Like all of you, I’ve been faced with more hours at home than usual. I’m trying to be mindful of how I’m spending my time, especially in the evenings before I go to bed, because it’s so easy to get sucked into a hole of watching the news for hours on end and scrolling through instagram. One of my favorite activities is (and always has been) cracking open a really good book. There’s nothing happier than spending a lazy evening on the couch with a novel and a glass of wine! I’m filling up my kindle with lots of good reads so I have plenty to share with you in the next couple of months. For today, I have 4 books in my March Reads review.
Psst: see all of the books I’ve read thus far in 2020 right here.
If you enjoyed Where The Crawdads Sing, you’ll probably like Where The Forest Meets The Stars. It also has some of the same sort of marsh/Bio research stuff (though not as much as Crawdads), has a bit of romance, some mystery, and it’s rooted in a fantastical feel, which I love.
I stumbled upon this it on Amazon Prime reading (which offers free Kindle and Audible books to Amazon Prime members – amazing!). I read the reviews and downloaded it read on a flight at the beginning of March and flew through it. This is definitely a binge-read-on-the-weekend sort of book.
It’s about Jo Teale, a woman who is doing her graduate research on birds in rural Illinois. She has recently battled breast canceled and undergone a double mastectomy, and she’s throwing herself headfirst into her work and avoiding most social interactions as she recovers from past relationships. She lives alone and works alone until a young girl, covered in bruises, appears on her property, claiming to be an alien who was sent from the stars to see 5 miracles on earth. Jo and her hermitlike neighbors, Gabe, can’t find any information on this little girl, who calls herself Ursa. Why isn’t she listed on the missing children’s website? Why is she so adamant to not talk to the police? And as good things keep happening in her presence, Jo and Gabe wonder..could she actually have been sent from the stars?
My one complaint with this book was that the ending felt rushed. It seemed like one of those books where the author was trying to stick to a certain word count, so the final few pages were just “and then this happened, and then this happened, and then THE END.” Haha. Do you know what I mean?
2. To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink
Daniel Pink wrote one of my FAVORITE books about the human brain (this one – soooo fascinating and a must-read for anyone who works in the arts, has a child who is interested in the arts, or just wants to know more about why the arts are so important right now.) So I decided to pick up another one of his books in March.
The premise of To Sell Is Human is that every one of us, whether we realize it or not, is a sales person. Even if you don’t work in per se, you are indirectly selling your ideas or your influence as a human being residing on planet earth.
This book is perfectly suited for people who don’t work in direct sales, but want to learn how to “sell” (meaning: sell their ideas) better. As I was reading it, I kept thinking that every teacher needs to read this book for its tangible, practical ideas on how to convince someone on an idea or a concept. And it’s a fun book! Just like most self-development books, it’s full of real life anecdotes to keep the reader engaged.
I do 12 little monthly goals every year, and my goal for March was to have each of my 3 sisters choose a book for me to read. Sounds Like Titanic was my oldest sister’s recomendation. (When I asked for a rec from her back in February, her exact response was, “Oh, that’s easy. Read Sounds Like Titanic, the book I’ve been telling you to read for 3 years.” Haha.
It’s true that she’s mentioned this one to me several times, and it has somehow been pushed to the bottom of the stack every month. But holy moly I’m SO glad I read it this month because it’s fantastic! It’s a memoir from a woman who had a career in her early twenties of playing the violin with professional ensemble in NYC…except that she was “fake playing” the entire time, and the actual sound the audience heard was from a Sony CD player that the composer blasted at an alarming level. True story. And this composer sold millions of CDs of his own recordings while the musicians faked their way through the concert for years and years.
It’s a crazy story (…although not so crazy if you have a background in classical music.) All of my fellow classical trained musicians are going to be nodding along with this book. It’s a coming-of-age story and has a deeper thread to it with topics about gender and class. And overall it is deeply entertaining and unputdounalbe. Grab this book for your next trip! Oh wait…none of us are traveling any more. Ok, grab this book for your next weekend of sitting at home on your couch.
4. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
My sister Kylee recommended this one to me for the month of March. Just Mercy is one of those books that’s hard and uncomfortable to read, and that’s why I read it. It’s pretty well known and was made into a movie in 2019 starring Jamie Foxx, so lots of you already know about this one But if not..
It’s the biography of a young Harvard-educated lawyer who defends those who most desperately need it. One of his first cases is defending a death row inmate, Walter McMillan, who was wrongfully accused of murdering an 18-year-old. This book infuriated me (in a good way), saddened me, kept me awake at night thinking about it, and changed the way I see the world.
There are a lot of hard things happening right now, and this was not an easy book to read. There were a few times I almost put it down and picked up something more lighthearted, because life already feels very heavy. I’m just mentioning this because, if you’re someone who has a lot of stress and sadness related to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is probably not the time to read Just Mercy. It takes some emotional energy to get through it.
I didn’t quite finish Cara’s book recommendation for me this month, so I’ll roll that over to April and share it with you then. I’m also reading a few other light, easy books to share with you next month because (holy moly) I need some light and easy things in my life these days.
How are you spending your time these days? I think we can all agree that the struggle isn’t filling time (there’s always something to do or watch or consume), but filling it in a way that lights us up and fuels us. Reading is that for me.
Ok, if you have any fun, lighthearted book recommendations for me, please share! I’m all ears.