Hi, friends! March started off pretty strong in terms of reading, and then COVID-19 happened…Obviously I couldn’t get (physical) books from the library anymore, but it turned out to be the perfect time to read a couple of books that I had been putting off for a while! So here’s everything I read in the month of March:
EXHALATION: STORIES by Ted Chiang
Challenging but incredible and thought-provoking short stories! (A couple of the stories are much longer, so be prepared.) Ted Chiang’s stories really forced me to think and reflect about time, free will, memories, technology, alternative universes, and more. There’s a section at the end of the book where Ted Chiang explains the inspiration and/or motivation for the stories, which were very interesting!
THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker
I re-read this book in anticipation of seeing the musical at DPAC (which is now cancelled/postponed). Immediately upon starting the book, I remembered how heartbreaking and triggering parts of this book are. The story revolves around two sisters Celie and Nettie, who are living apart for twenty years without knowing the whereabouts of each other. Told in letters addressed to God from Celie and to Celie from Nettie, The Color Purple explores topics of domestic and sexual violence. It also tells about resilience, growth, and strength. It’s a bit depressing in the beginning, but I love this book.
ME by Elton John
I love Elton John’s music and really liked his autobiography. The audiobook is read mostly by Taron Egerton who portrays Elton in the movie Rocketman. In Me, Elton shares his story from the very beginning with all of its ups and downs. I did not really know Elton’s, or rather Regi’s personal life previously, and his family dynamics took me by surprise. Happy that Elton has a loving family that fulfills him. Now I really want to watch Rocketman!
THE SILENT PATIENT by Alex Michaelides
(First of all, shout out to Mai for starting a book club and making my dream of belonging to a book club in real life come true! And shout out to Mackenzie for letting me borrow her book!) After murdering her husband, Alicia Berenson refuses to speak. Theo Faber, a psychotherapist, takes interest in Alicia and is determined to solve the mystery behind her silence. I finished this book in two days! Truly a thriller, you cannot stop once you’re a third of your way into the book. There’s a lot of family drama/secrets/history involved in the plot (in more than one family…).
CONVICTION by Denise Mina
This was one of those books that didn’t quite get there for me (like Still LIves from last month). One day, Anna McDonald wakes up to find her world turned upside down. Her husband leaves her for her best friend, and she starts on a journey to both flee for safety from her previous life and to find out what happened to a “friend” who she finds out has passed away from listening to a new true crime podcast. I couldn’t completely connect with the protagonist and a little disinterested in the story for most of the book. Last quarter of the book does pick up, and it ends with a twist so I still recommend it if you’re patient!
ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
I have been meaning to read Animal Farm (and 1984) for quite some time, and I finally did it! Animals of Manor Farm, unhappy with their living and working conditions, revolt against the humans and establish Animal Farm where all animals are equal and happy. As time passes, Animal Farm falls under the dictatorship of Napoleon, one of the pigs who are considered more intelligent and deserving of certain privileges, and eventually returns to Manor Farm once again, with the pigs in partnership with humans. Though it’s an allegory for the Russian Revolution, you don’t need the historical background to appreciate Animal Farm since the plot parallels so many familiar stories.
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE by Oprah Winfrey
I didn’t know Oprah had written a book, but when I saw a friend reading this on Instagram, I immediately placed a hold for the audiobook on my Overdrive app. In this book, Oprah shares the truths in life—the things she knows for sure. In a way, all of the truths she shares are very cliche (importance of gratitude, don’t seek validation from others, etc). However, cliches are cliches for a reason, and I really enjoyed listening to Oprah and her stories.
1984 by George Orwell
What was once Great Britain is now a part of Oceania where Big Brother is leading the Party and the war against Eurasia and Eastasia, the other two superstates making up of the rest of the world. The population is stratified into the Inner Party, Outer Party, and the Proletariat (aka proles). While the proles are ignored and abandoned by the Party, all members of the Party are under surveillance 24/7 by the ubiquitous telescreens and subjected to the Thought Police which look for disloyal thoughts. Winston, a member of the Outer Party, remembers the time from “Before” and joins the Brotherhood, a secret organization that schemes to bring down the party. For me personally, this was a difficult read. It was actually my second attempt at reading this, and I really struggled with it once “the book” is introduced. I’m still glad I read it! Still relevant.
P.S. You can still check out eBooks and audiobooks from the public library! Check out Libby/OverDrive apps.
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