. My Libby holds for both Kindle and audiobooks are probably screaming. 

what's next

I don't even have the mental capacity to predict. I'm hoping by mid-May when I'm past finals, settled into a regular work schedule, and fully moved home my brain will open back up to books. I'll either do a giant reread marathon off my bookshelf or I'll head to the library to get an armful of new releases. 

in case you missed it

I do want to take a moment to say I've had a massive bump in readership this month even though I've been slow with reading and posting while things are hectic. Thank you so much! It's so cool to see that people are reading my words and hopefully finding the reviews and posts helpful. I hope I'll settle into reading and blogging again soon. Here's a recap of what I've posted on the blog in April:

Green Dot review

The Late Americans review

After You'd Gone review

Worry review

The Age of Magical Overthinking review

The Hearing Test review

LA Times Festival of Books recap

The Book of Ayn review

I also had a very short story published this month called "Claritin" if you'd like to read it. 

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