My March Reading Wrap-up

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:

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  • 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!

  12 comments for “My March Reading Wrap-up

  1. April 1, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Strangers in Their Own Land is on my list – we’ll be discussing it in my book club later this month. As I struggle to find insight into our current situation, I’m looking forward to this one.

    • April 3, 2017 at 8:04 am

      I look forward to discussing this one with you! I’m about a quarter of the way through and will be interested to see where it goes.

  2. April 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I like the variety in the books you read in March. Sounds like you have a busy April coming up

    • April 3, 2017 at 8:06 am

      Thanks! I’m not sure I’ve ever read this much nonfiction in a month. I always feel like I should read more nonfiction.

      • April 3, 2017 at 11:19 am

        I know the feeling – I buy them with the best of intentions and then they just sit there

  3. April 2, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Ace stuff—I’m really impressed by what I’ve seen about Diane Guerrero’s memoir, and I love her work on OITNB as well (especially the most recent season, where her character was allowed to develop a lot more as a person, albeit by putting her in some awful situations). If you’re looking at the Baileys Prize longlist, I think you’d especially like The Power, Barkskins, and Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed (though all of the books are worth reading!)

    • April 3, 2017 at 8:03 am

      I’m a few seasons behind on OITNB (the 4th season didn’t grab me). Glad to hear she’s developed more as a character! I’m also one season into Jane the Virgin and hope to see more of her there too. The book is like a lot of memoirs I’ve read recently: the writing is a bit uneven, but her story and message is really powerful. I hope more people read it!

  4. vendija723
    April 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    An impressive and eclectic reading list! I keep meaning to read more “serious” work, but my poor little brain needs the break I get from YA, mysteries, and fantasy.

    • April 3, 2017 at 8:08 am

      Thanks for commenting! I try to mix up my reading but don’t always succeed. I feel better when I push myself. But I think everyone should read what makes them happy.

  5. April 3, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Just finished The Bear and the Nightingale-you’ll enjoy it!

  6. April 11, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Love the slide show with the books! What a cool idea

    And I shall keep an eye out for the Daily Show book. It’s one that I would be skeptical of (love for Stewart notwithstanding) cos who knows how books like that will actually be. Happy to hear it’s a good one!

  7. danielle hammelef
    April 22, 2017 at 9:56 am

    I haven’t heard about most of these books as I tend to read YA and middle grade, but I see quite a few that my family would find intriguing on your list. Thanks for sharing!

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