What I Read in March and April 2021

Let me preface this by saying I had a bit of a busy April. I would have liked posting this on May 1st, but sometimes life gets in the way. The past two months have been good reading months for me! I would liked to have read more, but considering I read over 2,500 pages is still a great achievement. I also read a lot of Shakespeare for my reading goal this year, and I’m surprised that some of the plays didn’t end up being as good as I would have thought. Although not every month will bring amazing reads and stats, I’m still happy with what I read. Here is a wrap-up of what I read in March and April:

March:

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
I’ve owned this book since I was around 16 years old and, for whatever reason, never got around to reading it. The book centres around an unnamed protagonist who has had her jaw blown off by a rifle. It explores her life after the event, and the people she meets who are obsessed with beauty. The novel explores the hold societal beauty standards have on people, and the negative impact it creates. In general, I liked this book, and I can’t imagine how I would have navigated it in my teens. However, there is one part of the book that I feel like it gave a horrible representation of transgender people, and I feel like if this part was cut out of the novel, it would have been a lot better.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
I have a full review for Washington Black up, but to make this short, you need to read this book. It is simply fantastic.

Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare
This is one play by Shakespeare where I wished there was more to it. It’s an enjoyable read, but it ends abruptly. This could be due to the fact that there may be another play written entitled Love’s Labour’s Won. This is suggested to have been written as a continuation of this play—but there’s not enough evidence that this existed. Regardless, I think this play needed more scenes because the ending suggests that there’s more to the story. It definitely felt like a cliffhanger.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
I really enjoyed the story of Addie LaRue, and the vast journey she takes within her immortal life. I thought it was a great exploration of life and death, without it being riddled with cliches. However, during my reading, I couldn’t help but be bothered by the fact that Addie LaRue has been immortal for 300 years, and the only stories she tells are of white people. There is one black character in her present life, but in 300 years she hasn’t had one encounter with a BIPOC? I find that extremely hard to believe. I think Schwab had the opportunity to write a couple chapters of Addie having encounters with BIPOC. She could have explored Addie learning about race and ethnicity after coming out of the country side of France in the 1700s. Since Schwab didn’t do this, I couldn’t give this book a perfect score.

April:

The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Another book that has been on my bookshelf for far too long. It was comforting to read this book after so many years after reading the first one. It was full of nostalgia, and reminded me why I loved the first book so much as a teen. Although I am now in my later 20s, it was fun remembering all the trivial problems a teenaged girl would have. Not everything in this book is trivial per se, but definitely a reminder that my teen years were less dramatic than I thought they were.

The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Simply put, a great collection of sonnets by the poetry king Shakespeare. However, some of the child-bearing sonnets I could have lived without.

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
The Diviners was a novel assigned to me during my second year Canadian literature class in university. I never ended up finishing this novel due to all of the assignments, essays, and other readings I had to do. In April, I thought it was about time I finish this book, and I’m so glad I picked it up. The story centres around Morag Gunn and her life story. It’s told through flashbacks, and present day happenings. When juxtaposed, it really captures how connected her past is to her present. The novel, originally published in 1974, never shies away from discussions about feminism, racial/ethnic identity, and historical accuracy. Laurence combines these elements to tell Morag’s story, but also to tell a history of Canada. I truly enjoyed this novel, and I think more people need to pick up the work of Margaret Laurence. I know I sure do.

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare
Troilus and Cressida wasn’t one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. Although there were many great comedic moments in it, I felt there was a lot lacking in the play. Since the title is Troilus and Cressida, I thought I would be reading more scenes with them featured. However, there are more scenes with the soldiers as the play is predominantly about the Trojan war. I also found it quite odd that by the end of the play, Troilus and Cressida’s story doesn’t have a clear ending. People die in the end, and all I wanted to know was if Troilus survived, and what happened to Cressida?

I’m hoping my reading will be a lot better in May. I think I want to read about 5 to 6 books. I’ll be doing @readwithsam‘s #SparkJoyReadathon, where I hope to read as many books as I can! What did you read in the last two months? What are you planning on reading in May?