Friday, April 1, 2022

March Reading Stats+

March is over, another month down. I'm always a fan of March, considering it has a few birthdays in it, including my own. Not that we did much this year, given we're still dealing with this pandemic. Which is fine, and given how many times I needed to be reminded it was my birthday, not something I was worried about. 

I thought I had done more reading this month, but I had a few starts and stops that slowed things down, though I still managed to fit in more than 1,000 pages, which is apparently a goal I have set for myself, seeing how each time I look at my tracking sheet I see how I'm doing to that goal. But why not take a look at those stats?

Number of books read
A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de Leon
Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language by Amanda Montell

A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de Leon
Yolanda Vance, a driven FBI lawyer, gets sent undercover to infiltrate an "extremist" African-American group who are making trouble at a local chemical company with government ties. She isn't a field agent but she is relatively young, black and the group is operating in the town where she went to college so that's enough to make her the best agent for the job. I enjoyed much of the spy pieces and Yolanda deciding where her loyalties lie (although some of the stuff she discovers about the FBI's past seems like...yeah you should have probably known about that before, it's not exactly hidden). When the story focused on an "unexpected romance" I had more trouble staying focused. But overall, it was an engaging book and I did want to hear what would happen next.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
An early Hercule Poirot book, the third one published if Goodreads can be believed. There were several times the book swung from "Well this is just a product of its time" to "Nope, nope that's just racist" so something to consider if you're thinking of picking it up. This was a collection of short stories and I think if I was reading them vs listening I probably would have had a better time focusing. As it was, I found myself zoning out and honestly, the app I was using makes it hard to start a chapter over so most of the time I just stayed in the confusion. It's everything you'd expect from a Poirot mystery but they were shorter and Hastings seemed overall more annoyed with Poirot than I remember him being in later ones, but perhaps that was the narrator. Oh also, since I listened to this as an audiobook, one note on the narrator. Overall he did a very good job but he...he cannot do an American accent. He tries. And Americans seemed like they were in almost every story. But here's the thing. The accents were SO BAD and the American characters were only around briefly that it was honestly a delight each time I heard one. There were many different accents, all bad in different ways and never around long enough to be annoying. 
Rating: 3 stars

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
Have you heard of the art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum? Biggest unsolved art heist in history. Very interesting stuff, recommended. Anyway, this story is about artist Claire who makes her living making reproductions of famous works of art but can't seem to get her own art off the ground for reasons that are, honestly, sort of convoluted. But that's not the point here. The point is the reproductions she's doing are all on the up-and-up. But one day she's given something different to reproduce: one of the stole paintings from the museum. If she does this, she can get her own show at one of the top galleries in Boston. But what if this stolen Degas is also a fake? Some art history, some mystery, these are the good things. Some of the details around Claire and her history...bit less so. Overall the story probably could have done with some more editing but interesting story at the core.
Rating: 3 stars

Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language by Amanda Montell
Feminism and linguistics. I mean, what's not to love there, right? It's a funny book about the intersection of language and feminism, language and sexuality, language and gender. Each chapter is basically a stand alone piece looking at language from a particular lens, all with very nerdy humor. Definitely a quick read, one I enjoyed picking up. 
Rating: 4 stars

I also started to listen to A Killer Sundae by Abby Collette, the third in the Ice Cream Parlor cozy mystery series. I liked the first 2 books well enough and the library had an audiobook copy available of this latest one. I made it through about 2 minutes. Cos here's the thing. They've changed the narrator from the others in the series. Which could be fine, I didn't stop reading it on that fact alone. But 2 minutes in, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to listen to a whole book read this way. The pace was slow and sounded in no way like natural speech. If it was a book I was really into, I might have been able to power through (definitely listening on a faster speed), but honestly, I didn't think it was going to be worth the annoyance. Which is too bad but also reminds me the importance of narrator when choosing audiobooks. Maybe at some point I'll pick up a book (readable? non-audio? you know what I mean) version of this one

Number of pages read


Female authors

BIPOC authors

US authors

Book format
audiobook: 100%

Where'd I get the book?
library: 100%


Decade published
1920s: 25%
2010s: 50%
2020s: 25%

Resolution Reads
A Spy in the Struggle is by a Black author
Poirot Investigates was published before the 2000s and by a UK author