March Summary and Plans for April

I read 16 books in March and managed to get a fair way through a few more. A combination of miserable weather and my family suffering from colds and flu meant that I spent a lot longer than normal in the house. It isn’t nice looking after people who aren’t well, but it did mean that I had a lot of spare time to read while they slept. 

As usual I read a range of book in terms of both in enjoyment and subject matter. I especially recommend When I Was Five I Killed Myself which I am considering promoting to 5 stars! 

Books reviewed in March

When I Was Five I Killed Myself – Howard Buten 

The Blasphemer – Nigel Farndale 

Bonk – Mary Roach stars4

The Woman in the Dunes – Kobo Abe stars4

Buddha Da – Anne Donovan stars4

This is How – M.J. Hyland stars4

Small Island – Andrea Levy stars4

Pocket Notebook – Mike Thomas stars4

Thaw – Fiona Robyn stars3h

Red Dog, Red Dog – Patrick Lane stars3h

The Solitude of Prime Numbers – Paolo Giordano stars3h

My Driver – Maggie Gee stars3h

Black Mamba Boy – Nadifa Mohamed stars3

The Native Hurricane – Chigozie John Obioma stars3

July’s People – Nadine Gordimer stars3

So Much For That – Lionel Shriver stars3

Plans for April

I am going to finish and write reviews for:

Small Wars – Sadie Jones

The Great Perhaps – Joe Meno

The Kindly Ones – Jonathan Littell

Solar – Ian McEwan

Hurting Distance – Sophie Hannah

My Father’s Paradise – Ariel Sabar

The Weight of a Mustard Seed – Wendell Steavenson

Seeing – Jose Saramago

Due to the vast amount of reading I did in March I have actually finished/nearly finished all of the above. I haven’t quite managed to keep up the 50 page a day pace I set on The Kindly Ones, but I have now read 300 pages and hope to finish it this month.

I have a lot of books that I plan to read in April. It wasn’t until I wrote them all down that I realised I had far too many! I’m not sure which ones I’ll get round to reading, but here is my over ambitious plan!

Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter for Claire’s Angela Carter month

The Hiding Place – Trezza Azzopardi

The Love We Share Without Knowing – Christopher Barzak

Marcelo in the Real World – Francisco Stork

Angelology – Danielle Trussoni

The Rehearsal – Eleanor Catton

Good to a Fault – Marina Endicott

The City & The City – China Mieville

The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner

A Life Apart – Neel Murkherjee

I Do Not Come to You by Chance – Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

The Temple-goers – Aatish Taseer

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley

The Long Song – Andrea Levy

Even the Dogs – Jon McGregor

Our Tragic Universe – Scarlett Thomas

Which books from my list should I ensure I read?

Do you plan to read any of the same ones?

I hope you have a fantastic April!

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  1. Verity says:

    I’ll be intigued to see what you thought of Small Wars.

    Out of your plans for April, bizarrely I also have A hiding place on my list – it was a previously orange longlisted title. Even the dogs is meant to be especially wonderful too.

    I shall also be joining in with Angela Carter month but will be reading Fireworks and Several Perceptions.

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, I picked A Hiding Place as it was Booker short listed! I have actually started it already and think you will love it.

      I have seen so many posts raving about Even the Dogs that I had to get a copy. I have just had an email saying it is in at the library, so will go and pick it up later today. I am really looking forward to it.

  2. I obviously hope you read Good to a Fault, since I loved it so much (but not everyone feels the same about it). Would also be interested to see your thoughts on A Life Apart and Nights at the Circus, both books I’m considering reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      Lija, I haven’t read any Angela Carter, so am looking forward to seeing her writing. Claire raves about it, so I am hoping I will love it. I will try to get to the other two, but they are slightly further down my mental list!

  3. Sandy says:

    I feel guilty because I missed some of these reviews due to my nutty March. But 16 books? Girl you rocked this month! As far as your April opportunities, I am VERY anxious to hear about Angelology, which Swapna has named one of the best reads so far this year. Also, The Sound and the Fury was a gift to me from The Bumbles, and is on my TBR Challenge list, so I’d love a peek into that one!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, Don’t feel guilty – everyone needs a break! I have a feeling Angelology will be top of a lot of “best reads” lists this year – I am really looking forward to it, but it is a big, heavy hardback so might take me a while to read.

  4. Gnoe on Graasland says:

    Oh, I had meant to tell you earlier when I read your review, but you’ve made me add kobo abe to my wishlist! The version w/ Mitchell’s intro that is ;) Hope everyone is alright again? No more colds etc. ?

    1. Jackie says:

      Gnoe, I have a problem with buying books David Mitchell recommends – he is very bad for my bank balance! I hope that you enjoy it!

      My family is all well now – thanks for asking!

  5. Teresa says:

    I’m excited to hear what you think of Seeing since you love Saramago as much as I do. I’m still hoping to read it in the next few weeks, but other priorities keep pushing it aside.

    On your April list, I’ve read Even the Dogs, which I liked quite a lot. It’s very meditative and without much plot, so I’ll be interested to hear what you think. And I read The Sound and the Fury in college and found it utterly incomprehensible. I keep meaning to revisit Faulkner, but not that book. It was probably my least favorite read in all my literature studies in school.

    1. Jackie says:

      Teresa, I’m afraid that Seeing is not in the same league as Blindness – I hope that you decide to read it soon as I would love to discuss it with someone.

      I have heard that The Sound and the Fury is written in dialect, but I’m hoping I will be able to manage it – I’ll let you know soon!

  6. Stujallen says:

    impressive jackie ,the alan bradley looks good heard a lot about it ,seems quirky in a way .i ve a carter may read it next month too ,faulkner is wonderful book

    1. Jackie says:

      Stujallen, I haven’t heard a bad word said about the Bradley book – it sounds wonderful and I am looking forward to finding out why everyone loves it.

  7. Helen says:

    I’ve heard good things about Marcelo in the real world. Your March list is very impressive! I’ll have to add some to my TBR!

    1. Jackie says:

      Helen, A few people have said that Marcelo is great – I am hoping it will be a wonderful little story.

  8. Bellezza says:

    It interests me how Saramago wrote Seeing, as I’ve only read Blindness by him. I wonder how they compare…

    You got a lot read in March! We’ve had a terrible bout of colds and flu here, too, but not much sleeping due to all the coughing!

    In April, I think all I’ll be able to complete is The Brothers Karamazov for the read aong I’m hosting. I’ll get back to you on that. ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Bellezza, I’m afraid that Seeing doesn’t compare very well with Blindness – I think that might be the reason it isn’t talked about much!

      We have all been coughing too, but the poor things have been coughing in their sleep, so I have still been able to read.

      Good luck with The Brothers Karamazov!

  9. Tricia says:

    Wow – you’ve done a lot of great reading!

    I LOVED Even the Dogs and am looking forward to hearinig what you think of it. I thought Good to a Fault was so-so and it will be interestin gto read your thoughts.

    Question: How many books do you usually read at once? I myself and a one at a time reader. I tried having three on the go at once but found that I preferred sticking with one.

    1. Jackie says:

      Tricia, I normally read about three books at a time. I often have one long slower book. One older, damaged book that I can read in the bath and another normal book. I used to only read one book at once, but I never used to read hardbacks. I prefer to stick to one, but find I need a different book for each reading environment (sitting – heavy hardback, in bed – light paperback, travelling/in bath – old damaged book that I don’t mind ruining!) I hope that explains things!

  10. Callista says:

    I’d like to eventually read When I was five I killed myself.

    As for your plans for April, I can honestly say I haven’t heard of ANY of them. Are you going to participate in the 24 hour readathon?

    1. Jackie says:

      Callista, I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t heard of any of them as I do try to get a mix of older/newer books.

      I’m afraid that I wont be taking part in the readathon – I already read as much as I possibly can and know I can’t concentrate if I try to read for more than a few hours at any one stretch. I’ll try to cheerlead a bit though!

  11. She says:

    I checked The Kindly Ones out from the library, and had to bring it back because I was so daunted by the chunkiness!

    I am interested to hear what you have to say about Seeing.

    1. Jackie says:

      She, The Kindly Ones is chunky, but it is quite easy to read. It is shocking and contraversial, but I am glad I’m reading it. I hope you decide to check it out again some time!

  12. Jenny says:

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on Marcelo and the Real World. Plus it’s a quick read. Very easy to finish in a short time. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, It is good to know that it is a quick read – I’ll have to squeeze it in soon!

  13. Heidi says:

    I have had The love we share without knowing for a year and I keep meaning to read it. It looks wonderful so I don’t know why I keep putting it off! I will put it on the top of my stack- I even put a book marker in it so I must have been super serious about reading it. Thanks for the reminder:)

    1. Jackie says:

      Heidi, Snap! I have had The Love We Share Without Knowing for a long time too. I really want to read it and it is short so I have no idea why I keep ignoring it. I hope I get to it this month.

  14. LizF says:

    Definitely read the Alan Bradley and the Angela Carter as they are both great in very different ways (although I have to admit that it has been a very long time since I read the latter!). I really want to read Even The Dogs as I read one of his earlier books and found him fascinating and I nearly bought The Kindly Ones yesterday as part of a 3 for 2, but ended up being unselfish and getting a book for my daughter in law instead! I forsee a trip to the bookshop coming up on Saturday!
    I got the Eleanor Catton from the library but took it back after reading three chapters – far too self-consciously ‘clever’ for my taste I’m afraid.
    I cannot say how envious I am that you have managed to get through so many books although I am sorry that it was at the price of household illness! With working full time and granddaughter minding at the weekend, my reading rate has dropped alarmingly!

    1. Jackie says:

      Liz, I have read about 60 pages of The Rehearsal and can see why you’d think it was trying to be too clever. I am enjoying it so far, but will be interested to see if I find it oversteps the mark later on.

      It was nice of you to buy your sister-in-law a book – I hope she enjoys it. The Kindly Ones is very disturbing so you might be better avoiding it (depending on how tolerant of horrible scenes you are)

      I am lucky that I don’t work much (apart from looking after my little boys) so do have more time to read than most – I hope you find more time to read next month.

  15. You had a wonderful March, Jackie! I had a poor month and, in fact, I’ve had a poor reading year so far (in respects of quantity and quality, really); I’m hoping April will change that… I have high expectations as I’ll mainly be reading Angela Carter , of course, as well as some Orange longlisted titles, some French books and maybe a graphic novel or two.

    I hope that you love Nights at the Circus even half as much as I do! I’m really glad that you are giving her a try. My main reason for hosting the Angela Carter month is to raise her profile a little across the blogosphere (she’s popular but amongst a niche group) and a review from you (positive or negative) will contribute a lot to that so thank you :) .

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I’m not sure I have that much influence on the blogosphere, but I am looking forward to trying Angela Carter. I hope that a lot of people join you in reading her books.

      I hope that you find some wonderful books in April!

  16. Beth F says:

    That is some list for April! I am thinking of trying that 50 pages a day thing for THE PASSAGE starting this month. We’ll see how I do.


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