Monday, April 3, 2017

Books I Read in March

Well, not only is my baby getting much more efficient at nursing, in the past month she's started sleeping longer and dropped a couple of feedings, so I lost a lot of dedicated reading time. But I still managed to get six books in this month, which is ahead of my book-a-week goal, so still very much a win. Let's jump in!

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

This was very good, if a bit heavy and sad. The main character is eleven, but I'm not sure if this makes it more middle grade or young adult. The main themes center on bullying, and it's disturbing stuff, but I do think it's would be worth handing to kids and talking with them about. It's definitely not my favorite book ever, but a very strong recommend. Read more of my thoughts about it here.

Let It Go by Peter Walsh

Those of you who have been reading me for a while know how hard I jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon a couple years ago. And I maintain a hardcore love for decluttering, so I thought it could be fun to read some other books on the topic. I'd read somewhere that Peter Walsh was fantastic on the topic, so I checked out this one, his latest book. And... this was not the best place to begin. For starters, this book is specifically targeted at people who are downsizing (cleaning out deceased parents' homes, moving to retirement centers, moving from big family houses to smaller empty nester houses, etc.). As a family of five currently crammed into a two-bedroom city apartment, we are not the target audience. In fact, we will likely be moving to a bigger place later this year, so kind of the opposite of downsizing. I found myself skimming the vast majority of his information on how to manage sorting through all of your grandma's heirlooms. That being said, I did like a lot of what he had to say about our emotional connection to stuff, and how all of our "things" define us, our accomplishments, our status, our value or worth, so it can be very emotionally difficult to let go of this stuff. I might try some of his other books.

Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery

My re-read of the series continues! After the first two, this is probably my next favorite in the series. And it was so different reading this one now, as a wife and mother myself, as opposed to reading it as a twelve year old girl. My heart ached so much more at Anne's loss, and felt her joy so much more keenly. And the romance in this one! So good!

To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

First off, how amazing is the name Eowyn Ivey? Second off, this is the first book I've read by her, and I am now a converted and devoted fan and will read anything she ever writes. This book was slow, intricate, and incredibly beautiful. This is storytelling at it's best. This book made me want to go to Alaska. Also, this! This is the kind of magical realism I can really dig. It was the prefect blend of unexplained mystery and wonder. I loved everything about this book so much. I am currently reading The Snow Child, which is a book every reader I respect completely raves about, so I'll let you know how the two compare when I'm done. Basically, if you like good writing, good relationships, and developed characters, this is for you!

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows was by far my favorite fantasy read of last year, so I was very excited to check out this earlier series by the same author, set in the same world. Imagine my disappointment when I realized this is a fairly typical "special girl" novel (you know, where the main character is an ordinary girl who one day discovers she has unknown special abilities, and is suddenly her kingdom's only hope for revolution/winning the war/beating the enemy etc.) Also, there's a love triangle! Ugh! Six of Crows was so amazingly unique, and this book was so cliche, I just couldn't believe they were by the same author. I'm certainly glad I read Six of Crows first, and I will probably continue on with this series just to see if it gets better, since I know she can write amazing stuff. We shall see.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

This book has received a lot of publicity in the past few years, but I'd read such mixed reviews that I wasn't sure I wanted to read it. But Amy's review convinced me that I should pick it up, and I'm so glad I did! If you like beautifully written, character driven books, this is definitely a must-read. The way Ferrante wrote about the character of Lila, she was both larger than life and at the same time so unbelievably real, it blew me away. The relationship of these two friends was incredibly complex, and the complexity of that relationship drives all the drama and tension of this story. The way Ferrante could explain human emotions, motivations, the influence of culture and time and place... it was sweeping and intimate at the same time. It was masterful. But it was also dark, at times violent, with harsh language and the hopelessness of poverty. This is not a book for everyone. Proceed with caution.

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