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It’s a wrap! : April 2011

What does Easter Eggs and Will and Kate have in common?

They both are the cause of celebration for the month of April!

I think 6 books read are considered good for a month full of celebration mood. For the Easter break, my family and I made a short break to Glasgow and Edinburgh and was pleasantly surprised by two cities with such contrast, but the sea mist and wet weather in Edinburgh sort of dampen my holiday mood in the city. We have wandered around the Royal Mile, seen the Edinburgh castle etc. but didn’t enjoy it as I could expect it to. Anyway more about that on later post.

Here are what I have read for the month:

  1. As the Earth Turns Silver by Alison Wong (3.5 stars)
  2. The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder (3.5 stars)
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (3.5 stars)
  4. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar (5 stars)
  5. Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar (4 stars)
  6. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (4 stars)

I have quite a many controversial books read this month. Wuthering Heights turned out to be nasty surprise but with morbid fascination of brutality and cruelty of love and hatred in the moor, I persist and finished the book. I’m blessed to have some of my blogger friends Jenny of Jenny’s BooksAnaamica of What I have been readingJessica of Park Benches and Bookends and Shellie@Layers of Thought soon to finish the book with me.

The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles is Penguin’s Modern Classic and another strange and peculiar read for me, read my reviews here as to why I think it is so.

Among my favourite is Hisham Matar’s In the Country of Men and Disappearance of a Anatomy which made me feel really good to discover a quiet and powerful writing from a writer who writes out of his experience of losing his father to Gaddafi’s regime. I hope to see Matar publish a few more books as he is a sensitive and a very gifted writer.

April Purchase

For the month of April I bought 14 books, with few surprised addition of murder mysteries which I look forward to consume once I’m through with my literary binge of prize winners, Middle Eastern, Chinese Literature, mythology read, including some books that are adapted to big screen these year, like Water for Elephants and The Help by Kathryn Sockett; which means I’m not sure when is the best time for murder mystery reading binge but I’m sure I’ll get to it one way or another. I think I’m rather behind with my most of reading challenges except TBR.

So here are the books I acquired these month:

One of the things that brought a big smile to me was these sunshine colours book covers above. I was reading The Orange Girl and I went out to the shops at work around Paddington and bought The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano, only to come back and found a package from Anaamica of What I have been Reading from Bangalore on my desk. Anaamica sent me a copy of an illustrated Indian Mythology of Mahabharata by Devdutt Pattanaik. I was over the moon and when I stacked them up together they just gave out this beautiful glow of sunshine colours. I think the warm tone book cover colour is one of my favourite.

This month I have increased purchase by 2 books than what I have bought in March last month but can anyone said no to these March purchase?

From top to bottom:

  1. Arabian Nights translated by Sir Richard Burton
  2. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud ( Man Booker shortlist 2006)
  3. The Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier, adding to my already expanded Du Maurier collection.
  4. The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson.
  5. The Other Side of You by Sally Vickers – which I look forward as it speaks of psychoanalyst and relationship of a woman.
  6. Beyond Nab End is an autobiography of William Woodruff migration from Lancashire to east end of London, striving to make it in life through London slums and surviving through a London under siege in WWII.
  7. Antony and Cleopatra by Colleen McCullough
  8. Enduring Love by Ian McEwan – it’s amazing to find so many of McEwan’s books on the charity book store in the UK. I have 3 of his books now on shelf waiting to be read.
  9. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
  10. Daphne by Justine Picardie – a literary mystery loosely based on Daphne Du Maurier’s life after her failing marriage.
  11. Florida Lonely Planet – was on bargain, I am looking forward to my 4-year plan to bring my boys to Disney World’s Florida. I have been there twice but for business conference.
  12. Shantaram by Gregory Roberts – for strange reason this book always appears as my top post all year round. It is an entertaining read too but wouldn’t hurt to have a copy for re-read.

Plans for May

I may have overestimate my reading speed but I hope to finish these books from library loan in May:

  1. The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson
  2. Nazi Literature in Americas by Roberto Bolano
  3. I think I love you by Allison Pearson
  4. Great Expectations by Charles Dicken
  5. The Vagrants by YunYi Li
  6. For Bread Alone by Mohammed Choukri (translated by Paul Bowles)
  7. One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  8. The Making of Royal Romance by Kate Nicholl, spur by the recent success of the Royal Wedding live coverage, I wanted to find out how Will and Kate romance blossoms.
  9. The Dark Side of Love by Rafik Schami
and also trying to finish the big tome of 2666 by Roberto Bolano by May with Judith on 2666 Read-along. (I still don’t know where the book is heading!)

A little ambitious but fingers crossed if I can get through all these on top of a heavy workload at work in May!

What about you? What are your plans for May? I would really like to hear from you. 🙂

About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


35 thoughts on “It’s a wrap! : April 2011

  1. My goodness!! That is quite the stack!

    My plans for May? To finish up what I’ve got on my shelves. I made the mistake of accepting 7 titles for review last Friday. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was FINALLY putting a dent into my -to-read list and then I added 7 more.

    I want my summer reading to be fun stuff and now I am feeling a bit pressured. Fun stuff to me, btw, are classics and heavier reads and it’s hard to do when I have stuff I promised to review in between. Taints my reading mojo.

    Posted by Ti | May 2, 2011, 9:15 pm
  2. Ti,
    You know what? I felt the same. I used to feel the same I mean.
    I was asked to review 2 or 3 books and in the end I felt pressurised to read them because I seem to be distracted with my more appealing read on the pile.

    I’m happy to say I don’t take review copy anymore and I feel really liberated. I’m now only pressurised by my mounting TBR pile, which is a lesser pressure that keeps me going.

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    Posted by JoV | May 2, 2011, 9:20 pm
  3. What an interesting stack of books. Would love to hear what you think about Amy Tan’s book.

    My plans? I am reading News of a Kidnapping. I plan to pick up a Amitava Ghosh, Haruki Murakami and another Henning Mankell. I also have 3 books for review. I have my hands full, though not as full as yours. Happy Reading!

    Posted by anaamica | May 3, 2011, 4:19 am
    • Ana, It’s interesting that many of you asked about Amy Tan’s Opposite of Fate. I read The Opposite of Fate in 2008 and like it a lot. The book is autobiographical and contains snippets of her reflection of her life, her mother and her vocation as a writer. Nothing short of a compelling read. Highly recommended.

      Your future month read sounds very interesting. I would be interested to know which books you are reading for the three authors you have mentioned! 😉

      Posted by JoV | May 3, 2011, 7:31 pm
  4. I agree with you and Ti that refusing review books is very liberating! I want to read more of Mankell – I wasn’t thrilled with the one I read but I understand it wasn’t his best. I like quick reads in the summer – no heavy topics or classics – not sure why. It’s psychological, I think!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | May 3, 2011, 6:03 am
  5. What a great stack of books you have ahead of you for the month (well except for the royal wedding one – you’re on your own there)

    I’m trying to get my TBR under control but three books arrived on the doorstep today – all review copies I agreed to some weeks ago. NO MORE OF THOSE after the ones already agreed to.

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | May 3, 2011, 12:35 pm
    • Bernadette,
      LOL… with your reading speed, I wouldn’t worry about receiving more review copies. I know I am on my own on the royal wedding thingy, but I’m curious to know how they got to the point of last Friday. I think every girl is a sucker for a Cinderella story!

      Posted by JoV | May 3, 2011, 7:35 pm
  6. Oh. Wow. So many books you have purchased! I am terribly envious of you, because I’m currently on a no-buy regime :s I’m especially looking forward to your thoughts on The Vagrants and that Amy Tan book (her newest?)
    When are you planning to take your boys to Floriday? 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful week (TWO bank holidays, lucky Brit, you ;))

    Posted by Chinoiseries | May 3, 2011, 6:01 pm
    • Chinoiseries, I think it’s best you stick to your no-buy regime. Amy Tan’s book is not her newest, it is her autobiographical account of her life. Chinese lit up next and The Vagrants will be it. The plan for Florida is 2015!

      Actually we lucky brits get 4 days of in consecutive two weekends in April. Remember Good Friday and Easter Monday? and on top of Royal wedding and May bank holidays. I can get used to such long weekends. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | May 3, 2011, 7:38 pm
  7. You read some interesting books in April. Thanks for recommending in the Country of Men to me as I see you gave it five stars. Great acquisitions too. Have fun reading!

    Posted by Geosi | May 4, 2011, 11:46 am
  8. WOW ! An impressive collection of books ! I’ve been wanting to re-start my copy of Arabian Nights for a number of years and perhaps seeing it in your tower of books will be enough to inspire me. I’ve also wanted to read some version of Mahabharata and perhaps seeing it as part of your tower o’ books will inspire me to read it as well.
    Good to see The Vagrants and The Butterfly Mosque on your May list. As you probably remember I read both books last year and liked them, especially The Vagrants.
    As for myself, I have WAY TOO MANY library books on my hands right now, but before the month is over i would like to read a few more Opposing Viewpoints/Current Controversy series from Greenhaven Press plus Reza Kahlili’s autobiography A Time to Betray about his life as an Iranian double agent. I might throw in a little Israeli fiction and and who knows what else !

    Posted by maphead | May 5, 2011, 3:02 pm
    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Would you be reading David Grossman’s To the End of Land? I have been wanting to read books by David Grossman. I’m starting The Vagrants now and Just finished The Butterfly Mosque, I like it. I thought she is very eloquent with her thoughts on culture and dilemma of her belonging to neither cultures.

      Re-start Arabian nights? Why? did you have many false starts before?

      Hope you have a great weekend.


      Posted by JoV | May 5, 2011, 7:43 pm
      • Regarding Grossman’s novel that would be no, but after reading its description on Amazon I think I would like to read it. Thanks for pointing me toward his novel !
        Actually. I was referring to Yishai Sarid’s Limassol. It’s published by Europa Editions I found a copy at my local public library. It looks intriguing.

        Posted by maphead | May 5, 2011, 8:10 pm
  9. looks like a good month Jov some lovely books ,like your new buys too ,have a couple from them the Kerouac I loved years ago mine a older copy thou ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | May 6, 2011, 6:01 pm
  10. I love this wrap up idea.I wish I can still buy more books…but I am on tight schedule to finish all books on my shelf before buying anything new.
    Your read are really random…that’s really awesome, unlike mine

    Posted by Novroz | May 7, 2011, 3:50 pm
    • Novroz, the thing is I only buy used books, so it doesn’t come up to be too much. Most of my money goes to train fare! Ughhh..!!
      Thanks. I like it that way, to be an eclectic reader. It also means every book interests me! 😉

      Posted by JoV | May 7, 2011, 11:49 pm
  11. What great books you had, I really want to try the Matar! And your purchases, wow! Where do you put them again? 😉 I want to visit Scotland next spring, any recs where to go and what to see?

    I really have to do my April wrap-up soon! Hope you’re having a great week, Jo!

    Posted by Bina | May 9, 2011, 8:35 pm
    • Bina,
      I put them on my shelf. I for city tour Edinburgh is definitely a must. Do the tourisy stuff of visiting the castle, the royal mile, the princes street park, Holyrood palace of Queen E etc etc. Glasgow was a surprise metropolitan city and is a short trip to Loch Lomond for a boat trip around the lakes. The true beauty of Scotland though is actually the Fjords and the highlands, although I don’t have the chance to do that I hope you explore a little bit further up north! 🙂

      p/s: I put my books on the shelves. 🙂 You have a great week too!

      Posted by JoV | May 10, 2011, 7:22 pm
  12. Love the photographs of all your books; they make me want to dive in right away! My plans for May? Finish the year of teaching and begin reading! 😉 I have so many challenges I’m behind in.

    I’m glad you stuck it through to the end for Wuthering Heights; in many ways it was a disappointing read for me. I so wish their love story could have lasted longer, but instead we drag on with poor Heathcliff’s obsession for forever. Maybe that’s part of what makes it so enduring a story? We feel for the tragic-ness of his character? Or, maybe it’s just the atmsopheric quality of her writing, as if we were really on the moors.

    Posted by Bellezza | May 10, 2011, 11:27 pm
    • Bellezza, it is the tragic part of Heathcliff that draws many to the story. Both a human and a monster at the same time, Heathcliff is not one that anyone who reads this would forget!
      It makes the two of us Bellezza, I am behind in all my challenges! Yikes! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | May 11, 2011, 9:06 pm
  13. You seem to have read some interesting books, Jo! One of my friends recommended Paul Bowles’ books, but I haven’t read any of them yet. I want to read your review of his ‘The Sheltering Sky’ now. I am into Nick Hornby these days and read his ’31 songs’ recently. I am reading his ‘High Fidelity’ now. I also want to read ‘About a Boy’ soon. Hope you enjoy reading his books. Have you read his book ‘The Polysyllabic Spree’?

    Hope you enjoy reading ‘The Mahabharata’. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. That picture you have posted is really nice!

    Have you heard of the Arabian Nights version translated by J.C.Mardrus? It is called ‘The Thousand Nights and One Night’. It is bigger and better 🙂 Richard Burton’s version is nice though.

    There must be a festive air in the UK because of the royal wedding. Hope you enjoyed the festivities and the wedding and had lots of fun!

    Enjoy reading your new acquisitions!

    Posted by Vishy | May 11, 2011, 3:58 am
    • Vishy, I think I haven’t read the right Hornsby. I read ‘Juliet, Naked’ about a famous pop artist who has one trick pony hit then fell into obscure… and didn’t like it. I have got “How to be good” with me, hopefully that is good. I didn’t know Hornsby wrote a book called ‘The Polysyllabic Spree’, is it good?
      Thanks Vishy for all your well wishes. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | May 11, 2011, 9:08 pm
      • Sorry to know that you didn’t like ‘Juliet, Naked’. Hope you enjoy ‘About a Boy’. I would recommend Hornby’s ’31 Songs’ – it is really wonderful! It is a collection of essays on Hornby’s favourite songs. If you like music, you will love this.

        I haven’t read Hornby’s ‘The Polysyllabic Spree’ but hope to read it soon. I browsed it once in a bookstore. It looks like the forerunner to book blogs like ours 🙂 In it Hornby lists the books that he bought every month and the ones he read every month and shares his thoughts on his books. It looks like a wonderful read for book bloggers like us 🙂

        Posted by Vishy | May 12, 2011, 3:57 am
  14. Your reading (and writing) speed to me is awesome! and I always love the stacked books photos and your posts about book purchasing.. it’s just contagious! 🙂

    Posted by mei | May 20, 2011, 9:13 am
    • Thanks Mei. I would say starting this year, my reading speed and concentration has deteriorated. I haven’t been able to read as much as I like. Those stacks of books sure look enticing don’t they? Even if I may not get around reading them all! 😀

      Posted by JoV | May 20, 2011, 7:43 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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