April 2012 // Books


Oh I’m just loathe to talk about April Books this month. You can probably tell since it is going on the third week of May and I’m just now getting around to it. I usually post about it during the first week of the month because I’m excited to talk books, but man — this was one of my worst reading month thus far. If this were The Bachelor, this would be the Most Dramatic! Rose Ceremony! Ever!

Here’s how it started.

A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
So many people loved this book! It came so highly recommended! I really wanted to love it. And I just…didn’t. It wasn’t for lack of trying, this was actually my third time starting it and checking it out from the library. It is written well, each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character and while they don’t all tell the same story, they are all loosely connected. Typically, this is one of my favorite types of books.

But something for me didn’t connect. I started this book at the beginning of the month and the days just kept ticking by one by one, and I kept leaving this book on my nightstand. Finally it was halfway through the month and I was feeling sad about not being involved with a good book, but still without actual desire to go back to this one. I put it down mid-month, and while I feel bad that I didn’t finish it (Oh how I HATE not finishing a book!) I think it just wasn’t for me. Maybe it’s for you though? Like I said, so many of my trusted reader friends loved it. It’s not you, Jennifer Egan, it’s me.

Then I moved on to a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf forever that I’ve been super excited to read.

The Town That Food Saved: How One Town Found Vitality in Local Food by Ben Hewitt
This book details the journey of Hardwick, Vermont, a small farming community whose economy had fallen on some hard times. It develops a local, sustainable food system that basically turns its economy around.


I just couldn’t get into it this month and that bummed me out. It was not the author or the story, both were very interesting. Clearly I was just a little bit book moody this month. Instead of ruining this book for myself though, I just hit the pause button, put it back up on the bookshelf, and I will come back to it when I am feeling less like an adolescent with respect to my books. But if we’re keeping score, that’s now two books I HAVEN’T finished in April.

Then it was time to move on to the the book I was required to read this month.

You Have No Idea by Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams with Irene Zutell

I’ll tell you what, I have never been so happy to have been forced to finish a book! At this point in the month I was fanning myself on my Victorian fainting couch and feeling overwhelming devastation over my bad luck with books. Well, okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but come on — you know what it’s like to be on an icky book run. So unsatisfying!

So I finished this one. Excellent. And I told you what I thought about it already, so we won’t beat a dead horse. But I do have to mention this one thing: I am fascinated with the life of ghost writers. Or well, celebrity co-authors, shall we say. How do you think one goes about getting that job?

For the record, I would like to offer up my services to have any of the following celebrities air out their dirty laundry to me, while I craft it into a compelling book with a reader friendly format:

*Shemar Moore
*David Beckham
*Ok, ok George Clooney, I will sit down with you IF I MUST!

Seriously, Irene Zutell — how does one get your job?

Lastly, because this month had been so ALL OVER THE PLACE I had to call in a sure thing. Yeah, I’m going to admit it, fluffy chick lit is my sure thing. So I picked up The Beach House by Jane Green

And you know what? This was just fine. Not earth shattering. Not even particularly fabulous. But I wanted to turn the pages every night, it didn’t give me anxiety when I read it before bed (I’m looking at you: The Snowman) and when I finished it I was happy I read it. Well, mostly because it is a book I can check off The Bookshelf Project, and man do I love to cross things off of a list. In that sense the month wasn’t a total loss now, was it?

Luckily I just picked up a huge batch of awesome (I hope) new books from the library that I have been waiting for. Man, the request queue at the library has just changed my life! And also, I’m currently reading a super awesome book (from my bookshelf, no less!) that I will tell you about next month so thankfully my bad luck is not sticking around for two months in a row.


So because I’m so traumatized from last month, do me a solid and tell me one (or all) of the following:

*Your favorite book(s) if you can narrow it down. And it doesn’t have to be your favorite of all time, or particularly fancy, but just a book that you compare others too.

*A book that really made you think, changed your world view, or left a mark on you.

*A super trashy, guilty pleasure book (or series) that you shamelessly enjoy.


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20 comments to April 2012 // Books

  • sizzle
    May 15, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I actually only liked the Goon Squad book AFTER I finished it. During it I was having trouble staying connected.

    Some of my favorites include:
    The History of Love, Nicole Krauss
    Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Sister of My Heart, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
    These Is My Words, Nancy E. Turner
    What is What, Dave Eggers

    I am supposed to reading The Night Circus for my book club and everyone swears it is amazing.

    • Holly
      May 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

      I just picked up a Nicole Krauss book at the library on a lark…I want to say it’s called Great House, maybe? Good suggestions…Thanks!

  • TenaciousCleo
    May 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Yay for books! My favorite thing to do is read in the summer sun with a breeze and a cocktail!

    1. Favorite book of all time — A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

    2. Books that changed my world view? Hmm….that’s a tough one…..actually, maybe not….11/22/63 by Stephen King. It’s beyond thought provoking and makes you think about how every small action impacts the course of life. If you haven’t read it, definitely read it.

    3. Guilty pleasure? Series books like the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, Rizzoli and Isles by Tess Gerritsen and anything Jane Green.

    • Holly
      May 15, 2012 at 9:32 am

      Oh, good suggestions – I haven’t read most of them! I’ve never read anything by Tess Gerritsen either, and I always love hearing about new (to me!) authors. Thanks!

      • TenaciousCleo
        May 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

        The Tess Gerritsen mysteries are REALLY GOOD and you should be able to get all the past ones at your local library. I’ve already put the release date of her newest one in July into my Google Calendar, that’s how psyched I am about it coming out!

  • angela
    May 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

    The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Doesn’t really fall into either of the three categories, but if you’re looking for a great read you won’t be disappointed.

    • Holly
      May 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Oh, I LOVE that book, Angela! Such a fascinating and emotional read. Her new(ish) book Half Broke Horses is on my bookshelf, so I must get to that at some point. Thanks for the reminder. Did you read that one? If so, what did you think in comparison?

  • angela
    May 15, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Oh, of course you’ve already read it :) ! I should have guessed, but it’s so rare I come across a compelling read I just had to share. Thanks so much for posting your book reviews. I’m still reading Glass Castle but will pick up her next one for sure and let you know! Thanks, Holly!

  • Kari
    May 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Let’s see…

    One of my favorite books of all time: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – David Eggers

    Recently loved:
    Estremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Johnathon Safran Foer
    The Descendants (haven’t even seen the movie yet) – Kaui Hart Hemmings
    The Fault in our Stars – John Green (it’s YA, but it reads so well)

    I have so many favorites, this small sampling just doesn’t represent the wide-range of my bibliophile tendencies; I can talk books all day long!

    • Holly
      May 15, 2012 at 9:55 am

      I’m on hold at the library for Fault in Our Stars (YAY!) But I think I’m like # 100 (BOO!) which means I’ll be reviewing it sometime in 2014. haha I didn’t know The Descendants was a book — I’ll have to read it, you know, before I interview George Clooney for that book I’m going to write about him :)

  • Tamara
    May 15, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I think my first comment got eaten, but if it’s just lost in the internet ether and I double post I blame the fetus growing inside of me.

    1. Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion – not sure if it’s my favorite, but I loved it a lot. Same with The Red Tent.

    2. Lives of a Cell and Woman: An Intimate Geography are two sciency non-fiction books that sort of opened my world to enjoying sciency non-fiction. Currently reading 1492 and really enjoying it’s not a page turner, but something I read a little here and there.

    3. Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. If you can find her books on tape/cd/mp3 the ones read by Barbara Rosenblat are FANTASTIC.

    • Holly
      May 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

      It DID get eaten…I have an AGGRESSIVE spam filter, which is mostly an irritation :)

      Thanks for the recos. I love me some Joan Didion (especially since I’ve lived in Sacramento and LA, both of which she writes so eloquently about) but I don’t think I’ve read that one.

  • Maureen
    May 16, 2012 at 7:56 am

    1. The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. A lovely story, and one that I read over and over.

    2. Books that changed my world view? Hmmm…The Harry Potter series. I don’t know if they exactly changed my world view, but I loved them and how they proved that kids have no problems buying books that are 700 pages long.

    One of my favorite memories of book buying-I went to the midnight release of the second Harry Potter book, we all had numbers and they called us up one by one. I am 51 now, so I was quite a bit older than the rest of the people there. Anyway, as the numbers were called, there was such an air of excitement and joy, I will never forget it. A girl of about 14, when her number was announced, screamed like she just saw a rock star. I thought to myself “these are my people!”, and it gave me such hope for the future of books, and literature in general.

    3. I don’t feel guilt about any books I read, but I think I know what you mean-I usually don’t read romance, but love a couple of book series by Mary Balogh. Well rounded characters, and just plain fun.

  • Megan
    May 16, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I just finished two good books – The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin Willis and A reliable wife by Robert Goolrick. Both worth reading.

  • Lisa
    May 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    50 Shades of Grey is definitely the trashiest ive read & read all three.

  • Britney
    May 18, 2012 at 9:08 am

    After reading about your disappointment with April books, I can sympathize but I had an entire year of literary letdown in 2011, with one exception. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a life changer. You will not be diasappointed, until you read your next book that is nowhere near as powerful, profound and moving.

    • Holly
      May 18, 2012 at 9:16 am

      WOW — an entire year? That is so awful, I can’t even imagine :) thanks for the suggestion!





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