In March, I read a total of five books, which was a bit lower than I’d hoped but still pretty good. Here are my reviews for those books. If you’d like to keep up with what I’m reading in a more timely fashion, though, you should follow me on Goodreads and/or Instagram! I post on there with quite a bit more frequency.
I’d heard good things about Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg, so I was very much excited to dive into it. I did enjoy it a lot at first, but about halfway through I started to get a little bit bored with the material. I tried to take my time and apply the tips I was reading to my own writing along the way, but it started to feel a bit repetitive after a bit. I do think, though, maybe writing is something I enjoy doing more than I enjoy reading about. I’ll probably occasionally flip through this book’s pages whenever I’m needing some guidance or inspiration, though.
If you’re looking for journal prompts or want inspiration and guidance in writing personal essays, memoirs, poetry, or any other genre that is largely about your own life, you might find this book helpful. Or if you’re new to writing or you simply haven’t done it in a while, you might enjoy reading a chapter or two before sitting down to write.
Content notes: one use of r slur as if appropriate
I’d had You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson on my list for such a long time, and I’m so glad I finally took the time to read it! The story focuses on a girl who decides to compete for prom queen because winning comes with a scholarship. She’s a bit of a wallflower, so this is very much outside of her comfort zone.
I thought this book might be on the cheesy side, but it actually wasn’t. It felt pretty realistic because of the way the setting and plot were laid out. Her group of friends was so fun, and I got very invested in the story. If you’re looking for a cute, fun rom-com, this is a great option.
Content notes: a character is publicly outed, death of a parent, sick sibling, chronic illness (sickle cell), anxiety spirals
I was excited about Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy and grateful to receive a gifted copy from HTP Books. I have somewhat complicated feelings about this one, though. I loved Savvy’s friends and love interest, and they all loved Savvy unconditionally. And while Savvy made such big strides in doing the same, most of the book would probably be triggering for someone with similar struggles.
I normally give content notes at the end, but I would be remiss not to talk about the amount of detail that went into talking about dieting, exercise, and internalized fatphobia. It was more than I felt was needed for the sake of the life makeover plot, and Savvy didn’t start to grasp that she could love herself and be loved with or without making all those changes.
While Savvy was clearly unhappy with her life prior to the makeover, I wish she’d become confident in her appearance without having to restrict her diet or work out quite so much. I wish she’d become confident in her appearance without seeking as much external validation, too, and that she and others around her had used the word fat as a neutral term.
The Lying Club by Annie Ward is about very wealthy people living in Colorado whose lives intersect because of their connection to an affluent school. Some are parents, some work there, and others are students. The book mostly follows three women and starts off as two bodies are carried out of the school. Detectives’ interviews of one woman are intertwined with the events beginning several months back so we can see the events that led to that day unfold.
It’s definitely a slow burn, and it was cool to start to see how different characters were involved and what certain phrases had been foreshadowing. This feels like a good book to read during a gloomy weekend while sipping some hot chocolate, but it’s also possible to enjoy it without either of those things.
This isn’t the type of book I would typically choose, but HTP Books brought it to my attention and provided me with a gifted copy. I was definitely intrigued by the premise and now actually find myself wanting to read more in this genre.
Content notes: drug use and abuse, sexual assault, predatory behavior, child pornography, mention of specific weight
As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock by Dina Gilio-Whitaker was such an informative and profound read for me. I learned so much about the ways Indigenous people have been fighting both to protect the Earth and to continue having access to their sacred sights. I also learned about the ways Indigenous people of this land view the world and what their relationship is to the land. I appreciated this book so much for all the knowledge it provided me, and I appreciated the information it gave about steps forward.
I very strongly recommend reading this one, and I’m definitely curious about reading more from this author.
Content notes: colonization, genocide, starvation tactics, loss of spiritual rituals and lands