March 2019 Reading

I was worried that my reading would decrease dramatically this month, as I went away numerous times and felt busier than usual. But my reading actually increased; what a month! Better grab a cup of tea, this could take a while…

The African Queen by C.S. Forester

I received this book as a Christmas present, which is always exciting because if you’re getting a book as a gift it’s probably something you wouldn’t get for yourself.

Despite having seen the movie, this book wasn’t boring or predictable. It was full of fresh descriptions, and a clear way of writing that I appreciate in a classic. This novel could’ve been confusing, especially as there is a lot of boat-terminology, but instead I found myself learning alongside Rose, the protagonist.

This was both gentle and adventurous, letting you breathe between bursts of excitement. Set at the beginning of the first World War, the two main characters have to escape down a river, in an old steamboat, to avoid the Germans.

The last line of the novel didn’t ruin the book for me, but it was a bizarre, clipped ending. I should expect this after all the classics I’ve read, but can I help that I love an obviously happy ending?

My rating: 4/5 stars

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket

This is a series of 13 books, 4 or 5 of which I read when I was in high school. After hearing about the new TV series, I was reminded of the books and became interested to reread the series – and actually finish it.

Because I did read book one when I was younger, the novel didn’t feel too young for me; instead, I was walking down memory lane and remembering what I liked about it to begin with. Perhaps if you haven’t read them at a younger age you’d struggle to read them as an adult? Still, the plot gets more complex and interesting as the books go on, so who am I to tell you what you can and can’t read?

I loved this book because of how strange, mysterious, and well-written it is. Words can’t describe how much I love his writing.

My rating: 5/5 stars

Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav

This is my third Lang Leav book, and out of all of them it has the prettiest cover. (Mint green with pink font: what I live for.)

This book of poetry didn’t captivate me in the same way her other ones have. I still found it beautiful, and a great read, but perhaps I need to go back and rest on what she’s saying to get a fuller picture.

Regardless, the reason I love Lang Leav’s works is because her writing is quite childish. The poems are simple, easy rhymes with obvious beats. They’re almost plain. But there’s an innocent beauty in them which makes them complex. Leav explores the human condition in how we love others, love ourselves, hold on and let go. I think she’s risen as a poet because she draws out truth from such small things that other people don’t necessarily think to write about.

Her poems aren’t political or spiritual. They’re about love, happy or sad.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Helium by Rudy Francisco

After watching Rudy Francisco’s spoken poetry on YouTube (here’s the link to my favourite one) (no, really, watch it and be amazed), I was excited to discover he had a book of poetry. (Yes, another poetry book.) It’s not the same as hearing him speak out his own words (emphasis, pauses, etc. aren’t conveyed through text) but having the book still has positives.

One positive is being able to dwell on a particular poem, and slowly take it in. When it’s being spoken, you go along with his rhythm for the poem, which means you can either miss things or capture only what he finds most important. Reading poetry, you are drawn to lines that resonate with you and can place emphasis where you need it most.

I’m a massive fan of his work, and will always love flicking through his poems.

My rating: 5/5 stars

One Day in December by Josie Silver

I had seen that my sister read this on Goodreads, and after reading the synopsis I was immediately interested. And then last week, when I was on a holiday in Sydney, I found it in a bookstore and it had the most beautiful cover – of course I bought it.

The beginning of the story is simple: girl falls in love with boy at first sight. Boy ends up being girl’s best friend’s boyfriend.

Whilst the concept isn’t realistic – and, I’ll admit, a bit ridiculous – the story does go much deeper than an awkward love triangle. I enjoyed reading this book and seeing the growth in characters and the way they each responded to many different situations.

I also found this book unique because it spans over nine years. The timing is quite jumpy, and there are months that we don’t read about, but the story still manages to flow and make sense.

My rating: 4/5 stars

Love, Lucy by April Lindner

I know, I know, it seems that whenever I go to the library I find books with cringy covers and cheesy blurbs. In my defence it’s because my own bookshelves are lacking such things. And so we come to Love, Lucy. A library book. A romance book.

I don’t like trashy-romance novels (you know the ones – no true plot, characters with no real characteristics), and whilst this may be too ‘light’ for some of you, it was a good read for me. I’m almost always working my way through some Christian non-fiction, so it’s nice to have novels to turn to when I’m tired. (Anyway, that was a side note.)

This book begins in Italy, where we meet Lucy, the protagonist who’s traveling for a month before beginning university. Whilst in Italy she meets Jesse, the love interest. The reader follows their relationship, the goodbye, and Lucy’s life back in America as she begins to study and tries to forget her time abroad (and the love of her life). I appreciate that this novel, whilst being romantic, delves into issues such as Lucy studying a major that she doesn’t like just to make her parents happy. In that sense, this book is focused on growing as a person and standing up for yourself and not trying to please everyone.

My rating: 4/5 stars

First & Then by Emma Mills

I loved this book. The balance of family life, high school stresses, future possibilities, and romantic confusion is what I’m here for.

I graduated high school in 2015, but my heart is still drawn towards teen protagonists. There is something so simple in the problems they face, yet it really is a crazy, challenging, stressful time. Everything is a big deal, and my heart is full of sympathy for the characters.

This book warmed my heart. The development of our narrator Devon was an absolute joy of a roller-coaster. I liked the gradual shift in her thoughts as she came to accept her family situation, friend situation, and college situation. It all came together in the end, but not in a way that was false and too-neat. It was perfect.

My rating: 5/5 stars

This month I also reread the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton. I admit that it’s a bit of a rip-off to reread ten children’s books, especially considering it only took a few days to read all of them, but in my defence they are chapter books. Besides, who doesn’t love some Enid Blyton for a rainy day?

Well, your cup of tea was probably finished days ago, so I’ll end this here. Happy reading!

Sarah xx

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