april book club 2018

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I didn’t read quite as much this month, and I’m not sure why. (Maybe it has something to do with the Golden State Killer being arrested and being legally required to read every released article and interview? I’m not sure.) At any rate, my Kindle and library book checkout game was still strong, and there are some definite must-reads on the docket this month.

As always, * indicates that I received a review copy through NetGalley, and ** denotes books I received for review from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinions!

The Last Cruise*: I really liked this book a lot, but the end made me super mad. Which is a good thing! Feeling things about books is kind of the point, right? The Last Cruise chronicles the experiences of three different groups aboard a vintage ship taking – you guessed it – its last cruise. This would be a good poolside book if you’re into suspense and drama, but I might not suggest taking it on a boat.

From the Corner of the Oval*: THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING. I couldn’t put it down and found myself wanting more and more! Beck Dorey-Stein was one of President Barack Obama’s stenographers, and this chronicles her White House career, from getting hired via craigslist to traveling internationally on Air Force One to deciding that her government days are over. Her writing is incredible, engaging, and I can’t recommend pre-ordering this highly enough. If you’re feeling like you’re making all the wrong choices in your relationships, friendships, career, or in general, there’s going to be something in this book that resonates with you.

The Gutsy Girl Handbook*: A follow-up to Kate White’s 1996 book, I really liked this a lot. I’ve been focusing a lot on my career this year, and the worksheets and advice in this handbook are really helping me shift my mindset, generate big ideas, and not be afraid of intimidating people with those ideas.

Men Explain Things to Me: I really wanted to like this essay collection, and I think I would have if I hadn’t had specific expectations for it. It took me months to finish (I started it back in January or February) expecting it to be funny, or at least have aspects of humor. Instead, it’s more heavily focused on institutional sexism, sexual assault, and crime. It is a good read, but it wasn’t what I had expected.

My Oxford Year**: Not a book I would typically see myself picking up, but Julia Whelan is my favorite audiobook narrator. When I saw that she was publishing a book, I was super excited. This one was a good read – it’s a love story about a girl who doesn’t want a love story – my biggest complaint was basically just that I wish they focused more on the political position she was helping with in America while studying abroad – but it’s an excellent read if you like chick lits or romance.

Emergency Contact: Mary HK Choi did a great interview with the New York Times last month, and I found it to be funny and clever. Emergency Contact was equally great – I absolutely loved the story, I loved the way it was told, and I loved how Penny comes out of her shell and allows herself to have friends and really grow outside herself.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: I was about 63% through this book the night that GSK was taken into custody. Naturally, I woke up the next morning, scrambled around to get the audiobook from Scribd, and finished listening with 30 minutes to go before the press conference. Incredibly researched, incredibly written, and incredibly tragic – both the story of the victims, as well as Michelle, who never got to see her good work be rewarded.

Please Don’t Go Before I Get Better*: It was National Poetry Month and I didn’t read as much poetry as I should have, but this was my favorite collection by far. Kuhn’s writing reads like a combination of Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur – gorgeous and light imagery, but with heartache, trauma, and optimism. If you like poetry, I definitely recommend this.

DROPKICKromance**: I really wanted to love this book. It includes so many things I love – poetry! Wrestling! An author from Michigan! – but it ultimately fell really short of my expectations. Author Cyrus Parker is married to Amanda Lovelace, and their relationship is #goals, as the youths say, but his writing style is almost an exact replica of Lovelace’s. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot better if the style had been a little more unique. He writes a lot about a shitty relationship, then falling in love again, which I also relate to a lot and enjoyed – I just wish it was a little separate from his wife.

This Is Where it Ends: This had been on my Goodreads “to read” list for awhile, so by the time I saw it on my library’s Libby system, I’d sort of forgotten what it was about. It’s a pocket story of the 54 minutes of a school shooting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if author Marieke Nijkamp had been involved in a similar situation. She writes with such clarity and experience, you really feel like you’re in the quiet halls with the students as the perspectives shift. It’s an incredibly affecting book that should be read

You’re Never Weird on the Internet: Boyfriend had this on his Audible account, so when I couldn’t find anything on Libby, I started listening to this one day. It was interesting to listen to – Felicia had a super interesting upbringing and was homeschooled, and even went to the University of Texas on a full ride for violin performance. I liked hearing her talk about her internet life – in a lot of ways, I relate, since I’ve been online since grade 4 and some of the most important relationships in my life were forged on the internet.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions: This was a quick, easy read that I really enjoyed. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about feminism and gender lately (thanks Dessa, and trying to read more diverse, “harder” books. This letter to her best friend who had asked her for advice on raising her child a feminist is as funny as it is insightful.

What did you read this month? Anything worth adding to an already too-large TBR pile?

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