April Reads

This month has been very successful. I’ve done more physical reading than I have in a while. Plus, I finished two books off my overall reading list. I really think this is the point where I can continue to make my goals without too much stress.  

The Changeling by Victor LaValle 

Emotionally, this book had a lot. The building and crumbling of relationships both between lovers and friends. The way Apollo and Emma moved from dating, to marriage, to new parents. Especially the new parent part – very relatable. The strength in the friendship between Apollo and Patrice was one of my favorite bits. They would do anything for each other and they called out the other’s bullshit, no matter what.  

The dramatic rises of this story were also a lot. When Emma commits the horrible act, I’ll admit, I almost couldn’t go on. At least it wasn’t described in detail. That would have been too morbid for me to handle.  

The last few chapters were also – you guessed it – a lot. But they had a different effect on me. When Apollo and Emma reunited and went at each other like rabbits, I just don’t think I bought it. Emma was so frozen and it didn’t show her unthawing really. Sure, the time in the shower could have been that transition. But I didn’t feel it.  

The other problem I had was when they set the fire. They were in the house way too long after the fire started. Not realistic. They didn’t even act like they were in a hurry.  

And overall, this book was just a too much exposition. I liked the story and the characters, but OMG we don’t need to know every single thing they did. It’s a good thing I listened to it on audible or I would have been hardcore skimming. It was a recommendation from the SFF Yeah podcast or I probably wouldn’t have found it at all. It was pretty good, just not great.  

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn 

This book was such an experience. It would have been all around hysterical if there wasn’t that tinge of fear with every letter that fell from the statue.  

I like the style of the book – letters written between citizens of the island – but it was sometimes hard to tell the writers apart. I suppose it is more difficult to tell a person’s characteristics from a letter, but still.  

I’m sure the process of writing the book was another thing entirely. The idea of having to completely omit letters from your vocabulary is a challenge enough. Having to actually do it would surely increase your word bank and I would use it as a writing exercise in a heartbeat.  

It became downright silly the things the townspeople would say to make up for their lost letters. I was laughing out loud at the way they’d date the letters. “Wetty, Onomatopoeia 25” was probably my favorite. (Wednesday, October 25, by the way.) 

I devoured this book in just a few hours. I found it delightful and silly. It was a nice change of pace from the serious horror/mystery/suspense type things I’ve been reading. Makes me think I should look for more books like it to lighten my reading mood a little.  

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman 

So here is a rare occasion where I watched the show before I read the book. Shame on me. However, I loved the mini-series and it made me all the more excited to read the book. Now that I’ve finally gotten around to it, I can say it was amazing. 

The characters were beautiful. Never mind that I pictured them as the actors from the show, but they came across as very realistic. Adam and his friend were such great little kids. Pepper was hilarious and I would have loved to be her friend in real life. Crowley and Aziraphale act like an old married couple, which I’m sure is what any set of people who have been friends for as long as they have would turn in to. Anathema is so no-nonsense that I felt like we could have been friends as well. She’s just the type of person I like to be around. She’s lived her life by the (literal) book and takes all of the people in to her life with no questions asked. They must be there for a reason.  

The way the story bounced between the characters’ lives and the backstory could have been confusing if I hadn’t watched the show, but all the storylines connected in the end for the big picture to come clear. It also allowed the reader to know things before the characters and made it funnier when they found out the truth.  

I could honestly gush about this book forever, so I’ll cut it short instead. I just think everyone should read it. And watch the mini-series. I’m going to watch it again myself.  

APE How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch  

My craft book for the month and a mark off my reading list. I really enjoyed getting through this one. I can always tell a book was full of useful information by the amount of post-it notes sticking out the sides when I’m done with it. This one had a bunch. So much information for me to reference back to as I go through the process of self-publishing my first book.  

This book was pleasantly neutral on all fronts. They gave the information and let you decide which path to take. They navigated through the empire of Amazon and all it has to offer. They also gave tips on how to determine the price of your book. Other books have given me these things, but somehow it appeared simpler this time. The more I read on the subject of self-publishing, the less scary it becomes.  

There’s also a section on building your platform. Which is something I’ve also read about in other books, but still nice to get another person’s point of view on ways to do it. I recommend this book to anyone trying to establish their writing career.  

What has everyone been reading? I know there’s more time to do it during this stay-at-home order. Any suggestions for me?