Well holy cow pies, Bat Girl, it’s May. MAY. When I was a kid and bemoaning how long it was taking Christmas/Summer Vacation/the Renaissance Festival to arrive, various adults used to smugly inform me that time passes more quickly once you get older, which I always found kind of obnoxious. Weirdly enough it’s true, and somehow we’re almost halfway through 2016 and an entire month whizzed by without me posting much of anything on here. Nikki has an excuse for slowing down in that she’s had a whole ginormous life shift, but I don’t know that I have as much of an excuse aside from general exhaustion. I was sick for the first week of April, then spent the next week freaking out because I was moderating a discussion at a huge school librarian conference here in sunny Los Angeles. Compounding all this is the fact that in the world of schools we are rapidly hurtling towards the end of the academic year, which translates to a lot of frazzled high school students, mentally checked out tweens, and one burnt out Erika. The upside of this burn out is that I actually got quite a lot of reading done this month; I’ve been luxuriating in spending tons of time on my couch or in bed with my nose buried in a book, I just haven’t had the intellectual wherewithal to actually produce much of anything of late.
What did I actually read in April? Well, let’s see.
That’s five for the month (and tbh I read MOST of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire but god damn that book is over 700 pages long so it’s taken me about a week and a half to blast through that one for the third time? Fourth time? Whatever), which brings my 2016 total up to twenty-six. My desert island book is actually a bit of a shocker to me: Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light, a gorgeous, lush historical novel about a poor young woman trying to realize her dreams of going to college to become a writer who gets caught up in the real-life murder mystery that inspired An American Tragedy. There’s a lot to love about this novel: the rich 1906 upstate New York setting in an area I know quite well thanks to my undergraduate career (which is also the origin of my friendship with Nikki, wee!); the dynamic, fully realized cast of characters, led by the memorable Mattie Gokey, whose love affair with words provides the framework of a narrative full of the tensions of the time; and the story itself, which somehow manages to simultaneously be quiet and desperate at the same time. It’s a gorgeous book, one that I was able to lose myself completely to for hours at a time.
In other reading news that I feel is worth mentioning, I was able to finish listening to Blue Lily, Lily Blue in time for the April 26 release of my most highly anticipated book of the year, The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. My autographed copy of the book arrived from her local bookstore in Richmond, Virginia last week and EGADS AM I READY. After spending the past few months listening to (and re-listening to) the first three books in the series, I feel like I’m in an exclusive relationship with Will Patton’s voice. I am honestly considering buying those audiobooks because I love his reading of them SO MUCH.
I also feel I should mention that I read my second Okorafor book and I think I’m done with her. I know that Nikki LOVES HER, but it’s a love that I just don’t share. I think she has excellent ideas and can put together a beautiful sentence, but her execution tends to be sloppier than I can forgive; she relies very heavily on insta-magic and insanely fast resolutions so that the end result reads like a big old mess, at least to me. I adored the first half of Who Fears Death but by the end I had to sit myself down for an afternoon and force myself to finish because I had lost interest so completely. The magical quest turned into a tedious soap opera with two of the female characters literally throwing sand in each other’s eyes in the middle of the desert; there was a TON of page time devoted to who was sleeping with whom and who was throwing what kind of side-eye shade and only about….two pages on the final magical showdown that was over in half a second thanks to insta-magic. I almost read the conclusion to Who Fears Death twice because I was so confused about what had actually happened but then I realized I just didn’t care enough to do so.
Well, that’s all, folks. Til next month…