I have to admit, I didn’t have the best reading month. I read a total of five books, and three of them were really short. But ratings-wise, I loved pretty much everything!
I’m gonna do this in chronological order, so from the first to the last book I read this month.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
(This edition includes both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.)
The first book I read in March was the one I liked the least, which is probably why the entire month I just didn’t really feel like reading. I know there are a lot of people out there who find some kind of genius behind this book, who say that all the randomness is supposed to represent and mean something important … but honestly, I judge a book by how much I enjoy reading it, and I hated this.
The plot is not really a plot. Nothing makes sense whatsoever, the entire book is all over the place. A little weirdness is okay, I appreciate whimsical characters, but this was just too much. The characters aren’t even characters. They are all extremely annoying, none of them are interesting, funny or smart, and the whole thing just feels like it’s trying to be special. I can’t help but think that the author is just really pretentious, and I hate it, because I wanted to love this book.
The only good thing I have to say about this is that there is one particular scene at the end of the book which I thought was hilarious. There is this knight who just keeps falling off his horse, and the way it’s written made me laugh out loud. He also tries to put something in his bag, but instead he keeps falling into it. I had a pretty good time reading that chapter. Sadly, one funny scene is not gonna change the way I feel about the book as a whole.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Now, this is a book I loved!
The story follows Jack and his mother, who live in a room – Jack was born in that room, and his mom was kidnapped. Jack doesn’t know that there is a whole world outside, because he’s never been out of the room, until one day, when he’s 5 years old, his mom tells him about it.
Everything about this book is wonderful. The writing is amazing, in an unexpected kind of way – it’s written from Jack’s point of view, so it feels like it’s written by a five-year old, but at the same time it doesn’t. What amazed me the most was how much of a page-turner this was, considering that not much can happen in a single room with two people who only read, eat, sleep and watch TV. I think I finished this book in two or three sittings, and it’s not very short. What definitely helped were the long chapters (the book has only five chapters in total, so yes, they’re very long, and I am a sucker for long chapters).
I can’t say much about the plot without giving away some of the best twists and turns, but just know that this book will take your breath away, and you will be unable to put it down. There were moments when I thought, is this a thriller or why is my heart beating so fast?
There are a lot of important topics that the author deals with magnificently, and lots of little sentences that will make you smile and think hell yeah! I will definitely be checking out anything else Emma Donoghue writes.
(Trigger warning for rape.)
Graffiti (and other poems) by Savannah Brown
I did a full review of this lovely poetry collection, which you can read here, so I’m not gonna talk too much about it. Just know that Savannah is my favourite poet in the world and that every single piece in this book, which is her first one, is amazing. Also my copy is signed, ha!
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
What a novel! I loved this. I loved it very, very much.
This follows the story of Idgie and her family, mainly in the 1920s-1950s, and how their lives changed when a girl named Ruth came to stay with them. It’s a story of family, friendship and love. A lot of people read it because of the romantic part, but I honestly liked all the friendships best – there are so many diverse, interesting relationships in this novel. Idgie’s family is also delightful, and much more open-minded than probably any real family would have been at the time.
Admittedly, it took a while for me to get into it, especially because the chapters are quite short and a little confusing at first. We have a lot of different perspectives – there’s an elderly woman in a retirement home, there’s a middle-aged lady who has apparently nothing to do with all the other characters, theres’s the main characters when they were young, then when they’re older, and then there are about a million friends and family memebers and enemies and whatnot. So it can be a little overwhelming.
But you do get used to it, and once you do, you ADORE all of them. There are a lot of sad bits in this book, and they all kind of broke my heart, because I just love all of the characters so much. They’re all very likable, and they have very distinct voices and personalities. Fannie Flagg is definitely very good at creating characters that stick with the reader for a long time – I don’t think I’m gonna forget about Idgie, Ruth and all the others any time soon.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Now here’s a book I wasn’t expecting to like but actually really, really enjoyed.
If you don’t know, this book is a British political classic that was written to criticise Stalinism in the Soviet Union. It’s described on Wikipedia as an allegorical and dystopian novella.
Basically, the book tells the story of Manor Farm, where the animals decide to start a rebellion to overthrow the human race and rule the world themselves. It all starts as an ideal plan, with all the animals working together and planning a better, peaceful future – but then some of the animals start oppressing the others, and basically the moral is that dictatorships and corruption suck.
I kind of have a bad relationship with classics, as they’re usually not written for entertainment but to present some kind of idea or moral, and I really can’t stand that. But with this book I found myself really enjoying it, and I also quite liked the ideas that Orwell included in the story. The plot was surprisingly interesting and I liked the characters. Can you believe that? In a book about talking animals who want to overthrow the human race, I actually liked the characters. I especially loved Boxer, a humble, hard-working horse who has the best of intentions and knows that something is wrong but can’t seem to find the words to speak his mind.
The book deals a lot with something called gaslighting, which is defined as a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Basically, the animals who start oppressing the others try to undermine what they’re saying by making them believe that they’re not remembering stuff right and that they’re too stupid to actually know what’s good for them. I LOVED all of that, it just made me really angry – and once that manipulation started I couldn’t put the book down.
So if maybe you’re a little scared of classics (I know I am), I would definitely recommend this!
That is all I read in March! I am currently about 100 pages into The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and I am loving it so far, so I will report back on that soon.
‘Till next time and happy reading!