March Summary and Plans for April

March has been a frustrating month reading-wise. A lot of books failed to live up to expectations and only Calamity Leek managed to really impress me. Luckily I’ve ended the month with some books that have started really well – Honour by Elif Shafak  is especially good. Hopefully it will end as well as it began.

Book of the Month

The First Book of Calamity Leek

Books Reviewed in March:

The First Book of Calamity Leek by Paula Lichtarowicz 

Ignorance by Michèle Roberts 

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper (Audio Book) 

Secrecy by Rupert Thomson 

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell 

The Sunshine Years by Afsaneh Knight 

Big Ray by Michael Kimball 

Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany 

Mr Mee by Andrew Crumey 

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal stars21

Abandoned books: Alif the Unseen by G Willow WilsonThe Red Book by Deborah Copaken KoganJohn Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk,  and Hunger by Knut Hamsun

Plans for April

I’m hoping to finish the 2013 Women’s Fiction Prize Longlist before the shortlist is announced on 16th April. I only have 5 left to try so hopefully I’ll be able to manage it.

I then hope to finish all the books that I wanted to read in March, but didn’t get the chance to start:

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Magda by Meike Zervogel

The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight by Gina Ochsner

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

If I manage all those I’ll enjoy some random reading from my shelves!

For the next two weeks my boys are off school for the Easter holidays so I’ll be spending most of my time entertaining them. This means that my online presence maybe patchy, but hopefully I’ll be able to put together a post showing what we’ve been up to at the end of it all.

Have a wonderful Easter!




18 replies on “March Summary and Plans for April”

I think I read Watership Down when I was a kid but I can’t be sure. I guess if I can’t remember then I should probably re-read it. Hope you have a wonderful couple weeks off…can’t wait to see the pictures!

Sandy, Jenners raved about Watership Down last year so I think if you can’t remember it then it must be time for a re-read. You’re welcome to join me and read it in April too!

An impressive list of reading! I’m goofing off with a Lee Child audiobook this week, but then need to get back to audiobooks I said I would review. Am reading Meg Wolitzer’s newest novel, The Interestings, and halfway through, still loving it.

Thank goodness for Calamity Leek! Always impressed how many of the titles on the longlists you manage to get through Jackie. I had a slow reviewing month myself, and now lots of reviews to catch up on before I read my personal purchases.

Have a lovely time with your boys!

With you and Judith highlighting Calamity Leek, and the cover being lovely, I really want to get it. Hope you and your family have a lovely 2 weeks and that you get through the longlist!

You got through a lot this month, Jackie! I’ve read ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Mateship with Birds’ and I think you liked both a bit more than I did (though I loved the gorgeous writing in ‘Ignorance’). ‘Secrecy’ is high on my list of new books I want to read.

March has been a fantastic month for me on the whole. I didn’t think Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ was as brilliant as some reviewers but it was thoroughly entertaining.
I felt similarly about Elizabeth Strout’s ‘The Burgess Boys’ though it did plod a bit in places and fizzled out towards the end.
Kate Atkinson’s ‘Life After Life’ took me completely by surprise – I’d only read ‘Case Histories’ by her before and thought it was decent but nothing more, so wasn’t expecting much. But it is a cracking read with wonderful characters and the multiple lives (or what-ifs) are not in any way gimmicky. I’d like to see this one on the Women’s Prize shortlist.
Kent Haruf’s ‘Benediction’ is just a beautiful novel, and it was so good to return to his fictional town of Holt, Colorado after a nine year wait.
‘The Lord God Bird’ by Thomas Gallant was published last year and it’s probably safe to say slipped under almost everyone’s radars. I can’t remember what led me to it, but I’m glad I read it: a simple story about a man and a rare ivory billed woodpecker in the woods of Arkansas, it features spare, muscular prose coupled with real humour and tenderness.
But the stand out book of the month for me (and may well end up being my book of the year) was Ernest Buckler’s 1952 novel ‘The Mountain and the Valley’. It’s a Canadian classic but seems to be almost unknown internationally, which is a crying shame: I have seldom been so moved or felt so connected to a book – Buckler writes about feelings that I didn’t even know I’d had, much less felt the need to articulate, but which when encountered in this story resonated deeply. And his way of writing about the natural word is just breathtakingly good. There are three chapters in this novel that cover one Christmas and they are probably the best evocation of the season I’ve read outside of ‘A Christmas Carol’. Just superb.

Anyway, happy Easter – I hope April is a rewarding month for you.

Oh, and I also read Jim Crace’s ‘Harvest’ which was very good – put me in mind of Barry Unsworth’s ‘Morality Play’.
I’ll stop replying to myself now…

David, It is good to hear that you’ve had such a good reading month.

I’ve never enjoyed Maggie O’Farrell as much as others and so haven’t been that excited about trying her new one. I’ll probably get to it at some point, but don’t expect to be wowed by it – it is good to know it is at least entertaining.

I keep hearing amazing things about Haruf, but still haven’t tried him. I think I’ll get his first book out of the library next time I see it.

Thanks for letting me know about Buckler’s novel that isn’t one I’ve heard of. It doesn’t seem to be available in the UK, but I’ve added it to my book mooch wishlist so hopefully it will turn up sooner or later.

I wasn’t that impressed by my first Atkinson either. Hopefully her new one will surprise me too. I hope you find many more fantastic books in April!

You “acquainted” yourself with a lot of book – a pity they didn’t rank higher for you. At least we agree on the Book of the Month, Calamity!

Sounds like you have great reading plans for April. I also love it when I get round to reading something off my shelves, rather than the books I feel I have to read. Hopefully we both will have time for that. I’ll be reading some Icelandic books this month, and have a long list of other “to-reads”.

Have a great April, Jackie! My kids only had Friday and Monday off, no Easter hols for them, but they got a long week at the end of the month.

Judith, I’ve been accumulating Icelandic books, but haven’t really started on them yet. I might slip one into April though 🙂 I look forward to seeing you recommend a few and hope you’ll be able to add a few gems to my list for my holiday.

I’ve got the second of the Jon Kalman Stefansson books (the first one was fantastic) and a Dutch author with a novel taking place in Iceland. I also reserved a thriller by Yrsa Sigurdardottor but rejected two other female Icelandic authors for being a little too sugary-looking (the books!).

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