March was a somewhat weak month in terms of book completion. Sophia knocked out four categories (with five books), I managed two, and my husband managed one. His excuse is that he doesn’t read quickly, and he was out of town for 10 days. My excuse is that other books called more loudly than the Read Harder ones (Hub books…I’m looking at you). Even with our poor showing, we still managed an across-the-board completion – #4 – Read aloud to someone else. Three down completions down, a whole lot more to go.
Emma – In my infinite wisdom, I did not take down notes right after I finished either of these books, so my thoughts on them are fairly rudimentary.
Written in the Stars – Beautiful and frightening at the same time. The fact that various characters justified their actions and behaviors towards Naila made the reality of her forced marriage even worse. Gaslighting in the extreme.
Made You Up – Told from the perspective of a teen girl with schizophrenia during her final year of high school, the imagery was vibrant and it kept you wondering where her reality and everyone else’s realities began and end. Another beautiful, but at times heartbreaking, story.
All the Ways We Kill and Die: An honest look at Iraq/Afghanistan from a soldier’s perspective. The tone was an accurate, though cleaned up, representation of how EOD (explosive ordnance disposal – bomb squad) techs speak to each other. Castner tried to delve down into individual techs’ experiences, using them to explore deeper issues of recent wars, and trying to figure out who’s ultimately responsible for the IEDs.
Life: Unsurprisingly, Keith Richards has led quite a life so far. I was especially fascinated by his childhood experiences in a working class neighborhood and his descriptions of both the music that inspired him and the music he created himself. His perspective on the cultural impact of the Rolling Stones was also interesting. While admittedly I’ve only really listened to their big hits, this made me want to spend a little more time with the Stones’ music.
The Queen of the Night: This is a book where multiple times throughout I stopped for a moment to think about how stories like this one are why reading is so amazing. I was so pulled into the lush, enveloping world of orphan-turned-opera star Lillet Berne I was able to overlook any flaws this book had. It’s full of melodrama, lacks quotation marks, and is almost too long, but the story is utterly captivating.
The Princess and the Pony / Mother Bruce: I read these books to my nieces and nephew. We enjoyed both of them, but The Princess and the Pony was the clear favorite. I’m a fan of Kate Beaton’s online comic, and this picture book did not disappoint. The story is cute, and the pony is hilarious to look at. Mother Bruce was also a lot of fun. The grumpy bear reminds me of multiple family members, and his interactions with a gaggle of goslings was delightfully absurd.
Echo – I listened to the audiobook version at my sister’s recommendation and it was fantastic. The multiple narrators and the incorporation of harmonica music and classical pieces made it an immersive experience. Each child’s story was compelling and the way it came together at the end was beautiful and bittersweet.
With out further ado:
Me 12/24 (Halfway there! Woot!)
My Husband 6/24
Sophia 14/24 (Halfway there! Woot!)
#4 – Read aloud to someone else
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
#5 – Middle grade novel
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
#9 – Audie winner
Life by Keith Richards
#13 – Set in the Middle East
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
All the Ways We Kill and Die by Brian Castner
#15 – Historical fiction, pre-1900
The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
#24 – Author or main character has mental illness
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia