I really meant not to read any fiction this month, and not doing so forced my imagination to find other ways to occupy itself, giving rise to a new novel that I’m now working on. But about three weeks into the month my addiction to other people’s words overwhelmed me and sent me trawling through my bookshelves, where I found three old favorites and, to my delight, one that’s been there so long that I was sure I must have read it, only when I opened it up it turned out to be a brand new treasure!
Everything I read and watched is, as always, reviewed here. (For last year’s reviews, go here.) I have only two recommendations this month – but each is bigger than one book.
- The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett – fantasy, humor trending toward satire. From 1983 to his recent death, Pratchett wrote 40 novels in this series, and they are all wonderful. His fans have different opinions regarding the order in which to read them, but I favor reading them in the order they were written. Start with The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic, which are considerably simpler and more lightweight than the subsequent books but provide a good introduction to the Discworld.
- Regency romances by Georgette Heyer – not for feminists who take themselves too seriously, or for romance readers who require heaving bosoms and throbbing thighs, but if you enjoy well-crafted characters, clever dialogue, consistent and carefully-researched insight into the period, and unpredictable story-lines, you’ll probably love Heyer. (She also wrote mysteries, which I enjoy less; they haven’t worn as well, in my opinion.)
The best of the month’s movies were…
- The Imitation Game – based on historical facts, a heartbreaking story in the context of a tense thriller
- Chef – clever and poignant, it falls short of being a great movie but is nonetheless well worth watching
I definitely am more creatively productive if I’m not drowning out my own stories with those told by other people, so will continue to limit my reading at least until my book gains more traction. But not reading at all? Nah, that’s not gonna fly!
This month’s reading was completely out of control. I love, love, love books, and can’t imagine a life without them – but sometimes they’re like a drug, and reading becomes a compulsion – and a way to avoid “real life” – rather than an enriching way to spend leisure time. So for April I’m taking a sabbatical – but in the meantime, everything I have read this year is briefly reviewed on my Books, etc. page. (Go here for 2014’s reviews, dating back to last September.)
There were some real goodies among my March books, which I’d love to share:
- One Day, by David Nicholls – romantic literary fiction, an interesting approach to the story that works due to the quality and consistency of his writing
- The Last Anniversary, by Liane Moriarty – such a fun read, full of unexpected twists and delightful characters
- Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay – stimulating, readable essays that made me think
And the best of the month’s movies were…
- Maleficent – new take on an old fairy story, with an unexpectedly powerful performance by Angelina Jolie
- Transcendence – post-apocalypse sci-fi with Johnny Depp – nuff sed
- Rabbit-Proof Fence – based on a heartbreaking true story, beautifully done
February was a big month for reading – a total of eight books, plus a compulsion to consume every blog on WordPress in its entirety. I think in March I will aim to do more living and writing and less reading. Spring is coming and it’s time to be up and doing!
Meanwhile, everything I’ve read since around September last year is briefly reviewed on my Books, etc. page (with last year’s books here.) Some of them are well worth your attention!
Here are the ones I enjoyed most this month:
- The Divorce Diet, by Ellen Hawley – an upbeat light read with drool-inducing recipes that threaten to tip me off my carb-free lifestyle
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple – one of the best books I’ve read in a long while
- Wonder, by RJ Palacio – like all the best juvenile and YA fiction, it’ll refresh your literary palate
- Keto Clarity, by Jimmy Moore – a must-read for anyone interested in the ketogenic way of eating
I didn’t watch many movies, and only one worth sharing:
- The Longest Day – a powerful and moving docudrama
There was a disturbing trend in that much of my reading this month seemed to be about broken or breaking marriages. That’s a topic I will try to avoid for a while; even when the writing is good, too much of it stops being entertaining.