March Round-up

I read 7 books in March: 3 non-fiction, 4 fiction, all on the Kindle.

Bellweather by Connie Willis. This is not a time travel book, like the other Willis novels I have enjoyed, but it was still a good read. It imagines a researcher who studies fads and tries to determine why they happen. I like the way Willis writes and I liked this book, but still like the time travel novels the best. I hope she writes more!

The Man Who Loved China : The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester. Simon Winchester is the author of the Professor and the Madman, about the making of the OED and if you are only going to read one book by Winchester, I suggest you read that one. That said, this book was really fascinating and enjoyable. I definitely love reading about really smart people and the things that they are interested in.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. Jeanette Winterson is my absolute favorite author, and when I heard she had a memoir coming out, I was SO excited. I bought it the day it came out on my Kindle – my very first Kindle purchase. The memoir did not disappoint – full of Winterson’s beautiful writing and lots of interesting thoughts on adoption, religion, and finding your way.

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. I first read about this author on Quirky Girls Read and I thought I would give her a try. (I find that now that I have my Kindle, I’m much quicker to try new authors. It’s just so easy to get a book.) I would describe her as Chick Lit, with a dash of magical realism. As with the few other Chick Lit books I’ve read, I spent the first third or so being annoyed by the book, then got into the story and really enjoyed it. I think I like to think that I don’t like “Chick Lit”, but really if there is enough of a story there and I enjoy the characters, I’ll probably like the book – and since I don’t read a lot of this type of book, I think I also enjoy reading something a little different.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson. This book was really good – it tells the true story of the American Ambassador to Germany in the time leading up to World War II, after the Nazis have taken power and as their control grows and their campaign against the Jews intensifies. It was very interesting to see that build up from the perspective of an American viewing those changes close up.

Mrs. Budley Falls From Grace by Marion Chesney. This is another in the Poor Relations series, which is pretty mindless fluff revolving around the adventures of the down-on-their-luck aristocrats who run the Poor Relation hotel in England – but sometimes (especially when it’s 3 am and you are feeding a sleepy, yet awake baby) mindless fluff is what you need.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre. When I read Our Kind of Traitor, I said that I would give le Carre another try, and I’m glad I did. I really liked this book which features George Smiley (a recurring le Carre character) and his search for a Soviet double agent. There are a number of books featuring Smiley, and I’m excited to read the others. The book was just made into a movie, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’m interested to see how it is adapted though for sure.

March Round-up

4 thoughts on “March Round-up

  1. I just finished re-reading The Peach Keeper last week. That’s interesting to me that you describe SAA as chick lit. I never thought of her books that way. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂


    1. cransell says:

      And you know, I really hate the term “Chick Lit” too, because I hate the idea that books that appeal to men are literature and books that appeal to women are… this less serious subcategory of literature. So basically, I’m probably being unfair in the description, but I wasn’t sure how else to describe it. Maybe contemporary popular fiction that appeals mostly to women? Romance, but not in the Harlequin way? Anyway, I’m always happy to try a new author and I did really enjoy reading it.


      1. I hear ya.
        I am a big fan of Alice Hoffman and Allen’s brand of magical realism reminds me of Hoffman; although I find Allen to be more whimsical. I’ve always thought of Hoffman as magical realism fiction and that’s how I tend to think of Allen as well. Sure, there’s a bit of a love story, but there’s a lot of other stuff going on. I think a lot of stories involve relationships so I don’t necessarily define them by that aspect alone.
        Thanks for making me ponder something new. I’m enjoying the discussion. 🙂
        Since you enjoyed The Peach Keeper, will you be giving any of her other books a go?


      2. cransell says:

        I do think I will read other books by her – especially since the library has quite a few as eBooks. I’ve never read any Alice Hoffman either. Is there a particular book of hers that you would recommend?


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