Wednesday, April 7, 2021

What We Read in March

March was another strong reading month for me, although I read less during the middle of the night which is a GOOD THING! I managed to finish 13 books which is still a lot and more than usual for me! I think my reading will slow down when I return to work later this month since I won't be able to read during Will's naps!

Favorite fiction reads:

Winter Solstice was a really lovely book that I read during a snowy stretch in March. I highly recommend this novel - the characters were so sweet and likeable and it was an all-around feel good story. American Dirt was a controversial book that was released in 2020. It's about a Mexican woman and her son fleeing their home after a drug cartel murders their family. The controversy around this book is due to the author being white. The publisher definitely made some horrible choices about how to promote this book, but overall I personally feel like the attack on the author was overblown. No, it is not her story to tell and we need more owned voices telling these stories. But there is value in reading this book and it gives you a glimpse of what the migrants experience when they come to the US to try escape the harsh realities of their life. It humanizes the experience of asylum seekers which I think is very important. The Paris Library is set during WWII in Paris. A book about WWII and libraries? Sign me up! The Exiles is about the penal colony history of Australia. I studied abroad in Australia but did not know much about the origins of that country. A Gentleman in Moscow is about a man who is sentenced to live out his life in a hotel in Moscow due to the alleged betrayal of his country. The writing in this novel was superb. I believe this is being made into a movie or TV series. 

Favorite Non-fiction reads:

These 3 non-fiction reads were all excellent and all had to do with motherhood!

Ok to meh:

This last group of books was "just ok" to meh for me. The Idea of You was well-liked by many friends but I found the story of a romance between a 40 year old woman and 20 year old man unrealistic. That age difference just did not feel at all believable to me! 

The boys' reading:

I've been reading to Will since the early days but I have noticed that he is really enjoying books these days! He is able to hold onto books for a brief period of time which is really cute to see. 

Paul got some Curious George books for his birthday and those were a hit. We also got some from the library which he loved. He is super into Curious George these days. He will say, "Oh George! That silly monkey." He also memorized "The Hungry Caterpillar" this month and will sometimes cooperate and read it to Will. 

I'm looking forward to being able to take Paul back to the library to pick out books. Ours is open for "grab and go" service so I don't feel right bringing Paul in to browse since your visit is supposed to be very fast! But maybe by the summer or fall he can come with me!

Did you read anything great in March?


Jeanie said...

I hope you can get back to the library soon. Love seeing Will hold the book! I've never read Rosamund Pilcher but have heard many good things about her lately. I might hae to check her out.

katielookingforward said...

I hadn't heard of the controversial book, but in my mind I started thinking about WWII books and how many of those are written from people who didn't live it. I understand this is a different circumstance of course. CBS morning did a review of the Moscow book and location, I haven't read it myself, but definitely will watch whatever they create about it (and will probably read it eventually, but I typically only read what's available on my prime kindle app).

Grateful Kae said...

Yet again impressed with all of your reading! Some of those fiction choices look great. I had heard of American Dirt and I'd like to read that. I heard something about the controversy too. I don't know. I'm not one to be overly sensitive about that kind of thing. I like the previous commenters point about WWII books not being written by WWII survivors. Also, simply "being Mexican" doesn't make one an expert on surviving a drug cartel situation, anyway. I can assure you that if my husband wrote a book about this topic, as a Mexican man, he doesn't have any firsthand experience with fleeing drug cartels, either! He would need to research, talk to people who have lived it, etc., the same as any other author would, of any race or background. The Paris Library book sounds great, as does The Exiles! I don't know anything about Australia. I'll have to add that to my list. I have been reading WAY more fiction so far this year than normal, and I'm actually getting itchy for some more non-fiction (which is what I tend to gravitate toward...). I have been having fun reading more fiction again, compared to previous years so I'm overall happy- but I also think I need a little break soon. :) I have The Giver of Stars cued up next for my book club, and I had the 3rd book from the Bear and the Nightingale series planned for Q1. (I had chosen 5 books for Q1 and read all but that one, plus some others sprinkled in that I didn't plan.) So I think I will read those two, and then switch to a couple non-fiction for a while!

Swathi Bellavi said...

I absolutely admire your reading updates! So inspiring!

Jordan said...

I LOVED American Dirt - I read it so fast and couldn't get enough. I didn't hear about the controversy until afterwards and I agree that it was overblown.

Stephany said...

I think it's really important for us to center the perspectives of POC when it comes to books like American Dirt. And they were the ones raising the alarm about this book. If they are saying that this book is filled with harmful stereotypes and racist tropes, then I want to listen to them. These are the kinds of things we as white people often don't notice. Personally, I don't think the controversy was overblown. I won't be reading that book as there are TOOOOONS of books about asylum seekers and the immigrant experience as a whole written from an "owned-voices" perspective, and this controversy really opened my eyes to the ways in which we silence these perspectives and don't give them the marketing and book advances that white authors get. Plus, the author's response completely turned me off from reading anything she writes. But I'm glad that book was a good reading experience for you, and I know you do a great job of reading diversely. But just giving my opinion on the matter!

On another note, A Gentleman in Moscow is on my list. Just need to be in the right headspace for it because it's more character-driven and slow (or so I hear). Best book I read in March was Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Soooo very good.

Carola Bartz said...

I enjoyed this post - I'm always interested what other people read. I know about the controversy of "American Dirt" but I still want to read it. I agree that it is not her story to tell, but maybe (I don't know this, of course) she works with immigrants from Mexico and beyond and therefore has more insight than many of us. I don't know a lot around this book to be honest. I am an immigrant myself and I don't like people who never immigrated (or even lived in a different country for a certain time) tell me what this experience is like - simply because they don't know.
Of the books I read in March I liked "Winter Loon" by Susan Bernhard and "The Moonlight Child" by Karen McQuestion (well, I read that in the first week of April...).

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

My favorite book last month was probably The Dearly Beloved. I miss going to our library. Curbside has been a godsend, but they still don't have fully working heat in the building after the flood last year. They can't have patrons come in either because all the children/ya books are out on the floors upstairs and there isn't enough space to spread out yet. Though they have opened now for 5 days of curbside pick up and I hear by summer they may be able to host outdoor events. Adeline is obsessed with this Itsy Bitsy Spider book we have but gets MAD if you try to get her to sing/perform when the book is not present. The book had to hide because frankly I'm not down for 15 performances in a row daily ha.