Friday, May 16, 2014

52 Books - April update: 46/52

A previous post of mine said that I will be reading 52 books in this year's 52 weeks. I fully intend to achieve that goal. Here is my progress:

As of my most recent post, belatedly recapping March's readings, I had tallied 37 books on my "read" (past tense) list. I'm now recapping April's progress, again belatedly (but somewhat less exaggeratedly so), and I've conservatively counted 46 as my total so far this year. Needless to say, I am well on pace to achieve 52 books this year; indeed, I'm strongly considering reupping my goal to 100. I'll consider that change later; for now, I'll share what I read last month.
Here's what I've managed to ingest since my last update::

38/52: Low Moon, by Jason
Jason is quickly becoming my favorite graphic novelist (Paul Hornschemeier being the main competitor). His panels are stark but utterly engaging, and the stories make me alternately chuckle, ponder, and tear up. You just have to experience his stories. There's no other way to get a sense for how accomplished he is, as an artist/writer/story-teller/engager. Some of his books I have enjoyed much more than others, but I've thoroughly enjoyed them all, so there's almost no point to the exercise. This one is great, plain and simple.

39/52: Spaceland, by Rudy Rucker
I recall reading some of Rucker's writings for an interdisciplinary math/literature course in college. I remember that he was weird. Intelligent. And weird. This novel supports those memories. I took this book out from the Emmanuel library months ago when I was toying with designing a First Year Seminar course about mathematics and fiction; I love Flatland but had never read Sphereland nor Spaceland, so I decided to read this. That course never panned out, so I forgot about this book until ... well, I spotted it on my desk and started reading. I was hooked. It's plot is notably 90s and dot-commy, strangely enough, mixed with a metaphysical and veritably physical consideration of the 4th dimension. While reading, it felt a lot like Douglas Coupland had decided to become a philosopher/mathematician. I thoroughly enjoyed all this, mind you. But this might only appeal to a certain crowd. If you already read and liked Flatland, considering adding this to your queue, at least.

40/52: What I Did, by Jason
I already described Jason's greatness above, so I won't attempt to reiterate here. More powerful stories, beautifully told and artistically-rendered. I will read anything this guy creates, to sum up.

41a/52: Howl & other poems, by Allen Ginsberg
April was National Poetry Month, so I sought out several collections and famous poems that I had been meaning to read / wanted to read / ought to have read / etc. This collection fit all of those desires/needs. I probably read "Howl" back in college, but I decided I really needed to revisit it and make it stick in my head. This is arguably the most famous American poem of (at least the latter half of) the 20th century, so what better way to celebrate Poetry Month? It was (indeed, is) beautiful and powerful. Some phrases struck me and made me want to use them in daily conversation but, now, not even a month or so later, the particular words Ginsberg used are already slipping quickly from my memory. But I do recall the atmosphere, the tone of this whole collection. It just makes me want to reread it again, every month.

41b/52: Scattered Poems, by Jack Kerouac
More poetry to celebrate April! (I actually read a few more collections this month, but these short chapbooks couldn't quite count as a "full read", I thought. Instead, I selected these two to represent my readings of this month. I have a few more that are still being read, so I'll count those in the May post.) I've read a lot of Kerouac, and I've even read a fair amount of his poetry, but these were all new. I think I was more acquainted with his "American haiku", having flipped through a collection of those poems. These poems were, well ... obviously Kerouac. He has a notable and identifiable way with words and phrases and images. I particularly liked the poem about "how to meditate" (that might even be the title). You can read this collection in this here pdf.

42/52: Barrel Fever and Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, by David Sedaris
I listened to these two as audiobooks from the Boston Library. I like David Sedaris's stories, but I like him reading his stories even more. It's not that the entertainment disappears on the printed page; rather, Sedaris does well to bring the stories to life through his voice. I liked Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls a lot. Not quite as much as Me Talk Pretty One Day. But I'd say those are my two favorite collections of his. Barrel Fever earned a big fat MEH from me, though. I was excited that Amy Sedaris did some voices on that audiobook, and she did kinda steal the show during those stories, but overall it was just a far weaker collection of tales. Sobeit. I'm still looking forward to hearing more of David in the future.

43/52: Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley
This was absolutely awesome! Wonderful drawings, wonderful writing, wonderful stories, wonderful recipes. This book made me fucking hungry. Constantly. I gathered several cooking ideas and inspirations from it and am looking forward to using them. More broadly, this book told Knisley's story of a life built around food. Her parents were both involved in the food industry and she, naturally, has an interesting attachment to food. But she's far from a snob, and mocks her history, at times, telling a story about getting McDonald's fries in Rome despite her dad's admonitions, for instance. This is the kind of book I want to keep around in my kitchen and by my coffee table. It's a delightfully fun read and is chock-full of wisdom and recommendations.

44/52: The Psychopath Inside, by James Fallon
I found this one in the "new non-fiction" section at the library, which I've been exploring recently to learn more about current science. I was intrigued by the idea that a neuroscientist would turn his studies towards his own brain and life and, indeed, a lot of this book did exactly that. I was a little put off by the apparent egotism of the author and, occasionally, the lack of scientific rigor and anecdotal "evidence" to support his theories. But this was admittedly a singular case study and so, of course, I shouldn't expect perfect analysis. Ultimately, this amounts to a uniquely appealing memoir, combining scientific know-how, extensive family history, self-awareness, interviews, and research evidence to develop an understanding of psychopathy and what it truly means and how it hardly ever (if at all) conforms to society's understanding of the term. I'd recommend at least starting to read this, or skimming through it; if you get intrigued, keep going with it, otherwise no big deal.

45/52: Mother. Wife. Sister. Human. Warrior. Falcon. Yardstick. Turban. Cabbage., by Rob Delaney
I know Rob Delaney from his Twitter account. But I admit that I didn't really know his Twitter account beforehand. I just knew it existed and it was popular and I'd seen some of his tweets and laughed at them. Then I heard him promoting this book on a recent episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast so I queued it up on audiobook via, yup, the library. I ended up listening to this over many sessions, while walking to/from campus, riding in the car with my parents, sitting around at home, etc. Many of Delaney's stories were funny. All of them were oddly interesting. And, in sum, I found that Delaney is just a weirdly entertaining guy. He's not really a comedian. He's not really a writer. He's just a guy who's lived through some strange experiences and can tell you about them. Go into this book expecting no less and no more and you will be richly rewarded.

46/52: Junky, by William Burroughs
I was already on a beat generation fix, what with First Thought, Best Thought and then Ginsberg and Kerouac, so I went all out and picked out this newly-restored edition of this novel from the library. This story is stark and spare. It is honest. Brutally so and unapologetically so and it shows no pretense for even needing to apologize for being so. It is perfect, in those regards. The appendices that showed letters/writing by Burroughs and Ginsberg to/about their publishers pushing for this novel's release really added to my understanding of this novel's importance, actually, and I'm glad they were included. Had I just read this book in a metaphorical vacuum, I wouldn't have gained nearly as much. It's absolutely worth remembering, before/while/after reading, that this book's events are set in the 1950s and were meant to be shared then, as well.

Other readings that count:
I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You, by Yumi Sakugawa:
A short graphic story about a little monster with a friend. Light fluff. Pretty enjoyable but ultimately forgettable.

The Three Paradoxes, by Paul Hornschemeier:
Really enjoyed this. Horsnchemeier is wonderful, and his treatment of Zeno's paradoxes here is highly commendable. I have a special attachment to this book.

Lucky, by Gabrielle Bell:
More from another favorite graphic novelist of mine. This one explores her time in NYC. Really enjoyed this, and recommended if you're already into her work or want to know more.

I Killed Adolf Hitler, by Jason:
More Jason. Greatness. This is a short story about time travel and its implications. Highly recommended!

The Herald of the Autochthonic Spirit, by Gregory Corso:
Part of my poetry month celebrations. I'm reading more Corso now, mostly due to how much I enjoyed this collection. His writing is exuberant and engaging.

The Company, by Robert Creeley:
Picked this out from the library's poetry collection while I was already scanning through it. Enjoyed it mostly, but nothing stood out as memorable.

Up next:
Much like my last post, I'll say that I'm already well into way so there's kinda no point in sharing what I'd started reading. Still, I'll mention here some books that I'm working through and hopefully will finish in the next two weeks. (I've already finished several books in the interim of this post's scope and the current day, so these are actually ongoing reads...)

Feynman, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick:
A graphic novel about the life of Richard Feynman. What's not to love?

The End Of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe:
Recommended by my mom. A book apparently about mothers and sons and reading. Sounds appropriate!

In the Shadow of Man, by Jane Goodall:
I recently read a graphic novel about some female scientists who studied primates (see next post for more) and was inspired to seek more source material. This is part of that goal.

Friday, May 2, 2014

a story I wrote in 2006 about the first time I played The Old Course in St Andrews

I recently had the need to look for something on my external hard drive. During that process, I stumbled on a folder of old writings I did back in college. Naturally, I read through a lot of them. My reactions varied: I shook my head in shame, I laughed out loud at stupid memories, I chuckled at the combination of my naivete and insight, and I smirked whenever I found something that was actually interesting and readable. I hope that the ensuing short (quite short, indeed) story falls into the latter category, for you.

“My first tee shot on the Old Course”

The starter announced over his loudspeaker, “7:10 game, play away.” I yawned and looked out to the beach, just a few hundred yards away. The sun was just peeking over the horizon, reluctantly sprouting upwards from the glistening water. It had been light out for only two hours. I had been up for one and a half.

“That’s us! Yahoo!” chirped Darrell, a squat, brutish man who I had met only five minutes before. He slapped me on the back mid-yawn, rocketing me into a spasming hiccough. Our playing partner, Daniel, walked by as I half-choked, smiling brightly for absolutely no reason. I didn’t see him frown all day. It frightened me.

I was supposed to be excited. This was St Andrews, the home, the cradle, the birthplace of golf—where it all began! And here I was about to tee off. I should have been brimming with anticipation. I should have been nervous. I should have been shaking. I was only tired.

That was while I was waiting. Darrell started us off, whipping out an extra long wooden tee, painted green. “Luck o’ the Irish, eh?” he laughed, before shoving the tee into the dewy grass. “Ahhhhh, let’s see.” He waggled his oversized driver. “Let’s see if I can’t spank this down the short grass.” I couldn’t help thinking whether he was compensating for something, even though it was a clichéd phrase, and I hate clichés.

His swing was jerky, nowhere near as smooth as his drawl, but every bit as jolting. I almost fell over during his backswing. It was so quick and spasmodic that even though I was nearly thirty feet away, I was afraid the club might slip out of his hands and smack me square across the forehead before I had time to duck. The result was impressively beautiful for such an ugly motion—roughly 250 yards down the right side of the fairway. That’s what always intrigued me about golf: artfulness was never truly rewarded. “Hee hee! And they’re off!”

Daniel was next. He told us loudly he was from Switzerland. This was his first visit to Scotland. He was very excited. His swing was slightly more graceful than Darrell’s, and a hell of a lot more rhythmic. He posed for a few seconds at the conclusion of his swing, watching the ball trace a mesmerizing arc across the morning sky. The ball bounced in the middle of the fairway, 260 yards out, and he leaned down to pluck his tee from the ground. He bounced back up and smiled at me like a happy child. “Your turn!”

I suppressed a yawn. For some reason, now the nerves set in. I cursed the fact that I had stayed up until 1:30 am chatting on the internet. The five hour time difference with the US was ruining my daily schedule. I had selected a three-wood. The Swilkan burn crossed the fairway at roughly 300 yards. A driver could reach that with a healthy bounce if I really connected with it.

After shoving my tee into the ground and balancing my fresh Titleist on top, I glanced back at the clubhouse clock: 7:12 am. Seagulls screeched on the dunes. Grown men leaned on the fence of the practice putting green, watching. A single car passed by on the neighboring road. I saw my breath in the early chill. The fingers of my left hand clutched the grip while my right hand stretched outwards and upwards, lifting the sleeve of my collared shirt more comfortably onto my shoulder.

I approached the shining white ball in the center of the tee box, aligned my clubface and stared down the fairway. I could see the group ahead just teeing off on the second hole. A man on a riding mower cut the grass of the 17th green in the distance. The car that had passed by pulled into the parking lot of the hotel just beyond the 17th fairway. It was still 7:12 am.

I remember making contact. I remember watching the ball rise, peak and descend. I smiled and plucked my tee from the ground. My shoes slipped on the wet grass. Darrell gave me a high five and Daniel smiled. “Let us go play some golf, my friend!”

52 Books - March update (belated, obvi): 37/52

A previous post of mine said that I will be reading 52 books in this year's 52 weeks. I fully intend to achieve that goal. Here is my progress:

As of last post, I had 21 books down and felt like (a) I was ahead of pace yet (b) I wouldn't be able to keep it up. Here we are, well into April and I am even further ahead of schedule and show no signs of slowing. The first and second derivatives of Reading(x) appear to be positive!

In March, I did the following:
  • I read some collections of short stories, one by an author I know and love and others by totally new (to me) authors.
  • I explored the bibliographies of several graphic novelists I've come to admire, including Paul Hornschemeier, Gabrielle Bell, and Jason.
  • I read (and am reading) a few non-fiction books, especially about areas outside of mathematics.
  • I watched a film and then went back to read the novel on which it was based.
  • I wrote an essay for a forthcoming zine about Pittsburgh, and this reawakened a desire for writing in my own life. To wit …
  • I brainstormed some ideas for math books that I want to write, if I ever have the time.
  • I thought a lot about education and have some ideas for essays I want to write but no idea where to share them.
  • Most of all, I filled any spare moments I had between teaching, planning classes, grading, and walking/sleeping/eating/cooking by just sitting in my recliner with a soothing record on the player and propping open a book. If the rain was pattering, I'd keep the door open for a soundtrack. And I'd read.
Perhaps I've let my reading time start to bleed through and stain other activities in my life. But I feel like it's coloring them not with dirty, regrettable, red splotches; rather, it's filling my days with throbbing, exuberant, pulsating moments that can't help but spill over into every thought I have, every moment of my existence. I know this sounds crazy. That's why I love it and can't stop myself from typing this sentence. Okay, there. I stopped.
Here's what I've managed to ingest since my last update::

22/52: Don't Kiss Me: Stories, by Lindsay Hunter
Here's the review of this book I wrote on Goodreads:
I have to be in a certain mood to read Lindsay Hunter's stories, and I have to know ahead of time that they'll leave me in a certain mood afterwards. I still don't know what these stories "mean", but that's decidedly not the point with her prose. The process of reading, of twisting her words through my mouth and my brain, is the entire joy.
Yup, that's right. Try reading one of Lindsay's stories. You'll experience one of the following emotion/reaction combinations: "This is incredibly weird! I want to read more!"; "This is incredibly weird! What the fuck is this? I'll come back to this later."; "This is incredibly weird! I can't read any more of this."; "Qu'est-ce que c'est ici? C'est si bizarre!" Personally, I read each one and then put the book down on my lap and say, "What the fuck was that?" And then I chuckle out loud, and then I pick the book up again and read another story. That's just how our relationship is, and it's how I want it to be.

23/52: The Squirrel Mother: Stories, by Megan Kelso
This was mediocre, at best. Looking back, a few weeks removed, I recall a great story about Benjamin Franklin (I think?) and a terribly-told story about being left home alone by an aunt suffering from depression. There might have been another story about democracy and voting … maybe not. But this one just doesn't stick out. I was intrigued by the visuals of this book: seeing the cover and skimming through it at least made me check it out from the library, but after that … I checked out. Not boring, not offensive, not poor writing. Just all-around plain.

24/52: Wait Until Spring, Bandini, by John Fante
The final part of the Bandini series that I read over the last few months. This was the part I don't own a copy of, and I only found it in the library (and subsequently decided to read it) because I was already nearby in the fiction section. Strangely, I'm both upset and happy that this is one of the last Bandini saga entries I've ever read. This lends many insights into the Arturo Bandini character, of course, since this is the story of his upbringing. But I also kinda loved knowing Bandini as he was, not knowing where he came from, trying to reconstruct a past that would lead to his life; I thought of his parents and siblings and hometown through his own eyes and mind and narration. And now, well, I kinda still think that way, but I have his own personal narration to add to that. And it's great but also redundant. Yes, I'm talking as if I know this guy. Bye.

25/52: Beg The Question, by Bob Fingerman
I picked this one up from the library based on the cover and skimming through some pages. It looked like it would be funny and enjoyable and not a "flimsy read", so to speak. I wasn't wrong. Mostly, I enjoyed the characters in this story. They were well-developed, both personality-wise and artistically (in the graphics sense), and their interactions led to many funny and poignant situations. I couldn't really relate to them historically or situationally, so this novel only succeeded partially, in terms of those goals. But that wasn't the point, right? I enjoyed the read well enough.

26/52: An Invisible Thread, by Laura Schroff
I borrowed this book from my mom because she recommended I read it. So I did. Who am I to disobey? It was, indeed, a heart-warming tale of unlikely friendship, charity, perseverance, personality, and urban history. But it felt un-representative of the true story. It was half of the story, really. It entirely lacked the viewpoint of the male protagonist, whose name I've even forgotten by now, eve though he's the whole point of the story and the book, and even though I still somehow know that the writer's name is Laurie Schroff and she worked in advertising at USA Today when it was a big deal to get businesses to advertise in that paper and … ugh, I'm actually liking this book less and less the more I think about it. Too much of a mass-market fiction style to appeal to me, but, what's even worse, it tried so hard to be in that style.

27/52: Wise Blood, by Flannery O'Connor
I watched the film adaptation of this book a few years ago and enjoyed it. It was a well-made film and stands on its own. But I'm quite glad I read the novel, too. I don't intend this to contribute to the "Oh man, the book is always way better"-style debate. Rather, I'm pointing out that I'm glad I experienced both. They each have their merits. The cinematography of the film was so stark and gritty and sharp that, as I read the novel, still scenes from the film shot into my head. Facial expressions of the main characters stuck in my mind as I read about them. Meanwhile, a whole universe of interaction opened up as I read the narration and explored the characters in more depth than the visuals and dialogue could possibly convey. Between these two, I feel more experienced about this world that O'Connor established. I have no desire to live in that world. At all. But it was fascinating to enter for a few days.

28/52: The Mathematical Magpie, editor: Clifton Fadiman
More mathematical stories, essays, excerpts, poems, and short writings. Also collected and edited by Clifton Fadiman, in addition to Fantasia Mathematica, which I read a few months ago. This book is chock full of fun math stuff, and I have sticky notes fanning out from many of its pages. I'd love to see this kind of series continued for a more contemporary audience.

29/52: Cecil & Jordan in New York, by Gabrielle Bell
I've read a few of Bell's works recently. This one is a sequence of short stories about New York life and adventures. I think I prefer her more autobiographical works, and I guess I couldn't tell with many of the stories in this book whether or not they're personal stories. The drawings are great, and the story-telling is pretty good, but it didn't add up to a captivating reading experience, for me.

30/52: All & Sundry: Uncollected Work (2004-2009), by Paul Hornschemeier
More exploration of Hornschemeier's works. This one truly is all and sundry and collected and uncollected. I laughed out loud at many of these stories and drawings. I shed some tears at others. I scratched my head and beard with others. And some I just skimmed right through and couldn't cohesively consider. Certainly, highly recommended for the aspiring conoisseur of modern graphic novelism, but not at all for anyone else.

31/52: Mother Come Home, by Paul Hornschemeier
Oy, more Hornschemeier and more crying. How does he do it? This one was depressingly heart-wrenching but I couldn't put it down. I seriously remember sitting around reading some pages in this, slamming the book closed, tossing it on the ground, and saying out loud, "God damnit, man." And sighing loudly. And taking another sip of wine. And then another. And then picking up the book enthusiastically again. Because I just couldn't avoid reading more.

32/52: Uncharted: Big Data as a Lens on Human Culture, by Erez Aiden & Jean-Baptiste Michel
Really well-written. It's great to see some modern science/math/tech people who can appeal to broad audiences, tell good stories, and write in an engaging and intelligent way without sacrificing truth and rigor, ultimately. In particular, this book left me wondering about a lot of interesting questions and made me feel inspired to explore them and do some science. If you haven't explored it before, you need to play around with Google's NGram viewer. The authors of this book are its creators and they describe its genesis and uses extensively in this book. Highly recommended, to anyone.

33/52: The Voyeurs, by Gabrielle Bell
More Gabrielle Bell and, looking back, most likely my favorite collection of hers. These stories are more interesting and better told than those in her other books, I think. I particularly liked the diary-style aspect of this one, at least for part of it. If you're looking to explore her work, I'd start here.

34/52: Best American Comics: 2009, editors: Charles Burns, Jessica Abel, Matt Madden
Lots of good comics in here. Lots of weird shit, too. A smattering of so-so stuffing. I will happily explore more entries in this series, with the understanding that I'll likely get more of the same: a few things I'll love, a glut of things I'll find okay, and some stuff I'll flip through quickly. You should expect the same.

35/52: The Point: Stories, by Charles D'Ambrosio
I totally forget how D'Ambrosio entered my cultural consciousness, but here he is, fully formed. And I'm glad. These stories are … well, not outright depressing, but they make no pretense of being otherwise. I read through these one by one and required hours- to days-long reading breaks in between them. Dense and rich with emotional intensity, these are. I'll recommend if you're looking for something potentially engaging but also potentially overpowering. You've been goaded, and warned.

36/52: First Thought, Best Thought: The Art of Spontaneous & Inspired Writing Taught by Four Legendary Mentors of the Craft, by Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, William S. Burroughs, Diane Di Prima
I've starting exploring audiobook titles through the OverDrive app. (Through your local library, you can log in and download various ebooks and audiobooks! It's very convenient.) This one is a recording of four lectures by some Beat-generation writers about their methods and history, for an audience at a writing school, over the years. Allen Ginsberg's lecture was about rhythm and meter in poetry and, despite my boring description, was actually quite fascinating. He's a dynamic speaker. William Burroughs spoke about his "cutting" technique of splicing together words from literal newspaper clippings and the like. It was inspiring, but I've yet to do anything about it. Diane DiPrima spoke about printing presses and properly distributing one's work. It was fine, but she came across as a bit of an unrelenting Luddite, although I think that was part of her point. I don't even remember who the fourth speaker was, alas, which says something about how interesting her lecture was. (Yes, I looked the name up to title this one, but otherwise couldn't remember.) Anyhow, consider checking this out if you fancy yourself a writer, or if you are a fan of Ginsberg/Burroughs/DiPrime/what's-her-name. Otherwise, don't bother.

37/52: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
I picked this movie up from the public library a few weeks back, for whatever reason. The name jumped out at me from the DVD's spine as I scanned across the P section, and I remembered the hype around it being filmed in Pittsburgh a few years ago when I was there. So I watched it, having no real idea of what it was about, except for some sort of "coming of age" story. There's more to it than that. I ended up enjoying the film, for what it was, and decided I should read the novel, too. So I did. It was a quick read, only a day or two, including reading the entire second half in one sitting over dinner and a couple of drinks one evening. I still don't know think I know what to make of it, but I found it an enjoyable read. It's tough to entirely relate to any of the characters, but I'm not sure what that means. Maybe that's not the goal.

Other readings that kinda count:
The Lagoon, by Lili Carré:
A haunting graphic novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. This was a quick read, so I paired it with one of the above Hornschemeier books to "count" as a read.

Mr Wonderful, by Daniel Clowes:
A graphic short story I found and read entirely inside the library. The shape of the book and imagery on the cover caught my eye, so I took it to a table and ended up reading it in about half an hour. Enjoyable, and will look for more of Clowes' work in the future.

The Ideal Teacher, by George Hebert Palmer:
Recommended read from my mother. She has a physical copy of this book which she received as a gift from a former student of hers. It's a veritable relic, yet very little of the author's message is without meaning today. I found this to be a great essay from an educator about education, and it behooves modern educators to read it and reflect on just how much of the author's message still applies.

Kids Are Weird, by Jeffrey Brown:
A fun read that shows how … well, the minds of children will spew forth weird, seemingly random thoughts that make us smile, chuckle, and shake our heads. I can't wait to have kids so I can (a) mess with them, (b) teach them things, and mostly, as this book points out, (c) serve as a vessel/recorder for the truly crazy shit they will inevitably say/do.

The Wrong Place, by Brecht Evans:
Loved the watercolor aspects of this work. Every other graphic novel I've read stresses the ink lining, the comic-strip-style depiction of persons, the sharp contrast between image and text. This one blurs all of those lines and curves, and I loved it for that. The story, itself? Meh. But the format was superb.

Up next:
I will not fill in this section because, well, it's already May and telling you about books I was going to start reading in early April is pointless since I have, by now, already finished most of those anyway.
That said, I will be posting the April update of this series later tonight or tomorrow, so there's no need to worry. Not that you were, anyway. kthxbye