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What did you read last month? > What I read--- March 2018

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message 1: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments

Share with us what you read March 2018 !

Please provide:

~ A GoodReads link
~ A few sentences telling us how you felt about the book.
~ How would you rate the book


message 2: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) | 189 comments Hello, everyone!! These are my March reads:

Frederica by Georgette Heyer
Rating: A
Review: I really love Heyer's books. They are great reads, with strong heroines and funny situations. And if you like a bit of historical romance that is not a "bodice ripper", Heyer's books are perfect for you.

Harriet Tubman: Antislavery Activist by M.W. Taylor
Rating: B
Review: A short biography of Harriet Tubman that makes an emphasis on her extraordinary work as an antislavery activist during the very dangerous times she lived in. A woman to be reckoned with (who of course did not get any credit for it from the state) and to be admired.

Ella Fitzgerald by Bud Kliment
Rating: B
Review: A short biography of another extraordinary woman from the same series. These books were made to give more of an overview of all the major events in the life of the selected individuals, with the need for further research.

Rosa Parks: Civil Rights Leader by Mary Hull
Rating: B
Review: Another one in the series called "Black Americans of Achievement". The reason I picked only books about women is the fact that my library displayed the books about prominent women as part of the celebration of the Women's History Month.

Eleanor Roosevelt: Activist for Social Change by Allison Lassieur
Rating: A
Review: What a formidable woman! I'm in awe and embarrassed for my own lack of initiative. :(
This one was, although very similar in style, still better written...more interesting.

The Lady with the Little Dog by Anton Chekhov
Rating: B
Review: A short story about two lovers meeting at Yalta and falling in love despite both being married to other people. Lovely prose and quite a dangerous topic for the era Chekhov lived in, very openly discussed.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Rating: C
Review: The only thing of Hemingway's I've ever read was The Old Man and the Sea and it was a long time ago, so maybe this throwing many topics in a few pages is his style. That and the fact I was preoccupied with other things, didn't let me enjoy the story to the fullest. Also, Harry really isn't a likable character. Basically, he is a douche. :)

I'm a Fool by Sherwood Anderson
Rating: C
Review: Yes, the protagonist is definitely a fool. Nothing special about this story, did not move me at all. I know that I'm supposed to understand the times when I read a certain book, but I just couldn't get past the "N" word for a black person at the very beginning of the story, so I was definitely prejudiced against it, even though I read it whole.

Sojourner Truth by Peter Krass
Rating: B
Review: Unlike other women from this series, I've never heard of Sojourner Truth. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to be her and to what she did in those times.

Jane Addams: Champion of Democracy by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin
Rating: A
Review: I love this biography. Very detailed, with beautiful photos and interesting text. I think I heard the name of Jane Addams sometimes and somewhere, but I had no idea about all the things she did and the awards she won for her work. I love this Women's History Month thing. It makes me read great stuff.

Lee at the Alamo by Harry Turtledove
Rating: A
Review: I don't know much about the Civil War so not until I read the reviews of the story did I realise it was an alternate history. A well-written and fast-paced short story.

King Pest by Edgar Allan Poe
Rating: B
Review: A typical Poe short story, weird and macabre. I always think of Tim Burton's movies when I read Poe. He would be perfect to adapt them for the screen.


message 3: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments Wow ! Very nice month, Samanta !

Thank you for the sharing about the Black Americans of Achievement series. I see my library system has some of the books in the series. I will definitely check them out.

It looks similar to the Signature Lives series that I enjoy. They are about 100 pages. They are for young adults. I like that they give me a brief overview of the person and then I can determine if I want to go on to an adult bio.


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments Samanta wrote:
The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Rating: C
Review: The only thing of Hemingway's I've ever read was The Old Man and the Sea and it was a long time ago, so maybe this throwing many topics in a few pages is his style. That and the fact I was preoccupied with other things, didn't let me enjoy the story to the fullest.."


I don't care for his short stories and his novellas. I prefer his novels.


message 5: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments Alias Reader wrote:
Eleanor Roosevelt: Activist for Social Change by Allison Lassieur
Rating: A
Review: What a formidable woman! I'm in awe and embarrassed for my own lack of initiative. :(
This one was, although very similar in style, still better written...more interesting."


If your library has this one, I recommend it. Beautiful photos.
Our Eleanor A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life by Candace Fleming Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life----Candace Fleming


message 6: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1048 comments Samanta, you had a marvelous reading month!

Hemingway is still a hit-or-miss author for me. I can't decide whether I am a fan or not.


message 7: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1048 comments In March I read:

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4-star;audio) - very different in tone from A Man Called Ove. Darker and deeper.

Murder Being Once Done by Ruth Rendell (3-star, audio) - an interesting murder mystery. It's part of a series and may have been better had I started at the beginning and gotten to know the main character. However, I got the idea that in this mystery, the detective is out of his element. Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine writes a good story.

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston (3-star; audio) - a journalist's look at an archeological discovery. Preston told a little bit about all aspects of the venture: discovery, travel, jungle, artifacts, bugs, snakes, history, etc. It was an interesting look at what really happens when such a discovery is made.

In the Woods by Tana French (4-star) - a fun read with an unreliable narrator and a touch of humor. I was drawn to the characters and their stories as much as to the murder mystery.

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin (4-star) - bizarre, unique and feverish. Very much a fever dream. This is something very different. It's mysterious and suspenseful.

The Spencer Mansion: A House, a Home, and an Art Gallery by Robert Ratcliffe Taylor (4-star) - I found this on my bookshelf and have no idea how it got there. As I was going to Victoria I thought this would be a good book to read on the ferry and it was. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's a segment of history of the town of Victoria told through the happenings and people living in one house that still stands.

We've Come to Take You Home by Susan Gandar (2-star) - what a dud!


message 8: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments As always, a very nice month, Petra. I should check out Beartown as I enjoyed A Man Called Ove


message 9: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 01, 2018 11:12AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments March reads:

Killers of the Flower Moon The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI~David Grann
Non fiction
Rate 4/5
We read this here at BNC. It was also a PBS/NY Times book selection. We are trying to read the PBS/NY Times book selections and hope you all join in.

The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome Lawrence The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail--Jerome Lawrence
Play
3/5
Interesting play. I would like to see it performed.

The Obesity Code Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss--Jason Fung
non fiction
Rate 3/5
Interesting take on weight gain.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid Exit West---Mohsin Hamid
fiction
Rate: 2/5
This was also a PBS/NY Times book club read. So some of us here read it together. It didn't meet my expectations. Though many loved this book. I am not into magical realism. I just didn't get anything new from the novel.


message 10: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) | 189 comments Alias Reader wrote: "Wow ! Very nice month, Samanta !

Thank you for the sharing about the Black Americans of Achievement series. I see my library system has some of the books in the series. I will definitely check the..."


Yes, I think these, too, are for young adults. The style of writing suggests so. I am not sure about the book you recommended, but I will check it out.

Hemingway....hm. I've only every read The Old Man and the Sea (years ago) and I liked it. I still can't be the judge.


message 11: by Samanta (new)

Samanta   (almacubana) | 189 comments Petra wrote: "Samanta, you had a marvelous reading month!

Hemingway is still a hit-or-miss author for me. I can't decide whether I am a fan or not."


Thanks, Petra!

I've read too few of Hemingway's books to be the judge.


message 12: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1048 comments Me, too. I read The Old Man & The Sea in high school (mandatory reading) and hated it. I've avoided Hemingway until just a few years ago when I thought I should put on my big girl panties and try his writing again as an adult.
I chose Islands in the Streamand enjoyed it (quite a surprise to me). I also listened to the audio of TOM&TS again and, although I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either. It's just not a thrilling story.
Then last year I read The Garden of Eden and loved it.
I'm still skeptical of whether I like his work or not but I'm going to try more of his works.


message 13: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1048 comments Alias Reader wrote: "March reads:

Killers of the Flower Moon The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David GrannKillers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI~[auth..."


I plan on reading this book one day, too. It sounds very interesting.

[book:Exit West|30688435] is on my TBR list. It does get some polarizing reviews. It'll be interesting to see how I like it.


message 14: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 105 comments My March reads:
The Case of the Lucky LegsbyErle Stanley Gardner Rating 3/5. This is the third in the Perry Mason books. The language are dated because this book was written in the 1930s but the mystery is well crafted
Burning BrightbyRon Rash Rating 3/5. This book is a collection of short stories. Short stories are not my favorite genre, I like Rash's writing style. However, I enjoyed half the stories and found the other half were just okay
The Cracked SpinebyPaige Shelton Rating 2/5. This was the first book in a cozy series that sounded interesting. The premise and characters did not stand up. I only finished it to find out who the murderer was. The reveal was not worth it. I will not be reading any additional books in this series
Beneath a Scarlet SkybyMark T. SullivanRating4/5 This was historical fiction based on real events that occurred in Italy between 1943 and 1945. I truly liked this book and after the story ended, the author provided information regarding what happened with real people after the war.
Aunt Dimity and the Widow's CursebyNancy Atherton Rating 3/5 A quick enjoyable cozy


message 15: by Alias Reader (last edited Apr 01, 2018 07:55PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments Meredith wrote: "My March reads:
The Case of the Lucky LegsbyErle Stanley Gardner Rating 3/5. This is the third in the Perry Mason books. The language are dated because this book was wr..."


Nice month, Meredith ! Looks like only one wasn't up to par.


message 16: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments It's neat to see that many of us are reaching back in time to explore reading options, particularly mysteries. You really do not want to get me started on Hemingway! (Not a favorable impression, other than Old Man & Sea.)

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life, written in letter-form to the books themselves by librarian Annie Spence. There were some clever pieces included but overall i felt she erred the way too many comedians do today, allowing her curse words to provide a punch when other words are harder to come by. However, i did learn of some good-sounding books, so am grateful.

America's Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis is mostly about aspects of history we might not have learned in school. I've read too many books about how awful Christopher Columbus was to be impressed by this chapter, however, i did learn that "hurricanes" were named for the Mayan storm god, Huracan and that the Spanish used warrior dogs to rip apart natives when conquering Mexico. Later in the book i learned that John Jay, first U.S. Supreme Court Justice “proposed erecting what he called ‘a wall of brass around the country’ to keep out Catholics! I liked the book, btw, in case my comments re. CC are misunderstood. But there are other similar ones out there...this one was on my 2018 Determination List.

Exit West was our group book, written by Mohsin Hamid. I liked it and my appreciation for it increased with our discussion.

50 Women Artists You Should Know was edited by Christiane Weidemann and others. I spread reading this out over several months, in order to savor & (hopefully) remember the artists better. Each artist had only one page of a sort of bio but a number of photos of their art. I learned much & liked the presentations.

The Semi-Attached Couple is a 19th novel by Emily Eden, whose writing attempts to replicate some of the pleasures of reading Jane Austen. For the most part she succeeds but there is still a wanting of style. Whereas JA ends with a proposal (usually), Eden's book begins with a wedding. I liked the descriptions of the discomforts of being a newly-married well-to-do couple in that era.

Every Day is a YA science fictionish book by David Levithan. The main character wakes up each morning in the body of someone about her/his age and has never known any other way of living. It was a neat premise full of pleasure but also some sadness, such as when waking up to being disabled or someone addicted to drugs. It's a series and i am eager to learn what the character learns about this "affliction"? "blessing"? "growth"?, which is somewhat how the book ends, with that search.

Color Me Murder is the first in a new mystery series by Krista Davis. The main character works in a bookstore (what's not to love?) and also creates coloring books for adults. Set in Georgetown, D.C., i rather liked it and will read more as they are published. Mainly, though, i wanted to live in her carriage house. :-) I think it was Barbara on this board who wrote the review which led me to the book. Thanks.

Destroy All Cars by Blake Nelson was mentioned in the above-mentioned Every Day. It turns out the author of ED works as an editor at Scholastic Books, which may be why the MC in it mentions this YA book. HOWEVER, i liked the book, which covers one year in the life of James Hoff, high schooler. We are introduced to him via his anti-consumer essays for an English class. There are some LOL moments reading this gem.

You Don't Look Your Age...and Other Fairy Tales is a collection of poems and short stories (some of which sound more like essays) written by Sheila Nevins. I have Julie to thank for this title. Most are about a creative, rather well-to-do woman living today. Some succeeded, while others didn't, but i liked the ride.

This is much more fiction than i usually read. My nonfiction book at present is about Andrew Johnson. It's small print and full of facts, so slow going. I hope to finish it this month.


message 17: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments madrano wrote:
Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks: A Librarian's Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life, written in letter-form to the books themselves by librarian Annie Spence. There were some clever pieces included but overall i felt she erred the way too many comedians do today, allowing her curse words to provide a punch when other words are harder to come by. However, i did learn of some good-sounding books, so am grateful."


Very nice eclectic month, deb.

I have to check out the Dear Fahrenheit book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


message 18: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Glad to be of service. It's one of those books that reached to me from the library's "New Books" shelf. Shomeret mentioned she was going to read it but had to return it before completing, too.


message 19: by Tanima (last edited Apr 16, 2018 09:29PM) (new)

Tanima (nerdtanima) | 5 comments Team of Rivals The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

I recently finished Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It was fascinating to learn about how Lincoln put together and worked with a team of his most experienced and successful rivals to save the union. It's quite a long read that unfolds like an epic novel!

4.25/5

Here's my review


message 20: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 18893 comments Nice review, Tanima. We both gave the book a 4 star rating.

I enjoyed the book, though maybe at times Goodwin goes into too much detail.


message 21: by madrano (new)

madrano | 11688 comments Tanima, i really liked the book, too. This month i finished Andrew Johnson: A Biography by Hans L. Trefousse and thought of Goodwin's book as i read because she gave readers pretty good biographies of Lincoln's cabinet. With the refresher given by Trefousse, i feel that the only cabinet member i want to read about further is Seward, perhaps Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man at a later date.


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