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For the Love of Reading: March 2022

Can we talk about reading for 3 days in a row? I think we can since (1) I’m always up for talking about reading and (2) It’s National Library Week! Here’s a look back at the books I read in March.

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xóchitl González
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
On the surface, it’s the tale of a brother and sister dealing with modern life, relationships, and work in New York City. Alongside that, however, is the story of Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria, with a side of gentrification and the American Dream and corruption. It’s ultimately a story of hope and the love that becomes possible when the past is released. Highly recommended.

The Color of Lightning by Paulette Jiles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
He sat quietly in the ruin of his own personal philosophies as if they were smoking timbers in a heap and felt as if he had just murdered someone, or perhaps abandoned someone in a burning building.
I love when a book makes you think about the things you think you know in a whole new light. Paulette Jiles does just that in The Color of Lightning, a novel based on the true life of freed slave Brit Johnson, whose wife and family are captured by Indians while living in Texas. Her prose is beautiful, harsh, and sometimes difficult to read, but serves to illustrate the conflict and struggle of diverse cultures. Forget your romantic notions of the American west and follow Jiles into this exploration of the tragic realities of our history with Native Americans. Highly recommended but be prepared for some difficult passages.

How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve come to realize that there’s a difference between history and nostalgia, and somewhere between those two is memory,” he said. “I think that history is the story of the past, using all the available facts, and that nostalgia is a fantasy about the past using no facts, and somewhere in between is memory, which is kind of this blend of history and a little bit of emotion…I mean, history is kind of about what you need to know…but nostalgia is what you want to hear.
Clint Smith writes beautifully about the terrible history of slavery in America. He exposes so many truths and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from him. Highly recommended.

Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this family saga set in the early 1970s. The backdrop of middle America, unrest and political tensions over Vietnam, the role of faith in our lives, and the interaction of these characters is compelling. Like any Franzen novel, the writing is dense (I joked with a friend, why say it in 10 words when you can say it in 40?) and the characters take center stage. I’m looking forward to the next book in this planned trilogy.

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I truly love the way Sally Rooney writes. She delivers not only the thoughts of her characters but also details about their surroundings in a precise and focused way. This novel is smart and fresh and I enjoyed the insights into the lives of these 4 young people, investing in their hopes and dreams, and cheering them on as they navigate the complexities of modern life.

In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Amy Bloom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book captures the emotional fallout and impact on a marriage that come with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the long goodbye that is the horrific truth of that disease. Bloom writes beautifully about her husband Brian and the way they navigated their way to Dignitas in Switzerland for assisted dying. It’s tragic but hopeful and full of insights that would help anyone dealing with a loved one who has a terminal illness. Highly recommended.

All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the story of a young woman who runs from her musical talent after a stunning betrayal, escapes her reality to be a nanny to a wealthy family, and ultimately finds herself again through tragedy and love. It’s a well written and engaging debut novel and I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am composed of a myriad Claudias who spin and mix and part like sparks of sunlight on water.
I adored this book with it’s multiple points of view (sometimes changing mid paragraph) and dreamy locations and shifting time lines. There are horrible things that happen and there are beautiful things that happen and they all exist in the memory of the main character and she recounts them on her death bed. The writing is incredibly creative and tight and the book is a masterpiece.

It was a great month for reading!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Your book review posts are always favorites… my library had Moon Tiger available (and a few other of her books) – Thank You!

  2. I always look forward to these posts… and this one is really incredible! Thank you for helping me increase my “read soon” list! 🙂

  3. It’s almost my turn for Olga and I may need to go to the library for Moon Tiger. Thanks for the recommendations (but I may need to finish Young Mungo first)!

  4. The only thing I don’t love about posts like these is that my TBR list always gets longer! Thanks for more recommendations!

  5. Thank you, Carole! As you know, but maybe need to be reminded, these posts are much loved by everyone.

  6. I, too, love your posts of book suggestions. Have you read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah? Or The Nightingale? Both are very interesting reads.

  7. I enjoyed Moon Tiger and Olga Dies Dreaming and I look forward to reading Crossroads, but it will be after I read Young Mungo!

  8. Oh my, like others, my TBR list has grown again. Honestly, that is not a bad thing. I had heard about Olga but until your review I didn’t think I wanted to read it. I put Moon Tiger on my list after you commented on my blog the other day. I’ve enjoyed other books by Paulette Jiles, so I’ve also added that title to my list. Truly, I need to stop working and just focus on reading and other things that bring me pleasure. I’m another one who always enjoys and appreciates your posts on books and this certainly was a stellar month of reading for you! Thanks for sharing Carole!

  9. I’m reading Olga Dies Dreaming now. I haven’t read anything by Sally Rooney yet, I’m going to have to look when I’m next at the library.

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