Looking Back: April Highlights

I don't know about the rest of you, but after this week of rain, I am so very glad to be seeing the sun today. I thought I might have to start kayaking to work (and I'm really not a good kayaker at all). To celebrate the return of spring weather, here are my favorite April reads:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin: You guys! This book! It's so lovely and wonderful and hilarious and sad and trying and emotional and did I say lovely? An ode to bookstores and book love and the power of reading and stories. Review to come, just as soon as I catch my breath.

Thunderstruck & Other Stories, by Elizabeth McCracken: McCracken is one helluva a writer, friends. The stories here are taut and emotional, as families are broken apart and stitched back together and trying to cope with the most unexpected turns of event. Really captivating. Review to come.

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip, by Kevin Brockmeier: I loved Kevin Brockmeier's The Illumination years ago, so was excited to read his first memoir. Brockmeier dedicates the entire slim volume to one year--the seventh grade--and perfectly captures the awkwardness and discomfort that so many of us remember from our own middle school years. Read my full review of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip and see what Kevin Brockmeier had to say about the memoir.

The Word Exchange, by Alena Graedon: I guess April was the month for books about books, but where The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry explores the power of reading through a quaint independent bookstore, The Word Exchange moves us into a future where books--and words--are threatened by our growing dependence on technology. Sound uncomfortably familiar, perhaps? Read my full review of The Word Exchange.

What fabulous April books did I miss? What were your favorites?


  1. Emma @ Words And PeaceMay 1, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    I plan to read your #1 and 4, I actually downloaded #4 a while ago.
    my 2 favorites of April were 2 awesome histfic:

  2. These are kind of like mini reviews in and of themselves so don't feel pressure to review them fully (unless you need to). I'm so curious about McCracken. I have The Giant's House and my Nook and Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness just read a memoir by her. I feel like I'm seeing her (and praise about her writing) everywhere!
    Can you believe I haven't read The Word Exchange yet? I'm reluctant because I don't know that I'd buy into it, which I feel would be unfair to the book/author somehow... ~Kelly, ReadLately.com

  3. I was hammered by Ruby, loved Casebook, and am still trying to find words for The Marrying of Chani Kaufman. Such a busy book month and May is starting out the same way.

    I really need to read A.J. Fikry. Can't believe I was in a bookstore and too ka picture of a happy cat sleeping on top of copies but did not buy the book!!

    And just to be persnickety (I know you expect no less) we're usually all about the rain here in Seattle but it's been in the high 80s for the last 3 days and I'm sick of it. Makes me cranky!

  4. I want to read Ruby! I have it on hold at my library (still trying this stop-accumulating-books thing, with moderate success). A.J. Fikry is excellent (and short, so hopefully you can squeeze it in!).

    It finally stopped raining here and the sun is shining and all is good! Though they are calling for more rain tomorrow... I don't think our soaking wet ground can take any more.

  5. Thanks! Sometimes I really like reviewing books I love, and sometimes I love a book so much I can't quite find words for it. I didn't realize McCracken had a memoir out, but I'll have to look for that.

    The Word Exchange is a whale of a read, but there is certainly a premise you have to buy into. Graedon does a good job of setting it up, I think--one little step at a time, the population becomes more and more dependent on their devices and less and less dependent on the printed word. Which definitely got me thinking. How many times have I wondered, "What did people DO before cell phones!?"

  6. Both are excellent books-about-books, though they couldn't be more different!

  7. The Word Exchange and AJ Fikry seemed to be the big books of the month and I suspect they will be big for a while.

  8. As the Crowe FliesMay 3, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I picked up a copy of The Word Exchange but I've not started it yet. Hopefully soon, or perhaps I will save it for summer vacation. AJ Fikry was a really fun read for me. My favorite book that I read last month was a re-read of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, but my favorite new book was probably The Rise and Fall of Great POwers by Tom Rachman.

  9. A.J. Fikry! #clinksglasses

  10. I have Eleanor and Park on audio to start after I finish Mindy Kaling's book on audio (which is fun and easy and I needed something not so heavy after finishing An Untamed State).

  11. Agreed! Seeing lots of buzz about both. They are books for book people, though very, very different in how they approach that.


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