Books of April: Ender’s Shadow, Writing Advice, Mystery

Books of April: Ender’s Shadow, Writing Advice, Mystery


Reading recaps are mini-reviews of the books I’ve read each month.

In a state of neurosis, I deleted my Goodreads account the day Amazon acquired them. However, I am still tracking my reading with a homemade spreadsheet!

Since I have full control over this, I included some bonus stats including retail price, source, and money saved/spent. Now that I am using the library like a fiend, knowing that I read $85 worth of books this month certainly makes me want to continue taking advantage of that.

The other great part about the library is that getting a dud book is much less painful. As usual it seems, there were a few duds this month: Metzger’s Dog, War Trash, and Skeletons on the Zahara. This last title, about a shipwreck on the Western Sahara in 1815, had so much potential but unfortunately was incredibly boring.

A special mention goes to In The Heart of the Canyon as one of the worst books I’ve read. Usually I give a book ~50 pages then quit if it’s tortuous to read. This one, however, was a train wreck from the beginning. With that said, I could not stop reading just to see what ridiculous nonsense & terrible word choices would appear next. The ending was absolutely absurd and completely glossed over a teenager being raped as “a typical 17 year old”. I don’t understand… train wreck.

After reading Ender’s Game last year, I fell in love with the story and was excited to read more about this world. This month I finally got around to reading Ender’s Shadow which was pretty fantastic. The story-line runs parallel to Ender’s Game so you can read either one first. Whichever order you pick, I definitely recommend reading both.

Pick of the Month

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Non-Fiction/Writing
Source: NYPL
Rating: 4/5
Summary: Work. Relaxation. Don’t Think.

And The Rest…

Metzger’s Dog
Author: Thomas Perry
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 3/5
Summary: A friend gave me this book then said, “you probably won’t like it”. He was right, the plot was completely lost on me.

War Trash
Author: Ha Jin
Genre: Non-Fiction/War/Survival
Source: NYPL
Rating: 3/5
Summary: A Chinese soldier is taken as a POW by UN forces in Korea. What would be a great story suffers from the author doing more “telling” than “showing”

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
Author: Robin Sloan
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Source: NYPL
Rating: 3/5
Summary: Google is going to take over the world! This is a super light/fun read that’s not necessarily good but I did finish it in two sittings.

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Author: Tom Franklin
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Source: NYPL
Rating: 3/5
Summary: The writing was more enjoyable to read than the plot. There are many chances for this to fall apart but it surprisingly holds together pretty well.

The Murder of the Century
Author: Paul Collins
Genre: Non-Fiction/Crime/History
Source: NYPL
Rating: 3/5
Summary: The author tries to simultaneously highlight a NYC murder investigation/trial and the early newspaper wars. These are both really interesting but together things get muddled and I found myself losing interest in both.

Ender’s Shadow
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy
Source: Housing Works Bokstore
Rating: 4/5
Summary: The parallel story-line works very well and I found myself being sucked right back into Ender’s world.

In The Heart of the Canyon
Author: Elisabeth Hyde
Genre: Fiction
Source: Park Slope Book Sale
Rating: 1/5
Summary: A. Complete. Trainwreck.


2 Replies to “Books of April: Ender’s Shadow, Writing Advice, Mystery”

  1. If you want to try another one of Perry’s novels, try The Butcher’s Boy – it’s about a mafia hitman and the woman tracking him down. I started off hating both characters, but in the end ended up cheering them both on.

    What sucked about Hyde’s book? The synopsis makes it seem boring.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I just added The Butcher’s Boy to my library hold list. Looking forward to seeing what he does with different characters.

      I knew the Canyon novel would be boring in the sense of “put a group of people together and by the end everyone’s friends and learn a lot about each other and themselves” but… it wasn’t even like that. It was a completely incoherent story with an appalling ending. No one learned anything, the rafting was dull… I don’t know. I thought it was going to be a typical/light fiction read but it ended up being impressively horrendous.

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