March Reviews

I have on shorts. There are a few windows open. It's really happening!!!!

Except here in Southern California we're scheduled for rain in a few days and for the first week of April to land itself in the low 60s. This winter, man, it's been a great source of water for the state, but a bit of a buzz kill.

Now that I've given you a weather report, let's talk about books, a far more interesting subject. It's interesting that for readers every climate is conducive to reading. Cold? Snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and read. Hot? Hide out in the AC or lay out by the pool. Spring-like? Iced-coffee and a book outside. Autumn? Hot coffee and a book outside. It really is the best hobby. 

Most of my reading done in fits and starts this month. I reread Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novella, Chronicle of a Death Foretold for the fifth (?) time, since that's what I'm teaching this month. For anyone interested in magical realism it really is a great starting point; a slim volume, subtle but obvious examples, and beautiful prose. 

I tackled two heavier novels this month, Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters and Swing Time by Zadie Smith. In many ways I felt the same about both; they were [erfectly fine, but could have been better. Each had some marvelous moments of superb writing and depth, but the trajectories of the stories just left me a little underwhelmed (you have no idea how much it pains me to say that about Smith). The Winter's novel considered the idea of the Civil War never happening and slavery still existing in a few states. The main character in an African American man who is a bounty hunter, basically returning runaways to their owners. He ends up getting caught up in a complicated scheme and must really reflect on his own position (doesn't it sound amazing?). Swing Time is about two "brown girls," as the author describes them, growing up as dancers in London, each poor but families in very different positions. The trajectories of the two young women reflect this, although the identity-building that occurs with each girl may not be as different as one would expect. I don't regret reading either, and I wouldn't go as far as to not recommend them- I would just suggest lowering one's expectations a smidge. 

I talked about book FOMO and my experience reading Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid here. It was totally fun- maybe not a literary tour de force, but this one will definitely be on my beach read list in a few months. 

Yesterday I finished my month off with How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price. I am in the process of writing a full post, but basically this book is a quick, solid reminder to PUT YOUR DAMN PHONE DOWN. I will be the first to admit I use my phone to much- don't we all? Or at least most of us? I have made a conscious effort to use it less around my son, though, but I still have a lot of work to do. 

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