Wednesday, May 03, 2017

What I Read | April

A look back at what I read last month. #ASGbookshelf #whatIread



Another month passed and some more book reviews are in the record books. I didn't read as many books as I would have liked to in April, especially with Dewey's 24-hour readathon at the end of the month (I ended up sleeping through most of it) but I did read some good ones and I'm grateful for that. Did you read any good books last month?

Must Read

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly | ★★★★

Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets and astronauts into space.

Among these problem solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African-American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South's segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America's aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly these overlooked math whizzes had shots at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam's call, moving to Hampton, Virginia, and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia's Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley's all-black West Computing group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and the space race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA's greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellects to change their own lives - and their country's future. - Goodreads description

I have yet to see the film based on this book but from the previews I've seen, I think the book might go into a lot more detail of the women's lives rather than focusing primarily on their work with NASA. I found it very inspiring how all these women grew up in times when racial segregation was the norm and yet they refused to settle for an ordinary life and went on to crush the standards for both African-Americans and women. #girlpower

Noteworthy

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar | ★★★★

The summer after junior year of high school looks bleak for Alton Richards. His girlfriend has dumped him to hook up with his best friend. He has no money and no job. His parents insist that he drive his great-uncle Lester to his bridge club four times a week and be his cardturner—whatever that means. Alton’s uncle is old, blind, very sick, and very rich.

But Alton’s parents aren’t the only ones trying to worm their way into Lester Trapp’s good graces. They’re in competition with his longtime housekeeper, his alluring young nurse, and the crazy Castaneda family, who seem to have a mysterious influence over him.

Alton soon finds himself intrigued by his uncle, by the game of bridge, and especially by the pretty and shy Toni Castaneda. As the summer goes on, he struggles to figure out what it all means, and ultimately to figure out the meaning of his own life.

Through Alton’s wry observations, Louis Sachar explores the disparity between what you know and what you think you know. With his incomparable flair and inventiveness, he examines the elusive differences between perception and reality—and inspires readers to think and think again. - Goodreads description

This one was really fun for me. My great-grandmother used to play bridge with friends every week and I remember watching the game and being very interested in the strategy behind it. This novel was all about Alton learning the game but also learning to connect with family and learning about life in the process. The audiobook was fantastic!

Other mentions for the month of April:
Oedipus the King by Sophocles  | ★★★★★
Highly Sensitive People in an Insensitive World by Ilse Sand  | ★★★★★
The Complete Peter Rabbit Library by Beatrix Potter  | ★★★★★
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs  | ★★★★
The Odyssey by Homer  | ★★★★
Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye  | ★★★★
In Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch  | ★★★★
Sappho: One Hundred Lyrics by Sappho (translated by Carman Bliss)  | ★★★☆☆
When Thought Turns to Light by Patrick Paul Garlinger  | ★★★
The Tulip Factory by Kacie Davis Idol  | ★★☆☆☆

What did you enjoy reading last month?

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44 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of these, but I loved Hidden Figures the movie! I will have to add that to my reading list.

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  2. Hidden Figures is definitely on my list!

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  3. shootingstarsmagMay 3, 2017 at 7:52 AM

    It looks like you read some great books in April! I haven't read OR seen Hidden Figures, but my parents and sister saw the film and loved it. It seems very inspiring!

    I know I read Louis Sachar when I was younger, but it's been awhile. Glad this was a good read!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  4. Lots of good books mentioned here! I need to step up my A game for May. I just had 2 books become available from my library via their kindle app that I've been waiting for for months, so I need to really get reading. I don't want to have to wait all over again!

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  5. I really want to read (and see) Hidden Figures! I've heard so many good things about it! I'm currently reading the Handmaiden Tales and a few other books, so once I'm done I'm digging into that one!

    Karin | truncationblog.com

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  6. I only managed to read one book last month 😕 The cardturner sounds like a good read!
    Lianne | Makes, Bakes and Decor

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  7. I didn't realize that Hidden Figures was a book, I'll have to check it out!

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  8. Thanks so much for sharing these book recommendations--I'm always looking for interesting reads to pick up. I actually had no idea that Hidden Figures was a book but am very interested in seeing the film and now especially to read after this write-up. Thanks!!

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  9. I read In Twenty Years last year... or the year before, I can't remember... and really enjoyed it. I've heard so many good things Hidden Figures, the book and the movie. I need to check them out.

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  10. Thanks so much for the recommendations! I am always looking to add books to my to-read list :) I haven't ready any of the ones you mentioned yet.

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  11. I'd really like to read Hidden Figures. I've seen the movie twice now but I'm still really interested in the book!

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  12. Julie Scott ThorneMay 3, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    These both sound great! I haven't seen Hidden Figures at the theatre yet...I think I'm the only one! #girlpower
    I read Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan last month...really easy read and I loved it!

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  13. I haven't read Hidden Figures, but I did enjoy the movie!

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  14. I'm dying to watch the movie, Hidden Figures. But I don't like to watch movies without reading the books first!

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  15. Awesome list....lots of good reads here!!!!

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  16. sadly didnt read anything this month. i hope to pick up a book or two this month since i will have some down time.

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  17. Thanks Lauren! I would recommend Hidden Figures, the book. It was fantastic!

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  18. Library waiting lists are the worst! I waited for 72 weeks to get a copy of The Fault in Our Stars when it first came out. :D

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  19. It was such a good book! I can't wait to see the film. The Handmaid's Tale was amazing. Atwood is such a wonderful writer.

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  20. It was good! I was surprised because normally card games aren't my thing. :)

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  21. The cardturner sounds like a good read! I love a good lighthearted book!

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  22. You're so welcome! I hope you like the book and the movie!

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  23. I hope you enjoy them if you read/see them! :)

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  24. Same here! I loved the book and hope the movie is as good. :)

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  25. Hope you are able to find a book or two you enjoy this month!

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  26. Me too! I really enjoyed that one. :)

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  27. I didn't read anything worthy of sharing. Just fluff. But there are a few books I hope to squeeze in this mo th and I will have to do a wrap up like this! ❤ Hope you have a great rest of the week!!

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  28. Awesome! I can't wait to hear about what you read in May! <3

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  29. I definitely want to read Hidden Figures, sounds like a great read!

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  30. I really enjoyed it and hope you will too!

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  31. I loved When Thoughts Turn to Light so i'm surprised you only gave it three stars! I'm currently reading Difficult Women by Roxanne Gay :)

    xx Carly | http://thecarlycollective.com/

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  32. Yeah, I didn't connect with that one as much as others. Roxane Gay is my girl! Love her work!

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  33. I have not read any of these books before. I would like to read Hidden Figures though! Last month I started reading "Talking As Fast As I Can" by Lauren Graham. It's pretty good so far!

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  34. I have that book from Lauren Graham on my to-read list! You should give Hidden Figures a try. I really enjoyed it!

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  35. Wow! You read a lot of books last month. How do you find the time to read? I struggle so much with work, blogging, and having a life

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  36. Thanks, friend! I read all the time. If I can't sit down with a book, I'm listening to an audiobook. I also have terrible insomnia, so I end up reading most of the night too. :)

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