March was a strange month. On one hand, it was my birthday month and that was great– it meant I was treated to a lot of cake, and I’ll never say no to cake. But then Mina got sick on my vacation days, and so I spent a few days worried sick about her, trying to persuade her to eat and drink, and taking her to the vet. She recovered and is back to normal now, but it was an awful few days.
Then things were relaxing for a while before the last week of the month was horrendously busy at work, and that meant I was super tired when I got home at the end of the day.
Here’s to hoping that April will be less of a roller coaster.
What I Read in March:
I read 11 books in March, or 3,733 pages (according to StoryGraph). Fewer books than what I read in January or February, but that’s okay. No one’s going to take away my title of “fanatical reader” for not reading 20+ books in a month.
- The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir
- Alphonse Mucha: Masterworks by Rosalind Ormiston
- The Potter’s Field (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #17) by Ellis Peters
- Return of the Thief (The Queen’s Thief #6) by Megan Whalen Turner, audiobook narrated by Steve West
- Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers by Jessica Roux
- The Summer of the Danes (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #18) by Ellis Peters
- Heartstone (Matthew Shardlake #5) by C.J. Sansom, audiobook narrated by Steven Crossley
- All the Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie
- Fierce Poison (Barker & Llewellyn #13) by Will Thomas, ARC provided by NetGalley
- The Rot (Ravneringene #2) by Siri Petterson, translated from the Norwegian by Sian Mackie and Paul Russell Garrett
- The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
- 81.8% of what I read was written by women, and 18.2% was written by men
- 45.5% of what I read was written by American authors, 36.4% was by English authors, and 9.1% was written by Norwegian or Canadian authors
- One book was translated: The Rot by Siri Pettersen, which was translated from Norwegian
- 63.6% of what I read were physical books, and 18.2% each were audiobooks and ebooks
- 36.4% were mysteries, 27.3% were nonfiction, 27.3% were adult fantasy, and 9.1% were middle grade fantasy
- 54.5% of what I read came from my own shelves, 36.4% were from the library, and 9.1% came from NetGalley
- Years of publication ranged from 1989 to 2022
My favorites of the month were The Rot and All the Horses of Iceland. The Rot went in all these interesting directions that I didn’t expect, and I’m looking forward to finishing this trilogy that’s based, at its fundamental level, on Norse mythology, but becomes something so much more than that. All the Horses of Iceland is about an Icelandic man who leaves his island home and travels far beyond any land he’s ever heard of, meeting the Mongols and becoming part of a strange story that will change his life– and Icelandic history– forever. It’s written like an Icelandic saga, but the author, Sarah Tolmie, knows just where to begin and end her story for the sake of a modern audience. It’s a short, beautifully written book that I sank right into and read in a single sitting.
My least favorite book of March was The Princes in the Tower, which is a popular history book where Alison Weir investigates the historical clues surrounding the disappearance of young King Edward V, who disappeared along with his little brother before he could be coronated. There has always been controversy surrounding the boys’ deaths, but most historians agree that their uncle Richard III is the most likely culprit. This was Weir’s conclusion, too, but she started out convinced that Richard III was the culprit, and always seemed to disregard evidence to the contrary. And then, when seventeen-year-old Elizabeth of York came into the picture, Weir states that this teenage girl– who was in a vulnerable position and in the power of the man who likely had her brothers put to death– fell in love with her uncle. That’s 1) weird, and 2) shows that Weir wasn’t really thinking about the pressure Elizabeth of York was under in the court of Richard III. I suppose it’s not something people considered in the 1980s when Weir was researching the book, but thirty years on, it reads as very cringe-worthy.
Physical TBR, March 1: 85
StoryGraph TBR, March 1: 199
Physical TBR, April 1: 87
StoryGraph TBR, April 1: 188
I read several of my owned-but-unread books, and then I went and bought several more, so my physical TBR increased slightly. My StoryGraph TBR changed by eleven books not just because I read eleven books, but because I got rid of several historical mysteries that I’ve lost interest in (for now), and then added a few books I’ve been meaning to read for a long time and have finally put on the TBR. I have some shorter books on tap for April, but also a couple of rather long ones, so we’ll see how I do.
What’s on Tap for April:
- Iza’s Ballad by Magda Szabó, translated from the Hungarian by George Szirtes
- The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu
- Fairies: A Dangerous History by Richard Sugg
- Time Song: Journeys in Search of a Submerged Land by Julia Blackburn, illustrated by Enrique Brinkmann
- Beside the Ocean of Time by George Mackay Brown
- London’s Shadows: The Dark Side of the Victorian City by Drew D. Gray
- And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Rovina Cai
I received Iza’s Ballad for Christmas a few years ago, and I haven’t read it yet. I need to get on that. A good friend said it was wonderful, and we have similar tastes in books, so hopefully, I will think it’s wonderful, too.
Another round of Tome Topple is coming up! Tome Topple is a reading challenge where the goal is to read a book or books that have more than 500 pages. That’s it. You can be fancy with the challenge, or you can just read a long book. I wanted to start The Dandelion Dynasty series this year, and this gives me a good reason to start it, as The Grace of Kings has 640 pages. Tome Topple runs from April 15 through April 28.
I want to read Fairies: A Dangerous History because I am interested in fairy lore in general. Time Song is Julia Blackburn’s memoir of her fascination with Doggerland, the stretch of land that once connected Britain to continental Europe. Geologically, it was only recently that it was submerged– recently enough that there is evidence of human habitation in a realm that is now beneath the sea.
My friend Simon from Instagram raved about the work of George Mackay Brown last summer, so when I saw Beside the Ocean of Time at the used bookstore, I immediately picked it up. I hope I will love it as much as Simon does.
London’s Shadows is about crime in Victorian-era London. I’m not as fascinated by true crime as many others, but this sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up when I saw it at the used bookstore.
I wrote about And the Ocean Was Our Sky yesterday. It’s next on my TBR, so I’m hoping to have it read it in the next day or so. It looks beautiful, and the idea of a story told from the point of view of whales sounds fascinating.
I will undoubtedly find something else to read in April, and it would not surprise me if I didn’t end up reading one or more of the books on this TBR. That’s how these things go.
What’s on your April TBR?