April Recap

Now that we are halfway through May, I thought it was time to look back on the books I finished in April. April was a good month for me, reading-wise. Reggie traveled several weeks, we took a few road trips, and I picked up some books that were just easy to crank through. I already detailed through my big categories I try to hit each month, and I’ve written individual review posts for a couple of these, but I wanted to give an overall recap of what I read in April, in chronological order.

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I received a beautiful copy of The Secret Garden as a bridesmaid gift from my college roommate and best friend Julie last December. We were both education majors, and we did a lot of projects on Children’s Lit. I have fond memories of Julie and I sitting in our living room working on our Literary Elements Project and her constantly stopping to read yet another quote from this book. When I saw The Secret Garden on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s list of “Books that are Better in the Spring,” I knew this was the month to finally sit down and read it cover to cover. It was lovely. I enjoyed the sweet story, the beautiful imagery, the character growth, the rich quotes.

Favorite quote: “At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”

My Lucky Life In and Out of Showbusiness by Dick Van Dyke (audiobook)

I love a good celebrity memoir (especially on audio read by the author), and this one did not disappoint. I checked this one out on recommendation from Lindsey, and it was delightful. I did not grow up watching The Dick Van Dyke show or even Mary Poppins, but even so, I really enjoyed hearing about his life. He seems like a kind, genuine man, and his book was much more wholesome and family-friendly than many celebrity books are these days. It was fun to hear his stories about the early days of sit-coms and Hollywood.

Best takeaway: When I finished the book, I spent a while on YouTube watching videos of Dick Van Dyke dancing. He really is amazing.

Emma by Jane Austen

I already wrote an entire post about this one. I loved it. You will love it. Everyone in the world should read it.

Favorite Quote: “Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.”

Favorite Takeaway: I made Reggie watch the BBC movie with me and not only did he enjoy it, he has started saying, “Badly done!” anytime someone does something stupid. I didn’t know I could love him more than I did, but I do.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

This one got its own review post AND commonplaces post, so I won’t bore you with my thoughts on it more here. It was thought-provoking and rich and very sad.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Gripping, interesting, but also a little hard to read. I posted a full review earlier this month.

Looking forward to: The movie! I try to read books before their movies come out, and I am so curious to see if they do this crazy story justice on the big screen!

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The House at Riverton is a split-narrative mystery set in England around World War II.  You learn pieces of the story from an old woman talking in present-day, but also from her as a young housemaid in a scandal-ridden family. I enjoyed the story all the way through, but the thing that made me love this book was the major plot twist at the end. I liked Kate Morton’s style and look forward to reading more of her books (plus, I hear this is actually the darkest of hers, so that makes me look forward to the others even more).

Memorable quote: “Wars make history seem deceptively simple. They provide clear turning points, easy distinctions.: before and after, winner and loser, right and wrong. True history, the past, is not like that. It isn’t flat or linear. It has no outline. It is slippery, like liquid; infinite and unknowable, like space. And it is changeable: just when you think you see a pattern, perspective shifts, an alternate version is proffered, a long-forgotten memory resurfaces.”

Bossypants by Tina Fey

I am really bad at knowing about famous people, and my TV time is devoted mostly to re-watching The Office and Parks and Rec. I read (and loved) Amy Poehler’s and Mindy Kaling’s books, but for some reason I have never fully jumped on the Tina Fey bandwagon. I enjoy her movies (mostly), but I have tried to read her book before and failed. I decided to try it again on audio this month, and it definitely made a difference. Bossypants still didn’t top my other favorite girls-in-comedy books, but I laughed out loud a lot.

Favorite quote (there were many great ones): “Lesson learned? When people say, “You really, really must” do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, “You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.” When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said.” and also the entire essay on childbirth. So funny.

Best takeaway: When I started reading this one, I also started watching 30 Rock. Reggie and I have really enjoyed it! I don’t know if it will go on repeat like Parks and The Office, but it’s been a fun mix-up to our sit-com routine.

Favorite book of the month goes to…EMMA. I just loved it. 

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