April 2022 Reading Wrap Up

Here’s everything I read in April. I read a total of 19 things, including novels, novellas, short stories, poems etc.

  1. A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (5/5)

This was one of the best books I’ve read this year. A retelling of the story of the Trojan war from the perspectives of the women involved in it. Beautifully written, it brings out a rarely seen perspective of mythology and shows how war is a tragedy for everyone.

2. Padmavati the Harlot and Other Stories by Kamala Das (3.5/5)

I’ve been really enjoying short story collections lately. This one is a collection of short stories revolving around the lives and troubles of women, and I thought they were pretty good, but somehow they did not really stick in my head.

3. Heaven by Mieko Kawakami (4/5)

April was also a great month for books in translation. Heaven follows two teenagers who connect with each other because of their shared experience of being bullied. A hard-hitting story, translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett and David Boyd.

4. Shoko’s Smile by Choi Eunyoung (4/5)

Translated from the Korean by Sung Ryu, this short story collection follows the lives of young Korean women. Many of them deal with their interactions with different cultures. I thought it was a great read.

5. Murder at the Mushaira by Raza Mir (4/5)

This was an amazing work of historical fiction. Set in 19th century Delhi, it follows (a fictionalized version of) the poet Mirza Ghalib as he investigates the murder of a fellow poet. A historical mystery full of political intrigue.

6. Akhenaten by Naguib Mahfouz (4.5/5)

Translated from the Arabic by Tagreid Abu-Hassabo, this book is set in ancient Egypt and is an imagining of the pharaoh Akhenaten, infamous for his rejection of the popular deity Amun and his worship of the sun god Aten instead. This book tells Akhenten’s story different perspectives. I thought this was an amazing book that nuancedly (is that a word?) dealt with a story from millennia ago and made it relevant to modern times.

7. Galatea by Madeline Miller (4/5)

This short story by Madeline Miller was a retelling of the myth of Galatea and Pygmalion. It was a pretty interesting read.

8. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke (5/5)

This was such an epic sci-fi tale. It is set in a futuristic Earth controlled by a seemingly benevolent alien race, and was everything I loved in sci-fi.

9. Monk’s Eye by Cees Nooteboom (4/5)

This was a lovely collection of poetry, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer.

10. Annabelle Thong by Imran Hashim (3.5/5)

This was a light-hearted story following Annabelle Thong, a straight-laced, religious, Singaporean history teacher who decided to go to university in Paris and try to find love there. While I did have some issues with it, overall it was a fun read.

11. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood (3.5/5)

This is a much-hyped book about the internet and the culture associated with it, told in short snippets. I thought it was an interesting enough book, but did not really stay with me.

12. At the End of the Matinee by Keiichiro Hirano (4/5)

Translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter, from the Japanese, this book follows the relationship between two individuals-a classical guitarist and a journalist who had worked in warzones. A slow-burn, thought-provoking narrative.

13. Paper Moon by Rehana Munir (4/5)

Paper Moon was a fun light-hearted read following Fiza, whose fresh out of college who finds out her estranged father had left her money to start a book store. It follows her as she goes about doing that while dealing with drama with her family and her ex, and romancing a mysterious stranger. A fun read.

14. Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (3.5/5)

I had read The Aleph and Other Stories by Borges last year and it turned out to be one of my favourite reads. This one I did not enjoy quite as much, but was still pretty great.

15. Sangati by Bama (3/5)

Translated from the Tamil by Lakhsmi Holstrom, Sangati follows the life of a Dalit girl growing up in a village in Tamil Nadu. It was an insightful and enlightening look at the oppression Dalit women face, but I didn’t love the writing style.

16. Phaedra by Racine (4.5/5)

I just realized I read a lot of Greek retellings this month. Phaedra is a play translated from the French by Richard Wilbur. It tells the story of Phaedra, who is cursed by the goddess Aphrodite to fall in love with her own stepson Hippolytus. An amazing tale and much more readable than I expected.

17. Membranes by Chi Ta-wei (4.5/5)

This was a great work of Taiwanese sci-fi, translated from the Mandarin by Ari Larissa Heinrich. It follows a young woman working as a dermal care technician in a future where humanity has moved underwater. A short, interesting read with a shocking plot-twist. Probably one of the most underrated works of sci-fi out there.

18. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (4/5)

This was a short, episodic novel that told the stories of the lives of the mostly female residents of the small town of Cranford. It didn’t have much of a plot, rather were a bunch of slice-of-life stories linked by a common thread. We see how the women, who start off as rather snobbish and classist slowly end up changing their beliefs/

19. Shroud : Stories by Premchand

Translated from the Hindi, by Ruth Vanita, this short story collection includes stories about poverty, caste, religion, gender etc. Premchand does a great job bringing out the nuances of society in this collection, though some stories were much better than the others.

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