April Reads and May Plans

Hello dears!

I can’t believe it’s already May! The last months have been a complete blur, and Easter holiday seems like light-years away. However, right now there’s sunshine outside, so I can’t help but to be excited for the upcoming summer. School’s settling down a bit before the summer break, so I managed to read quite a bit of books in April – 8 books to be precise! I’ve also been able to do a bit more blogging in the past month, so things are looking up 🙂

In April, I still had some final exams and essays to turn in, but also a lot of parties. I don’t know if it’s the spring air that inspired almost all of my friends to host spontaneous picnics and not-quite-my-birthday-but-still parties. Not that I’m complaining, but if you combine all that with the International Workers’ Day (or Labour Day) parties in Finland on May 1st (it’s a BIG thing around here), I really do hope that in May I can enjoy a few more relaxed evenings with a good book – the hangovers from those are often more emotional, but not so deteriorating. Although I’d be happy to take on more book launch parties because the excitement in those events is super addicting. It makes me want to read all the books.

Books I read in April:

My April reading began with a some classic children’s stories and Shakespeare. I also finally read The Snow Child which was so wonderful and heartwarming that it still makes me tear up. I then moved on to the pile of library books that I had. I read two collections from my Edith Södergran poetry collection, and I still have about 5 collections left, so it’ll take some time to finish that. Towards the end of the month I powered through The Perks of Being a Wallflower in one day. It was very thought-provoking, but I’ll talk about that a bit later. Right now I’m in the middle of three books, and constantly picking up new ones. But to quickly recap my thoughts on the books that I won’t be writing full reviews on:

The Brothers Lionheart is a classic children’s story by the wonderful author Astrid Lindgren. Growing up I was read to and read most of her children’s stories, but although The Brothers Lionheart is one of her most loved works, I never knew it. So in the vein of improving my Swedish (Lindgren was a Swede) and reading some fun and quick books over the Easter break, I picked it up during my library visit. The story is of two brothers whom the younger Karl is a sickly boy who is expected to die soon and the older Jonatan a brave and all round loved character. During the late nights of sickly bouts Jonatan tells Karl of Nangijala, a magical place where you go after you die and where they can have adventures together. Tragically the both end up in Nangijala sooner than expected, but Kalle is soon to discover that the peacefulness of Nangijala isn’t set in stone. Lovely book, surpisingly hard language – although still very beautiful – 4/5

During my last library visit, I saw that my library actually had one of Alan Bennett’s latest books, Smut, on their shelves and did a very small, very quiet victory dance. As some of you might know, Alan Bennett is one of my favourite comedy writers and reading his works always manages to pick me up. Smut is a collection of two short stories; one of which involves a middle-aged widow who supplements her income by acting out symptoms for medical students and the other a young couple wherein the husband is narcissistic and secretly gay and the wife runs everything from behind the scenes. Bennett crafts wittily these characters that appear to be the definition of British stiff upper lip and then bring them to contact with sex and erotica. Some of the moments made me laugh out loud and some cringe in shame. However, overall, both of the stories lacked oompf and they were quickly forgotten. The jokes stayed to amuse for a while, but I felt that the stories could have been taken further, which also would have made them more credible.  3/5

Books on my May TBR:

  • Open Secrets by Alice Munro (currently-reading)
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (currently-reading)
  • Edith Södergran – poems and aforisms (currently-reading)(Swedish)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Beggar and the Hare by Tuomas Kyrö
  • Mr. Darwin’s Gardner by Kristina Carlson
  • How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Since there were some books left over from my April TBR, I shall include them as the basis of my May TBR. I’m almost done with Alice Munro’s short story collection Open Secrets which has been like a very pleasant acquaintance that you still can’t quite figure out. I also started reading The Lovely Bones at the end of April and so far it is horrible in the best way. It’s a book that will require some time to process. In May I hope to read a few more collections from my Edith Södergran poetry collection. I’ve now read the first two and I must say that I enjoyed the first one more than the second one. However, the more famous ones are still ahead, so I’m very excited to continue reading the collection!

I didn’t get to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao nor to 1984 in April, so I hope to do that in May. Especially 1984 has been sitting on my nightstand for a while now, so I’d really love to finally read it. From my latest library haul, I have two Finnish books that have both been translated into English. First is The Beggar and the Hare which was chosen as one of this years Waterstones book club books. The story is kind of a re-telling of a popular finish novel, The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna, but instead of a man going to the wilderness with a hare, it is about a Romanian immigrant and a city hare travelling across Finland. Sounds epic. The other novel, Mr. Darwin’s Gardener, is set in a small village in Kent in 1880 and follows the villagers and their reactions to the strange behaviour of the elusive Mr. Darwin and his gardener. I don’t really know what to expect from this book, but I like the sound of it.

Finally I have two late additions, one of which I haven’t yet even checked out from the library. I’ve been wanting to read some non-fiction lately and I narrowed the selection down to Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Catlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman. And since out of the two Just Kids is not in the library at the moment, there really was no choice. In the past two weeks I’ve been listening to several of Moran’s interviews and reading her columns, and I’ve found myself really liking her snarky style. I hope that How to Be a Woman will live up to all the praise that’s been circling around. And lastly, I have the long awaited, long overdue, sequel in June – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Now that I also own a copy it’s high time that I get on that. And since many are reading it in wait of Go Set a Watchman, I’d like to join the fun.

That’s all for my April wrap up. Let me know what you read and what you’re planning to read in May.

Happy reading!x

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