Monday, April 3, 2023

March Reading Wrap Up+

I don't know why I got so much reading done in March. Or how. I wasn't making a concerted effort to do so. Maybe it's just the momentum of the month with all of the birthdays (and by all of the birthdays I mean mine and Tom's). Maybe it's because some library holds came in and I had to get to them. Maybe it's because I had two 4-hour flights in the month and needed something to do on the plane (though really, I only read on the way back).

Since there's a lot to get through this month, why don't we jump into the stats? 

Total books read
The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell
Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Guide to Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Me, Myself and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession edited by Elizabeth Benedict
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
I have to be honest, I'm not 100% sure why I keep picking up Ware's books. Because for the most part they're fine. Fine overall with some detail or another that drives me up a wall. And yet, I continue to picking them up. Because there are a bunch of them and they're usually available at the library. Anyway, The Lying Game. It's fine. It takes a while to get into the story and the titular "Lying Game" seems to be treated as far more dramatic by the characters than seemed to make sense and also didn't end up having a huge amount to do with the central drama when they finally got into that. Once it gets to it, it's fine. It's built up a bit for what it is, but as I said, many of the reactions in the book seem outsized. But will I pick up another Ruth Ware book? Yeah, probably because it will be available and I won't have anything else in mind and I like a mystery, even if it's not great.
Rating: 3 stars

Scattered Showers by Rainbow Rowell
It's been a while since I've read much by Rowell. She's moved onto doing a lot of Simon Snow stuff and good for her, but not for me. This, however, is a collection of short stories about love. Teen love, 30-year-old love, married love, fantasy love and yes, even some Simon Snow love. I've read a couple of the short stories before in a book for World Book Day and the stories are just as sweet as I remembered them. Because for the most part, that's how I'd describe the stories. They're sweet. The stakes are for the most part low and for the most part cozy. That's not to say it's the same for every story, and things never felt repetitive. And she does revisit some past characters, like Regan from Fangirl and Beth and Jennifer from Attachments, which really makes me want to reread that one.
Rating: 4.5

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Guide to Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
I can't remember why I originally added this to my TBR. I really should start adding notes when I add things to my Want To Read list. Except I'm never going to do that, because that requires more work than just clicking a button. Anyway, I can't remember why I put it on my list but who doesn't love some body positivity? The book was originally published in 2015 and while that really isn't very long ago, there is something about the book that felt very dated. The style of writing and the numerous references to Tumblr probably did it and honestly got a little tiring at a point. Overall the message is good, and the book itself was fine.
Rating: 3 stars

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
I was looking for some sort of mystery or thriller and this one was...available. I think I put it in the same bucket as Ruth Ware's stuff which as I mentioned just above, has been a bit of a mixed bag. I didn't really know what to expect. Good news is I was pleasantly surprised. It's got multiple narrators (love it) and switches back and forth between present and recent past until the 2 timelines intersect. A wedding of two rich, fancy people at an out-of-the-way Irish island during a storm and something goes wrong. Things seem off among a number of the guests and many people seem to have secrets. Lots of fun and everyone seems to be a suspect.
Rating: 4 stars

Me, My Hair and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession edited by Elizabeth Benedict
Hair can be a funny thing. It can mean so much beyond just adornment or part of the body. It can represent culture and religion, aging and family. This is a collection of essays about hair and the role they have played in various women's lives. While there is some diversity among the contributors (though could be more) there is one trend you notice as you read through: most of the essays are written by women who live in and around NYC, are of a certain age (~60s at the time of writing), and went to a college such as Barnard. Multiple times the writers name drop specific stylists and I don't know if I'm supposed to know who they are (spoiler: I did not). Because of this there is some level of repetition and it would have been nice if perhaps we looked for a few different viewpoints.
Rating: 3.25 stars

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I love this book so much. I had to take a work trip to Austin and was looking for something to read on the plane. I brought my Kindle with me so I'd have some choices and planned to read some true crime book I had bought a few years ago but never read. And then I had no desire to read it. But having recently read a different Rowell, she was on my mind, so I figured I'd give this a reread. That was so smart of me because I love this book so so much. It's so cute and so sweet and so funny and I wish I could be friends with all of them and when I realized I was getting near the end of the book I considered MAYBE I should restart the book as soon as I finish it because I wasn't ready for it to end.
Rating: 5 stars

How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made The Modern World by Steven Johnson
A story of how inventions and innovations have shaped the world in a number of ways that couldn't have been foreseen when people were first tinkering around. Like glass, first used to make decorations, later glassware, windows, eye glasses, fiber optics and all of the benefits that go along. The book has an interesting premise but was sort of dry for something that is supposed to be more of a pop history. It's an interesting premise and perhaps it would work better as an actual book (vs the audio kind). 
Rating: 3 stars

The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
Three generations of Vietnamese women who have been living under a curse. No one in the fmaily will find love. No one will find happiness. And they are all doomed to have only...daughters! (GASP). Most of the family is estranged from one another going years, even decades between talking to each other, and when they do meet up, don't be surprised if fruit goes flying. But a psychic tells the family that there will be one death, one wedding and one birth in the year so the family makes efforts to grow and mend. There are multiple narrators which usually I love, though here I found it hard to keep up with who everyone was since there are SO many characters. The story had very funny moments but it was hard to say that it was actually a comedic novel. But overall I did enjoy the book
Rating: 3.75 stars

Total pages read


Female authors

BIPOC authors
88% (though some authors in the Me, Myself and I book are not white, I just have Elizabeth Benedict the editor included as the author cos basically my tracker can't handle more than one author)

US authors

Book format
audiobook: 75%
ebook: 25%

Where'd I get the book
Kindle/Audible: 25%
Library: 75%


Decade published
2010s: 63%
2020s: 38%

Resolution books
The Lying Game and The Guest List are both by UK authors
The Fortunes of Jaded Women is by a BIPOC author