March reading was for finishing the Poe / Frost / Shakespeare challenge and a lot of great, fun reading as a reward for all of those sonnet brain push-ups!
Here are the books I read in March:
Ten Little Indians (2004) by Sherman Alexie
This is a collection of 9 short stories from one of my favorite writers. Not all of them are brilliant, but the brilliant ones are so, so good. If you pick it up and don’t love the first few stories, stick around.
One the best stories details the span of an entire relationship, which survives adultery. Another focuses on a homeless man’s journey to get his grandmother’s powwow regalia. The stories all have my most-loved Alexie characteristics: deep sadness, humor in the face of it all, faith in humanity, breaking down of stereotypes, and common sense questions about the lack of fairness in society. Can’t wait to work my way through Alexie’s entire works.
The Hunger Games Trilogy (2010) by Suzanne Collins
I read Hunger Games last September, and I re-read it as a proper start to read the whole trilogy. I read them all in a weekend; I couldn’t put them down.
If you haven’t heard of the books, you can read a description here. You might be skeptical of them because they are young adult literature, but a great deal of the best books ever written are coming of age stories. I believe these will be among them.
This is a story of survival, of war and violence, and of standing up to injustice. Perhaps more importantly, they can be viewed as an allegory of the current state of the world, and they might cause you to rethink your excess and privilege. If you’ve already read these for entertainment, I encourage you to read them again, thinking about the story from this perspective.
The characters are also great; I found myself missing them when the pages were all turned. And, if you don’t want to look at the books from a deeper perspective, there’s always creative carnage and the love triangle to keep you happy. (Team Peeta.)
Darwin: A Graphic Biography (2013) by Eugene Byrne (Author), Simon Gurr (Illustrator)
This graphic novel, from Smithsonian books, was a great introduction to Darwin’s life and the state of science in the 1800s. It was so interesting to read about his childhood, his travels with a ship of explorers aiming to map Africa, South America, and Australia. The story of his life is so inspiring, and shows how curiosity and perseverance can lead to greatness. I loved the humor in the work, and the graphic novel format made for some fun, light reading. I also like that the book made sure to explain the difference between Darwin’s theory of evolution and Herbert Spencer’s perversion of Darwin’s theory into Social Darwinism. (It was Spencer who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” and it drives me crazy when people attribute his ideas to Darwin.) I can’t wait to read it to Eliza! She’s going to really love the stories about his bug collecting as a child.
Plays from The Complete Works of William Shakespeareby William Shakespeare
Hamlet (early 1600s) I love the range of emotions in this play. Also, trying to work out what is true and what is due to madness is so fun.
Othello (1602-1604) Othello may be my favorite tragedy, and Iago is definitely one of the most interesting villans of all time.
Macbeth (1603–1606) Don’t get greedy, don’t get evil. The Lannisters should read this, am I right?
Also, Jake has been walking around the house all month saying, “The queen, my lord, is dead. There would have been time for such a word. [...] Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.” He’ll just break into full character randomly to make me laugh. He’s such a goose.
The Complete Sonnets By the time I got to the sonnets, I was honestly just trying to finish. I think that I read too much Shakespeare to really, really appreciate how beautiful they really are. So I’m planning on coming back to them sometime in the distant future.
You can see all of my other reads posts here.
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Have you read any of these? What did you think? What are you reading lately?