So March was an odd month wasn’t it. No matter where you are in the world I am sure that your everyday life changed in some ways (or perhaps significantly).
March was always going to be a month of change for me. My partner and I moved into our new home. Having spent six weeks lovingly renovating, decorating and cleaning we never imagined that we would be spending so much time here … but I’m thankful that we have this space, that we have a garden and that we do have things to keep us busy during lockdown.
Oddly it was a month where I really struggled to settle into my reading. Especially towards the end of the month. I had high hopes to really get into How to Fail by Elizabeth Day but for some reason non-fiction just wasn’t settling with me. Perhaps because I was trying to read it at a time when I was struggling to read anything.
Fiction though was a constant companion during these very strange and unsettling times. I managed four books which I’m pleased with and actually started a fifth.
My wrap up is below!
My book of the month. It tells the story of the Fragments – the only remains of the second novel by a renowned author who died in a fire which also destroyed every copy of the novel. When the exhibition comes to Brisbane our heroine finds herself shaken from her comfortable and uninspired existence and catapulted into a search for the truth about the Fragments and the death of their author.
Part mystery, part romance and historical fiction, this book is an ode to the power of literature and to bibliophiles. A book lovers’ dream, this is a total must-read.
It’s difficult to find something new to say about this millennial must-read.
Queenie herself is funny – the book is instantly relatable for anyone who has dipped their toe into online dating (and retracted it just as quickly when they realise it’s full of dick-pic sending piranhas). Relatable too are her struggles with her mental health and her relationship with both herself and men. There are moments when she is a little grating and you do want to tell her to just stop with the toxic behaviours.
Queenie’s story is one which is not often explored in literature, namely the experience of a young, black woman struggling with her mental health and identity. Her race is fetishised by men or people make assumptions about her. It made for eye opening and educational reading.
The story of three female friends who have grown up and in some ways grown apart. Ten years on from their rebellious, artistic and bohemian 20s we see how these women try (and fail) to live up to the impossible standards placed upon them by society. They must be successful in their work and relationships, ideally whilst also juggling a family and somehow managing to look as fresh faced as they did in their post-university days.
I devoured this book which at times felt like it was holding a mirror up to my own life and my own expectations of myself. As a woman in her 30s I too feel the pressure to have it all (and am continually asked when I will get married, have babies etc). This book was a reminder that really happiness is to be found in appreciating what you have and not in grasping for what you do not.
My final read was this incredible collection of short stories by Lucy Hughes-Hallet. This thoroughly modern collection of stories are based, albeit loosely at times, upon ancient myths and stories (my favourite story recast Orpheus and Eurydice as an elderly couple separated as a result of hospital admission).
Yes the narratives are a bit jumbled at times and some of the stories are too out there but it’s a properly entertaining read. And as with all short stories, perfect to dive in and out of whilst you’re reading something a bit heavier.
What did you read in March?