Ready for another installment of books? April was a pretty big reading month, and I devoured some of my favorite mystery authors’ books during my daughter’s spring break. In case you are new to this series, I thought I would report on what I read each month and give a brief blurb about each book. I enjoy reading about what other people I know are reading, and perhaps you will find some a good book recommendation or two along the way with my lists.
My second motivation was accountability. In my January post about my simplicity goals for 2020, I pledged to have half of all the books I read come off my shelves versus buying new. That still gives me the latitude to buy books (one of my biggest life pleasures), but it would help me get some shelves cleared of books I already own. So far, so good on this front, and I am indicating which books were plucked off my shelves each month.
Alrighty, here we go! The books I read in April, 2020.*
A Red Herring Without Mustard, by Alan Bradley (new)
This is another book in the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley. I actually read three of them in April. In addition to A Red Herring, I also tore through I Am Half-Sick of Shadows and Speaking from Among the Bones. Bradley’s books are endlessly entertaining. Eleven-year-old Flavia has a brilliant mind and a sharp tongue. The mysteries are well plotted, and Flavia’s adventures are a riot. My daughter, Rowan, also loves them. If you are a mystery lover or have a kid who might dig a more intellectual mystery series than, say, Nancy Drew, go find Bradley’s series.
All in Good Time, by Tara Kuczykowski (shelf)
The full title of this book is All in Good Time: When to Save, Stock Up, and Schedule Everything for Your Home. I’m not convinced it included EVERYTHING, but there was a whole bunch of information in this book. Written by two frugal bloggers, it does provide some guidance for scheduling infrequent household tasks. While I enjoyed the read-through, I felt like the book was sort of all over the place. It included frugality tips as well as scheduling tips, and perhaps it should have been two separate books. In any case, much of the information was familiar to me, but I picked up a good tip here and there.
Glass Houses, by Louise Penny (shelf)
Louise Penny is probably my very favorite mystery writer, ever. I have enjoyed many mystery series over the years, but Penny’s are in a class by themselves. I read two in April, the closest I come to binging her novels. Usually, I like to space them out to stretch out the enjoyment over many years. Kingdom of the Blind was the second one I completed this month. I have another on my shelf to read, but. . . I’m exercising discipline. All the characters in her series (which you MUST read in order, please!) are quirky and fun, and you grow to love them all over time.
Digital Minimalism, by Cal Newport (shelf)
This book got the star treatment and received a full review in my weekly newsletter. If you aren’t a subscriber to the newsletter (why not? Come on and subscribe here!), I’ll just say that if you are working to simplify your life, you will at some point need to address your use of technology. Cal’s book lays out a simple (but not easy!) plan to evaluate how you are using technology, and how to redesign your technology usage.
The First Five Pages, by Noah Lukeman (new)
The full title of Lukeman’s book is The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile. This is a continuation of my self-education for fiction writing. If you are an aspiring writer, you should check out this book.
Fool Me Once, by Harlan Coben (audio)
Podcasts are my usual fare for commuting, running on the treadmill, and doing housework. In April, however, I decided to treat myself to a fiction audio book. Coben’s book is a thriller that kept me guessing to the end. I’ve not read anything by him previously, so I had zero expectations. The book is about a widowed veteran who is dealing with the loss of her husband in the midst of the police investigation of his murder. Family secrets play a role, and it was easy to get sucked into this story. Not great literature, but a worthy story. I enjoyed it so much I dove right into another thriller audiobook that I’ll tell you about next month.
The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell (audio)
Nonfiction books like this are my more common choice for audiobooks. Gladwell narrates his own book about little things that make a difference in whether something takes off or not. He examines the basic premise of what makes some new fashion, trend, or fad take off, whereas others do not. Gladwell gives lots of examples in this fascinating study.
Stop Checking Your Likes, by Susie Moore (new)
Here was my biggest surprise book in April. I know and adore Susie, but when I picked up her book, I assumed it was going to be advice more specific to managing social media. Not that that wouldn’t have been helpful to me, but it was one of those situations where you mentally prepare to sit down with a certain type of book and then. . . holy smokes, it’s a totally different book! Susie shares many stories from her own life to illustrate numerous tips for improving your life. From building confidence to dealing with rejection and everything in between, I could not put this book down. It was a VERY pleasant surprise, and now will reside on my list of highly recommended books for all my women friends. (Men can benefit too, don’t get me wrong.)
There you have it, my book haul for April. See you next month!
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