What happened to March?! It mostly went by in a work blur as my day job went nuts (I work for one of the few arts festivals that’s actually going ahead in early summer so it has been ridiculously intense). Luckily Little M has gone back to school so that helped a lot – and more importantly, she loves being with her friends again.
Looking back, I’m amazed we did any reading, but we really enjoyed being immersed in books this month. I think this was because of a combination of wanting to be away from screens, and also to escape real life for a bit. I kept up with the blog too (not so much social media) and as usual, most of my posts were personal wishlists. I compiled a collection of favourite literary clothing, found a bunch of reading challenges and readathons (to help with the yearly target of 80 reads), and finally wrote up a guide to Northumberland Bookshops from our holiday last October.
Oh and we also did a podcast with our friend Josiah from Josiah’s Voice Podcast. It was fun to chat about books and I think there might be a YouTube equivalent later in the year as it was recorded on Zoom. Josiah is a brilliant host so be sure to check out his work.
So much to say about the books this month! The absolute highlight had to be the Rampart Trilogy by M.R. Carey, which I finished at top speed. If you’re into science fiction/speculative then you have to give this a go and read all three. I never give 5/5 ratings, but I had to give this to the final book, The Fall of Koli. The wrap-up was just incredible.
All the other titles were extremely solid. If I’m to be honest then Lolly Willowes wasn’t quite as satisfying as I’d expected, but certainly ahead of its time (a feminist Faust set in cosy rural England). My TBR got a nip and tuck as I completed The Turn of the Key and The Castle of Tangled Magic. Transcendent Kingdom worked for me, although I know it hasn’t quite lived up to Homegoing for others.
I’ve now read 22/80 books for my target this year so happy with this. The plan is to keep slightly ahead for as long as possible.
- Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (4.25/5)
- Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner (4/5)
- The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware (4/5)
- The Castle of Tangled Magic by Sophie Anderson (4/5)
- Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi (4.5/5)
- The Book of Koli by M.R.Carey (4.75/5)
- The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey (4.5/5)
- The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey (5/5)
Al decided to read two of my books this month with mixed results! He appreciated Sarah Moss’s writing and was interested in the themes, but found the content a bit repetitive. Rivers of London was too whimsical for him, although to be fair, he did read the whole novel. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and really discuss this yet, so I’m intrigued to hear his views in more detail. Needless to say, we have quite different tastes, but it would be interesting to find out which ones we both like.
- Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (3.75/5)
- Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (4/5)
Little M has a regular morning and evening routine, which now revolves around reading the Scarlet and Ivy series – including reading extracts out aloud in different voices. Aside from school books, I can’t see her choosing anything else until she’s finished all six of these (and then she’ll probably start them again!).
- Scarlet and Ivy: The Whispers in the Walls by Sophie Cleverly (5/5)
- Scarlet and Ivy: The Dance in the Dark by Sophie Cleverly (5/5)
Film and TV
Al’s watched a lot more film and TV than me this month. His top film choice was Us directed by Jordan Peele so I’d like to see this too as I really rated Get Out. He also binged on WandaVision, which I dipped into as well. Despite liking the original take, I’ve reached my limit with superhero stuff a while ago so it’s not one I’ll be following. In contrast to this, we recently subscribed to Disney Plus and have ploughed through the first few episodes of The Mandalorian. I imagine we’ll finish watching this over Easter. Little M tuned into Frozen 2 again. Her main preoccupation is Roblox at the moment.
Looking ahead, we can’t wait to meet with family and friends in April, and go travelling a little further afield. I am desperate to blow the cobwebs off my camera. And of course, BOOKSHOPS! What are you most looking forward to?
Sending bookish love
Mel, Al & Little M