I flew through six books in April. I went on a novels binge, which always helps, because once I’m engaged in a story I read it pretty quickly.

I’ve been trying to replace my downtime urge to mindlessly scroll through Facebook with reading a non-fiction book on the Kindle app on my computer instead, and in large part it’s been working pretty well. I got bogged down when my book of choice was The 4-Hour Workweek by Timoth Ferriss, though, so that one is still lingering in my “currently reading” category. I should probably consider it abanadoned here before too long. In general I think I like the concept–that if you’re efficient and automate things you can accomplish a lot in a little time, and free yourself up to enjoy life on your terms–but I could have gotten the gist from a blog post or a bulleted list. The writing is not great, and Ferriss comes across as awfully cocky to me. (I mean, he’s a veritable empire at this point, so I can’t blame him, but it’s not pleasant to read.)

Anyway, on to the books I did read:

This one was a big book, and I liked it. I was able to check it out from the library as an e-book, a system that works really well once you figure it out! I even renewed it online and re-delivered it to my Kindle. I’m so fancy. I enjoyed trying to envision the parts of the city the book took place in, even though I’m not super familiar with Paris, and I loved the sense of place it evoked. Not all of the characters and their stories were as fleshed out as I might have liked, but it was already long enough!

This was April’s book club read, and I read it pretty quickly. I’ve never been a huge Pride and Prejudice fan, so I appreciated how the author recapped some of the characters and plotlines. It was enjoyable to read but not a great book overall. The mystery plot was not intriguing enough, and Wickham wasn’t a strong enough central character. All of us agreed at book club that we wanted more romance and more Elizabeth + Darcy.

Okay, plenty of romance in this one (OF COURSE). You know I liked this one. I can’t help myself. It didn’t have the typical Nicholas Sparks suckerpunch of a twist, though it did have one sad thing happen (which I had predicted a few pages in advance). Surprisingly, I don’t think they’ve turned this one into a movie yet.

I picked this one up from Powell’s Books in Portland, OR when Andy and I were on vacation to celebrate our 5-year anniversary. I had decided I was going to buy an indie press book there to satisfy that entry on my reading challenge, and this was the one that jumped out at me. It was published by a small press in Portland, and it sounded like a fun, beachy read. I enjoyed the story well enough, but the book was riddled with typos, which I found very distracting.

Y’all, my friend Steph WROTE this book. How cool is that?! She asked me if I would read it and write an Amazon review, but I promise this is not a biased response. I really did enjoy the book. I’ve been on both sides of the volunteer equation (as a volunteer and as a staff member of a non-profit that used volunteers), so a lot of the stories in the book resonated with me. It was neat to be able to pinpoint why some things had worked really well and why others weren’t good experiences. It’s geared toward faith-based ventures, but the tenets would hold elsewhere too I think. It was readable but also would be very easily applied as a checklist.

Y’all, this book. It got so much buzz last year and made its way onto my TBR list. I picked it up on sale for my Kindle awhile back but for some reason I had been resisting it. I was wrong. I didn’t think it was in my typical genre, but it was so beautifully written and so interesting. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this one. It deserved every character of hype it got.

2 more reading challenge tasks marked off: a romance novel and a book published by an indie press. 11 left to go, which means I’m just over halfway completed and less than halfway through the year. I have my book of poetry and my graphic novel all queued up.

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Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman