I was proud of the seven books I read in February, very excited that my ‘mojo’ seemed to have returned and that I was well on the way to meeting, if not exceeding, my Goodreads challenge. It seems, happily, that February was just a warm-up. March has been an exceptional month for reading.
Here are the 15 – 15! – books that took my fancy in March:
A boy made of blocks
The second of the books sent to me by Amy for our Under-Cover series, A boy made of blocks made for a somewhat frustrating start to the month. It was not what I wanted to pick up at that time and I found the Dad, initially, self-centred. However, I read it in a day, gave it a solid three stars and was really happy that this was Amy’s pick for me. It opened me up to reading more books about Autism; a subject I haven’t read much about before.
The bone season
The bone season series by Samantha Shannon is one of my favourites and I re-read the previous books every year when a new one is released. So, this marked my third reading of The Bone Season. It is an extremely well-developed world, full of twists and turns, the characters are well-rounded and flawed. This is one of those books where each reading turns up something new; it’s so vibrant. I cannot wait to be able to add Song Rising to my shelves (I know it’s already out but I’m waiting for the paperback).
Amy and Roger’s epic detour
This was pulled off my shelves in frustration one night when, no matter what I tried, I could not sleep. I was hoping that by reading something I knew was fun, cute, and a relatively easy read, I could take my mind off wanting to be asleep. It worked to some extent. I got pulled into the story and definitely forgot that I should be sleeping. I loved this story the first time around and this second time was no different.
The Mime Order
The Mime Order was destined to swiftly follow The Bone Season. There’s not much to say about this that hasn’t already been articulated about its predecessor; it’s just as colourful, developed, and fast-paced. The characters are just as exciting, complicated, loveable or loathsome.
The Martian was one of my favourite reads of 2016. It was an out of character read for me and so I was very pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. The humour was spot on and helped to balance out what could have become – for me – the drier aspects; the science formulas and explanations. So, when I was reminded by a customer at work that Artemis had been published, I became very excited. When the same customer came back about a week later and gifted me his copy of Artemis (we’d been talking about The Martian and apparently he could ‘sense my enthusiasm’) I was overjoyed. It was so kind and thoughtful but also meant that I could start reading it immediately. Sadly, Artemis did not match up to the enthusiasm I felt for The Martain. The story was lacking the humour that made the Martian so likeable to be. I also began to, very quickly, doubt Weir’s ability to write a realistic female narrative. We are constantly reminded about Jazz’s sex-life, the number of people she’s slept with, and the effect she can have on men. The premise sounded so exciting – a heist on the moon, yes please! – but that’s where the imagination of Andy Weir seems to have run dry. Apart from the
occasional very frequent mentions of zero-gravity and the dangers of space dust, the inhabitants pretty much go about daily life, completing transactions and tasks on tablets known as ‘gizmos’…
Eleanor and Park
Eleanor and Park earned the first 5-star rating of March. It broke my heart and put it back together. It’s a beautiful book full of raw emotion, depth of feeling, and flawed, very real characters. I could flounder around trying to articulate my feelings but instead, I’ll let John Green do it. As he says on the front cover: ‘Reminded me not just what it’s like to be young and in love … but also what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.’
Under-Cover: Book 3
Keep an eye out for a post in the next couple of weeks revealing what book this is and what I thought of it.
The Secret Life of Cows
Sweet, short, cosy, this book made me smile, think, and want to buy a herd of cows. Told through anecdotal stories, this book invites you to meet the characters of Kite’s Nest Farm. At times it did feel a little too anthropomorphic and therefore a tad unbelievable but over-all it was just a fun read.
Ready Player One
Another genre usually neglected by me, Ready Player One is a fifth of the seven rereads I lept back into. This book is marvellous! It’s so much fun, so fast-paced, so intricate and smart that I struggled to put it down. A showcase of how much Cline loves the 80s and video games, he avoids making the reader feel stupid or patronised. Instead the details about 80s pop culture and trivia, that I for one know next to nothing about, are explained as we answer the clues with Wade. It doesn’t jar you out of the story or leave you mouthing ‘what?!’ it takes you along for the adventure. I am more than a little bit tempted to pick it up again (again) as I write this, is that acceptable?
A Wrinkle in Time
The news of a film adaptation brought this book back to popular attention. I had never heard of it before and hearing it be described as a ‘classic children’s book’ and with the trailer not really giving away anything, I decided to pick it up on a recent trip to Waterstones. Wow, this book is strange! A Guardian Article briefly describes it as The Wizard of Oz meets 1984 and it’s spot on. Unsettling, slightly disturbing, and never once taking a breather this book got weirder and weirder. I was almost immediately thrown at its classification as a children’s book. The main character, Meg, is at least 15 years old and the romance seems slightly inappropriate for anyone under the same age. I enjoyed it, I think. I spent quite a while confused, but my overriding feeling was that this book needed more pages. The writing style was simplistic and easy to follow as one would expect from a novel written for Children; the length also fits with the intended audience. But with so much going on, so many characters, imagery, and hidden meanings needed more pages to fully explain itself.
The Night Circus
This was an interesting re-read for me. I remember first reading Erin Morgenstern’s debut in 2014 and being completely enamoured with it. This was the first time since that I have picked it up and I just didn’t, and still don’t, feel the same. Maybe part of this was down to the pacing. The majority of books I had been reading were much quicker reads, less indulgent, less subtle and I became accustomed to, and enjoyed, the chain-reading this afforded. The Night circus forced me to slow down and by quite a considerable amount; at times I found this frustrating. I wanted action and excitement, not description and imagery. I rated this five stars in 2014 and three in 2018. Maybe that’s unfair, maybe I did this novel a disservice in reading it when I did. I guess I’ll have to wait until I next remove it from my shelves to find out.
This was another taken off the shelf above my bed one morning. It was one of those rare mornings when I woke up at a reasonable time and fancied reading in bed. Four hours later, I was very late getting out of bed and the book was finished. It was a quick read, cute at moments, and was exactly what I wanted at that moment. However, the story itself was a little bit lacking and occasionally a little bit uncomfortable, Bianca spent the first chapter ‘slut’ shamming her friends, and generally, throughout the book, she was just unagreeable. That being said, it’s likely that I will re-read it in the future but purely because I fancy reading. I’m not sure this makes sense but, there it is.
Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda
I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! There is so much emotion in this book whilst remaining an enjoyable read. It also raises some very important questions and definitely made me stop and think about how privileged I am as a heterosexual – “Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever.” I absolutely adored all the characters and their flaws, they were so real and their combined stories. It was so emotional and I found myself pretty much choked up from the beginning. By the middle, I was crying and the end saw myself grinning like an idiot.
Call me by Your Name
I am not usually someone who falls in love with a writing style. However, this book was gorgeous. Unlike with The Night Circus, I relished the slow pace. This was a stroll in the sun, it lingered. There was no rush. You could feel what the characters felt, you could feel the electricity, the longing, every emotion that they felt. This is a beautiful, sad, life-affirming, heart-warming, mournful novel that I really recommend.
The Tao of Pooh
This was picked up on a complete whim from the Library and I am so glad that I did. I do think that’ll it require a second reading before the principles really make sense, and also a slightly slower reading speed. Whilst this book does describe Taoism very well, and very simply, there are still some parts I’d like to revisit and think about in greater depth.
So there they are, all the books I read in March. I hope that April is just as good a reading Month (although slightly less books would make the wrap up a lot quicker to put together 🙂 )
Have you read any of these books? What did you read in March? Let me know in the comments below and, if you have any wrap-up type posts, don’t forget to leave the links.