Monday 2 April 2018

Things I Read In March

March! Twas the month without chocolate, defined mostly by anticipation- anticipation for being able to eat what I want again, but mostly anticipation for the BEST PLANS in April. Picture this: I don't have a full week of work in April, the coming week of 4 days is my longest work week in April. I've got, in date order: a day with my best friend, a Studio Ghibli cinema trip, my birthday, HAMILTON and Naples all to do this month. Is it any wonder that I basically just wanted March to be OVER?

I think March knew that, and made me see it out with a cold. THANKS, MARCH. *coughs and sneezes and uses like 50 tissues an hour*

Reading though! I did a load of it in March, although it feels like I didn't dedicate that much time to it, other than on Good Friday where I basically read all day. March has mainly been spent watching Call Me By Your Name because I have ISSUES, so it should be no surprise that I bought the book on the last day of the month. Expect me to have read it by the end of April, cause I can barely contain myself. In March, though, I read the following:
PLUS another book on my Kindle! Which obviously I needed because 10 wasn't enough...

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
I pretty much wanted to read this because both Lena Dunham and Greta Gerwig cited it as an inspiration for their work, and having read it, I fully get it. The Dud Avocado follows a woman who doesn't follow rules, who barely knows who she is or what the hell she's doing, which is completely a thing in women led narratives today (and I love it) but which must have been fairly revolutionary in the 50s when (I believe) this was written. Basically this is the book version of everything I like in TV and movies at the moment as a 20-something woman who doesn't know what she's doing like, at all, so of course I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
As already reviewed, I found this book pretty meh. I wanted to love it, and admired its attempts at talking about philosophy and art and other things that I like, but oh man, it could have been so much better.

Jane Austen: The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly
This book was so goooood. I am looking at all of the books I've read this month, and all of them honestly deserve full on reviews, but this one was especially interesting and compelling, especially for literary criticism. The premise of this book is that Jane Austen has hidden various political and sociological issues in each of her novels, and whether or not I believe that's the case (it's a... maybe, from me), Kelly's arguments are airtight, and utterly convincing. This book is worth reading if you're even a little bit interested in lit crit, Austen, or 18th-19th Century social issues (yep, I said it).

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
I... Don't even remember this book, if I'm honest. I know there was a guy and his wife and a cat and... Honestly, I don't really know. I'm sure it was fine, but in a month so packed with reading, it sort of blended into the background. Side note: I made a real effort to read lots of ladies this month, so the fact that this was forgettable and by a man makes me oddly... gleeful. *feminist cackles*

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
I read this in anticipation of the film, which came out this month (it was only ok), and I really liked it. I get that it's a children's book, so I read it with that in mind, not expecting it to contain any really deep messages- which it didn't, really, but that's fine! I was in love with the girl heroine, I loved the Mrs Ws and it managed to be exciting and adventurous and then kind of moving at the end. Basically, I'm glad I have found it because would I like my super imaginary children to read this? Yes. Yes I would.

Girl Up by Laura Bates
My excellent friend Bex bought this for me for Christmas, and I LOVE IT. Just as a start, the endpapers are filled with dancing vaginas, but this book is a lot more interesting than that. It's pretty much aimed at teens, which means that there were parts that I didn't really feel were relevant to me, but I could be one step removed from that and just marvel at how useful this book really could be. It's not the book I need, but it's kind of the book I wish I'd written, in many ways. It should, I think, be recommended reading for all teens, all women who may need it, and ok, yeah, shall we say all people, just to be on the safe side? Ok, good.

Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen
Oh hey, I managed to review this too! This was honestly too fabulous, I'm desperate for Shen to write about a million more books (and I'm in luck, at least a little, cause her new book is out this month!) and YAY women (the theme for this month, ya know?)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I've got to get this off my chest- I hate when books are written in dialect. This book was moving and really depicted the struggle of an African-American woman with a dearth of choices in the early 20th Century. I get why it's a classic, and the end is SO SAD. But my god, the dialect. THE DIALECT. It was pretty off putting, especially at the start, and I did kind of get used to it- I just didn't like it.

Eat Up! by Ruby Tandoh
This book was fabulous. I love books written about food that aren't strictly recipe books (although I like those too) and this one really rivalled Nigel Slater's food writing for me, which trust me, is the highest praise. Tandoh's mission, I think, is to make people love food, to not feel bad about what they choose to eat but to appreciate food for what it does for us- not just physically, but mentally. To not feel bad for eating junk food occasionally, but to understand that we ate it because it's what we needed, at that time. To never feel guilty, in fact, for eating exactly what we want, in a world which tells us to do the exact opposite. This book is pretty much a call to arms to defend eating what we want, and baby, I'm ready to join that army.

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
Maybe Eat Up! had a lingering effect on me, but I sort of hated this book, which amounted, pretty much, to a fat shaming piece of crap. I'm not sure why I bought this after my bleugh feels about We Need To Talk About Kevin (must have been a kindle daily deal), but this book, which was basically a sister talking about how fat her brother was for pages and pages and pages. We get it, Lionel, morbid obesity is a big (ha) problem, but my GOD. The message is pretty much as drawn out as possible in this book. Let's just never speak of this again, because it really didn't have anything interesting to say.

Lamb by Christopher Moore
I wanted to read this for Easter Week because sometimes I like to theme my reading, and it was a solid choice. The idea of the book is that Christ's bestie (who isn't really mentioned in the Bible?) has been brought back from the dead to tell the New Testament story from his perspective. It's not the tale as we know it, but it manages to stay weirdly respectful (in this more-or-less atheist's opinion) to the story of Christ, just with an added 30 years or so in between. It's funny and actually an interesting interpretation of Jesus's 'lost years', and Biff (Jesus's bestie) is a super charismatic guy. I liked it a lot, basically, and enjoyed that I finished it on Good Friday because, you know, relevant.

I'm so sorry, that was such a long reading month! But a pretty good one, as you can see. Lest I forget, the Monthly Motif challenge though! The prompt for April is Read Locally - Read a book set in your country, state, town, village (or has a character from your home town, country etc). I have chosen (drumroll please):
At Home by Bill Bryson! It's a history of the home, essentially, and mostly based in England so pretty much fits the criteria we're looking for here. I did start reading this in March, which I'm sure breaks some kind of rules or something but I don't caaaaaare! I'm liking it so far, which is a good sign that I'm going to want to read all of the 600+ pages (oy vey, Bill).

And that is me, sorry I stole all of your life there. How about you? What did you read in March?

1 comment:

  1. So much good reading! And OMG, I am incredibly excited for you for everything happening to you in April. I shall follow your Hamilton-goings and trip to Naples with avidity.