This was a weird month, reading-wise. Not sure if it’s the spring weather, the malaise of this time of the school year, or the heavier-than-usual schedule (that’s probably it); whatever it was, I wasn’t as focused a reader.
But I’m not concerned — I read for enjoyment, without rules, goals, or must-dos. This keeps it fun, and keeps it my favorite hobby. I’m always reading something, I’ll always be reading something.
Here’s what I read in March.
1. Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld
This has been on my TBR list for awhile, and after quite a few classics in January and February, I felt the need to pace myself with something light. This definitely was light. It was well-written and sweet, one of the better Pride & Prejudice modern interpretations, but a bit heavier on the sex and shallowness than is my preference.
All in all, an okay “beach” read.
2. My Oxford Year, by Julia Whelan
Y’all, I wanted to like this book… It’s been on my radar for a year, and I thought I might like it as part of my Literary London repertoire. It sounds up my alley: Oxford (one of my favorite cities), first-person narrative fiction that reads like a memoir, American-Brits relations.
It really wasn’t good. Poorly written, unbelievable plot points, unlikable characters, cliche, and chock-full of telling not showing. I read afterwards that the writer is actually a screenwriter and not a novelist, and that made sense to me: this reads like a made-for-TV movie, not a novel. The idea had potential, but unfortunately it just wasn’t what I was thinking it would be.
3. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
I haven’t read this in ages (early college, I think), and it’s been a joy to re-read it for my English class. It needs a bit of an onboarding process, since Hurston wrote the protagonist’s storytelling phonetically (though an omniscient narrator takes over) — but a few chapters in, and I was engrossed.
This is an important, groundbreaking, long-forgotten (until the mid-70s, when Alice Walker resurrected it) novel from a significant early 20th-century African-American female voice. We need to listen.
4. Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss
I have mixed feelings about Tim, so I held off reading this for awhile. Turns out, I think this is actually my favorite of his. This non-fiction book reads more like a handbook, meant to be flipped around to various chapters based on your interest. He’s a masterful interviewer (check out his podcast), and he takes this skill to book format by dedicating chapters to specific people and their answers to the same overall questions.
My favorites included interviews with BJ Novak, Maria Popova, Scott Adams, Derek Sivers, and Mike Birbiglia, as well as his own thoughts in the chapters about the Dickens Process, earning your freedom, the law of category, and one of my long-term favorite business philosophies: your 1,000 true fans.
Not sure what this means, but I’m actually in the middle of reading lots of books, which isn’t my preference (I find it’s a sign of distraction; when I’m more focused I read only one book at a time, which means I tend to read/finish more). Currently I’m in the middle of The Girl on the Train, Man’s Search for Meaning, Company of One, and Gilead.
I go through weird reading stages like this, so I’m not worried. I’m just ready to get back to some solid contemporary fiction to pair with my classics — which is what I’m talking about on the podcast this Friday. Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss an episode.
What are you reading right now?
• Listen to the podcast episode about this post