HELLO EVERYONE. WELCOME. WELCOME TO ALL PROBLEMS BEING GONE, HAPPINESS INCARNATE, A WORLD OF SUNSHINE, OF THE PROVERBIAL AND LITERAL VARIETY.
Folks, in my head and in my heart, it is Summer. Is this true under any other calendar, temperature, scientific methodology, concept of seasons, holiday perception, schoolchild’s belief, or alternate canon?
But in the summertime, I experience a phenomenon known as “perfect brain,” and for my own well-being I need to extend that lil timeline as much as humanly possible.
When it’s nice out, or when I PERCEIVE it to be nice out, my skin is clear, my books are read, my reviews are written, my slump is over. My cookies never melt into one shapeless blob on the tray and when I paint my nails I somehow manage to get most of the polish on my actual nail instead of all over my hand like a lost Jackson Pollock.
So you see why I need to cling to this.
But just wait until you see March versus February. Hoo boy.
As alluded to, predicted, complained about, and otherwise bemoaned, last month was in many ways bad. This is because February is terrible, and winter sucks.
March: so much better! I read a lot of good books (quantity AND quality), I ended my slump, I saw lots of pals lots of times. I am addicted to Instagram in a way that is borderline unsettling considering I spent three years avoiding it and recently deleted my personal page entirely.
But even deleting social profiles seems like nothin’ but net, in a situation in which net means “a good choice for my mental health.”
I’m down to only book-focused accounts now, and I have never felt more alive. (Read: pretentious and intellectual.)
Honestly, I have no idea really how these went. Beyond the blog one, which I know I failed with flying colors ❤
HAVE A BETTER BRAIN ✓
READ 31+ BOOKS ✓
FINISH MY TWO PROJECTS ✓
BACK TO #1 ON GOODREADS PERHAPS X
BLOG LIKE THREE TIMES IDK X
POST ON INSTAGRAM 6 TIMES MAYBE? ✓
Oh yeah, I’m stumped on Goodreads. In my silly brain there is a thing you can do on Goodreads called “cheating,” which is when your entire presence there is about reposting your own reviews, and my refusal to engage in it is NOT helping the ol’ numbers.
But I read more than 31 books and posted more than 6 times on Instagram, so in my heart of hearts it balances!
GOALS FOR APRIL
READ 28+ BOOKS
START & FINISH TWO MORE PROJECTS
BACK TO #1 ON GOODREADS PERHAPS
BLOG TWO OR SO TIMES
POST ON INSTAGRAM 5+ TIMES IF YOU CAN?
VACATION VACATION VACATION!!!
I am going on two (count em, TWO) trips this month, so I am a) convinced all of my problems will be solved and my life will be perfect and b) tempering my expectations in terms of reading accomplishments and content output.
Because I will be busy rotting on a beach and in my favorite city in the world, respectively.
Also I am in the process of updating my massive one-size-fits-all Spotify playlist to fit the theme Vaguely Summery.
Everything is fantastic and that isn’t even sarcasm. Now onto the main event!
1. The Promise by Silvina Ocampo
Read: March 1 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4.5 stars
This month did not have a theme, but it did have several Running Motifs, if you will. And one of them was that I kept picking up short books because, even though I have not yet this year been behind on my insane reading challenge (knock on wood send thoughts and prayers), I kept being convinced that I was about to be.
But short literary fiction is probably my favorite hyperspecific genre, so it worked out well in quantity AND quality.
2. Good Rich People by Eliza Jane Brazier
Read: March 1 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2 stars
Addicted to reading ARCs late.
I don’t know any other way. Have to live my truth, you know? It’s part of this rock and roll lifestyle.
This book was very silly and very overdone and very hard to get into and also very hard to read…
But I’m realizing I don’t think I like thrillers, so take all that with a grain of salt.
3. Homicide and Halo-Halo by Mia P. Manansala
Read: March 2-3 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
Back to back overdue ARCs in the mystery/thriller arena that disappointed me.
Maybe I don’t like mysteries OR thrillers?
This was my first cozy mystery and I liked the food descriptions and…that’s the end of the list, I think.
That’s not fair. This is a fine and fun and silly read. And also just so happens to have a thousand characters I can’t remember and a love triangle for no reason.
4. Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
Read: March 2-5 ✿✿✿ Rating: 5 stars
YOU READ THAT RIGHT!!!!
My third five star of the year and the first I gave immediately instead of going back and changing later!!!
I loved this book so much.
5. Objects of Desire by Clare Sestanovich
Read: March 4-5 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
My friend sent me a tweet a while ago about how three biggish-deal literary releases, one of them being Beautiful World, Where Are You, somehow all had male love interests named Felix.
Apparently even being mentioned in the same sentence as a Sally Rooney release is now enough for me to want to read a book.
This is a bad call by me, top to bottom.
6. The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson
Read: March 7 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
I have a lot of shortcomings, and many failures in this life, but my loyalty is NOT AMONG THEM.
If I love an author, I love them enough to read their 70 year old obscure children’s nonfiction book about a historical event.
And I won’t even regret it.
Finding the book for like $3 on Book Outlet also helps.
7. Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier
Read: March 7 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
Okay, we need a code for when a book is a successful foray into the annals of the short lit fic novel.
If I start a section SHORT LIT FIC YAY! then you’ll know.
That being said: SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
Also, two books I read entirely on March 7 that I gave 3.5 stars! Hard to imagine they could be more different!
8. The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu
Read: March 7-8 ✿✿✿ Rating: 1.5 stars
Alternately I should have another code for yet another failed entry in my romance project.
I’m less enthused about that one. The code can be: OH NO, ANOTHER DAY IN THIS NIGHTMARE!
I don’t have anything quite nice to say about this book, so I’m going to say little.
9. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
Read: March 8-9 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
So glad we have this handy-dandy code.
This is a collection of interconnected semi-horrifying short stories that truly had me [insert that very cute little emoji where the lil guy is getting his mind blown here].
And also it’s literary and short, which is clearly the glorious key to my reading happiness.
10. We Don’t Know What We’re Doing by Thomas Morris
Read: March 9 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4.5 stars
SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
And also: BOOKS I READ SOLELY BECAUSE THEY WERE COMPARED TO SALLY ROONEY YAY!
In this case, it’s her pal Thomas Morris, who is quoted in one of the profiles I’ve her I’ve read approx 100 times when I have reread everything else too recently.
I almost 5 starred this, and I still might, but you should read it regardless.
11. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo
Read: March 10 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
Nghi Vo is the amazing and weird ruler of my heart in recent year(s) – she seemingly JUST came across my radar but has somehow already written a retelling of a book I love without me hating it, a wildly short fantasy that packed a punch harder than most 600 page ones, and one of my most anticipated upcoming releases of this year.
But this one didn’t hit quite the same.
Gotta be an “it’s not you it’s me” situation.
12. The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd
Read: March 6-11 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
When I first heard about this book, I posted that it should be illegal for a book to sound so good and not be immediately accessible for my reading pleasure.
I would like to amend that it should also be illegal for a book to sound this good and then also be disappointing.
It’s not fair!!! Look at the cover, even!!! No part of this says “emma, prepare for meh.”
13. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Read: March 9-12 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
This is not an addition to my romance project, but it still qualifies as OH NO, ANOTHER DAY IN THIS NIGHTMARE!
I have been chasing the high I got from The Martian for nearly seven years (god I feel old) to no avail.
I thought this would get us to the avail-point. Instead…a whole new level of disappointment.
14. Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
Read: March 14 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
From time to time I treat myself to an installment of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, because they are short and they seem to replenish themselves as I need them (seriously there are like 29 of them), but I never expect to like them much.
Not because they’re bad – they usually aren’t! – but because I have to start preparing myself for disappointment. I cannot keep living like this or I am going to explode.
15. This Is Happiness by Niall Williams
Read: March 14-15 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
As I write this, it is lateish on March 30. (I know! I’m getting a head start! Who even am I!) I finished this book on March 15.
Already if you held a gun to my head I could not confidently tell you a single thing about it, beyond the fact that it’s Irish-er than the hypothetical offspring of the Lucky Charms leprechaun and a Red Sox fan.
Forgettable beyond words.
16. Collected Stories of Colette
Read: February 22-March 16 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
This was the silliest, in many ways, entry into my genius project, because it was too long both in pages (600+) and in stories (100+) to divide that way, and so I just kind of did it by vibe until it was over.
The review itself is formatted like a goddamn nightmare, but I finished and that’s what counts.
And also I felt cool and French while doing it.
17. Vladimir by Julia May Jonas
Read: March 14-16 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
Women just do it better.
Even when the “it” in question is “obsessing over a somewhat age- and power-inappropriate hottie in order to ignore your own impending aging.”
This also has a wildly low rating on Goodreads, so if you want to feel cool and advanced in your feminism I highly recommend reading and liking it.
A really meta not like other girls opportunity.
18. Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers
Read: March 16-17 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
My first Dave Eggers and I made a nonsense decision in what to pick up.
Whenever I’m trying a new author, I strive to pick up a book of theirs that will make their fans yell “NO DON’T START THERE.” And if it works out for me, even better.
Anyway. I’m always a sucker for a gimmicky book. I read Jonathan Safran Foer at a formative age.
19. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
Read: March 16-17 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
Once upon a time, I joked that I was racist against British people in a negative review of a book by a British author.
Ignoring that you cannot be racist against a nationality, several people got mad at me in the comments.
Perhaps that was my villain origin story. Perhaps not.
Regardless, the immense Britishness of this book didn’t go in the pro column.
20. Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin
Read: March 21-22 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
Once, when I was in college, I took a class called Introduction to Magazine Writing, because I’d taken another class with the professor and liked it and because I needed to fulfill some requirement or other in order to get into a class I really wanted. We had to write a travel piece in the middle of February, so I trekked to the beach town I’d spent my childhood summers in and wrote a couple of melancholy pages about snow on sand.
I love off seasons, and so I loved this book.
21. Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle (reread)
Read: March 17-22 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
OH NO, ANOTHER DAY IN THIS NIGHTMARE!
I am permitting this to qualify as a failure of the romance project, because once upon a time this was one of just three romances I had ever five starred and I floated around the internet calling it the best romance ever, but when I reread it…it just didn’t hit.
I did not permit myself to lower it below 4 stars out of fear and sadness.
22. Mr Salary by Sally Rooney (reread)
Read: March 21-22 ✿✿✿ Rating: 5 stars
SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
Lately I’ve been treating myself to annotating books when I read them in hard copy (and of course, when I own them), and by annotating I mean “underlining any line that makes me feel anything at all or I think is pretty or I generally like for any reason.”
This tiny little book has more more underlined lines than unmarked ones.
23. Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay
Read: March 22-23 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
Read this in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, and it was the best-worst decision I could have made.
Best because this is incredibly powerful, incredibly heavy, incredibly necessary reading.
Worst because I spent the entirety of my day in a foggy state of sadness and then anger and then sadness again.
24. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould
Read: March 21-23 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars
Yet another win for judging books by their covers!
I have never really remembered when or why I added this book to my to-read list, so I just assumed the beautiful magical cover cast a spell on me and moved on.
But also maybe I am psychic.
There is no real reason I should have thought I would have liked this, due to the Outgrowing YA of it all, and yet…
25. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood
Read: March 23-24 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
WELCOME TO THE BRAGGING SECTION OF THIS WRAP-UP.
YES, I GOT AN E-ARC OF THIS.
YES IT WAS ANGSTY AND SMUTTY AND YEARNY AND STEMMY AND FULFILLED ALL MY WILDEST DREAMS.
In short, it is everything you are hoping for. This concludes my outright boasting. For now.
26. Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
Read: March 24-25 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
You guessed it…
SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
I needed it to bring me back down to a normal state of being following “fairly long romcom.” It threw, like, my pH out of whack.
This teeny tiny book and its pretty poetry writing restored me. Now we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.
27. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (reread)
Read: March 28 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
When I started reading this, I posted on Goodreads that I was rereading it as a cry for help, due to the fact that I was voluntarily reading devastating lit fic in the middle of the week for no reason.
I did not consider the title, and set off many alarm bells in hearts and minds, apparently.
Sorry! Also: SHORT LIT FIC YAY!
28. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Read: March 25-28 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
Leading up to and during the start of this year, I have been making two claims:
1) I need to read more Murakami, and
2) I need to read more Didion.
I’ve been saying the first one since 2018, but the second one I actually meant.
Thus far, that has been a damn good decision.
29. Middlemarch by George Eliot
Read: March 1-29 ✿✿✿ Rating: 5 stars
FOURTH FIVE STAR OF THE YEAR!!!
Elle and I created an invention called “Middlemarch March” in which we would divide up Middlemarch’s 900 pages over the 31 days of March to make it bearable.
We had so much fun we’re going to do a classic a month for the foreseeable future, so…stay tuned!
Because I definitely need yet another project.
30. The Governesses by Anne Serre
Read: March 29 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2 stars
Short lit fic…not yay.
If this were published a hundred years ago, this view of women’s sexuality would have been risqué and daring.
But it was the ’90s, so it’s just annoying.
I can’t even find it in my heart to forgive based on the fact that this is one of my favorite thins for a book to be (a French translation.)
31. Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
Read: March 29 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars
And again…short lit fic, not yay.
On paper, this one seems foolproof for me. Short. Literary. Controversial. Lowish rating. Vaguely feminist. About an unlikable woman.
I feel whatever beyond whatever about it. Blah beyond all previous definition of blah. And so on.
32. Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Read: March 30 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars
Binge read Joan Didion’s grief memoirs this week because I don’t know how to be happy.
And honestly, how am I supposed to learn a lesson?
They were both exceptional, and I find being sad to be a glamorous trait in myself.
Possibly my most watched YouTube video is the National singing Sorrow with Phoebe Bridgers. Do with that what you will.
33. Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense: Collected Poems by Lewis Carroll
Read: March 17-31 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars
While Alice is my absolute favorite book of all time hands down forever don’t get it twisted, Lewis Carroll isn’t on my favorite authors list.
Yes, Alice is perfect, and yes, Through the Looking-Glass is also perfect, and yes, I count them as one book, but I’ve never had much interest in his other works.
This didn’t really change that.
But it’s always good to confirm.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
My average rating for this month isssss…
Even better than last month! By 0.01. But still.
Everything is coming up me.
Well, I only posted the one time.
Onto the next.
So! That was March. It ruled for the most part and April is nowhere but up!!!
Now I really need to post this so I’m going to shut up now.