100 Books in 366 Days – April Recap
April astounded me this year. Part of that came because of some real bizarre weather we had in the Northeast. One week we had temps in the 90s, the next it was pouring and in the 50s. And we even had a couple of frost advisories and a freeze warning as well. Certainly not the typical weather for this month.
What also astounded me was the number of books I completed this past month. April turned into my most productive reading month, with 18 books completed. This was a significant jump from March’s 13, and puts me well ahead of pace for completing my 100 books in 366 days. Also surprising is the number of books I actually liked a lot this month.
Asides from the book fest, I also joined the Sword & Laser community of Goodreads.com, mostly after seeing the video version of their podcast on Youtube’s Geek & Sundry channel. I might even make a stab at reading their May book of the month just to join in the discussion.
(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)
The month started with a bang with the completion of Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. I was inspired to read this book after seeing so many comparisons between it and The Hunger Games. What I discovered was a book that had some similarities to The Hunger Games, but was really nothing like it. I probably would have given it 5 stars on Goodreads.com if not for the fact that I had a tendency to get lost with the number of characters Battle Royale was dealing with.
Surprisingly, a number of the books I finished in April ended up being ranked 4 stars (5 stars is reserved for the books I really, really, really like… I’m a tough critic that way). Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson was also excellent, with some real creative stories, and story structures within the anthology.
Also getting 4 stars was Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. I had been searching for this for a while, having become familiar with the story through the movie adaptation: The Thing. For those who want to read the story and see the movie, I would suggest John Carpenter’s 1980s adaptation since it more closely follows the tense sci-fi thriller better than the 1950s version.
Diving into my gigantic book pile, I finally got around to reading V: The Original Miniseries, and its sequel V: The Second Generation. The first book is a near straight adaptation of the miniseries that aired on NBC in the 1980s (which I was a fan of). The second book represents a departure from the television source materials, and is supposed to represent the author (and mini-series creator’s) original plan for the sequel. The second book was a bit difficult to get into. The story picks up 20 years after the first book, and it is a while before any of the major characters from the first appear. In addition, things about the book bugged me. The character of Willy, one of the Visitors, carries through from the first book into the second, along with his character quirks (a poor grasp of the English language). The problem I had with this is that I found it difficult to accept that he would still have problems with English after living in America for 20 years, especially since the words he was mixing up were not of an idiomatic nature. I also had a problem with the deus ex machina ending that the author writes after having worked himself into an apocalyptic corner.
The one book I was disappointed with was Chasing the Moon by A. Lee Martinez. I have read other works by Martinez and found them humorous and enjoyable. But, while Chasing the Moon had those same humorous moments, the story as a whole failed to gel into something I found overly enjoyable.
The worst worst book I read this April would have to be What Would Macgyver Do? by Brendan Vaughan. Supposedly true stories of people doing MacGyver like things in their ordinary lives. But the stories were not all that great, and the introductions to each sections were written pretty poorly as well.
The April Book List
- Battle Royale – Koushun Takami
- What Would MacGyver Do?: True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life – Brendan Vaughan
- A Kiss Before the Apocalypse – Thomas Sniegoski
- Chasing the Moon – A. Lee Martinez
- Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By, from Mix Tapes and Modesty to Typewriters and Truly Blind Dates – Anna Jane Grossman
- Who Goes There? – John W. Campbell
- Stupid Conservatives: Weird and Wacky Tales from the Right Wing – Leland Gregory
- Stupid Liberals: Weird and Wacky Tales from the Left Wing – Leland Gregory
- V: The Original Miniseries – Kenneth Johnson & A.C. Crispin
- A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels and Other Subversive Spirits – Carol K. Mack & Dinah Mack
- Favorite Father Brown Stories – G.K. Chesterton
- Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories By Richard Matheson – Richard Matheson
- Dear Asshole: 101 Tear-Out Letters to the Morons Who Muck Up Your Life – Jillian Madison
- Love Notes: A Random Reference for the Modern Romantic – Amy Maniatis
- So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel – Phil Hornblow
- The Book of Vice: Very Naughty Things – Peter Sagal
- V: The Second Generation – Kenneth Johnson
- UFOs Are Here!: Unmasking the Greatest Conspiracy of Our Time – Brad Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger