Reviews and Essays

April Reading Wrap-Up

April has come and gone. It brought with it more social distancing, nicer weather, more social distancing, 10 books to pass the time, and more social distancing. It has by no means escaped me that if going mildly stir crazy is my biggest issue during this crisis, I’m very well off. I truly appreciate that neither myself nor my loved ones have gotten sick, and my heart goes out to anyone who has.

To lighten the mood: April book picks! As usual, I’ll showcase 3 books I loved, 1 that was not for me (NFM), and what I’m currently reading. Here we go.

Three Books I Loved

1. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

My Best Friend's Exorcism

“She screamed a scream she’d been saving since birth, a scream made out of everything that had ever hurt her, a scream so shrill and so loud that the walls split, and the ceiling cracked, and paint chips rained down as Abby held on to the bed.”

I picked up this book after hearing about it on my favourite book podcast, Reading Glasses. That the hosts both agreed that it was legitimately scary got my attention, since I have a tough skin for horror and tend to find it more entertaining than fear-inducing. I will say that I have to agree… this one has some pretty creepy moments! But at its core, it’s unapologetically about friendship, and I love that. It had a lot of heart. The throwback setting, being set in 1988, is just a really fun bonus.

2. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls

“She had never been averse to burning bridges she was still trying to cross.”

I love Karin Slaughter, but I tend to need long breaks between her books because of how visceral a reaction I have to the violence. I’m a bit of a horror-junkie, but I tend towards stories with a supernatural slant. Conversely, when violence feels ripped from a headline it’s off-putting to me. But I’m a sucker for a good twisty-turny narrative, and Slaughter always provides. Pretty Girls was no exception. My mom and I did this one as a buddy-read and both agree that it’s a top-notch thriller, brimming suspense and surprises. It’ll be a while before I pick up another one of her books, but I don’t doubt that I will eventually.

3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

Picking this up in the middle of the current pandemic was a very strange experience. I had bought it a long time ago (when the hype was still pretty fresh) but had since forgotten what it was about. So, imagine my surprise when I realized the characters were dealing with a devastating mutation of the SARS flu that eventually wipes out most of the world’s population. And yet, this is a quiet and contemplative book. It was unsettling and surreal, but also intensely cathartic and comforting. Simply put: a beautifully constructed piece of sci-fi literature.

NFM

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls

After falling in love with My Best Friend’s Exorcism, I thought I’d read some more Hendrix and try to recreate that feeling. No such luck. While it was very clear to me what Hendrix wanted to say in MBFE, I really wasn’t quite sure what he was saying in this one. The concept was interesting, but the overall message felt scattered and not cohesive (nor coherent, for that matter). Oh well, you win some, you lose some! This one just didn’t quite land for me.

Currently Reading

  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (a re-read)
  • The Shining by Stephen King (first go-around, though I’ve seen the movie)

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