Friday, March 31, 2017

March 2017 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on the 100 Best Novels goal, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

March News 

Spring is my favorite season in North Carolina. The air turns warm and color creeps back into the world. The first spring we lived here, Kevin said he understood cliché Easter colors for the first time, as the Midwest simply does not experience the bright diversity of color which blooms from nearly every plant here in the springtime.

I also love spring because it feels like a time of new beginnings. I mean, it is a time of new beginnings, but it feels hopeful in deeper, more philosophical ways as well. By this point, New Year's Resolutions are either long gone or have taken on the dull gleam of consistency and habit. The end of the school year feels within reach, something every teacher both longs for and dreads as we know how much work will stand between us and the end. Still, there is new life and light and warmth that enters back into our bones and reminds us that the death of winter is and always was temporary.

This year, especially, I have been thinking about new beginnings. Or, at least, new chapters. I turn 30 this year. Not for a few months yet, but Kevin hits the milestone in April, so we're both thinking about it a lot. As I told a friend yesterday, I'm not afraid of 30. It's just a number. However, I am very reflective and see it as the start of a new phase in my life. I'm thinking a lot about how I want to spend my life and the legacy I hope to leave behind. It's been inspiring and terrifying, depending on the day.

As always, reading is such a huge, intrinsic part of that story for me. What I am reading continues to shape me and my goals. I'm coming close to the end of the 100 Best Novels list, a goal I am very ready to be done with. I'm reading more nonfiction, particularly books about faith, politics, and culture. I like what I'm reading. It rarely keeps me up hours into the night because I can't put it down. I still get one of those occasionally, but I'm reading more books that require me to take them a chapter at a time. More books that spur thoughtful conversation or additional research. I just feel like I'm at a really well-balanced place in my reading life right now. Such a moment feels rare, so I want to celebrate it.

Books Reviewed

  1. Sophie's Choice - William Styron
  2. Midnight's Children - Salmon Rushdie
  3. The Alexandria Quartet - Lawrence Durrell
  4. Talking As Fast As I Can - Lauren Graham
  5. Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari
  6. Gold Fame Citrus - Claire Vaye Watkins
  7. Wesley the Owl - Stacey O'Brien
  8. Faith Shift - Kathy Escobar
  9. The Buried Giant - Kazuo Ishiguro
  10. The Magician King - Lev Grossman
  11. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
  12. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  13. Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks

Books Read

  1. Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara
  2. The Magician King - Lev Grossman
  3. Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks
  4. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
  5. We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  6. A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingwaay
  7. Marie Antoinette - Antonia Fraser
  8. You Will Not Have My Hate - Antoine Leiris
  9. I, Claudius - Robert Graves
  10. Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes
Pages Read: 3,065

Favorite Book Read: I simply adore Year of Wonders, but it was a reread. The honor of a new favorite must go to We Should All Be Feminists. I'm adding it to the list of books I think everyone should read. 

2017 Monthly Goals 

One of my goals this year is to read 6 books every month:
  • 100 Best Novels 
    Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara
    A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
    I, Claudius - Robert Graves
    89% complete with total challenge 
  • 1 Faith-Centered or Philosophical Book 
    We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    You Will Not Have My Hate - Antoine Leiris
  • 1 Nonfiction 
    Marie Antoinette - Antonia Fraser

Elsewhere Online...

15 Books for Fighting for Justice in the Trump Era - Lots of books here which focus on the spiritual aspect of social justice, as well.

My response to Christians who are boycotting "The Shack" film - Some really good thoughts here. I read the book years ago and, while I understand the controversy, I think there can be beauty and hope and encouragement in fiction.

Margaret Atwood on What "The Handmaid's Tale" Means in the Age of Trump - The headline leans toward being click-bait, as Atwood barely touches on modern implications of her book. However, it's a great article, particularly as this powerful book is about to be adapted again for Hulu.

I Loved My Grandmother. But She Was a Nazi. - This NY Times article is really powerful. Well worth the read, especially for those of us who grapple with understanding the different politics of our loved ones.

Let Them Eat Cake - This. 1000 times this. This blogger completely nailed how I feel about reading different genres. We have literary veggies, meat, and cake. None are inherently good or bad; they just do different things for us. I'm in a particularly meat & veggies phase right now.

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I hope March has been a time of renewed hope and fresh beginnings for you. April is always insane for us because of our jobs, but I'm hoping to continue this trend of contemplative, encouraging works. What are you reading these days? 

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