March was a hugely productive reading month for me. I finished nine books (one of them an audiobook) and mostly enjoyed the things I read, though there really wasn’t that ‘killer’ book that knocked my reading socks off. A bunch of decent reads is much better than a run of stinkers, though, so I’m not complaining. Here is a quick roundup of my reading life in March:
Frog Music by Emma Donoghue is her first novel since the highly popular Room. In 1876 San Francisco we follow a French prostitute, her dandified boyfriend and the woman who comes between them. This historical mystery features great female characters and a richly drawn setting.
The Receptionist by Janet Groth. You can read more about my thoughts here.
The Shelf by Phyllis Rose. This nonfiction title is an account of Rose’s year of reading almost exclusively from one shelf in her local library and is a perfect book for readers of all stripes. Her humor, curiosity and thoughtfulness make her a lovely and feisty companion through the books of Gaston Leroux, Rhoda Lerman and John Lescroart, among others.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell is another funny romance from this author filled with pop culture references that I adore. This is an adult title about a failing marriage and what happens when an old telephone gives the wife, Georgie, access to her husband of the past. Intelligent chick-lit at its best.
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing. I started out really loving this book about five writers and how drinking affected their lives and work. I was fascinated by the story of Tennessee Williams, who I didn’t know anything about before reading this, and how addiction both focused and destroyed him. The ending was a bit of a letdown as the author speedily related the stories of John Berryman and Raymond Carver. I would have liked to learn more about them and less about Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub. This book is a gem of a family tale. The Post family (dad, mom, brother and sister) rent a house in Mallorca for two weeks with a couple who are good friends of the mom and the brother’s girlfriend. Being cooped up in close quarters forces conflicts to be resolved, choices to be made and truths revealed. All of this takes place in a beautiful setting by the beach with Spanish food and culture surrounding them. Her writing reminds me a little of Cathleen Schine.
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham. A silly wife in 1920’s Hong Kong cheats on her stoic husband so he forces her to accompany him to a cholera ridden area in China. I thought every single character was incredibly frustrating and they all made me want to throttle them, but I did love the portrayal of Kitty’s growth and maturing as she overcomes her many challenges.
After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman. I listened to this over the month in my car and it was quite good. When a small-time but good-hearted criminal intentionally disappears to avoid prison time, his wife, three daughters and mistress all pay a price. When a cold case detective starts dredging up the past we learn just how high that price was. This has truly believable characters and a surprising twist that made me gasp out loud. I loved the narrator, Linda Emond, and want to listen to more books she’s worked on.
Picture Perfect by Shanna Hogan. A true crime novel about Jodi Arias that broke me out of a reading slump.
Now on to April – I can’t wait to see what I end up reading this month.
8 thoughts on “What I Read In March”
Nine books is great Anbolyn. Happy reading in April!
Thanks, Jessica – happy reading to you too!
Nine books, that’s awesome 🙂
I’m hoping to read The Painted Veil over the next few months, and I’m looking forward to starting it.
Nine books is a lot for me – I was surprised to see I’d read that many!
The Painted Veil is a stimulating book. It will make you frustrated and will make you think.
You’ve had a great reading month – I loved Eleanor & Park, so I should definitely add Landline to my wishlist. I wonder how long it will be until we have to explain what a landline was! 😉
Landline isn’t quite as stirring as E & P, but it is good for what it is. It’s funny – in the book the main character’s little sister doesn’t understand how landline phones work…but we still use them in offices so I think they’ll be around for a while longer.
The Shelf sounds like an intriguing book, as well as an intriguing experiment to try. It sounds like it would force you to discover some new authors, although I do wonder if a single shelf would be enough to fill a whole year’s worth of reading.
I think it was something like 26 books that Rose read off her shelf – and she admits that she did read some other things as well. My library has a floating collection so it never stays the same – a book that might have been there when you looked one week could very well be housed at another branch the week after so this kind of project wouldn’t really work. But I love the idea of discovering and reading authors you might never have looked at twice.