March in (Reading) Review

Oh, I had such great plans for March...and then a monster writing deadline reared its head and swallowed me whole. While I've since fought my way out of that slush (hooray!), it does mean that things like the reading and the blogging fell by the wayside.

One thing I did do was swing by my old blog and go through the archives, updating, slashing, smoothing rough edges. And WOW, I've been on the internet for a while. I've been on the internet for so long I've probably forgotten most of what I've written. And one thing I definitely forgot about was that I used to do recaps (monthly, down from quarterly) of the best books I read every month. AHA! I thought to myself. Resuscitating monthly recaps would be an excellent way to share the bookish love, especially since I usually find my way into more excellent stories than I have time to staff pick.

So without further ado and in no particular order, the best books of March!

The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen. I don't know why I didn't get around to this book earlier (apparently it's been on my to-read list since 2010), but I do know why I DID read it now: because I could get it as an ebook through my local library. The internet is amazing, people, and so is this book. The Running Dream is a younger-YA book about Jessica, a competitive high school runner who loses her leg in a car accident (this is not a spoiler, it's the first page of the book), and the lengths she goes to in order to walk (and even run!) again. This is a well-told story about a realistic teenager navigating an enormous change within the bounds of a recognizable world, and it just filled me up with joy.

Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee.* You really don't need to know anything about this book except for the following: A Chinese-American and African-American badass duo disguise themselves as boys so they can escape their pasts and follow the Oregon Trail. Western! Chinese! Violinist! My only sorrow about this book is that it doesn't have a sequel.


Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand.* I saw the movie way back in the day, but at the time I wasn't reading much nonfiction. I finally picked this one up because I loved Unbroken and I wanted to read something else by Hillenbrand. I was very much NOT disappointed. I'm not all that interested in horses, but I was absolutely glued to the page from start to finish of Seabiscuit. Highly recommended for anyone who likes the movie and/or horses. And yes, I did sniffle when First Biscuit was born.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett. I have loved and hated Ann Patchett's books in turn, but there is something breathtakingly hypnotic about the quality of her writing that keeps me coming back for more. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage was an incredibly useful book to me at a time when I was close to pulling out my own hair and eating it because of how awfully I was messing up my own writing. I don't know if that was quite the intent, but I'd put this book right up there next to Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird in terms of its thoughtful consideration of the writing life.

Books read in March: 9 (an embarrassingly low input, mitigated only by the fact that while I was NOT reading more books, I WAS putting 47,000 words on the page)

*These books will be my April staff picks at Porter Square Books.