My reading was thematic this month. I started with 1984 and then moved to a book about rural America, Strangers in Their Own Land. I read Diane Guerrero’s book about her parents’ immigration to America and their deportation back to Columbia. I read The Daily Show, which turned out to be as much about U.S. political events as the show itself, and then I followed that with Trevor Noah’s book about his childhood in South Africa and his experiences with apartheid.
So I have to say while I’m not doing much politically, I’m at least reading things that are giving me a greater understanding of current and recent events.
Here’s what I read in March:
- A Regimental Murder by Ashley Gardner
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Land of Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen
- Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
- The Daily Show: An Oral History by Chris Smith
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
My favorite read: This month was full of great reads. On the non-political side, Darker Shade of Magic totally lived up to all the hype, which was unexpected. And I loved Patricia Briggs’ new book in her Mercy Thompson series, Silence Fallen. Some of the recent books in the series haven’t been as good as the earlier books, but I loved this one. I found my reading of it greatly impacted by the recent, unexpected death of Briggs’ husband in January. This book was finished before he died, but it was all I could think about as I read. I saw Briggs at a reading last fall, where she shared the opening chapter of this book. Her husband was in the audience and helped facilitate the discussion. He also ran her blog and much of the public side of her career. And given the way she writes about Mercy and Adam, I have to believe he was everything to her.
Fans of Jon Stewart should definitely read The Daily Show. It’s long and maybe a bit too detailed, but full of so many interesting backstage stories about the writers, the correspondents, and of course the man himself. It also put the current Daily Show in a new perspective, as I see Trevor Noah slowly making the show his own. Stewart didn’t just show up and everything was great; it was an ongoing process. The book is written very much in the context of all the political events that occurred between 1995 and 2015, so you get not only a history of the show, but a history of our country over the last 20 years.
Most disappointing read: Land of Hidden Fires. I try not to criticize books sent to me by authors, but this World War II story fell flat because of its under-developed characters.
Books I read for challenges:
- Reading All Around the World: Land of Hidden Fires (Norway); Born a Crime (South Africa)
- Back to the Classics/The Classics Club/Classic Book a Month Club: 1984
ARCs/Review Requests: I posted reviews for three ARCs this month: Riven, Finding Molly, and The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley. I finished Land of Hidden Fires and started The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova, author of The Historian.
Diverse Reads: I read moving memoirs by Diane Guerrero, whose parents were born in Columbia, and Trevor Noah, who grew up in South Africa.
What I’m reading now: I’m still working on Strangers in their Own Land, which is fascinating even though I’m reading it slowly. In fact it’s been my constant source of dinner conversation lately, at least with people who are politically like-minded. Like author Hochschild, I’m still scratching my head at why some of our nation’s poorest voted for Trump, a man whose policies will only support the super-wealthy, and who will likely deprive our neediest of jobs, health care, and social services. Here’s another irony that this book is making abundantly clear; our nation’s poor, rural population are also the most likely to be negatively impacted by environmental problems like pollution and climate change. But again, they chose to vote for the person who will (and has) eliminate environmental protections.
What’s coming up: I’ll be reading Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald for the Classic Book of the Month Club, and I’ve got The Bear and the Nightingale from the library. I also have two books from NetGalley to read in April: The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan and The Leavers by Lisa Ko. And I hope to read some of the books on the Bailey’s Prize longlist.
Hope you’re enjoying the spring, and happy April reading!