March was sort of a weird month for me. The first week was just diffusing from our crazy February, catching our breath. The rest of it was going here and there, regular scheduling amidst some fun like a work party and a day off to go sledding. The reading was regular though, and the tradition of carrying a book where ever I go paid off. I snuck in snippets on long drives, during quiet times and bed times, and thanks to daylight savings and dark mornings, a lot before my kids even woke up.
*Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider- I had avidly awaited this book for months...perhaps closer to a year. There was a lot of hype in blogland because Tsh owns The Art of Simple (previously Simple Mom) so opinions were high and my expectations were high. Tsh's brand is lovely and her reflections on travel are more of what I want to read. This book was broken into sections and each one had a great quote to start. I enjoyed this book-part memoir, part simple living manifesto-but I cursed my high expectations because they always give me an impossible adoration no one can live up to, which happened here. It was a really great book and I enjoyed it. I loved lazing on the couch and reading about her experiences as an ex-pat and an on-again-off-again homeschooler. I would recommend it to anyone who loves travel writing, and I'd suggest this is an easy breezy beach read with great subject matter - even better if you've just dabbled with the idea of simple living or traveling with kids and want to know more.
*I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections by Nora Ephron- Oh goodness, this book. I saw this at the library, and on a whim picked it up. I always have a book on hold at the library each week and I know generally what my next two or three will be. When I saw Ephron's name on the cover, I thought back to a time when a friend of mine told me about her books, and I connected the dots with who she was. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know she was the amazing woman behind some of my favorite rom-coms, like When Harry Met Sally, and You've Got Mail, until she passed away not too long ago. She was of the Boomer generation, though, and I'm glad that other well-educated readers also didn't know this tidbit (i.e. her name linking to these movies) so, I quickly got over it, packed the book into my checkout bag and didn't look back. I. Loved. This. Book. Then I wrote about it on facebook. Then I vowed to read all her other books in my lifetime. How much more of a review do you want? (Okay, this book is funny, interesting, short, sometimes sad and praiseworthy.)
*Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth- I'm pretty sure I've used at least three if not more platforms of social media to sing the praises of BBC's Call the Midwife, the television series. This book was a Christmas gift to me, and one that I will keep on my bookshelves permanently (that is a big deal!). Not only that, but I plan to buy the other two. Big. I know. That's how much I love this series, and especially, the book. This memoir by Jennifer Worth is number one out of three, and it was much more tragic, grittier, and in-depth than the television show has been. There isn't nearly as much character development (after all, that's the main reason the show is so good--all the characters are wonderful) but the stories of the women are more dramatic than they are portrayed on television. Because so many of the stories are truly tragic, this book actually took an emotional toll on me. I couldn't read anything depressing for a few weeks. I would sometimes only read about 20 pages a sitting, because of the harsh reality these women lived through, and I just couldn't read about it and then jump up to affectionately embrace my lively children, and settle in with plenty of food around the table in a warm house. If memoirs or historical pieces are your thing, you should really read this. I rarely give 5 stars, but this one deserves it. Worth's writing is excellent, her memory crystal clear, and the women are unforgettable.
*Ghost Girl by Amy Gerstler- I have owned this book of poetry by Gerstler for nine or ten years and hadn't read it. In fact, I'd wager I have about 25 books on my bookshelf that I've never read. I plan to, I got them for free, or someone gave them to me and I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, 'some day'. Last year I was very brutal with my bookshelf --my solitary one, if something comes in, something goes out -- and anything that's left is just plain lucky. I decided to read this book because I was looking for an intermediate. Nothing to heavy or long, just to get me through a week. This book was slightly creepy and the cover art matched exquisitely with the poems found inside. The themes of death, quiet, illness, etc. are found beneath the covers, and more than once Stefan remarked, "what's with that book?" because the cover made him uncomfortable.
*May B by Caroline Starr Rose- Look at me, another young adult fiction! I feel like I'm turning a corner, and I'm finding a lot of YA fiction I want to read. What's going on? I don't even read fiction that much, but this book was so good. It's a unique turn on historical fiction for a younger crowd, because the entire book is written in verse. It's the story of May B and how she is left alone over a harsh winter as a young girl in pioneer times, and her strength and grit to survive. This book isn't hard to read and is quite short because of the verse instead of full page spreads, but it's a very good story, and the pages fly by. I had first heard of this book from a homeschool blog, and I thought it sounded interesting. I got over myself (and the YA label) and decided to read it over a weekend. I cut my reading teeth on the young adult historical fiction Dear America series, so this fit like an old pair of beloved slippers.
*Humans Of New York by Brandon Stanton- If you ever decide to read one 'coffee table book' in your lifetime, this would be an excellent choice. This book is Stanton's tangible publishing of his beautiful and intriguing website of the same name. He takes a photograph of people (he's visually documenting the people of NYC by taking their photograph) and asks one of his standard questions. The marriage of the photo and the words together is truly a work of art, and one that I couldn't put down! A coffee table book, can you imagine?! If you like his blog, you will love HONY, the book.
*current read: Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton- I really wanted to finish this before March. As of tonight (March 30th) I have 50+ pages left. I won't make it. It'll appear on my list next month.
What did you read that you loved this past month? A favorite blog post? Re-reading your favorite book from high school? Leave it in the comments!