My March Wrap Up

 

Twelve books, 4,127 pages, and thirteen genres, cringe, thirteen, yuck, March was once again an incredible reading month. Not only did I read some incredible stories, but I also managed to check off a few requirements for both my Book of the Month and The StoryGraph’s Genre Challenges. Several of these reads pushed me out of my comfort zone, expanding my mind, others scared the bejesus out of me and then there were a few that simply melted my heart. Out of the twelve reads, I would have to say there were two that I found extremely odd. I constantly questioned if I was consuming the content correctly or were there aspects of the stories that I simply did not comprehend; however, when consulting both The StoryGraph and Goodreads I realized it wasn’t me… it was them not I which provided a bit of a relief. That said, here are the books I consumed for March 2022.

Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island – Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne-girl just keeps getting better and better! This is the third book within the Anne of Green Gables series chronicling Anne’s adventures, some might call misadventures at Redmon College with Prissy Grant and the newly introduced Philippa Gordon.

This series has been incredible and warmed my heart in more ways than one; however, this book might be my favorite thus far. Thanks to Anne’s shenanigans and Davy Keith’s mischievous ways I found myself laughing out loud from start to finish. Also, I was on pins and needles at the end of the story. I even shouted WOMAN YOU BETTER SAY YES!

 

Heartstopper Volume 2

Heartstopper Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman

Picking up right where volume one left off, Heartstopper Vol. 2, continues to follow Charlie and Nick as they navigate their feelings for one another. We go on first dates, and more kisses. We also begin to explore the shifting dynamics between the two young lovers and their friends.

Volume two also introduces us to Tara and her girlfriend Darcy. Two characters that I love tremendously. We also really begin to see love developing between Tao and Elle.

Heartstopper Vols. 3 and 4

Heartstopper Vol. 3 by Alice Oseman

Despite not being out to their family or friends both Nick and Charlie are now fully in a relationship and wondering when to come out to their friends.

While is in a normal occurrence in queer relationships I really wish it wasn’t. Why do we have to “come out” to anyone. Why as a society can’t we move forward?

The majority of the third volume takes place on a class trip to Paris! Elle and Tao are now in their relationship, which after three books I was overjoyed about! We are introduced to Mr. Ajayi and Mr. Farouk are two teachers who are chaperoning the trip and who begin a relationship while on the trip. (Give us a spinoff Alice please!)

Annoying moments: While on the trip Charlie and Nick share a room with Aled and Tao and Tao completely block Charlie and Nick from sharing the same bed because he’s so oblivious to the fact that the two are dating. Totally relatable.

We touch on a couple of heavy topics beginning with Nick’s absent father who doesn’t make time to meet up with Nick despite hardly ever seeing him. We also start to speculate that Charlie has an eating disorder.

 

Heartstopper: Volume 4 by Alice Oseman

By far the most emotional chapter within the series, volume four of Heartstopper supplies all the feels. Now an established couple out to a majority of their friends and family Nick and Charlie have new obstacles to overcome.

To sum up volume four quickly: We have our big “I love you” scene. Nick goes on a family holiday, and we meet his douchebag brother David. Seriously, he’s a real jerk! We dive deeper into Charlie’s eating disorder, which began the year before volume one when Charlie first came out and was bullied relentlessly. Nick’s father finally makes an appearance and both families have a “nice” dinner together. Seriously David’s a complete tool. Maybe that will change in later chapters? Who knows? But it was hysterical watching Tori put him in his place.

Normally I don’t read the same series consistently; however, with Heartstopper it’s incredible spending time with these characters. Oseman really captures the essences of what it’s like to be a queer youth and in love.

A Place for Us

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

A Place for Us is the debut novel of Fatima Farheen Mirza and the first to be published in the SJP for Hogarth Selection. This novel is an absolute beautiful character study of a family of Indian Muslim Americans living in California.

At the center of the story is Amar the youngest of three siblings who runs away and becomes estranged from the family. The story, which is told through multiple perspectives and periods of time, highlights moments that ultimately contributed to why Amar left. This book wrecked me and blew me away. Highly recommend it.

I wrote about this reading experience in the article Curating My Collection: Reading the SJP for Hogarth Selection. Please feel free to see the attached link here.

Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman

Clearly, I can’t stop with the Nick and Charlie content; however, this is a novella instead of a graphic novel. Regardless, I still love all of them. This was just an audiobook listen; however, the narrator brought the characters to life! Granted I did find Charlie’s actions in this one to be slightly annoying. A little too angsty for my 33-year-old self. But still it got a 5 out of 5 from me.

Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murtata

Despite having a beautiful cover, Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata, is a strange story about a strange lady by the name of Keiko.

Keiko has no real ambitions in life. Now age 36, she is still working the same job that she worked as an 18-year-old with no growth, she has never had a boyfriend, and has only a few friends. Yet she feels comfortable with this arrangement. This novel was ultimately a character study; however, it’s just extremely strange.

Joan Didion’s The White Album

The White Album by Joan Didion

Originally published in 1979, The White Album is a collection of essays that examine key events, figures, and trends of the 1960s. Charles Manson, The Black Panthers, and shopping centers all make appearances within this collection. What I found to be interesting, is the fact that while this collection was written six decades before there are key tones, trends, and elements that apply to this very day. During the read I kept saying to myself, “hmm, we’re continuing to mess it up like all the generations before!”

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

Deciding to pair this with the audiobook was the best decision I’ve made in a while. While taking a road trip with my pup, Milo, we listened to The Chestnut Man and by the time we got ready for bed that night we were both FREAKED out!

The Chestnut Man was a phenomenal read that focuses on a series of murders that occur in Copenhagen. Upon investigation it is revealed small chestnut men dolls are left at the scene. I’m usually good at predicting who the villain will be; however, I completely got it wrong about this one.

Overall, a great read, definitely recommended and will probably be read again in the future.

Golden Child

Golden Child written by Claire Adam

Set in Trinidad, Golden Child is an exquisite and haunting story about family, class, and culture, From the moment I began reading I was completely immersed within the world. And while this is a moderately slow-paced book, I found that it held my attention from beginning to end. My heart also broke in various ways while reading; however, it needs to be stated that Claire Adam’s first novel is an absolute treat.

I wrote about this reading experience in the article Curating My Collection: Reading the SJP for Hogarth Selection. Please feel free to see the attached link here.

Natural Order

Natural Order by Jonathan Penner

Finding, Natural Order, with its unique cover intrigued me. Realizing only two people had rated it on Goodreads interested me even more.

This was an odd read. An incredibly odd read about a beekeeper, whose marriage is falling apart, mostly due to having an affair with his ex-wife and his son being indoctrinated and navigating through a cult. The chapters that featured Jerry, the beekeeper, were my favorites. These chapters felt very reminiscent of Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson. The chapters that surround Eli were a little discombobulating. Seriously those portions were incoherent at times but maybe that was exactly the point. Overall, not my favorite read but still glad that I went on this little adventure.

Dog Sees God

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead by Bert V. Royal

With multiple appointments today I decided to bring, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, written by Bert V. Royal along for the ride. I initially read the play back in 2008 for a class I had while getting my first degree and hadn’t picked it back up until now. What I have found particularly interesting is that despite the fourteen-year gap in time there were several scenes burning into my being.

To best describe, Dog Sees God, would be the Peanuts Gang on an acid trip. No seriously. This is an unauthorized continuation of the Peanuts comic strip.

The story begins with the death of our beloved, Snoopy, and continues to spiral, focusing on themes such as friendship, sexuality, homophobia, and suicide. The characters themselves are complete caricatures. They are cruel to one another, do harmful things, say harmful things, and most lack emotional depth. But really isn’t that the point.

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