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What did you read last month? > What I Read--April 2018

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message 1: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Nice month of reading for me.

How to Stop Time, written by Matt Haig. This is about a man born in 1500s still alive in 21st century. This is Tom Hazard’s secret. And he has a long-lost daughter he hopes to find. But, frankly, my favorite part was in the Acknowledgements, where he wrote, "Thank you for reading this book. That is the first acknowledgement to make. A book only becomes real by being read, so thank you for giving my daydream a reality.” I like that.

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. A mixed bag for me, this book is about one woman's struggle to free herself from her Mormon fundamentalist family in Idaho. "Homeschooled", in theory, she was mostly self-taught (with some assistance from her brother) until she headed to Brigham Young University. This was a Buddy Book read & we all seemed to be uncomfortable with some missing pieces to her stories, as well as our questions of her memories. Still, i'm glad i read it with the group.

Andrew Johnson: A Biography is the sort of presidential bio like, chronological and full of enough details to allow readers to get a real sense of the whys of the man. Author Hans L. Trefousse was not blind to AJ's faults but helped the reader see early on how his stubbornness played to the failure of his Presidency. I learned that what i thought i previously knew of him was wrong, he wasn't an alcoholic. However, on his VP inauguration day he was drunk, trying to overcome a physical ailment, and that reputation clung.

Grey Mask is an early 20th century novel by Patricia Wentworth and her character, Miss Silver is a precursor to Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. This is the first in the series and, while interesting, didn't quite pull me in the way Christie did.

Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead is an accounting of author Cecile Richards's life, including her mother, Ann's political career. Cecile gives travel tips, as she's been on the road organizing labor unions, plugging candidates and promoting information about Planned Parenthood most of her life. I liked the book and her description of election day 2016 was a good one.

Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah was a good introduction to paths and problems ahead, some of which are solvable now. She divided chapters into problems which contribute to some epidemics, such as "Filth", "Crowds", and "Locomotion". It's remarkable how many bacteria are lingering in our waters that have caused problems in earlier centuries.


message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (cinnabarb) | 3050 comments Madrano, it's great that Matt Haig thanked his readers. And very appropriate. 😊


message 3: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Amen, Barbara! It tickled my fancy.


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments I don't have access to my April reads at the moment. I post them next week.

Thanks for starting the thread, deb.


message 5: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments Deb, Educated was selected by the NY Times/PBS book group.
So that gives me time to get up to speed on my reading. Since I still haven't started their April book about the Great Lakes that will give me time to read that. I'll start that next week.


message 6: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Oh, is that the April book? I noticed Bobbie mentioned it on another thread but i didn't make the connection. At least you have the May book under your belt. Enjoy.


message 7: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1103 comments Madrano, I hope to get to How to Stop Time soon, too. I really like that quote you mentioned.

I'm glad we all read Educated: A Memoir together. I enjoyed it quite a bit and the discussion added so much to the reading experience.


message 8: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1103 comments I had a good month of reading in April:

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (3-star; graphic novel) - this was a sad story of how a child can slip through the cracks. Maybe the future couldn't have been altered with some help for Jeffrey but maybe it could have.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Life And Death Of Mr Badman by John Bunyan (2-star) - I'm slowly reading The Novel: A Biography and trying to read one book mentioned in each chapter. This book was described as "funny". Well, it's not.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (4-star; audio) - listened to this while jogging. It was a perfect choice for this activity. Well paced, neurotic, crazy.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (4-star; audio) - a wonderful family saga, centering on the individual's struggle with good & evil.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (4-star) - a seamless sequel to The Sparrow. These books should be considered as one. A wonderful story.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (4-star) - I enjoyed this look of the author's struggle for inner peace.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Good People by Hannah Kent (4star; audio) - I enjoyed this story set in a time when people's belief system was changing. Fairies & superstitions are on the way out; Christianity is on the way in. This story is based on a true-life case, which makes it more touching.
Review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 9: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments You had a really nice month, Petra.

I enjoyed reading Educated with you, too. I always get more out of a book when we read it together.


message 10: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments Deb, the Andrew Johnson book sounds like my kind of bio. I am adding it to my list.


message 11: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Alias, that is the book that tested my eyes. In the end i purchased one of those full-page magnifying glasses Bobbie mentioned and it helped some.

Petra, good month for you. I really like the idea behind the Bunyan book, so i'm going to check it out. Thanks for the title & ideas. As for the Steinbeck, i read it with some in this group...i think it was an Oprah selection but am not sure. Regardless, i've liked his more offbeat books so much i wasn't sure the traditional story would please me. Wrong--i really liked it.


message 12: by Samanta (last edited May 06, 2018 08:00AM) (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) | 189 comments My April reads:

Children of the Vampire by Jeanne Kalogridis
Rating: B-
Review: A second installment in an another version of Dracula's story. I actually didn't know it was part of a trilogy and don't have other two parts. The stories are connected, but you can follow the story quite well without the others. I'm not sure yet if I'll look for the first and the third book, although the cliffhanger did leave me with a wish to maybe find out what happens next.

Sunstone, Vol. 1 by Stjepan Šejić
Rating: B
Review: This is a graphic novel that's, well....graphic. It's about two girls with BDSM inclination trying to work it out. If you take the BDSM part out of the equation (for those that don't like to read graphic books...Jill, I'm looking at you :) ), the novel is, actually, trying to explain the beginning of any love relationship; what goes through people's heads when they first meet and there's a spark of interest, all the insecurities, etc. It's, in fact, a story anyone can relate to. There are five volumes, and they can all be found online.

Sunstone, Vol. 2 by Stjepan Šejić
Rating: B
Review: The second installment that makes an emphasis on the trust issues in a relationship. Very good!

Sunstone, Vol. 3 by Stjepan Šejić
Rating: A
Review: I like this series more and more as the relationship between the protagonists takes on a more serious note.

Sunstone, Vol. 4 by Stjepan Šejić
Rating: A
Review: As the relationship threatens to become more serious the insecurities come to the surface. You just have to love us humans. :)

Sunstone, Vol. 5 by Stjepan Šejić
Rating: B
Review: The final chapter of this saga, with a lot of misunderstandings and a long-waited happy end. What can I say....I'm sappy that way. :)

Ustvari, dobro sam by Katarina-Zrinka Matijević
Rating: B
Review: One of my favourite diners has a fun idea o handling you the receipt for the food inside a book, so you always find something new and interesting. This time I was taken in by the title of the book ("Actually, I'm fine") and decided to read this 50-page poetry book while eating. The poems are rather strange - no titles, the lines seemingly unconnected, as if the poetess just put to the paper the next thing that came to her mind, but the end result,oddly, just fits.

Plitvice Lakes by Zdenka Mufa
Rating: C
Review: A short, but somewhat detailed description of the Lakes, with its flora and fauna. Still, some information I would have like to share with my guests is missing. Also, English version desperately needs some editing.


message 13: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments My April readsThe Case of the Howling Dog by Erle Stanley Gardner
Rating 3/5

I am slowly making my way through the Perry Mason mysteries in order. Because this book was written in the 1930s the language seems quite stilted but the mystery was good

The Wishing Thread byLisa Van Allen
Rating 3/5
A story about the bonds of sisters I enjoyed it.
Death at Victoria Dock byKerry Greenwood
Rating 3/5
Next in the Miss Fisher series. These books take place in 1920s Australia. They are quick reads and enjoyable

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Rating 4/5
This book was the story on how two sisters had completely different reaction to the German Occupation of France in WWII.


message 14: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Samanta wrote: "Review: One of my favourite diners has a fun idea o handling you the receipt for the food inside a book, so you always find something new and interesting. This time I was taken in by the title of the book ("Actually, I'm fine") and decided to read this 50-page poetry book while eating...."

What a brilliant idea for serving up the receipt! Thank you for sharing that unique idea

Meredith, i like when you talk about this old Gardner mysteries, as i know some of the cases from tv.


message 15: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments Re:Hans L. Trefousse

madrano wrote: "Alias, that is the book that tested my eyes. In the end i purchased one of those full-page magnifying glasses Bobbie mentioned and it helped some...."

I see the author has written other presidential bios.

I hate small print. It doesn't appear the book is available for the Kindle which would solve that problem. :(

My library has a copy, so when it comes time for me to read it, I'll check and see if it is doable for me.

Thanks for the heads-up.


message 16: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments Samanta, nice reading month. Only one clunker.


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments Meredith wrote:The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Rating 4/5
This book was the story on how two sisters had completely different reaction to the German Occupation of France in WWII. ..."


Glad to see you rated it well. I own a kindle copy but have not read it yet.


message 18: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Alias, ultimately i limited myself to one chapter a day on the Trefousse book. It was hard to do because i was willing to read more but halfway through my eyes failed. I must say the print didn't look as small as my eyes indicate, so it may have been allergic contributions, too. Our pollen count was high around that time. Now we are entering our first week of 90 degree weather.

Thank you for looking up Trefousse. I kept intending to do so but didn't. In his endnotes he referenced a couple of his books on lesser known political figures, such as Carl Schurz: A Biography and Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian. I may read his book on Rutherford B. Hayes: The American Presidents Series: The 19th President, 1877-1881 when i get to him in my Presidential bio list.


message 19: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments It was a very good reading month for me.

Bobby Kennedy A Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit~~~Chris Matthews
Non Fiction
Rate: 5/5
I enjoyed this balanced well done biography. I came into the book with high expectations as I enjoyed Chris Matthews other Kennedy book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. This book didn't disappoint.

Educated A Memoir by Tara Westover Educated: A Memoir~~~Tara Westover
Non Fiction
Rated 4/5
This book was BNC's Buddy Read as well as the May book selection for the NY Times/ PBS book club which I am trying to follow.
I enjoyed this memoir and it kept me engaged. I did take a point off because I felt either the editing was poor or the author told the story in a manner that made be doubt its veracity. You can find more discussion of the book in our Buddy Thread for the book.

Endurance A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery~~~Scott Kelly
Non Fiction
Rate 5/5
I really enjoyed this book by the astronaut Scott Kelly and his yearlong stay at the International Space Station. I learned a lot and the book contained some really good photos. Scott is the twin brother of Mark. Mark is also an astronaut and married to Gabrielle Giffords. She was shot in an assassination attempt on January 8, 2011. Scott also intersperses the chapters with stories of his personal life which I also liked. Well done.


message 20: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments It looks as though April was a good month for strong books in your case, Alias. I'm glad to read your comments on the Matthews and Kelly books. I particularly like the idea that Kelly shares chapters about his personal life.


message 21: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Petra wrote: "I had a good month of reading in April:

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf (3-star; graphic novel) - this was a sad story of how a child can slip through the cracks...."


East of Eden was one of my favorite books.


message 22: by Ana (new)

Ana Cavazos (anaacavazos) | 3 comments I'm reading an interesting series, albeit, not new, by Marissa Meyer, Scarlet. In this book, Cinder (Cinderella) story continues. Cinder makes an appearance as she tries to escape from prison, Meanwhile Scarlet's grandmother is missing, and in Cinder's quest to learn more about herself, she meets up with Scarlet. Read to find out how Scarlet's grandmother is part of Cinder's life. Read the Lunar Chronicles, as it is interesting to see how the author puts a spin on our old fairytales to give them Science Fiction characteristics, and the same characters with new depth.


message 23: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1103 comments Bobbie wrote: "East of Eden was one of my favorite books.
..."


Bobbie, I keep thinking of the story. I think it's going to be one of my favorites, too. I really enjoyed the read.


message 24: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments Scarlet by Marissa Meyer sounds fun. Like you, it's fascinating to see where authors will mine for fresh material. I hope you continue to enjoy it, Ana.


message 25: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 20440 comments Ana wrote: "I'm reading an interesting series, albeit, not new, by Marissa Meyer, Scarlet. In this book, Cinder (Cinderella) story continues. Cinder makes an appearance as she tries to escape from prison, Mean..."

Welcome to Book Nook Cafe, Ana ! Thank you for sharing your reads with us.


message 26: by Ana (new)

Ana Cavazos (anaacavazos) | 3 comments Thank you for the welcome. I’m new to Goodread, so pardon my late responses. Navigation is still a learning curve.


message 27: by Ana (new)

Ana Cavazos (anaacavazos) | 3 comments Madrano, it is very interesting to read about Cinderella as a cyborg!!!


message 28: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments I'm laughing at the idea, Ana, because the step family seemed almost treating Cinder as a robot, so this must be closer to what they would want. Delightful.


message 30: by madrano (new)

madrano | 13328 comments The last one on your list, the one by Gregory, is the sort of book i read when younger. I was exploring what i could believe & not, as far as ghosts and psychic phenominon go. Maybe this is the root of my old age sleeping problems?

I laughed out loud at this sentence from your review, "The three friends end up watching the video while they are in the basement where the murder took place which ends up activating the spirit of Molly Holt." What brain thinks this stuff up?? In the basement they watch the video? Yikes!

More fun reviews from you, Marie. Glad you shared.


message 31: by Marie (last edited May 08, 2020 06:22AM) (new)

Marie | 230 comments madrano wrote: "The last one on your list, the one by Gregory, is the sort of book i read when younger. I was exploring what i could believe & not, as far as ghosts and psychic phenominon go. Maybe this is the roo..."

I love this statement by you Madrano "Maybe this is the root of my old age sleeping problems?" Yeah - that might be the cause of my insomnia attacks sometimes! I sympathize with you! :)

The Molly Holt book - yeah - author, Amy Cross - she does have an interesting brain as she writes good creepy stories. Been reading her awhile. Thankfully that book was fiction! Can you imagine if it had been based on "true events"! LOL :)


message 32: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (cinnabarb) | 3050 comments Marie wrote: "madrano wrote: "The last one on your list, the one by Gregory, is the sort of book i read when younger. I was exploring what i could believe & not, as far as ghosts and psychic phenominon go. Maybe..."

I went through a youthful period where I read all kinds of books about ghosts, reincarnation, that kind of thing; some weird stuff happens for sure.


message 33: by madrano (last edited May 09, 2020 05:33AM) (new)

madrano | 13328 comments I also learned quite a bit of American Colonial history from real life ghost stories. And while i know reading real-life ghost stories from England had history as well (it helps explain why the phantoms were doing what they were doing), i didn't know enough about their history to understand the significance.

It is eerie, Marie, how learning a book is based on "true events" can jar one's perspective. I can read it in fiction and be somewhat disturbed but realizing there are living people who really thought & experienced some things is frightening.


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