April wasn’t such a good reading month for me. I went on vacation, work got really busy to the point of giving me headaches (literally) and I spent a lot of time outside basking in the spring sun. After the terrible winter, I was happy to be able to go to parks and do some outdoor activities. I enrolled my kid in a soccer class and evenings are spent either there or in the park. Because of this, my reading time got cut short. I am also trying to sleep early these days so that I can wake up early in the morning.
I went on a trip to Portland and got to visit Powell’s Bookstore, which is considered world’s biggest bookstore. I will have a detailed post up on that bookstore along with some pics. I bought three books there. See how good I am getting these days at resisting myself? Few years back, I would have bought 13 books from a bookstore that huge and amazing. Now I have developed a lot of self control. I read two out of these three books in April.
The books I read this month are :
1. Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport – 5 stars
I have been trying to get better at planning my time this year. Along with minimalism of everything else, I am looking at ways in which I can minimize the time spent on doing unnecessary stuff so that I can spend that time on something which is useful to my life. That’s when I stumbled upon this book. There is nothing ground breaking here. It’s mostly common sense and we already know social media is bad for us. The author has done some research on this topic and mentions in what way social media is harmful and what steps can be taken to minimize the usage of smartphones.
I got motivated after I started reading this book. Within a week, my smartphone usage reduced by 35%, which was a huge change and I had not even read this book fully. I am planning to spend time on other activities and reduce my screen time. I was spending way too much time on social media and I was addicted to them. I quit and unsubscribed from many groups, pages and friends to reduce my newsfeed on Facebook. I am planning to clean my timelines on other social media too. I disabled all kinds of notifications on my phone which is helping me a lot. I will try to implement more ideas from this book.
2. American Cozy by Stephanie Pedersen – 5 stars
I found this gem while browsing through the world’s biggest bookstore – Powell’s last weekend. They had a section dedicated to minimalism and I found this book there. The title intrigued me and it was worth reading. The author tries to combine Hygge with minimalism while also describing how one can apply hygge while leading an American lifestyle. There were lot of interesting tips which I plan to make use of. Good book to read if you are interested in adopting a minimalistic lifestyle.
3. Organization Hacks by Carrie Higgins – 4 stars
I saw this book in a section dedicated to books on minimalism in Powell’s (world’s biggest bookstore) when I visited it few weeks back. The book has plenty of interesting ideas and hacks to organize. My only grouse is that it has absolutely NO pictures. Sometimes you have no idea what the author is even talking about. Some of the ideas won’t work as we need a picture to accompany the text in order to understand what the author is even saying.
Otherwise a great collection of ideas for storage and home organization.
4. Why I killed Gandhi by Nathuram Godse – 4 stars
Thanks to the wonderful review of Shantala, I decided to read this book. Since it was a 10 page long ebook, I breezed through it within 10 mins. It was powerful but had nothing new that I didn’t already know. I knew why Gandhi was killed and why division of the country was a really bad move. We are still suffering from the consequences of dividing a country based on religion. Religion should never be the deciding factor for making any kind of political decision. But what I did not know were the other reasons behind his assassination. It was not just the division that provoked Godse. Would we get freedom through violence and without Gandhi’s non violence movement? I am not sure as we were not successful for 100 yrs through violence. But WWII happened which weakened British so could we succeed with just violence? I am not sure.
Do read this book if you are curious like me.
5. What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings–and Life by Laura Vanderkam – 4 stars
It’s a short book (around 40 pages) about utilizing our mornings in a better manner. I have been trying to wake up early in the morning and needed some push. Miracle Morning that I read last month was horrible. This book was much better but too short. The author makes some nice points but wish it were a proper book with more tips and ideas. Still a good read.
Now for the rant……
6. (Half of) The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – DNF – 1 star
I bought this book mostly for the beautiful cover. People kept comparing this to Lord of the Rings and I had to pick it up. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. This book was dreadfully boring. Nothing happened even after reading 381 pages which is like half of the book. I could not force myself to read 400 more pages of this boring crap so ended up DNFing it.
How could someone make a story which involves interesting creatures like dragons boring?! I am surprised that even with matriarchy and dragons, I couldn’t read this book.
The characters were flat and one-dimensional, none of them were interesting. Author doesn’t reveal much about any character because of which we cannot form our own opinions on them. We just have to believe the author when she says someone is evil. There is no explanation as to why that person is evil? Why that person wants to kill others? I didn’t care for anyone in this book. Even the main character Ead who is slightly interesting compared to everyone else couldn’t hold my interest because of the whiny Queen that she is always with.
The story line was not interesting either. I read this book with some of my friends who kept saying the story will pick up speed but it never did or even if it did, I didn’t really care for the story. Every time the dragons attack, Ead attacks one of them and they just turn back as if they were dogs or cats. Dragons are not at all scary in this book.
Multiple POV did not work as all the characters were boring. Roos was annoying and I hated his POV. Tane was boring and I didn’t care for her POV either. Loth’s POV was the only one I was interested in but Loth himself was boring and flat and I didn’t care even if he was about to die. This author is pretty bad at portraying characters.
The author takes inspiration from GRRM and tries to kill characters to create an impact. But I felt nothing when some characters died because she didn’t develop them well. The gay love story, sudden deaths of characters – it all felt forced.
The writing was horrible too. It was written like a YA novel. I cringed at so many passages. Queen saying “Damn you, obstinate bitch”. At least the language should have been faithful to the medieval period and should have been more formal in tone.
A disappointing read and over hyped for no reason. This is nothing like Tolkien’s work so people who call it Female version of Lord of the Rings, please stop. It is more like a bad ripoff of LOTR with the Nameless One who is like Sauron, the dark lord and the High westerns who are more like the Nazgul. But none of them are scary.
I also read some part of The Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse which I plan to finish in May.
So what did you read in April?
I wonder if they allow taking photos in that world’s largest bookstore – so that we could have also glimpsed inside. I am also fascinated about minimalism – especially minimal design principles. Would love to learn more on that.
I took photos stealthily. I am planning to make a post on the bookstore soon (as soon as I get some free time). You should read up about minimalism. It’s really wonderful.
That’s really interesting about Priory! I’ve only seen people saying it’s AMAZING. Good to know others didn’t like it so much
Yeah I am one of the very few who didn’t enjoy it I think.
GRRM is responsible for inspiring some really bad writers to get successful imitating his techniques. Pity, they never learnt from him how to make us care for a character first.
That’s so true. Everyone wants to create the next Game of Thrones and try to copy some of his techniques like killing characters. And people hype every fantasy book that comes out, calling it the next GOT or next LOTR which I am really pissed off about. Waste of money and time for us.