Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Best Books: April

Hey hey! April was a decent reading month, with seven reads. I continued - oddly - to feel a bit of a book slump. Not sure what to attribute that too. For this reason, the large majority of my reads this month came across as *good* but not "hold onto your butts" GREAT. It made choosing my favorites a little more difficult this time around.

But, as always, there were a couple that edged out the others, and that had stories that lingered with me long after I finished. And here they are...

In the Distance was a totally random buy for me. It came up in a daily newsletter I receive that alerts me about discounted books (Book Riot's indispensable Deal of the Day). It's not my usual fare, but after reading this description, I was intrigued:

A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Diaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre, offering a probing look at the stereotypes that populate our past and a portrait of radical foreignness.

Plus, Pulitzer Finalist? And glowing reviews on Goodreads? I snatched it up, and I'm so glad I did! There was something haunting and strange about the main character's journey across the America, beginning at the height of the Gold Rush in California. Diaz writes sparingly, but beautifully, and created some images that will truly stick with me for a long long time.

I have loved every Murderbot series book I've read, and this one continues the tradition. Once again Murderbot finds itself stuck with a bunch of humans who are out of their depth. Wells is somehow able to deliver not only a fantastic story, but a story with a lot of heart. That old cliche "You'll laugh, You'll cry..." is Wells' Murderbot series in a nutshell.

Recently this came up (can't remember why), and I remembered that I had watched the PBS adaptation (the entire thing is up on YouTube, and you should watch it!) in high school and loved it. Realizing I'd never actually read it, I snatched it up. The story revolves around George Orr, a man who discovers that his dreams impact the real world. After being sent to a psychiatrist who is testing a new, experimental dream machine, things become even more perilous.

Orr's condition is terrifying, and his reluctance to dream is juxtaposed with the psychiatrist's desire to control and manipulate the dreams is great commentary on the dangers of God complexes, and how even having the best intentions don't necessarily work out the best for everyone involved.

Other books read: We Are Never Meeting in Real Life - Irby; The Wrong Way to Save Your Life - Stielstra; How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence - Pollan; The Rosewater Insurrection - Thompson.