I think we’re all on the same page here that 2020 is just…horrible. Right?
So let’s just leave it at that.
I did a lot of stress reading but had no desire to do any of my reviews…which left me at a backlog of 16 reviews I needed to write at one point and two weeks where I didn’t post here at all. I just. No. It wasn’t happening. I was consuming words to cope, and was unable to create anything myself. Even in the form of reviews or blog posts or anything.
But I caught up (mostly) and April is pretty much already scheduled. This was thanks to a four-day weekend that I had had planned for my wife’s birthday before the pandemic. We had to cancel our plans to travel, but spent a nice time at home working on the garden, staining the deck, catching up on book reviews (me), schoolwork (her) and generally decompressing from HellMarch.
I read 15 books total, which boiled down to 12 print books, two audiobooks, one graphic novel and one (bonus) novella (which doesn’t count in my overall book count since it’s under 150 pages). Overall, that was nearly 40 hours of listening (both audiobooks were long) and 6,028 pages.
The listening hours don’t count the 16 hours of Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton I’ve listened to. It’s 36 hours long, but I’m cruising through and loving every minute.
But who cares about stats—what did I read??
Lots of empires in my favorite reads this month! The deconstruction of colonialism was definitely a theme in my reading, unintended as it might have been. Anyway, all of these were excellent.
How to Hide an Empire was riveting, anger-inducing and fist-clenchingly fantastic. If you don’t know much about America’s imperial history and you are an American, then this book is going to make you uncomfortable. Read it.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune was a brutal take-down of the patriarch through the anger of silenced and nameless women, and it was beautiful, short and perfect in every way. Look for this on next year’s award lists.
The Empire of Dreams was like a warm hug welcoming me home. It covers very uncomfortable subjects, but I loved Red so much and literally everything about this book. It was a (probably unintended) love song to Tamora Pierce and everything I love about YA fantasy.
The Collapsing Empire was the kind of space opera I love. Political machinations, wildly different POVs, and people who are my kind of assholes. Except Marce, who is too sweet for the world.
Welp, these were all varied—and hey! Give me a pat on the back for actually reading some backlist titles! Go me! Blackout and Pretty Girls were engrossing for entirely different reasons, as they are two very different books from very different genres. Blackout is a slower-paced time-traveling masterpiece of the 1940 Blitz, and Pretty Girls is a fast-paced, psychological thriller about a serial rapist and murderer.
What I Like About Me and Camp Spirit were both different and yet united in genre, although *tears* technically Camp Spirit is historical fiction (1994 sooo…). Both were awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
Docile was capitalism on crack, with a hard look at solutions to the snowballing debt effect. It was very gay, very uncomfortable, and very brainwashy. Definitely one to check out, particularly if you’re looking for books written by trans men.
Just because I gave these three stars didn’t meant I didn’t enjoy them!
However, I’ll start out with the two underwhelming three stars. Smoke Bitten was a filler and did nothing to advance anyone’s life. I enjoyed it, but Briggs can do better. The Hand on the Wall was the third and final book in the Truly Devious trilogy, a trilogy I absolutely hated because I dislike books about precocious artsy teenagers but had to finish because the fucking cliffhangers. It was better than the first two, but marginally. Two stars, with one added because Effie was really dead.
If I Never Met You and The Honey-Don’t List were both enjoyable contemporary romances that were good but not excellent. I feel like If I Never Met You could have been edited down a bit more and The Honey-Don’t List needed a stronger finish.
Harley in the Sky and The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly were quick young adult contemporaries that both had romances that they didn’t reaaalllly need. They were good, but missing that extra punch that would bring them to four stars, IMO.
What did you read this month?