I often hear people say that March is their least favorite month, but I have to disagree. Mostly because it is my birthday month so it's always a little extra fun but March always brings the spring equinox which, even if the weather doesn't always reflect it, always brings a bit of hope for new beginnings and possibility.
I read 10 books this month, which is insane to me. I'm not sure how I got through all these books but I'm going to chalk it up to new beginnings, a feeling of hope, and the fact that I acquired SO MANY books in March. Between being sent some amazing new releases by publishers, receiving some book gifts for my birthday, and treating myself with some birthday cash I somehow ended up adding 29 books to my shelves. I'm a little appalled by that number, but confident that I won't run out of anything good to read anytime soon. Alrighty, here's what I read this month.
I kicked off March by reading The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal. This was one of those books that had been sitting on my shelf forever and I randomly decided to pick it up. I'm so glad that I did, because I really loved Segal's writing. I'm eager to read more of her work after this one. I thought this one had some keen observations on mother-daughter relationships, blended families, those awkward teenage years, and first love.
I also read Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker at the start of the month. I've been reading Sara's blog, Me and Orla, for a while now and have learned so much about the Instagram platform from her. I love the way she keeps a very human perspective on social media and finds inspiration in her everyday. I loved this book! I got it from the library but will definitely be looking to buy my own copy in the future to go back to. It was filled with so much helpful advice on Instagram, how to cultivate creativity, how to create meaningful connections online, and just really inspired me and renewed my motivation to create beautiful photos and share what I love in my online space.
Following that, I read Indecent by Corinne Sullivan. I picked this up on a whim during a trip to Barnes & Noble where I turned my phone off and allowed myself to shop for books the old fashioned way - without the internet telling me what they thought. For the most part, it was great. I was able to browse the shelves and have enjoyed most of what I picked out on that trip EXCEPT for Indecent. I can't emphasize how much this book was not for me. I'm really not sure why I didn't just give up on it, I was convinced it would get better but it never did. I picked it up because it takes place at a boarding school (I love a good boarding school story) but I just couldn't not come to like the main character or find any sort of connection with her. I was irritated through most of it. This is definitely one I would have benefited from reading some reviews ahead of time. That being said, the writing was not bad, this type of story was just not for me.
Next up was Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. I read this as a buddy read with Brittany (@thebookishfiiasco) and I was so happy to have someone to chat through this one because it was certainly a book to be discussed. It follows students at an elite performing arts high school from the time they are in high school through when they are adults. Susan Choi is no doubt a talented writer but I struggled with the stream of consciousness writing, thematic elements, and was thoroughly confused by the ending on this one.
I bounced back from that read by picking up The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves. I didn't really know much about this one but I really loved it! I thought it was a very sweetly done love story with well written characters. It reminded me of Taylor Jenkins Reid mixed with the quirkiness of Eleanor Oliphant. This book completely swept me up in its sweet love story. Annika and Jonathan meet in college and fall in love but then their romance ends unexpectedly. They meet again, ten years later, and rekindle their relationship and finally confront what caused the end of their relationship a decade ago. The ending of this one was not my favorite but other than that I really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it.
After that finally picked up Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi, which is one of my most anticipated reads of the year! I have to say it was great to fall back into Oyeyemi's strange, weird, and wonderful fairy tale world. The wonderful thing about Oyeyemi's writing is that it's odd and whimsical and interesting. This means that it requires more attention than your average read. If you read this book, prepare to take it slow and spend time with it - it's not a book to be read quickly. You'll get so much more out of it if you don't rush. I struggled in some of the less plot-driven moments to understand what was going on. But that's sort of the beauty of Helen Oyeyemi's work, right? She creates these fairy tale worlds where you don't always know who is who and what is what...just as it should be. This one was a more difficult read but ultimately it was worth it. It kept popping back into my mind days after I finished it.
I then read The New Me by Halle Butler. This one was quick and funny and dark and so spot on about so much of what it means to be human. If you read and enjoyed Otessa Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation then this one is definitely for you! This book is ultimately about the mundanity of office life, growing old, the promises for self improvement we make ourselves, and the disappointment we feel and growing old. Millie, our main character, is a 30-year-old office temp who is going through a rough time. She is depressed, unsure of what she is doing with her life, has few friends, and an obsession with the TV show Forensic Files. This book is like indulging in all of your darkest thoughts about humanity on a constant basis. We all have those days where we feel negative about the world, mankind, and ourselves but hopefully, those are balanced out with better days where we celebrate our successes, feel joy, and spend time with people we love. I found myself laughing and agreeing with many of Butler's insights about the trivialness of contemporary american life while at the same time feeling horribly sad for Millie.
To lighten things up after that, I picked up Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. I have heard so many good things about this writing duo so I was excited to pick up my first read by them. Love and Other Words did not disappoint. I think I finally found my niche area of the romance genre. I enjoy just a good love story versus a steamy romance. This one was emotional, sweet, and I totally feel for Elliot and Macy and was rooting for them the whole way through this one. They are best friends and each other's first love when a tragic accident tears them apart. They meet again 10 years later (this is a recurring theme in my reads this month) and rekindle their love and discover the real cause of the end of their relationship. After reading this one, I'm even more excited to pick up their upcoming release The Unhoneymooners.
Lastly, I read these two. Despite reading most of it in March, I actually didn't finish Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls until April, so I'll save my thoughts on that for my April wrap up. I picked up Pretend I'm Dead by Jen Beagin because I knew it was the prequel to Vacuum in the Dark which just came out. Pretend I'm Dead was dark and funny and I loved the main character, Mona, despite all her weird quirks and flaws. I'm even more excited to pick up Vacuum in the Dark and get back into her world again.
What were your favorite reads of the month? Or let me know if you plan to read any of these!
Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Additionally some of the books above were generously gifted to me by publishers. All opinions, however, are my own.