March's book pile


March's list is diverse and full of both fiction and non fiction. Here we go...

1. Etched on Me: A Novel by Jenn Crowell
This novel was absolutely hearbreaking. I cried several times, and cringed through passages that if it were a movie I would have covered my eyes and hoped for the best, all the while expecting the worst. But the beauty of this book is that there's hope. Even if the main character can't find it, the minor characters that support her most certainly give and hold hope for her. A brilliant read, but be warned that the subject matter is difficult and you will find yourself raging at the injustice of bureaucracy...

2.This Perfect Mess by Melanie Haney
I met Melanie several years ago through blogging, and I've had the absolute pleasure of getting to know her in person and call her my friend. When I saw that she had self published a collection of short stories and essays I ordered it right away. Focusing on motherhood, Melanie has an honest way of sharing her truths, from the difficult to the beautiful and everything between. I love her writing, and will read anything that she puts out into the world!

3.The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
This book... I wanted to love it. And I liked it very much! But I did find that some of her practices were difficult to implement in a house with (relatively) small children. I did use her method for my clothing, which was an incredible process. It was so freeing to look at what I had in terms of what brought me joy, and the rest went out the door! I felt so much lighter after! What I took away from the book was the concept of only keeping what brings you joy, and I've moved through the house keeping that in mind, but also taking consideration the rest of the family. I'd love to do a whole sweep of the house, but I'm realizing that I'm not the one with the hoarding tendencies... if you catch my drift... and I'm working with the kids on this issue. What's interesting to me is what the kids say brings them joy. We went through their playroom and while there was a lot more left than I would have liked, they were able to weed down a bit. Long story short, I enjoyed the book, but found the author a bit... immature... but the concepts are certainly applicable to any household.

4.Flicker (The Shine on Trilogy) (Volume 1) by Anya Monroe
As mentioned last month, I enjoy Anya's books tremendously! This was no different, and I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy... but I'm trying to pace myself!  I found the characters believable, and enjoyed their journeys to find purpose and light... and just like her other books - this wasn't a predictable ride!

5.Splinters of Light by Rachel Herron
I've read most of Rachel Herron's other work, and this was one of my favorite books that she's written. I've watched her writing career, from her first memoir to her steamy knitting inspired fiction {seriously, it's a thing!} and then her exploration into more.... serious... fiction. Splinters of Light was another heartbreaking story. It centered around a mother who finds out she has early onset Alzheimer's, and how it plays out with her and her family. While this was a heavy story, there was Herron's trademark humor to help pull us through.

6.Dear Thief: A Novel by Samantha Harvey
Oh boy. I loved the beginning of this book, and the language throughout. Samantha Harvey's writing reminds me of Jeanette Winterson... that luxurious use of words that capture emotion so masterfully. Ultimately the language and writing kept me reading, though by the second half I was bored and was fairly annoyed that the story kept going... BUT it's worth a try. With lines like:
 “When I got you home and we asked where you had been, you said, ‘I’ve been in an elevator, going up and down.’ So we sat you out in the garden at the mossy table and gave you tea, and asked you again. ‘I’ve been in an elevator, looking for love.’ ‘For two years?’ we asked. ‘Love is hard to find.” 
how could you not enjoy this book even just a little?

7.Beautiful Ruins: A Novel by Jess Walter
It took a few chapters for me to get into this one, but ultimately I loved it. I loved changing time line, the different perspectives, and the many - many - story lines that were all tied up together to make this gift of a book. The story spans decades, and was so fun to read... and now I want to watch Cleopatra... if you've read this you'll know why!

8.Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
I didn't love Wild, Cheryl Strayed's memoir, so I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I was blown away. Strayed writes with such honesty. The advice she gives in her columns is what you'd want your best friend to tell you... only you probably wouldn't listen because it's hard to take at times but it is ultimately all so true. The humanity that is shown in the pages - both from the letters that people write to her and her responss are eye opening, and heartwarming.  All I can really say is: read this book, you won't be sorry.

“I'll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don't choose. We'll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn't carry us. There's nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” ~ Cheryl Strayed

9.The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
This was a cute story with a quirky narrator. I wanted to like it more than I actually did... I skimmed most of the second half because I wanted to know what happened, but I found the narrator very distracting and almost annoying {think Sheldon from The Big Bang theory... fun for 30 minutes at a time...} For this story I understand why the author chose to write it from the first person, and I appreciate being inside the character's head and some of the insights we gain from that. However, I think I would have preferred at least some sections to be third person - or even first, but from a different characters perspective. Again, a cute, light read!

10.Hausfrau: A Novel by Jill Alexander Essbaum
This is one of those stories where the writing was much better than the story, but still it was such a well crafted book. You can tell the author is a poet, her words are crafted in such a way that they make you feel all the feels. It reminded me a bit of The Awakening by Kate Chopin {which I liked better... for the record...} I was rooting for the main character right up to the end, waiting for her redemption. I won't give any spoilers, but I will say that I was incredibly disappointed in the ending. I'm sure some will argue that it was the only way to end the book, to stay true to the character, but I'll argue that there's always another way. Regardless, this was a well crafted book, and as a writer I appreciated the structure and the writing style.


The past month or so I've loved hearing what you all have thought about some of the books on the monthly lists! As with all of the lists, I'm not recommending everything, just sharing what I've read. I take no responsibility for your enjoyment or displeasure in reading any of the books I've listed :)

What are you all reading this month?

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  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these books. I'm very interested in Etched On Me. It sounds intriguing. I like the idea of characters who "give and hold hope" for another. I also loved reading Wild, except for the sort of arrogance she had about her education, and the fact that she uses the word "shattered" eleventy-million times. Maybe I was wowed by the solo backcountry journey, as even doing that for a few days with my husband sent me into fits of anxiety and stress. In any case, Tiny Beautiful Things sounds interesting. Right now we are reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio for a homeschooler's book club I've started at an independent bookstore downtown. I'm so excited to be doing this, and might need your suggestions for other books to share with the kids. Happy Easter!!!

  2. Oh! 1 and 2 sound like I should add them to my TBR list! I love your honesty in your reviews, even when they didn't jive for whatever reason. I think that is just as helpful when I'm looking for new books to read. The only one I am personally familiar with on this list is the Kondo tidying book. I have not finished it yet but I have started to get rid of clothes through her method and I think that is where I will see the greatest return. Other than toys, there really isn't a whole lot of other disposable clutter around here. I guess I've been pretty good about keeping that at bay over the years. But it's the clothes and shoes--I cannot seem to let go of so much because of a feeling of....guilt? I am not sure, exactly. But the book has helped in that regard because I finally let go of the last suits I used to wear to court, among other things. Great reviews!

  3. So many good books here to add to my never shrinking pile of books :-) In March I started 3 books but never finishe them before they had to go back to the library. None really stuck with me enough to want to get them of them was the Magic of Tidying up. I would LOVE to purge our whole house. But like you mentioned there are others here....and no matter what I try to do it never gets fully organized. So I have given up for now. The one book I did read start to finish was "All the Light You Cannot See". I loved it!! Right now I am reading "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer and really enjoying it!


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