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March 2020 Reading Roundup

At the beginning of the year, I set a few broad categories of reading goals. How am I doing?

This roundup will work for both February & March. In those two months, I read 15 books – most of those in March. I have been devouring books lately.

To recap my goals list:

  • one book in French (0/1)
  • five books about horses (2/5)
  • five books about Vermont (1/5)
  • five books from the “to be read” pile (2/5)
  • one book of poetry (0/1)
  • one play (0/1)
  • five books by authors of color (5/5 already!)
  • three books about museums (2/3)
  • five award nominees (Hugo, Nebula, Dragon, Pulitzer, etc.) (3/5)
  • two books about science (1/2)
  • three classics (0/3)
  • three books about organizing/politics (2/3)
  • three memoirs or biographies (1/3)

Some highlights:

One book about organizing/politics: Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacy Abrams. It is a bit painful to have read this so recently and then watched the news about the ways white Republican men in Georgia are currently fucking things up once again. One of my biggest takeaways from this book is that Stacy Abrams has a clarity and focus of thinking that translates into incredible writing. She explains things succinctly, and with impact. There were lots of things in here that I caught myself thinking about weeks later. It was a useful read as during this time I was elected to chair the board in my small city that oversees elections.

One book that didn’t fit any categories: A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. I actually read this twice. Loved it both times, despite a few really, really awful plot choices. I adore this series, I adore the people I get to geek out about it with, and I am super excited about the upcoming tv show based on it. I’m writing this and I want to read it again. Maas isn’t always the best at writing, or plotting, but she has a really good handle on character, and where she really excels is emotion. There is always at least one moment – and sometimes several moments – in every book when I either start sobbing or cheering and forgive her every dumb choice she has made to that point.

One book about science: Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach. I’ve read one or two of her other books, and I always come away having learned at least one thing about human bodies that I wish I didn’t know. In this book, it was about why and how humans sweat. There are certain facts just lodged in my brain now. At least I learned more about science – and, where she really excels, about the scientific process.

Also worth a mention, as they were quite good:

Circe by Madeline Miller: beautifully written, clearly realized, enjoyed it from beginning to end

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: I didn’t like this quite as much as everyone else did; not enough happened, and I wasn’t fully on board with the love interest. That said, I LOVED the ending.

Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places by Jeff Speck: I’m now on the Planning Commission and read this for a small “making better communities” book club through my local library. I really, really liked it and haven’t looked at a street or a downtown the same way since reading it.

4 thoughts on “March 2020 Reading Roundup

  1. Walkable City is one of my favorites. It put words to the feelings that drove us to move downtown, to a rougher part of the city, and we’ve never been happier since we made that change.

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