I realize saying “new year, new me” in a post going up in April is more “not really new year, same me with irregular posting times,” but still. Let me have this.
I’m posting twice in one month!! Okay. Well, more like twice in four weeks.
Fine, twice in OVER four weeks. But that’s still frequent for me.
Plus, what I’ve been lacking in regularly posting I’ve been making up for in excessive amounts of reading, so let’s get into it.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
Well, we all know that the entire world is on fire.
Luckily, we’re bookworms, and we’ve been training for social distancing our entire lives.
I mean, I for one was already working remotely, already spending an excess of time in my pajamas, and already rarely socializing.
So I’m living the dream.
JUST KIDDING I WANT TO GO OUTSIDE PLEASE LET THIS END SOON THANK YOU.
What I’ve been up to…I had a tweet do really well, or at least way better than mine usually do, and immediately panicked for 6 hours because like 10 people got mad at me for it. (One of them had a very creative style for curse word-based threats. I would have respected it, if it hadn’t scared the bejesus out of me.)
I have also been reading A LOT, and playing a great deal of Animal Crossing. Like, a concerning amount of Animal Crossing. If there were a reference manual titled HOW EMMA IS DOING, PSYCHOLOGICALLY SPEAKING, both of these things would be starred and bolded and highlighted and italicized and bedazzled and generally made eye-catching in order to carry across the warning that these are VERY BAD SIGNS FOR ME, PERSONALLY.
I, like the entire world, am having a very terrible mental health month. In fact I am kind of concerned about myself.
But let’s ignore that and talk about books! Why address problems when you could ignore them and hope they just go away, you know?
The last time I did a wrap up was November 2019, so I am…not going to look back and see if I achieved those goals. Sorry, past me.
Instead: new goals! And probably I will never see if I fulfilled these either.
GOALS FOR APRIL
Read 20+ books
Post approx one review / day on Goodreads
At least kind of blog (this one is stolen verbatim from November)
Keep up with habit tracker
Stay active on Twitter
Reduce owned TBR (as I write this, it’s at 156!!!)
If I can pat myself on the back…I have it kind of together, comparatively. (With the comparison being me at other times.)
Turns out all I needed was for the entire world to be canceled!
I will continue to read and play Animal Crossing and listen to podcasts and stay inside and wait for the world to turn back on and hope my brain starts working again.
Also eating a lot of sweets. Like, an unfeasible amount of sweets, really. If I’m being real with you.
Time to get into what I read! Also, all of these books have full reviews on Goodreads. I know. I’m as shocked as you are.
1. The Life and Medieval Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton
Read: January 1-2 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2.5 stars
I was kindly sent this ARC by Page Street, famous (to me) for extremely beautiful covers.
I mean, look at that masterpiece. A real stunner.
Unfortunately, the actual contents of this fell flat for me. And for this reason I will weep forever. Or at least feel kinda sad from time to time when I think about it.
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Read: January 3-5 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
Frankenstein is the story of what happens when you procrastinate.
And also resurrection and monsters are involved in said procrastination. But I digress.
3. No Flying in the House by Betty Brock
Read: January 6 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
I read it when I was little, and it is the story of a little girl who is a fairy, and she has a tiny pet talking dog (who is also a fairy), and there is an evil talking gold kitty toy (who is also, ultimately, a fairy).
It was even weirder than I remembered.
4. 25 Days ’til Christmas by Poppy Alexander
Read: January 7-8 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
And I wish I could say that I bought it in December and just didn’t get to it in time. But that would be a lie.
Also this is like the darkest Christmas book ever, so maybe for the best that I didn’t read it when twas the season.
5. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Read: January 10 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
Especially if there’s cake involved. More books should involve cake, I think.
6. Too Much is Not Enough by Andrew Rannells
Read: January 9-10 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
(And mentioning it on my blog three months after that.)
It was a fine book.
7. Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes (reread)
Read: January 10-11 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2.5 stars
I did not even like this book the first time I read it, and yet I immediately picked it up after I finished binge-watching the second season of the show with my favorite person in order to better recall what they’d changed.
I do not know why I am like this. At least I raised the rating a half star. That’s kind of productive.
8. Modern Love edited by Daniel Jones
Read: January 12 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
Here is the best kind of real story: A love story.
Here is a book that is made up of real love stories.
I: am a happy camper.
9. Educated by Tara Westover
Read: January 13-14 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
Also, as I’m writing this, I’m remembering that I dreamed about this book last night.
Yes. Three months after I read it, this book has stayed with me to the extent that I am DREAMING about it. What more of a review do you need?
10. Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Read: January 15 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
Plus it’s filled with ice cream and friendship and celebrities and long walks and handwriting and fancy stores.
Pretty dreamy if you ask me.
11. Beach Read by Emily Henry
Read: January 17 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
No. And I never will be again.
Unless I get another ARC of an Emily Henry book but that’s beside the point. Like everything she writes, this book is a gift from the heavens.
12. Going into Town by Roz Chast
Read: January 20-21 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
This book is like going to New York with a really funny and also panicky friend, except minus the inescapable pee smell and twenty miles of walking and plus a lot of lowkey headache-inducing but creative illustrations.
Pretty sweet, overall.
13. Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West
Read: January 22 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1 star
I received an ARC of this book in order to participate in a blog tour, but then I forgot what date I signed up for in the Google form and I never got a follow-up email about it so. Big fail on my end.
Which is probably for the best because I hated this a lot.
What a nightmare.
14. Dreamland (YA edition) by Sam Quinones
Read: January 24-26 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1.5 stars
I especially do not know why this one ended up in my possession, because I certainly did not request it from the publisher and definitely had 0 interest in reading it.
Apparently YA editions remove all nuance from complex stories. Either that or the original version of this sucks too.
15. Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Read: January 27-28 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars
I have to tell you, literary fiction has really been the MVP of 2020 thus far. (With some notable exceptions.)
Also, I read the large print version of this because it was on Book Outlet and that only added to my experience. 10/10.
16. The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
Read: January 29 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
Anyway. Here’s this book that I read.
That’s all I have to say about it. (To prove that statement a blatant lie, here’s my full review of it.)
17. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast
Read: January 28-29 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
Take all of that stuff and replace the New York things with death and you have this book.
Weird to laugh about death but when you think about it, isn’t that all millennials and Gen Z laugh about anyway? Very on-brand stuff.
18. Layoverland by Gabby Noone
Read: February 3 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars
The fact that absolutely everyone isn’t talking about this book absolutely all of the time is a travesty and I will never forgive ANY of you for it!
(I will forgive. But I won’t forget.)
19. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Read: February 3-6 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
I bought another book of hers while still reading this one! Fairly rave review, no?
(Ignore the fact that I haven’t read it yet. I’ll get there eventually.)
20. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Read: February 7-8 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
Then I realized I had not liked it the first time and decided not to read it.
Past me had the right idea.
21. Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel
Read: February 9 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
The answer is yes, I can forgive Lee Israel for the lying and the forgery and the deceit and the criminal activity.
What I can’t forgive her for is this book.
22. Holy Lands by Amanda Sthers
Read: February 10 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
So all the reasons that made it the perfect thing for me to pick up in mid-February were the same that made it hard for me to really appreciate it. Such is life, I guess.
23. Anne of Windy Poplars by LM Montgomery
Read: February 11-12 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
Or stay aboard, rather, because we were on board for the last three books. But this stop is the most disappointing of all.
Anne Book 1: 5 stars. Anne Book 2: 5 stars. Anne Book 3: 5 stars. And here we are at book 4. Why must I suffer.
24. Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak
Read: February 13 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
It is absolutely perfect, in other words.
I would like to live inside it.
25. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Read: February 17 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2.5 stars
If you think it should be illegal for me to dislike a contemporary I anticipated, especially when said contemporary contains a New York setting and grilled cheese and unique dessert recipes and love to hate romance and other things I love, I agree.
Let’s get a petition circulating so I never have to go through this pain again.
26. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
Read: February 16-17 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
A couple of them have been stories clearly co-opted from women in the authors’ lives with a good deal of mansplaining on the side. Un-relatedly, a couple have been by men.
27. I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson
Read: February 18 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
I have always been Team Abbi just ever so slightly more than Team Ilana (I am much more Abbi than Ilana, and I am obsessed with myself).
Which is why it sucked extra that I did not care for Abbi’s book at all.
28. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Read: February 17-19 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars
February truly killing it.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: also truly killing it.
This book is so, so, so, sososososo good.
29. Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Read: February 20-21 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
(Also, I can’t stop using the word dreamy.)
I loved reading this. It cheered me right up. And yes, it felt half finding-yourself women’s fiction and half rom-com, and yes I kind of wish it had been one or the other, but overall I want to reread this right now.
30. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
Read: February 21 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
Okay fine, it was not at all the book’s fault, but it is still now inarguable that this book has wreaked nought but suffering and havoc on my life.
31. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (reread)
Read: February 24 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3.5 stars
Although knowing me, it was probably like a calendar year between when I reread The Raven Boys and when I got to this one.
Anyway. This book has Gansey in it, so it’s automatically okay in my book. (Buh dum ch.)
32. The Night Country by Melissa Albert
Read: February 23-24 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
I’ll take it over the usual cornucopia of one stars that is my reading life.
This was a dark twisty bloody fairytale and so of course I loved it. Also this series always makes me think about rice krispie treats because I ate them while reading the first book, and that can only be a positive.
33. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
Read: February 25 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1.5 stars
That’s really all I have to say about this, unless I were to copy and paste chunks of my review here, so I’ll use the remaining space to talk about something else. Anyone else thinking about the wide variance in chocolate chip cookies as a food right now? Like, it’s almost always the same ingredients. Crazy how different they can be.
34. Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Read: February 26 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars
(No, seriously. I haven’t rated a book five stars since this one. HELP.)
This book is pure magnificence and that’s all you need to know.
35. Here Is Real Magic by Nate Staniforth
Read: February 27-28 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
Publishers LOVE me!! I’m a real charmer.
Especially when I rate the book meh and give it a meh review and also that meh review is the top one on Goodreads. Real crowd-pleasing stuff.
36. 1984 by George Orwell
Read: February 27-March 1 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3.5 stars
Also, this would have worked better as essays, and I’m not sorry about it.
Double also, it took me a weirdly long time to read this.
37. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Read: March 2-3 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
I’m fragile and I don’t deserve it.
It should especially be illegal for books to start out in a really promising way, so that I think they’ll be five star reads, and then they do a total 180 and end up meh. Cruel and unusual.
38. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Read: March 4 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1 star
That was perhaps not a good decision.
This had almost none of the things I liked about The Way You Make Me Feel, and the ones it did have were somehow also nightmarish. UGH.
39. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (reread)
Read: March 7-9 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars
Easy, one-step process.
Even better if it’s the 75th anniversary edition and contains lots of Bonus Content in order to extra distract my addled brain and heart!!
40. Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Read: March 11 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1 star
It rarely works out for me, and also those books are rarely actually feminist in any way I recognize.
This book looks super-cute but do not be fooled. It is a monster.
41. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Read: March 14 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
I (kind of) read this as a buddy read with the loml, so that was automatically the best part of my reading experience.
The second best part is that this is an incredibly empathetic story with deeply lovable and real characters!!!
But Lily was the first-best part.
42. Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden
Read: March 12-14 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
Also, remember what I said earlier about how I am passionate about reading ARCs incredibly late? Yeah. That.
43. Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider
Read: March 15 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1 star
Also this had more exclamation points than my aunt’s Facebook posts.
A real nightmare all around.
(I copied and pasted this from my Goodreads review.)
44. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (reread)
Read: March 18 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
While my soul was partially healed by The Little Prince and Ask Again, Yes, it was re-destroyed by Kiss Me in New York (bad) and Stay Sweet (bad) and Tribe of Fatherless Girls (very good, but sad). So I picked this up to heal myself once more.
IMAGINE THE CONDITION OF MY SOUL WHEN IT WASN’T AS GOOD AS I REMEMBERED.
45. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (reread)
Read: March 10-19 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars
I was paid to reread Pride & Prejudice!!! For a work project!!! How dreamy is that?
My faith in humanity is restored! (Not really but you know what I mean.)
46. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Read: March 19-20 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
I love people’s stories. I love and admire people who can tell stories of immense suffering with immense grace and empathy and forgiveness.
After Lisa Brennan-Jobs published this, a lot of people (including her family) tried to shut her down. Imagine her strength.
47. The Wicked King by Holly Black
Read: March 21 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars
Yup. It’s confirmed. The fact that I enjoyed reading this book is the single biggest plot twist of the year, and possibly ever, in the history of the world.
Sorry, action movies. You’ll get em next time.
48. One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks
Read: March 22 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2.5 stars
I love magical realism.
I love graphic novels.
I do not love the combination of the two.
49. Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller (reread)
Read: March 22-23 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars
No? Just me?
Anyway, this book made me into a tiny little feminist, and also made me want to commit crime. The perfect middle grade read!
50. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Read: March 24 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
Other than my review of Everything is Horrible and Wonderful, this is the most personal review I’ve ever written!
It actually took me days to post it because I had to build up the confidence to do so!
Read it if you want but I am going to move right along!
51. Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction by JD Salinger
Read: March 25-26 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars
Well, not really. But isn’t it easy to blame your problems on inanimate objects? I highly recommend doing so if you haven’t tried it.
It’s really that I would very much like to re-be the me that was reading Franny and Zooey for the first time. For many reasons. And that’s that!
52. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
Read: March 26 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
People expressed concern that I was growing “soft,” that I would not be “providing” the “relentless” “stream” of “cynical,” “hateful” “unpopular opinion” “negative” reviews of YA bestsellers, but twas not to be!
We are right back to our regularly scheduled program with this one.
53. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Read: March 26 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1 star
I would love to write the essay equivalent of a one star review of this book. I want to tear this book apart using its own words against it.
I WANT JUSTICE FOR THE REAL-LIFE RESIDENTS OF SMALL RURAL TOWNS IN MAINE!
54. The Shortest Distance Between Love & Hate by Sandy Hall
Read: March 30 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1 star
One of the very first comments on my review of this was “Imagine if the publisher saw this.” You know, if you needed a reason to assume this is a very mean review, other than everything about me.
54. Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
Read: March 31 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2 stars
What a time to be alive. Especially as me.
This one basically threw everything at the wall to see what stuck. Very little stuck.
Woohoo!!! 54 books, all wrapped up!
Now it’s time for the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
My average rating for the year so far…
That is actually…very good for me.
Well. I have only posted once so far this year.
The upside for that little post is that it’s the top one!
Yaaaay! All three months wrapped up! We’re on the right track!
Or better than the usual track.
So, low bar.