Book Chat

Reading Life: April 2020

April was our first full month of social distancing, wow! We are so fortunate to be so comfortable in our little cocoon, and when I can forget that the world is on fire, there are plenty of things to appreciate during this time at home. Reading a string of escapist books is one of those things, so that’s exactly what I did in April. Hope you are staying safe (& sane) during these challenging times!

This year I’m continuing to keep a physical journal chronicling my reads, and you can check out more photos on my Instagram account @ladykatiestitchery


April 2020 Thoughts


Open Book, by Jessica Simpson

Start date: 3/1/2020
Finish date: 4/2/2020

Genre: Memoir
Source: Instagram @eholmes and @kerrywinfrey
4 stars

I never paid much attention to Jessica Simpson but of course I was aware of her music on the radio in the 2000s. I can’t resist a good celebrity memoir, especially in times of stress, and this was a great audiobook during face mask sewing sessions; audio is the way to go: you can hear the emotion in her voice throughout (even if I still can’t appreciate the bonus songs). She really went through the pop culture wringer, not to mention the damage caused by the men in her life. Juicy, honest, and heartfelt; what more could you ask for?

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

Start date: 3/30/2020
Finish date: 4/8/2020

Genre: Fiction
Source: New Release
5 stars

I loved this family saga with a brother and sister at the core, starting and ending with a grand house. It reads a bit like a prosaic yet modern fairy tale, spanning generations of familial upheaval and the comings and goings of mother/father/stepparent relationships, like a rambling conversation about the families we cobble together. I still think about this one, weeks later.

The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, by Colton Underwood

Start date: 4/3/2020
Finish date: 4/7/2020

Genre: Memoir
Source: Instagram
3 stars

Apparently I seek out celebrity memoirs during times of crisis, my reading version of comfort food. This time: a Bachelor tell-all. Was the writing clunky and the audio narration wooden? Yes. (Especially compared to Jessica Simpson!) But do I love peeks behind-the-scenes of reality TV and juicy gossip? Also yes. Entertaining enough to fuel a few nights of sewing more face masks.

A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell Book #1), by Deanna Raybourn

Start date: 4/4/2020
Finish date: 4/20/2020

Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Source: Sommer/April book club
4 stars

The perfect escapist reading: Veronica Speedwell, a winsome Victorian butterfly hunter, solving a murder mystery with a cast of colorful companions, especially a surly naturalist named Stoker. The first half got off to a slow start, but once the detective work got going in earnest, I enjoyed the characters a lot more. Veronica may exhibit a bit more spunk and independence than the time period would permit, but she sure is fun. The dialogue was snappy and there’s a royal subplot that makes me want to continue the series. Soon!

The Guest List, by Lucy Foley

Start date: 4/21/2020
Finish date: 4/25/2020

Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Source: Book of the Month Club
4 stars

A destination wedding on a remote Irish island is the perfect setting for a thriller, with tensions rising as the big event approaches. The island was like a character itself, atmospheric and wild, and I loved the eerie Irish elements. Told in alternation points of view – from the bride to the wedding planner, best man, etc. – each character has a motive for murder, and the suspense mounts as secrets and connections are revealed. Perfect reading for a dark and stormy weekend.

Currently Reading:

Wayward Son (sequel to Carry On), by Rainbow Rowell

Start date: 4/26/2020
Genre: YA Fiction/Fantasy
Source: New release

This sequel is kind of like one long inside joke but somehow it’s exactly up my alley: basically Harry Potter fanfic where Harry and Malfoy fall in love (and also written by a fictional character in a previous book, Fangirl); I’ll take any excuse to visit one of Rainbow Rowell’s worlds!

A new addition for 2020:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton has an amazing program that sends a free book to every child in Tennessee every month from birth to five years old. It’s such an incredible concept, and we’ve been enjoying Amelia’s books for three years. So many of our new favorite stories have come from this program, and now that Jon has joined too, I want to highlight the books we receive this year so I can remember the new books added to our library. Three cheers for Dolly Parton!

For Jon:

For Amelia:

Books read in April: 5
Books read in 2020: 15
Currently reading: 1

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the fourth month of 2020!


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