April 2020 Reading

My reading has definitely slowed down. I still have a goal of reading 100 books this year, but with libraries closed, it is difficult. I don’t own any books I haven’t read before, so numerous reads this month were rereads. I do have some books coming in the mail which I’m incredibly excited for; five classics I’ve been wanting to read but never have, like A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess) and The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton). I don’t know what I’ll do when I finish those books, so I just won’t think about that yet.

The books I reread this month were Captivating (John and Stasi Eldredge) and The Essence of the Thing (Madeleine St John). I like to reread Captivating once or twice a year, just to keep me on my toes. It’s a Christian book about women, talking about how Jesus wants to rescue us and reveal our true beauty, which we tend to hide due to sin we have or other people’s sin that has happened to us. I really enjoyed going through this book and seeing ways I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ and finding other ways my life isn’t as God intended. I also talked about some of it with my boyfriend, which was lovely. Five of five stars.

On a completely different note, The Essence of the Thing is one of my favourite books. It’s a short novel written by the Australian Madeleine St John, published in 1997 (which is the year I was born so it’s gotta be good). This novel is one of the most heartwarming, honest, humorous, emotional books I’ve ever read. It’s a simply told story that begins with Nicola’s boyfriend telling her he doesn’t love her anymore, and follows their lives for the next two weeks as she figures things out. It really impacts me because of how realistic it is and how, in it’s simplicity, it conveys the raw truth of heartbreak. In saying this, it’s also an incredibly amusing story that makes me laugh out loud. Definitely a five of five stars.

I read two books for the first time, Everything I Found on the Beach (Cynan Jones) and The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins). Everything I Found on the Beach was written beautifully and I loved the language, and though I didn’t love the storyline, the writing gave it a four of five stars for me. It’s a bit of a mysterious book; at the beginning there’s a death but you don’t know anything else about it. In saying this, it’s not a murder mystery; it goes through the daily life of two men. As I was reading, I forgot there was even a death; it does not become important until the last chapter or two.

The Woman in White, what a classic. After four months of making my way through this bad boy, I finally reached the last page. And what a worthwhile journey! I loved every moment of this book, and consider it a favourite of mine. The story is told through alternating point of views, retold as an account of what happens. We go through the mystery of the woman in white and the evil Count Fosco, the narrator changing depending on the circumstance. For instance, we read a servant’s account of a particular day, or a lawyer’s perspective of legal implications, or the letter of an elderly woman who found something out when she was young. It all comes together in the most satisfying way, because I  could not figure out the mystery as it was so complex. I was never bored, and most of the time found myself amused, as each narrator talks with little quirks and adds in funny commentary. Another five of five stars.

Well, there you have it. Finished four books this month. They were all really good reads, which is nice. Sometimes I read a book from the library that’s a two or three of five stars and it’s annoying that I spent my time on it. Alas, that’s life, I suppose.

Sarah xx

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