The month of March or the year of March? This month seemed like it was 10 years long. It was hard. It continues to be hard here in the United States where COVID-19 is infecting thousands of people every day. My reading was all over the place. I found it hard to concentrate at times and was distracted. I tried about three books to every one that I finally got into. I finally read a few middle grade books for #middlegrademarch and really loved them.
If you want to know more about what I’m reading, you can follow my Bookstagram @thelazybookshelf. Or you can follow me @heymeff for general silliness and sporadic posting.
If you need a comforting read in these uncertain times, might I recommend Hannah Coulter. The novel tells the story of Hannah’s life. She lives on a farm from the 1940s on, raises children, cares for the land, the community and her family. The writing is beautiful and warm. Some readers might find this one boring, but I did not. Wendell Berry is a Kentucky writer and I was happy to give this one 5 stars.
Imagine that Where the Crawdads Sing had an element of magic and romance and you get Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance. The nature writing is wonderful and the plot moves quickly. It was unpredictable and sweet and such a surprising book. I’ve been trying to read more backlist titles and this one fit the bill!
It took me about fifty pages to get into this book but once I did, I really liked it! It’s a bit melancholy, but the ending was so good. It had the best, most hopeful ending of a book I’ve read in a long time. The story follows a young writer trying to finish her book while making ends meet. If you like character driven books, I’d recommend this one to you. It’s set in Boston and again, with most books I love, is so well written.
This was probably my least favorite book that I read this month, but I didn’t dislike it. It was okay. It follows a female urologist (of which there are only about 1,000 in the US!) as she and her best friend deal with the fallout of a scandal at the clinic they both work out. There’s a bit of romance and a lot of humor. It was definitely the funniest book I read all month. Also, it’s set in Charleston, SC which is a city I LOVE and haven’t visited in years. It was lovely imagining the streets of that place.
I listened to Kate DiCamillo on a podcast where she said that children’s authors have a responsibility to write books that are hopeful for young people. That doesn’t mean she shies away from hard topics. In fact, the premise of Raymie Nightingale is that her father has run off with another woman and Raymie plans to get him to come back by winning a contest in Florida. In the meantime, she makes two wonderful friends and goes on adventures. It was just the book I needed as we started social distancing here in Kentucky.
I am so thankful for bloggers and reviewers who create lists of middle grade books. I’m not as in tune with children’s literature and found this title on a list and I absolutely loved it. I listened to it on Hoopla, my library’s audiobook service. I couldn’t stop listening. It was so good! It’s historical fiction about the Berlin wall, the East and West, and one family’s determination to reunite. I will definitely be picking up Jennifer Nielsen’s other historical fiction books.
I pre-ordered this one because I loved the author’s previous book Station Eleven. (If you’re the type of person who wants to really lean into the pandemic and read a novel about a pandemic, I’d highly recommend that one.) The Glass Hotel centers around a woman named Vincent and her husband. The plot hops around in time and place. I really loved the tone of the book. It was the only novel that kept my attention at the start of social distancing. It was eerie and cold and unlike anything I’ve read in a while. I love a book that is unique in plot and themes.