Okay, y’all, March was the most Januaryist month ever. And by that I mean, it was LONG. Can you for a minute remember what life was like on March 1st? We had just gotten home from our trip to San Diego, my son only had two teeth (we’re now at SEVEN which is bonkers), and we were operating like normal. No longer, my friends.
That being said, I’ve gotten a surprising amount of reading done, despite all the stress and distraction. Several were audiobooks, several were graphic novels, but I figure whatever formats will keep me reading, that’s a good thing. As I always told my students, all reading is good reading! Here’s what I managed this month:
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy (Harper One, 2019): This reads like motivational posters, and I mean that in the best way possible. I would like to frame just about every page on my wall. Beautiful tale of friendship with lovely and simple artwork. Takes about 20 minutes to read, and you’ll want to read it over and over. Read my full review here.
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (Penguin 2017): Read this one to prepare for the Hulu show (which I haven’t gotten to yet… a couple grad school friends and I are going to watch it virtually together, and we still have a few eps of Friday Night Lights left!) Don’t need to say much, since everyone’s read it already, but I thought it was a beautiful rumination on motherhood. Read my full review here.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second 2013): I love Lucy Knisley’s work so much, and this graphic memoir focused on food was a delightful escape. She’s so down-to-earth and I think we would be great pals. Read my full review here.
Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, by Melissa Sweet (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016): I loved this middle grade biography of E.B. White, both for its ability to transport me to early 20th century rural life, and for Melissa Sweet’s beautiful artwork. I now want to read E.B. White’s entire repertoire. Read my full review here.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, by Anne Lamott (Anchor Books, 1993): This memoir felt particularly relatable to me as I navigate the first year with my own son. Despite the angry references to H.W. Bush presidency (oh, what a world), I think this one has aged beautifully, and it certainly still feels very relevant. But then again, I’m not sure those feelings of early motherhood have changed much in 27 years, or 127. Read my full review here.
You Think It, I’ll Say It, by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House, 2018): I’m a huge fan of Sittenfeld, and a recent huge fan of short story, so this was a definite win for me. An interesting rumination on parenthood, marriage, and life in the middle years.
How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi (Narrated by the author) (One World 2019): We now know that “not being racist” isn’t enough to cause real change in our society, and this book fully fleshes out what that means. A must read for anyone looking to broaden their perspective on race issues in America.
A Spark of Light, by Jodi Picoult, narrated by Bahni Turpin (Random House 2018): I listened to this primarily because I noticed Bahni was the narrator, and she’s my go-to narrator for audiobooks. Her voice is so captivating, and she did another stellar job with this one. This is Picoult’s look into the controversial pro-life/pro-choice debate, and she does an excellent job of giving life to many different perspectives on that.
Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell (narrated by the author) (Hachette Book Group 2019): I had heard an interview with Gladwell about his new book on Armchair Expert, and he explained that he had written it with the audiobook in mind the whole time. He also gave some wild sales statistic for how the audio has sold in comparison to the print version, and I don’t remember now what it was, but it was CRAZY high. That’s because the audiobook is pretty stellar. Gladwell is all about bringing different stories from the news into his pop sociology, and whenever possible, he included direct audio from those stories. We hear Sandra Bland’s videos from her YouTube channel and from the recording of her arrest. We hear clips of Amanda Knox’s documentary. We hear part of Brock Turner’s testimony. We hear audio from Neville Chamberlain after he met with Hitler in 1939. It’s pretty impressive.
Ghosts of Harvard, by Francesca Serritella (Random House, anticipated release: May 5, 2020): This debut doesn’t come out till the beginning of May, so I’ll be posting my full review for it closer to its release date. It’s definitely a page-turner and kept me on the edge of my seat!
What You Wish For, by Katherine Center (St. Martin’s Press, anticipated release: July 14, 2020): This was my first Center novel, and it just didn’t do it for me. I think I would have rated it lower if I wasn’t in the mind frame that I needed a fluffy escape. Again, my full review will be posted later in the summer.
The Mental Load, by Emma (Seven Stories Press 2017): I wanted to love this graphic novel after hearing a discussion on a podcast about “the mental load” that is primarily handled by women in the household, which includes such things as meal planning and scheduling appointments and making sure permission slips are signed, etc. And some parts really did ring true. But other parts were a little too much or fell flat for me, so love it I did not. I wonder if part of that has to do with the fact that it is a French translation.
So seeya wouldn’t wanna beya, March. It’s been.. not that fun! I’m hoping I can get into a bit more of a reading groove in April, but also open to the possibility of branching out into genres that don’t require a ton of focus. I hope April brings great things to your reading life!