Books I Read in April

Hey friends! You’re probably wondering why I’m only posting my April wrap up in the middle of June. I actually meant to post this back in May but I procrastinated a lot and things got quite busy so I totally didn’t get a chance to get back to it. Anyway, enough of my excuses. I had a great reading month. I enjoyed majority of the books I read in April and even found new favorite books and authors.

I read a total of 10 books
2,815 pages | 609 minutes (10h9m)

3 physical, 1 audiobooks, 4 eBooks
Average rating was 3.8 stars

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Disorientation by Elaine Hsieh Chou

29-year old Taiwanese American PhD student Ingrid Yang is struggling to finish her dissertation on Xiao-Wen Chou, the father of Chinese-American poetry. She’s been working on her paper for eight years now and since it’s the final year of her PhD, she doesn’t have a choice but to finish it. It doesn’t help that she never really wanted to write about Chou but one day she finds a mysterious note in the Chou archives that will change her life forever.

This was a very interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking read. Ingrid is not easy to like. She can be annoying and her behavior is frustrating but I could see why she’s like that. I also related to her struggles of doing something she doesn’t like. I graduated college with a bachelor’s degree I didn’t pick. This book explores important topics such as separating the art from the artist, cultural appropriation, racism, yellow facing, asian fetishism, and more.

Know You By Heart by Tif Marcelo

Chris can only claim his inheritance until his fifth year of being married. He needs it to maintain the family’s resort but the problem is he’s single. Enter Eden. She wants to pursue her dream of becoming a romance author and needs financial assistance. So they agreed to a five-year marriage contract that benefits both of them. They always stick to the rules and give each other space. But after a huge threat to the resort’s image, they find themselves in a couples’ retreat less than six months before their contract ends.

This is the second book in the Heart Resort series which I wasn’t aware of. But luckily it can be read as a stand-alone. The start was a bit slow. I really got into the story when they started spending time together during the couples retreat. I got to know them more and fully understood their situation. I liked the dual perspective and the flashbacks but I wasn’t invested in the romance as much as I wanted to. It’s slow-burn which I don’t have a problem with but it didn’t work out for me in this book. I’m still interested on reading the first book though.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones

Hayao Miyazaki’s film adaptation of this book was an all-time favorite so of course I had to read it. I rewatched the film before started reading to refresh my memory. I loved that I got to know more of the characters’ backstories. The author’s writing is simple yet very magical. The second half of the book was quite slow and I had a hard time focusing on the story. It felt like there were a lot of things happening at once and some didn’t make sense. That’s probably why they didn’t make it to the film. I loved the banter between Howl and Sophie and I wished there were more of it in the book. I still think it’s a must to read the book especially if you’re a fan of the Miyazaki’s adaptation.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Told in beautiful vignettes, this book follows the story of Esperanza, a young Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago. Reading this book felt like reading from Esperanza’s journal entries which I really enjoyed. She’s very clever and adventurous. She also struggles to fit in but still remains optimistic. She dreams to become a writer which will eventually helps her to leave Mango street. The writing was simple yet beautiful. It’s lyrical and mesmerizing. This is definitely worth a reread.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

This book is about Keiko, a 36-year old woman who works in a convenience store. She is “different” eversince she’s young. She has difficulties understanding other people or what “normal” is. Her family even tried to “cure” her. This book is written in Keiko’s perspective and I enjoyed being in her head. I admired her determination and how she takes pride in her work. I instantly became a fan of Murata right after reading Earthlings. Her writing is incredible. The author’s portrayal of societal issues and how to be a “functioning member of the society” was interesting to read. It’s well-writtten and on-point. This book is definitely more lighter than Eartlings.

Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough

Emma tries her best to seperate her present life from her dark past. She was 5 years old when a horrible incident happened to her and her older sister Phoebe at the hands of their mother. Now Emma is turning 40 and she’s getting anxious about it. She cannot sleep at night and starts losing track of time. Emma is terrified that she’ll end up just like her mother who went to a mental institution after the incident on her own 40th birthday.

I enjoyed the unreliable narrator! It started slow but I eventually got hooked when things got pretty creepy. I liked the build up and the suspense. I liked the plot twist eventhough it was quite predictable. My problem was the execution. I had the same feeling after reading Behind Her Eyes. I was confused and amazed at the same time but after few days I realized it’s just strange.

Heartstopper Volume 1 – 4 by Alice Oseman

This was my very first Oseman read. Better late than never, right? I wanted to watch the Netflix adaptation (which I highly recommend watching by the way) but I wanted to read the graphic novels first so I did. I really enjoyed it. The characters are pure and precious and I only want the best for them. I loved that the art style is simple yet very effective. The story was adorable, beautiful, and heartwarming! I laughed and I cried especially while reading the fourth volume. I can’t for the next one!

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