Wednesday, April 3, 2024

What We Read in March

My reading was all over the place in March but ended on a good note. Overall I would say my reading year has been kind of ‘meh’? I’ve read some good books but not many are knocking my socks off. But hopefully things improve from here.

Best books:

Why yes, my best books of the month does include a book set during the winter holidays - Three Holidays and a Wedding. I had hoped to read it in December but it didn’t become available in time from the library. It’s a romance set in a year (2000) when Christmas, Hanukkah, and Ramadan all coincided with each other. It was a cute/fun read. The Road to Dalton was a quiet novel about the intersecting lives of the residents of a small town in Maine. It definitely falls firmly under character-driven but that is my jam. Family Family was a great novel about adoption. I would actually recommend reading the author’s note before reading the book (the author and her husband adopted their daughter). I especially loved the quirky main character, India. The Collected Regrets of Clover is about a death doula who is focuses on helping her patients leave this world in peace but uses her job to avoid dealing with her own issues. It’s kind of a coming of age story.

Not so successful:

I didn’t exactly dislike either of these books, they just didn’t meet my expectations. Banyon Moon is a debut novel that had great promise as it was a multi-generational story about a family from Vietnam. But ultimately it took on a bit too much IMO. Dixon, Decending is a fictional telling of 2 black brothers climbing Mount Everest. Much of the book takes place off the mountain as the elder brother struggles to process and accept happened on the mountain. It was good but not as good as I was hoping. 

Paul’s reads:

We finished the first book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series which Paul enjoyed. He received books 2-4 from a friend for his birthday but we took a pause on that series in favor of a Roald Dahl book. We are about half through James and the Giant Peach, which is a weird little book. I read it as a child but have no memory of it. I’m always shocked by how children’s books start - like in this one, on the first page, James’ parents get eaten by a rhino that has escaped from the zoo… Um what?? I guess Paul’s already a bit conditioned for that kind of start since Disney also loves to kill off a parent in the opening scene. 

Have you read anything great lately?


Tamara said...

Hi, thanks for posting your book lists they are so helpful. Regarding books for boys, I found choosing things between 5 and 8 to be fun but also tricky! My son likes the Timmy Failure books more than the wimpy diaries, though the later books in the series may be a bit grownup still for yours. He also really liked a series about a boy called Justin Case. His favourite were the Ramona and Henry Huggins books and I read him several of the early little house books - he loved Farmer Boy! We took a break when poor Jack died and Mary got sick. Happy reading!

Chelsea said...

My Kindergartener (who also loves Wimpy Kid) has gotten really into the Trouble at Table 5 series by Tom Watson. The author has also written two series called Stick Cat and Stick Dog, which we will try next. The other series we've loved that Paul might be into are the 13-Story Tree House books, which a friend recommended to us long ago.

I just finished Hum if You Don't Know the Words, which is set in apartheid South Africa and I would give it 3.75 stars.

Elisabeth said...

I hated James and the Giant Peach. What a slog (for me at least) that book was; we went through a Roald Dahl phase a few years ago and that was probably my least fav. Fantastic Mr. Fox and George's Marvelous Medicine are very short but fun! And I think you've already done Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I also wasn't a huge fan of the BFG. There is an accent throughout and I hate reading accents.
My reading year has been mostly forgettable, but I think that's not surprising since I really tend toward almost exclusively non-fiction!

Nicole said...

Family Family has been on my list for a while now, and I'm still pretty far down in the queue. Oh well, it will come in when it comes in. My kids both liked the Wimpy Kid books, but I kind of hated them. However! My feelings don't matter when it comes to the kids' reading choices! Whatever gets them excited (I still sometimes think "touched the cheese" and laugh, though).

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I have had Family Family on hold for a bit too and I am also pretty far down the queue. Other than that, I read Banyan and felt pretty much the same way.

I am still reading The Women, which I am enjoying, and The Stand In, which is fun enough. However, this year has not been chock full of great books for me either.

NGS said...

Well, my last five star read was My Brilliant Friend, so I don't have any stellar recommendations for you. I did really think The Ghost in the House was pretty haunting (no pun intended) and I have been thinking about it for weeks now, so maybe that one might work? It's hard to find in the US, though, so maybe it's not the best recommendation. I'm currently reading ZERO books, but I just added two to my Kindle from Libby, so I'll start one tonight.

Jeanie said...

They're doing a production of James and the Giant Peace at our local theatre this spring. I might take the boys if it times out right. I want them to see something other than video games! It's frustrating when books disappoint.

Grateful Kae said...

Your "hit" books all sound really great!! I think I'd like any of those. I am certain I read James and the Giant Peach with the boys at some point but I don't remember that much about it. From Roald Dahl my kids really liked The Witches, but eventually- it's a little scary at first! So I think we waited on that one and even then I remember Ethan being a little freaked out by it. And they liked Matilda, and they did really like BFG a lot, though I agree with Elisabeth's comment that reading accents is kind of annoying!

LOL about Disney and killing off a parent... I know! I mean, why?! I guess it makes for a good story, but they used that storyline a bit too much (at least in the movies that came out in the 90s).

ccr in MA said...

I did enjoy The Collected Regrets of Clover as well. I read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi, which I know isn't for everyone; of regular fiction I read in March, I think my favorites were the two by Jackie Fraser, The Bookshop of Second Chances and The Beginning of Everything.

Stephany said...

I've had a pretty good reading year so far but I don't know if I've read THE BOOK just yet. I'm still waiting for that one book I want to recommend to everyone and just know it will be my favorite book of the year. But there's a lot of time left in 2024 - thank goodness!

I got Family Family from BOTM so I'm excited to read it soon!

Jenny said...

All your books sounds really good, even the "misses." I know, sometimes books sound better than they really are. My son LOVED the Wimpy Kid books- I can see how they might not be as popular with parents though. I thought they were funny, and my motto was always- anything is fine, as long as they're reading. Weirdly, I can't remember if we ever read James and the Giant Peach??? You would think I'd remember, but it was so long ago. It's funny to compare girls and boys books... with my daughter I remember a lot of Fancy Nancy and Ladybug Girl at this age.

Ernie said...

I'm interested in the Family, Family book - maybe it's about adopting an infant, which wouldn't necessarily align with what we are doing.

I just read Stealing Buddha's Dinner. It's a memoir. I found it bounced back and forth a bit in the times of things, so not exactly chronological, but overall, I liked it.

I just started reading The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. So far, it's pretty good.

Diane C. said...

I have The Collected Regrets of Clover on my Libby holds. I can't even remember why, but every time it pops up, I think "How pretty is that cover!"
I find all of Roald Dahl a little macabre, but I do like them all the same. We never got into Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I just picked up a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to read with my 7 year old, but haven't started it yet - he goes to bed the same time as the four year old and I don't think she's ready for it yet, so we still read a lot of picture books.

J said...

I have Family Family on hold, it came available and I had to delay it because I'm currently listening to The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, which hasn't really grabbed me yet. I'm almost finished with the 4th book in the 'My Brilliant Friend' set, and I'm LOVING it. Sad to be almost finished with it, though.