April Reads

Month Count: 8 books, 2 audiobooks, 10 total
Year to Date: 14 texts (2020 goal – 12), 6 audiobooks, 20 total

At the beginning of April, my wonderful friend, and one of the main reasons I’m doing this as a resolution started “spamming” me with Kindle sales. Nothing against her, but my “Want to Read” list grew three fold in the first week of the month. As a result, I started borrowing Landon’s Kindle we got him for his 6th or 7th birthday when he was reading a lot more. It’s been sitting around for the most part for a year or so and he said he wouldn’t mind if I started using it more regularly. Ha, like he had a choice.

Wow, as you can tell – April was one for the record books! I made a goal to read one book per month for the year and I read EIGHT this month alone, plus two audiobooks with my Audible subscription! I’ve officially hit my 12-book goal, but refuse to stop there. If you’re following me on Goodreads, my “Want to Read” list is up to 69 books, I’m currently reading 4 books and haven’t picked out my next Audible… I have a group chat going with Amanda and April, who inspired me to start this resolution/goal, and I just couldn’t imagine that there are exponentially more books on my “Want to Read” list than I can even keep up with. Whew!!

Verity by Colleen Hoover – I took a recommendation from April and it happened to be free on Kindle. I literally read this in barely a day. It’s short, sweet (well, not really), and scintillating. The twists and turns grab you and keep you reading. The ending just stops! And leaves you wondering what the heck to believe. WHO to believe. I loved it. I’d actually read it again. Five stars… If you’re not a great reader, but want to try reading something during your downtime to pass the time or get your head out of the news, this is probably a good one for you. I’m surprised it’s not a movie! Five stars.

the 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – What fun, what fun! I saw this on a friend’s IG story and she offered to mail it to me. Oooh a book in the mail, how 1990’s!!! Honestly, I was so excited and her daughter made me a few bracelets that were in the package as well. MADE. MY. DAY! Ok, this book is a solid five stars. So different than anything I’ve read and I’m so glad someone recommended it because I don’t know that I would have given it a shot. It’s like reading through an episode of Netflix’s Black Mirror version of a game of Clue set in the Tudor’s backyard during Groundhog Day (you know, the movie with Eddie Murphy? No… BILL MURRAY! omg…). How fitting, right? Seeing as how we’re 3 1/2 weeks into this Stay Home COVID19 quarantine and a solid 4+ weeks to go (so far). Things do seem a little bit like Groundhog Day. Anyway, I’m passing this one onto my sister to entertain, but do yourself a favor and dig into this novel! Five stars.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann – Growing up in Northern Minnesota, just about the only diversity I experienced was with our Native American population. Cloquet borders the Fond du Lac Reservation and I graduated from the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College with my Associates Degree. Short story long, I’ve seen a bit of injustice toward Native American populations and had to research Anishinaabe history throughout my coursework at FDLTCC. I have many friends from high school who have embraced their culture and are empowering our generation to continue the education and continuance of their heritage. As hard as it is to read about the trials, terror, and injustices served toward the Osage Tribe, it’s important to continue educating ourselves that this happened. Additionally, as a Murderino, I think it’s important to make sure we don’t just discuss crimes of blonde white girls. Missing and Murdered shed light on Finding Cleo, a victim of the Sixties Scoop in Canada and it definitely worth a listen. I devoured this book and you should, too. FIVE stars. Oof-dah.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – This is a novel I started a long time ago at the recommendation of my friend, Mary. Her family is from Ghana and I’ve had many long conversations during our runs and through text about topics surrounding race, diversity, culture, and equality. It’s not lost on me that I’m a blonde haired, blue-eyed white girl and I’ve not been exposed to a lot of the injustices faced by my friends. I think it’s important for me to read, learn, and try to be more aware. Homegoing is a really incredible and super powerful family saga spanning something like 250 years. It creates a connection to this family that is so strong, you feel sadness, anger, and somehow strength right along with them. Five huge stars, and a really important conversation to continue.

Credit: @featherboundbooks on IG

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Audiobook on Audible narrated by Cassandra Campbell… Meh, I don’t remember like the first two hours of the book. A little here and there – and not for the performance of Cassandra Campbell. It was just really hard to get into and took a LONG time to capture my attention. Eventually Owens’ writing caught me and I think it was more about Kya’s love for the marsh and how poetically beautiful that relationship was portrayed. But along the way she twists into a weird Nicholas Sparks’ love triangle like a terribly predictable “meek and feeble girl falls for the wrong love interest, a jock who takes advantage of her, while the true love of her life watches in suffering until she figures out her mistake.” The ending was beautiful, and far less predictable than the rest of the book. I ended up sobbing uncontrollably with a wonderfully ugly emotional release. Overall, I don’t understand the hype – I’m guessing Reese Witherspoon found something that resonated with her and generated most of the publicity. Three-ish stars… Since that’s 90% of the book, I’ll let you read the last 3-5 chapters and save yourself the time.

Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey – Ooof. I dug into this fast and hard and couldn’t put it down. I grew up in northern Minnesota during the late 1980’s and 1990’s and the case of Jacob Wetterling absolutely shaped so much of my childhood. Lourey creates a fictional account with facts intertwined around exactly this. She grew up much closer to the Wetterling case. Read her blogpost about her book here: http://jessicalourey.com/blog/unspeakable-things. Solid five stars, read asap!

The real case about Jacob Wetterling went unsolved for 27 years, with the long-time person-of-interest finally admitting to the crime and showing officials where his remains were in 2016.

ricardo_pena_araujo on Instagram- October 1972 in the Valley of the Tears after the crash

Out of the Silence: After the Crash by Eduardo Strauch – One Google image search for 1972 Andes plane crash will send you spiraling into a rabbit hole of WTF and amazement. Having survived my own mid-air plane collision in 2013, I was curious to read another’s experience that hits so close to home. The two incidents aren’t even remotely close to similar, but I could draw a lot of parallels to parts of his book as I read. Eduardo writes beautiful and describes literal worst case scenarios only becoming continually worse throughout his retelling. It’s something I can’t recall ever hearing about, but suddenly find myself needing to know more. I’m going to give it four stars but with a strong recommendation that you should read it.

Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg – Meh, it was interesting and short. And because I’ve been to Los Angeles enough times, I knew a lot of the local landmarks they were talking about (Mulholland and Mulholland, the 101, the 405, Coffee Bean, Ventura, Topanga Canyon, etc). But like LA, the book lacked depth, was really predictable, and even the climax read like a surface-deep LA rejected script. It’s pretty juvenile and I think better suited for someone in their early to mid-teens. Three stars. Maybe two-and-a-half.

Phenomenal  A Hesitant Adventuer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion – I resonated pretty hard with this book, moreso with the birth of my first child 13 years ago than with my daughter 15 months ago. I’ve fought criticism for most of my “career” as a mother for unconventional life. As a single parent for so long I just brought him along on my adventures and we figured it out. Why would a single mom also have hundreds of skydives? Is it acceptable to put myself first sometimes? Can you be a parent and still have adventures? What are you compromising for your child and family if you selfishly pursue your own goals? What are you compromising if you don’t… Four stars, pretty solid recommendation for anyone who is a parent who feels like they’ve lost themselves and their marriage as a result of adding children to the mix. (It’s okay to admit that)

Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown by Anne Glenconner, Audiobook on Audible narrated by Anne Glenconner – what a trip! Firstly, LOVE love LOVE that she narrates her own book and her voice is the epitome of British royal accents. Such a dream to listen to and what a crazy glimpse into the world of the monarchy! Though Lady Glenconner isn’t royalty herself, she’s been connected to British royalty for generations. Her father was equerry (read: aid) to King George VI (1895-1952), and his mother was a mistress of Edward VIII (aka Prince Edward, aka Duke of Windsor – 1894-1972). She grew up with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret (read: the current Queen Elizabeth) and was appointed Princess Margaret’s Lady in Waiting after a lifelong friendship. My jaw dropped thinking about a prestigious, expecting her to be prude “Lady” recounting hilarious and embarrassing details of her honeymoon, plotting to seduce and kill Hitler, being married to a bully prone to overt mental breakdowns (including pulling the emergency inflation handle of a life raft DURING A FLIGHT because he was panicking that the aircraft was going to go down…), and heartbreaks of dealing with a heroin addicted son who also had severe OCD, another son who contracted HIV and later AIDs, and just really is a story about a woman’s fight to stay resilient over decades of weird, amusing, and sometimes shocking life. Five stars, and I’d give it a sixth just for getting to listen to her speak for so many hours.

So, being that its’ the 28th of the month, I doubt I’ll finish anything I’ve started or have on my wish list before the end of the month… Follow me on IG (@RunningYogiMom) and see my story highlight: 12 Books to see what I’ve read so far this year, or check out the previous months’ recaps here:

January & February Reads: https://runningyogimom.blog/2020/03/07/reading-resolution-january-february-2020-recap/

March Reads: https://runningyogimom.blog/2020/03/28/march-reads/

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