April was an okay reading month but I mostly read comics. I was under stress (related to job) about which a separate update post will come soon. Because of the stress, I could not read much. Also that resulted in my absence from this blog as well (hence the super late wrap up post). But I still wanted to have my wrap up posted here since doing these wrap ups have resulted in me reading more books. I feel accountable for my reading somehow and that makes me finish books faster. I read a total of 8 books, out of which 5 were comics/graphic novels.
These are the books that I read in April –
Scott Pilgrim graphic novels vol.4, vol.5 and vol.6 by Bryan Lee O’Malley – 4 stars
I finished the last 3 books in the series last month and I have a full review of the series here.
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey – 3 stars
I read this book even before the Hugo nominations were announced, since I assumed this might make it to the shortlist. And I was right. This book is one of the nominations for Novella category this year. It seems US government had planned to import hippos to resolve meat problem back in late 1800s. This book is an alternate history storyline where this really happens and there are feral hippos in the Mississippi river endangering everyone’s life. This book has a very interesting and unique premise.
But I still cannot understand why this was nominated for Hugo’s and why it’s even considered a sci-fi since it was just an alternate history speculative fiction. I have read books on dinosaurs, tigers and such beasts eating men, so this was different seeing hippos attacking and eating men. But seeing the main characters kill hippos for no reason made me cringe. I mean, yeah a hippo killed your friend but you don’t have to take revenge by killing it when it didn’t even attack you.
It was refreshing to see people riding hippos instead of horses in the Wild West. This book had lot of diversity – a fat woman, a bisexual/gay character and a non-binary or gender neutral character (I guess since it was never mentioned) who is addressed as “they” by everyone in those days(a little unbelievable for those days when people wouldn’t be so accepting). The (gay?) love story also seems pretty unrealistic for that time period and it wasn’t even developed well. It was almost like instalove. But still a fun western story, if you are looking for something different.
Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen – 5 stars
This book was as funny as her all her other books were. I loved all the comic strips, most of which are about introverts and nerds. There was a small section at the end with some advice for budding artists.
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – 3.5 stars
I read this book for 2 reasons – 1. The second book in this series got nominated for Hugo awards. 2. This is being called Nigerian Harry Potter by everyone.
I liked this book but for some reason did not love it as much as I thought I would. Everyone’s calling it Nigerian Harry Potter and I agree with that. This book is about a girl who discovers that she is a witch and is introduced to a new magical world that she had no idea existed parallel to our world. I enjoyed reading this book because it was so similar to Harry Potter. But I also ended up comparing every single scene to some scene in Harry Potter and that decreased my enjoyment level. Knives are used instead of wands, football/soccer replaces Quidditch etc.
I did love the world building and the magical world a lot. The way knowledge and learning is given more importance and Chittim is earned by gaining experience/knowledge was what I loved the most. The most powerful person in this world is the librarian. How cool is that?! I also liked the part about sexism in African culture. It reminded me a lot about Indian culture where women are treated in a similar manner. But still this was a culturally challenging book to read since we see kids smoking cigarettes, children getting caned for their mistakes which doesn’t happen even in India.
The way children are sent to deal with a powerful wizard somehow did not make sense to me. It is never explained why adults are not dealing with a serial killer and instead keep sending children to fight with him. It is also mentioned that earlier groups died trying to get rid of this evil wizard. For some reason, I never end up loving this author’s books, even though I like them. I also did not get attached to any character for some reason. I did not care if someone got hurt or died. I was very much detached from the world.
Will try to get hold of the next book in the series sometime (but not in a hurry). This is YA and not for middle graders/children.
Paper Girls vol.4 by Brian K. Vaughan – 4 stars
This is the only graphic novel series that I am faithfully following. Otherwise I mostly pick series which are already complete. Finally the authors reveal the plot and things start making sense in this volume. I loved this volume a lot. I think the 3rd and 4th volumes are the best so far. Some moments were really great in this volume. Time travel, people from future speaking in some weird languages, kickass girls – everything I love in one comic.
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – 5 stars
I didn’t expect this book to be that good. It’s even better than Gone Girl and The girl on the train. These earlier reads did not surprise me as I was able to guess the murderer/suspense element in those books. But this book blew me away with the shocking ending, which I hadn’t guessed at all. Loved everything about this book, even the big reveal about Anna’s family. That scene made my heart wrench. I am a mother and because of that, I had a hard time digesting that scene. Definitely one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read. Worth all the hype it is getting.
Also loved how the author has made this book sound like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. If you love Hitchcock’s movies, you will love all the movie references in the book.
Spoiler: I guessed that it might be like the Vertigo movie but the ending was pretty shocking.
So what did you read in April? What are you reading in May?