The Sunday Salon: April Wrap-up & May Preview

Good morning everyone!  It’s been a warm weekend — Saturday was perfect for gardening, and I managed to plant the last of my potatoes and carrots, and another round of peas.  Today I need to get the house in order, since we’re having dinner guests this evening.  But first, since it’s a new month I’d like to pause and reflect on my reading so far, and I’ll give you a preview of my reading plans for May.

Here’s what I read in April (the links go to my reviews):

While I’ve been reading at a fairly steady clip of 6 books per month (25 YTD), I think I’m reading shorter books.  The six books above totaled just over 1600 pages.  That surprised me, because I typically read a lot of books that are more than 300 pages long.  I’m trying not to get too caught up in the numbers, though.  I really enjoyed this month’s books!  They were all very good, especially Gilead, which was my first 5-star read of the year.

And then I hit a real clunker.  The Old Devils, by Kingsley Amis, was part of my Complete Booker challenge.  I need to read 10 Booker Prize winners this year, and then I’ll have read the entire winners list.  I was pretty sure that some of those I had yet to read would not appeal to me (John Berger’s G was a notable example), but I had no preconceived notions about this one.  And it was simply, utterly awful.  I admit I skimmed it, and the only reason I gave it even that much attention, was because I was feeling guilty about having two Booker winner “DNFs” already this year.  It seems to me like some of the earlier Booker Prize winners just didn’t age very well.  If you enjoyed The Old Devils, I’d love to hear more from you.  If you’d like to read my thoughts, read my review of The Old Devils.

Fortunately, there are several more books I’m looking forward to reading this month:

  • Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann
  • Runaway, by Alice Munro
  • Mary Olivier: A Life, by May Sinclair
  • At Large and at Small, by Anne Fadiman
  • A Shilling for Candles, by Josephine Tey

Have you read any of these books?

What are you reading now?

Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

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8 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: April Wrap-up & May Preview

  1. It sounds like you’re enjoying a nice weekend, Laura. I spent yesterday on the hot tarmac of an air base for a local airshow. It was a lot of fun. Today will be more lazy. I hope to read in between loads of laundry.

    I’ve heard wonderful things about Gilead, but keep passing it by when I see it. I’m not sure why the reluctance. I have a book by Yoko Ogawa around here somewhere I really want to read, but I don’t think it’s the same one you mention.

    I just read a very favorable review of McCann’s book. I look forward to your take on it when you get to it.

    Enjoy your week, Laura!

  2. Anne Fadiman never disappoints so I think she will make up for the Amis…more than make up for him! I really enjoyed At Large and At Small.

  3. I’ve set aside my Marilyn Robinson reads for a time: I started Gilead, thinking that I would sink into it that evening and be into in the next day or so, but kept putting it down every couple of pages. I got stuck at 20-something, and have put them away for another time; it surely wasn’t the right reading time for them. ::disgruntled sigh::

    • I definitely think you have to be in the right mood for Gilead, as well as Home. Hopefully someday you will return to it and enjoy it!

  4. I do love Josephine Tey (although this is not my favorite), and was startled but pleased a year or so ago when a modern writer started a mystery series starring Tey (a pseudonomous writer). Weirdly, I thought it worked but I suspect one has to have read/loved Tey for years to appreciate how well Nicola Upson has echoed all her style and nuances.

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