Sunday, May 3, 2020

April in Review

My Reading

# of books read: Six. I was home all month, and I only managed to read six books.
Bests In which I tell you all my favorite reads and make up categories so they each win something:
Well, I liked them all, so that's good, right? If I were to rank them, it would go something like this:

All time favorites
The Knife of Never Letting Go (re-read)

Deliciously dark
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Fun and thought provoking
Look Both Ways
Not so Pure and Simple
Go With the Flow

Bookish Events and Happenings

I read Dig as part of an online book club with other winners of the Book Love grant, which is organized by Penny Kittle, a teacher, author, and all around amazing individual. She is a big name in the reading teacher world, and as such, she is on friendly basis with various authors. So of course, she invited A. S. King to our book club meeting, and she came, and it was so amazing to see and hear her in her actual work space. 

Amy (as we now call her, I guess?) writes very organically, and if you haven't read Dig, you should probably skip the next paragraph as I will spoil it remorselessly.

She did not realize until she'd been writing for awhile that The Freak was dead, and it took her even longer to realize that she was also the missing cousin. I asked her if Jack and Bill were related as well, possibly descended from the brother who'd been sleeping with the Mexican woman on the potato farm, and she said that her editor was the one who'd figured that out--she didn't make that connection herself while writing, but as soon as her editor asked, she realized that yes, of course. She was also pleased that I'd initially taken the cover illustration as being of a heart and nerves. Since she already knew it was a potato, she wasn't sure if people would really fall for it. We asked her about the various points of view used in the story--why was the Ringmistress in third person? Who is the "you" CanIHelpYou addresses? She said that she didn't think she'd be able to write the Ringmistress in first person, that it would be too hard to inhabit such a strange character. And that the "you" being addressed is always us, the reader. "You must dig."

I've also been on a couple of bookmobile runs around the town where I teach, dropping books off for students. It's not much, but it's something.

On the Blog

I read six books, and I wrote six posts. One is a TTT about titles that would make good band names, one was a weekly update (because April was basically one long week, right?), one was my review of March, and the others were odd little bits and pieces from my quarantine life


I won CampNaNoWriMo, though I still haven't finished the first draft of the book. I'm at about 53,000 words with no end in sight, so maybe pantsing isn't the way to go? But I'm fifty years old and never even attempted to write a book before, so I'm taking the win.

We celebrated our kid's 14th birthday, driving her around to various family and friend's houses where they held up signs and left her gifts sitting in their driveways. Plus she got to see everyone's dogs, which is always a highlight for our poor pet-deprived child. It was weird, but fun, and she had a far better day than she'd anticipated. I made a delicious lemon cheesecake, and her dad made her favorite soup, so all in all, it was a good time. 

I don't know what else to say about life this month. I am struggling to stay motivated and productive. My husband, on the other hand, has gone into overdrive and can't stop fixing things around the house. I do better on sunny days. I don't know what the future holds, and I'm equally afraid that things will continue to slide into a sort of anarchic-fascist white supremest dystopia or that we'll just all go back to an oblivious capitalist system doomed to destroy the planet. I am an innate optimist, so this is disconcerting. I deal with it with a lot of naps and baking, then with staring in despair at the chubbiness of my cheeks and chins during Zoom meetings. 

That is FAR too grim to end on, so here is a picture of the breakfast I had one morning in early April, and some pictures from a colleague's farm, because last week's bookmobile run for students also became a wine-mobile run for my coworkers.
My mom made that mug in our backyard kiln in the 70s. My kid made the biscuit.

Toby the very naughty goat and Zsu-zsu the very sweet dog.

I did not catch the peacock's name.

My monthly summaries are always linked to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up on Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight, as are terrific blogs' monthly reflections.  Nicole and Shannon usually put together a fun scavenger hunt giveaway too, so go check it out!


  1. I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein! It's really high on my to-buy list, since it sounds dark and intriguing, definitely something I'm in the mood for this month! Also, congrats on winning CampNaNoWriMo! It does need a lot of patience and dedication to finish a first draft, but I'm sure you're getting there! Hope you have a wonderful start to the month!

  2. I, too, do considerably better when it is sunny outside (and the temps aren't freezing). I feel so much better mentally, and I get so much more done (both productive and fun things). Hang in there!

  3. Since I read Dig, I found that entire paragraph about how it was written and all the connections fascinating. That was something I really enjoyed as I read that book. Those AHA! moments, when the pieces fell into place.

  4. Congrats on winning NaNo! Visiting people’s dogs sounds like my ideal birthday. It’s less work than a party, for sure. I understand feeling unmotivated. I’ve done pretty much nothing during self-isolation. I haven’t even baked (yet)!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  5. Good for you in writing 50,000+ words of your novel! I am very happy for you.

    I waver between confidence that things will be better when we emerge from this void to despair that we are all doomed (and have been doomed even before the pandemic).

    I'm trying to focus on good things.

  6. Okay I NEEEEED to read Dig, like, yesterday. I skipped the paragraph of course but I just know I need it. Awesome that you got to reread TKoNLG too! Will you do the whole series? That series is the BEST, my goodness. HUGE congrats on NaNo too! That is absolutely a win, it says so right in the terms of the event! You did AWESOME! I am so sorry you're struggling. I have days like that too. Some days I am okay and am able to just feel grateful that I am safely at home with the kids but I feel EXACTLY like you do other days. Like this will just be... how it is, because no one has the guts to do better. Hugest of hugs to you Wendy, and I am always always here if you feel like talking ♥♥

  7. Congrats on winning NaNo!!! That is a HUGE accomplishment, even if you're not sure where your book is going. (I'm pretty sure I told you that's how I started too---my first NaNo book went nowhere, but I got better at writing!!)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  8. You read some great books in April! Your daughter's birthday does sound excellent for today's world and you have caring neighbors. Now I want lemon cheesecake--my favorite.


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