Reading is a form of mediation. It trains my brain to focus, to look inward but think outward, and to reflect. This month’s reading definitely helped me to realize that. I’ve never truly been able to go full zen when doing what people traditionally regard as meditation, but I do find that regular reading sessions help me stay less anxious and more thoughtful.
Plus, March was a fun month for me. I read a mix of things that found their way to me organically and things that I have been meaning to read for quite some time. I didn’t read a bad book this month, and some of what I read was truly fantastic, and…what else is there in this life? Below are some of my thoughts on what I read this past month:
- The Autobiography of My Mother: A Novel – Jamaica Kincaid || ⁉
- Story of a mixed-race woman from birth through old age in early Dominican Republic. The book is almost unclassifiable, and certainly impossible to “rate” after only one read. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it—just commit to doing so twice.
- The Book of Phoenix – Nnedi Okorafor|| 👍
- Follows an engineered human living in the research facility where she was created and is currently the subject of research and experiments.
- The Moon in the Palace & The Empress of the Bright Moon – Weina Dai Randel || 👍
- Two-book series following the life of the only female ruler of China, who starts as a teenage concubine to the Emperor.
- Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson || 👍
- Well-known short novel of Dr. Jekyll, whose desire to engage unreservedly in his most base desires leads him to splinter his very being into the person of Mr. Hyde.
- The World We Found – Thrity Umrigar || 👍
- Story of four friends who, after studying together as youth in India, have drifted their separate ways until one is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
- Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi || 👍👍
- Follows a young woman, born in a mythical land fashioned out of the building blocks of Western Africa, who seeks to restore the power of the Magi, while the ruling family seeks to destroy that magic forever.
- Freshwater – Akwaeke Emezi || ✌
- This is the first time I’ve ever chucked the deuces at a book, but this one is really the first book I read this year that I just felt neutral about. Therefore, it gets the peace sign. I’m not sure if it qualifies as magic realism, but the story loosely and not necessarily in chronological order follows, from the viewpoint of spiritual beings living within her, a young girl born in Nigeria who comes to America for school and experiences a traumatic event that leads her to riskier and riskier behavior. I don’t plan to write a separate post about this book, so I will note here that I went into this read with high hopes, but I found the style to be distracting. I could never figure out if this whole set-up was a metaphor for mental health problems, just told through the lens of West African mythicism. But, if
- It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis || 👍👍
- This 1930s novel, which has proven prescient, outlines the changes through which America will traverse if a fascist dictator were to seize power. Not just what would happen, but how. Scary parallels to our everyday news cycle here.
Yes, my list is long. I read a helluva lot of books in March, and I’m proud. Now, next up, I will try to actually do my monthly bookend wrap-up in some sort of timely fashion. Don’t blame me, blame life…and the library.