Looking Back: The Best of April

It's hard to believe that April has come and gone, but it has. Perhaps most exciting to me this month was the start of the hopefully-continual Social Justice Book Club, in which a group of us read Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. (I still haven't finished it, but the book is freaking excellent. Heartbreaking at times, but excellent.)

April wasn't a huge reading month for me--I'm behind in my reading goal for the first time in years--but I'm ok with that. Between lots of travel and lots of running, I probably had too-high expectations for myself anyway. Luckily, those books I did pick up (and finish) were quite good:

George, by Alex Gino: Gino's account of a young boy named George who wants to be a young girl named Melissa is truly excellent, thought-provoking, and conversation-starting. This is a middle grade book, which is outside of my normal reading zone, but I'm so, so glad I picked it up. Cannot recommend enough.

Challenger Deep, by Neil Shusterman: Another outside my normal reading zone, this YA read centers on Caden, a young teen struggling with mental illness. As the lines between what is real and what he is imagining become more and more indecipherable, the stakes for Caden grow ever-higher. This proved an excellent choice for an audio listen, as the narrator did a spectacular job of carrying accents and voices over from real to imagined characters to fully emphasize how Caden's real life influences his imagined one, and vice versa.

Born to Run, by Chris McDougall: One of the books that's been on my shelf for years, McDougall's account of the Tarahumara, a tribe of ultrarunners in Mexico, is as much a book about running and form as it is about cultures and perseverance.  There were a few times when Macdougal very much felt like the blundering white man knocking into undisturbed lands and traditions without heed, but he (mostly) redeemed himself from this by recognizing his own mistakes as he recalls his adventures with the Tarahumara. An interesting, if imperfect, read.

And though I read these before April, there were a few releases I did manage to pick up that are now available  at a bookstore near you:

The First Book of Calamity Leek, by Paula Lichtarowicz: The fictional memoir of Calamity Leek and her life in the Garden is as captivating as it is strange and disturbing.

Mothering Sunday, by Graham Swift: This short novel is one part romance and one part philosophical study of memory and imagination.

The Year of the Runaways, by Sunjeev Sahota: Three Indian immigrants struggle to shape their lives as they look for work in Northern England.

This Side of Providence, by Rachel M. Harper: A cast of narrators tells the story of Arcelia and her family as they struggle with poverty, racism and addiction. (For what it's worth, this was my favorite of this bunch.)


And my favorite things from around the bookish the internet this month!

From this blog:

From elsewhere:

  • Four Weeks Into a Fitness Routine: It's been so incredible to hear Andi's story as she tackles #C25K and a general fitness routine. Her dedication inspires me to do better with my own challenges. 

  • I couldn't participate in Readathon this season because of other commitments that day, but Shaina's post on why the Readathon is so important to her gave me ALL THE FEELS, man. 

  • Greg's review of Version Control has me adding this to my own reading list (which is already faaaar too long). "This 500-page story is brimming with ideas — about technology, authenticity, race, loyalty, causality, history, science, Big Data, and yes, even time travel. It's fascinating and fun and heartbreaking and hilarious and all of the other things that make great fiction great." Sounds like perfection to me.

How was your April reading?

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