April 2023 Reading Update

April 2023 Update

posted in: Photography, Reading | 0

April was a good month, mainly because of vacation planning. Holly and I made general plans back in February, to return to Carmel-by-the-Sea. As we’ve gotten closer to our mid-May departure date, we’ve been able to start focusing on the details. I’ll write more about planning our vacation soon.

The weather was all over the place during the month. We hit the mid-to-upper 80s for a few days in the middle of the month and ended April with some gray and rainy days in the upper 50s and low 60s. We had a few pleasant days in-between, which meant we had some opportunities to get out and about.

One big outing was a trip to Morris Arboretum which I already wrote about. We also took a nice walk to the Delaware River which I also plan to write about soon.

One exciting thing was the return of Shore Catch to our local farmers’ market. They had stopped coming to the market in December and gave a vague return date of “the spring.” We were very excited when we saw them back and have especially enjoyed getting their scallops which are, without a doubt, the best we’ve ever had. We also had a great dinner centering on their skate wing which is a fish that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Another highlight of the month was the new The New Pornographers album, Continue as Guest. I’ve been a fan since their first album, Mass Romantic, in 2000. I’ve enjoyed their evolution over the past couple decades and really like the new album.

As a bonus, I revisited their last album, In the Morse Code of Break Lights from 2019 which I never got into at the time and never listened to much. I was inspired by the release of their new album to give that album another close listen, and I found that I also like that quite a bit as well.


The big news from the month was buying a couple new toys in anticipation of the aforementioned vacation. At the risk of sounding repetitive, I’ll write more about that soon.

Not much else to report outside of the things I’ve already posted from the month and the things I plan on posting in the near future.

I did take some photos with my Samsung Galaxy S9+ of the renovations to the old Paley Library at Temple University. The library moved to a new building in 2019, and the old building is being transformed into the new home for the College of Public Health. The design for the new building looks great, but it is a little painful seeing the old library in the state it’s currently in.


I kept pace with the year so far by finishing 3 books.

I read Weike Wang’s first novel Chemistry. I loved her Joan is Okay, which I read last year during our vacation. I’m also a huge fan of her short story, Omakase. Chemistry is quite an intriguing book. The unnamed narrator has a compelling voice which enhances the complex narrative. As the book opens, her life seems nearly perfect. She’s working on a PhD and has an improbably ideal boyfriend. But the underlying truths of her situation are much darker as she struggles to navigate the high expectation placed on her by her parents.

I also re-read Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, which I had read before seeing the 1999 movie version. I think I read it a 2nd time shortly after. I was inspired to pick it up again after watching the excellent documentary, Loving Highsmith.

This time around, I was more interested in the character of Tom Ripley than the mechanics of the crimes he commits and how he eludes the police. Even after not reading the book for a couple decades, I remembered the main plot points. Focusing on the character development was fascinating. Ripley’s first murder doesn’t come until about halfway through the novel so up until then it was all about who he is and how he came to Italy and inserted himself into the life of Dickie Greenleaf.

Given that detailed set-up, the plot involving his crimes is believable and engaging. There is only one aspect of that which doesn’t sit well for me. There is a character who interacts with Ripley when he is posing as Dickie Greenleaf and when he is using his own identity. That character doesn’t notice that it’s the same person which strains credibility. Other than that, the details work, and I enjoyed re-visiting this novel.

Re-reading the book compelled me to re-watch both the 1999 movie and the 1960 French version, Purple Noon (how they came up with Purple Noon from the original title Plein Soleil is the biggest mystery of the film). Neither film version does the book justice, mainly because they had to mess with the ending.

Purple Noon is the better of the 2 versions. It jumps into the action late in the story so we’re missing Ripley’s back story which explains his motivation. The 1999 version provides a bit of this context but introduces a new character which inserts problematic changes and leads to a bizarre and unsettling ending.

The other book I read in April was William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well. I’ve slowly been working my way through many of Shakespeare’s plays and still have quite a few I would like to get to.

I found All’s Well to be quite delightful. I enjoyed it as much if not more than some of his better known comedies such as Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night.

April 2023 Reading Update
April 2023 Reading Update

Books Read in 2023

So far, I’ve read 12 books in 2023:

This Creative Midlife Posts in 2023

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