April Reading – The Month Ahead

I’m a little behind schedule here with what has become a traditional monthly post, but here’s what’s on tap for me in April:

“Obligatory” reads: I have two. My book club is reading I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. I am actually the one who put this book on our club’s “bookshelf” after reading so many great things about it from my blogging colleagues last year. Someone else picked it to read, but in a sense it is “my” book. The way my club works, usually every three or four meetings you’re either reading a book you added to our shelf or a book someone else added but you picked. I like that, as members have a “connection” with double the books than a normal club where everyone just takes turn picking a book they recommend. In our club, you have to pick a book someone else recommends. My other book club, the KVMLBC, is reading Slaughterhouse Five this month. It’s the second month in a row we’re reading a book I’ve already read, but I plan on reading it again to refresh my memory for the meeting.

Other books? Well, I’m about 200 pages (out of over 600) into Trollope’s The Small House at Allington now, and have gotten more into the characters and more used to the writing style. I’m likely to finish this one in the next couple weeks. I’ve also started and paused Desert Spear by Peter Brett, the sequel to one of last year’s more pleasant surprises, The Warded Man. I’ve also started the depressing book, The Fear, by Peter Godwin. I heard about this on NPR on the way home one day, and it sounded interesting. It’s a non-fiction book about Robert Mugabe’s “reign of terror” in modern Zimbabwe. (A lot of unpleasant material in it, but hard to put down)

Let’s see… What else? Oh, a former boss gave me a copy of a non-fiction book his sister wrote about hiking the Continental Divide Trail. I’m really looking forward to this one as well, since I have hiked a lot in the mountains myself. Another non-fiction book I hope to get to is Dr. Richard Gunderman’s book about the nature of philanthropy, We Make a Life by What We Give. This book is a little out of my comfort zone as far as reading genre goes, but Gunderman happens to be a former college roommate of mine and one of the smartest people I’ve ever actually known personally.

Well, I’m sure I won’t get to all of those this month, but probably four or five will be completed. I also have my ongoing short story reading project. I drew a new card Saturday, and it turned out to be Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” but I haven’t read it yet. I’ll have that one and probably three more stories to be randomly determined as the weeks unfold.

What about you? What are you reading in April? Are we reading any of the same things? Is there anything you’d recommend I consider for my may list?

Oh, I almost forgot: Go Butler Bulldogs!!


  1. Dale Barthauer said,

    April 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Hey Jay!
    I just finished I Capture the Castle. I now have a three-way tie for favorite book we’ve read (this one, Love In The Time of Cholera, and A Prayer For Owen Meany)! It’s fantastic! I had one minor issue with it, but it was very minor. Looking forward to hearing what you think. I’ve started Dante’s The Divine Comedy. I’m reading it in pieces like I did The Iliad and The Odyssey. Inferno is the first piece.

    I’m also planning on reading The Passage by Justin Cronin and Shantaram (I can’t remember the author at the moment). A friend of mine from high school suggested them to me. It seems like you read The Passage?


    • Jay said,

      April 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      Hi Dale,
      Wow, high praise indeed. If it has your endorsement too, I’m sure I’ll like it. I haven’t started reading yet.

      Good luck with The Divine Comedy. I downloaded it last year (after reading The Gargoyle piqued my interest in it) but haven’t gotten to it yet.

      I did read The Passage last year. It’s a page turner, but I had mixed feelings about it. It seemed to fail to live up to the promise of it’s earlier chapters. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it.



  2. Monica said,

    April 5, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Excellent list.
    I have yet to try Slaughterhouse Five again – attempted it years ago and abandoned it.
    I’ll be especially interested in your Trollope review.


    • Jay said,

      April 5, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Monica,

      Have you read The Small House at Allington then? Or just other Trollope in general? I do like it – for the most part. (It’s my first venture into Trollope.)

      Vonnegut’s style is kind of hard to adjust to. One of the members of my Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Book Club is a retired literature teacher and she said that most students start out their Vonnegut reading with some of his short stories, so I’ve been recommending the collection “Welcome to the Monkey House” to all those who ask.



  3. Darlyn said,

    April 6, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Being in a book club sounds wonderful. I mostly read classics, and I find it difficult to find people I can talk to about them.

    I read and liked Slaughterhouse Five last year, but I’m particularly interested in your thoughts on A Rose for Emily. It’s one of my favorite short stories. 🙂


    • Jay said,

      April 11, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Darlyn,
      I actually ‘founded’ a “classics only” book club once. It lasted about 8 meetings before the rest of the group mutinied and demanded we broaden our scope. 🙂

      I still haven’t read A Rose for Emily (I’m over a week behind in my short story project now, ). I plan to post about it after reading, though.


  4. April 12, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Hi Jay

    Would you recommend The Fear for when I get to Zimbabwe? Does it give a strong sense of place? I will be keen to read your review!

    The Literary Nomad


    • Jay said,

      April 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

      Yes, I think I would recommend it. It is of course non-fiction, though, and there is a lot of graphic violence described in it. (maybe more unsettling because – unlike Under the Skin – we know this stuff really happened/is happening.)

      I still have about 2/3 of the way to go in it, but will be writing something about it when I’m done.



  5. Ann Marie said,

    April 18, 2011 at 7:10 am

    When does the KVMLBC meet this month? I remember liking Slaughterhouse Five when I read it.


    • Jay said,

      April 18, 2011 at 7:18 am

      It meets on thursday 4/28 at 1130am downtown. You should re-read it and join us!


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