The fourth month of 2023 also flown past, and it seems like I’m still in the same mode of juggling different things to be done (not very successfully). Like March, April was also a relatively slower reading month but one I was nevertheless very pleased with. While in terms of quantity read, it was the same as March at 8 completed books (and a ninth started), I managed to join in with two of the three reading events I’d planned to while the third I will also be ‘joining’ in with (though it’s already over :P) This month, barring one nonfiction read (cookbook) and one which would qualify as autofiction, all of my reads were fiction. Genres read included a classic thriller, a French classic, some children’s fiction, and some lighter fiction.

I’d planned as I mentioned in my March Wrap Up to join in with the #1940Club hosted by Simon and Karen, Zoladdiction at Fandaclassiclit, and time permitting, Reading the Theatre by Lory at Entering the Enchanted Castle. So I’ll start my wrap up with these.

Options for the #1940Club (reviews by all participants here) were so many and all so tempting that it really was hard to choose. I ended up reading three books; from my childhood (and even now) favourite writer Enid Blyton, I read The Children of Cherry Tree Farm which is centred around four siblings aged between 7 and 13 who are sent to their uncle and aunt in the country to convalesce after various illnesses. Here they meet a ‘wild man’ Tammylan, and with him explore nature and wildlife around the farm. Next was Monica Dickens’ Mariana, the coming of age story of a young girl growing up between the wars, with varied experiences (including getting kicked out of drama school like Dickens herself) and a somewhat eccentric family. Finally I read a classic thriller A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon in which a bloodcurdling scream marks the beginning of a mystery which leads to three different murders, stolen airplane plans, and espionage (a fun read though far [very far] from PC)

As in the past three clubs, my mom also joined in with two reads, Margery Allingham’s standalone, Black Plumes a mystery set around an art gallery and the formidable matriarch of the family that runs it, and the Christie classic One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, which opens in a setting which makes me as uncomfortable as the characters–the dentist’s!

Then was #Zoladdiction2023 (wrap up post here) hosted by Fanda at Fanda Classic Lit, an annual event which invites readers to celebrate the works of Emile Zola. This gave me the chance to finally (start to) fill in a gap in my reading so far, as I picked up his celebrated Germinal. Hard-hitting and harrowing, this one takes us into the hardships and struggles that formed the daily lives of coal miners, and the consequences when they attempt to try and change things with Marxian ideals as their inspiration. Alongside we also get an insight into the bourgeoise who own or run the mines, their interests and callousness, and far more touchingly the poor horses who must work in the mine, forced to spend their lives far below the earth. Though a tragic tale, this is also an excellent one which presents people in their various shades, also demonstrating how lives are shaped and mishaped by circumstances. I also took a shot at Fanda’s Zola Tag which she created for the occasion though with one one Zola book read, it wasn’t probably the most interesting outcome.

The final challenge was Reading the Theatre hosted by Lory at Entering the Enchanted Castle. I was almost certain I’d read a theatre-based mystery for this, but then NetGalley and Pen & Sword threw up what is the absolutely perfect book for this challenge, Death in the Theatre by Chris Wood. This is a piece of nonfiction which explores (but in an entertaining and fun way), the macabre theme of death in English theatres–various accidents, murders and tragedies that have taken place over the years (we start in 1784), and focusing largely on lesser known ones. I am still reading this book so will be reviewing it only later in the week.

I started my April reading however with a review book, Ike: The Dog Who Saved a Human by Jason Dorland, a former Olympian who tells the story of who a small golden retriever pup, Ike who came into his life initially only as a trainee guide dog, ended up becoming his best friend, and one who changed his own and many other lives he touched. The other nonfiction I read was about (and by) two dogs (well, okay, by their dad) Barkcuterie by the loveable corgis Hammy and Olivia, which gives us recipes and snack board ideas for various seasons and occasions so that us pet parents can fully include our furry family in every celebration to the fullest. These are easy to do recipes and ideas that anyone can attempt, with lovely pictures accompanying each recipe and idea (including of the paw-thors!)

Then to participate in a blog tour I was invited to join in, I read The Widow’s Weeds by Allie Cresswell, a story focused on a group of middle-aged and older women who form a support structure for each other. We explore the story of two of these women, Maisie Wilde who is managing a home renovation (creating a space for widowed women in need of support), her daughter’s approaching wedding, and a suitor for whom she is unsure of her feelings, and Viola whose past journey (from an unhappy marriage to starting a new life and the turns it takes) we explore. I also read another short book about another group of friends, this time teens, Five Fortunes by Barbara Venkataraman, where a trip to a fortune telling arcade leads to some surprising results for each of the girls. This was a very sweet, feel good read, though I am yet to write my review.

So those were my reads this April. For May, apart from completing my theatre challenge, there’s only one reading event I’m hoping to join in with, Daphne du Maurier reading week hosted by Ali at HeavenAli. But this time, since work commitments are still heavier for the better part of the month, I am only going to read one book, The Birds and Other Stories, one I’ve been meaning to read for long. For the rest, it will be catching up with review copies as also once I get freer, some other challenges I hoped to participate in and haven’t managed to start (Le Guin is on the top of this list). And of course, yes, also catching up with fellow bloggers and friends’ posts that have fallen hopelessly behind on.

Keli’s Cat’s Book Corner is still being a little neglected though I have lots and lots waiting to be added, but I do hope you’ve enjoying the catalogue and links on it so far. I hope once things ease up to get to this, and be more regular from now on. Do leave any suggestions you have for the page in the comments, and any fun activities that you think we can plan around it. A cat-book week, may be? If you’d be interested in joining in with a cat-themed book week, let me know in the comments!

How was your reading month? Any reads you especially liked this month? Any you’d like to recommend?


20 thoughts on “April 2023 Reading Wrap Up

  1. I don’t know how so many bloggers – many with actual jobs – get through so many books, I struggle to complete five or six titles a month! Maybe I shouldn’t spend so many day hours on my phone …

    Anyway, what a goodly range you (and your mum of course!) have notched up here. Me? Well, there’s the novel with the spoof Shakespeare play ‘The Tragedy of Arthur’ for Reading the Theatre, ‘City of Illusions’ for my Le Guin readalong, ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ for the 1940 Club, and – just for fun – the thriller ‘The Chase’, Gaarder’s ‘Maya’, and Katherine Rundell’s award-winning children’s fiction ‘Rooftoppers’, for which I have a review scheduled.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The phone is a big distraction for me too. Your reading month looks excellent as well, though I’ve only managed to catch with a few reviews. This month I’m finally hoping to get started on Le Guin (fingers crossed)🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A cat-themed book week, why not? I have to think of some possibilities for that one. I can’t wait to learn more about Death in the Theatre — I wonder if there actual stories of actors being killed onstage, as they are so often in mystery novels?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You got all sorts of great reading done in spite of your heavy work schedule, hope it lightens up a little for you. The cat-themed reading week sounds like a lovely idea, I’ll have to keep my eyes open for likely possibilities!🐱

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely choices for the #1940Club, Mallika. I’m impressed that you managed to read three – I barely scraped in with a short Simenon! Mariana has been on my wishlist for the longest time. Is the story semi-autobiographical (given the drama school element you’ve mentioned)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jacqui 🙂 Yes, Mariana is based a fair bit on Dickens’ own experiences–drama school and learning dressmaking among them. I do hope you get a chance to read it soon!


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