Monday, April 8, 2024

March Reading Wrap Up+

March. Typically one of my fav months. It is my birthday month after all. But this month has been something else. And by something else, I mean I got a kidney stone and I very much recommend you do not get a kidney stone because it has not been fun and has involved so far a trip to the ER and overnight hospital stay and 3 separate procedures to remove the thing cos it was too big to pass on its own. Every doctor and nurse who heard the size made the same shocked face, which is fun. 

But there has also been good stuff! I mean my birthday, obv. Also Tom's birthday. We closed on our house! After over a year and a half of searching for something. I mean we haven't moved into it yet (and won't for another month or so) but still! We got a house and where we want it, so I'm pretty excited. And I was co-maid-of-honor in a wedding with a bride that was v chill and I got to see lots of friends, many of whom I don't see that often, so that was also good! Real rollercoaster these last few weeks.

Also, I can't get any images to upload. It's been a week of trying (and by that I mean I wrote this a week ago, couldn't get the images to upload, forgot about this for a week and then tried again and it didn't work and here we are). I'll try to update this later

But let's focus on what's important here, which is the books

Total Books Read
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
Watership Down by Richard Adams
A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher
Momma Cusses: A Field Guide to Responsive Parenting & Trying Not to Be the Reason Your Kid Needs Therapy by Gwenna Laithland
The Body: An Occupant's Guide by Bill Bryson

I can't remember exactly what I saw but there was a tweet or something talking about Bourdain and I realized I wanted to hear something from him. In his voice. And while I've read Kitchen Confidential a number of times (though not since 2013, per my tracking) so figured why not give it another go. It's still great (especially being read by Bourdain). Sure there are some pieces that perhaps made me cringe a bit, but given the book is over 20 years old I suppose that's not too much of a surprise. 
Rating: 5 stars

Watership Down by Richard Adams
I read a description of this that called it "Game of Bunnies" and before reading this I would have thought it was an exaggeration. Now though. Pretty accurate. Danger and fighting and adventure and peril. And bunnies. And made up bunny language that in an audiobook just sounds like muffled coughing. This feels like a book that, had I read it as a young child would have been amazing. As an adult it was more "oh ok. Bunnies do live rich and detailed lives. But also they're bunnies and the drama juxtaposed with an image of bunnies munching on clover in a field is pretty funny. 
Rating: 3.25 stars

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher
Southern gothic and haunted houses and family secrets. Yes, yes, yes these are all great. Sam has some time to kill after her anthropological / entomological dig is postponed, so why not spend some time with mom in her rural southern town? But something seems off with mom. The house isn't filled with the normal cluttered warmth she expects but instead replaced with everything her hated Granmay loved (plain walls, a confederate wedding picture). Even her mom's personality seems different, almost like she's being watched. Beyond just being watched by a flock of vultures that have been convening around the house. The book has more humor with it than I anticipated but at times the humor was a real shift in the tension that was building, and not in a great way. I also couldn't help but compare it to Grady Hendrix's How To Sell A Haunted House that dealt with some similar themes but in a very different (and IMO better) way. But to be fair to the book, some of my hesitation to the story could have come from the audiobook narrator and overall I wanted to find out what would happen next.
Rating: 3.6 stars

Momma Cusses: A Field Guide to Responsive Parenting & Trying Not to Be the Reason Your Kid Needs Therapy by Gwenna Laithland
I've been following Mama Cusses TikTok (or really, IG Reels) account for a while since the algorithm decided I would be interested and sometimes it gets it right. I was laying around in the hospital waiting to see if I would get on the OR schedule when I got an alert from my library that the book just became available and immediately borrowed it. I would like to do what the subtitle of the book says and not be the reason my kid needs therapy, and in general I like her strategies she shares in her videos. She provides strategies for responsive (as opposed to reactive) parenting, helping children learn to identify and manage their emotions, which also involves a lot of parents learning how to identify and manage their own emotions and triggers. There was a lot here I liked and would like to try and I may even buy a copy of this book to have as reference
Rating: 4 stars

The Body: An Occupant's Guide by Bill Bryson
I started this book because I finished A House with Good Bones while I was at the hospital and couldn't get the TV to work so figured I'd put on an audiobook I already had and this seemed like a good option for when my body was BETRAYING ME. Then I got the alert about the Momma Cusses book and since that has a time limit I switched to that. But still, this is always a fun read if you want to learn more about the body and some of the history of how we know the things we know. Or maybe how Samuel Pepys (the English diarist) had a kidney stone the size of a tennis ball, because that was something that I had read before (having read this book multiple times) but the severity wasn't really brought home until I was dealing with my own significantly smaller stone. He would keep it in a box to show people at an annual dinner party and you know what, I would do the same if I dealt with that, so well-played.
Rating: 5 stars

Pages read


Female authors

BIPOC authors
0% - again. siiiigh

US authors


audiobook - 100%

Where'd I get the book
Kindle/Audible - 20%
Library - 80%

Book club reads

Decade published
1970s - 20%
2000s - 20%
2010s - 20%
2020s - 40%

Resolution books
Just Watership Down which is both not a US author (he's British) and published before 2000