Hello everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was full — busy with baking and cooking. Sometimes I don’t enjoy those tasks, but I have been lately. I hope that feeling sticks for a while because it’s a very big part of my job around here! And the best part is that the weather over the weekend was beautiful and we were able to spend a lot of time outside. My family’s moods are much brighter when we’re able to do that.
Another thing that I’ve been enjoying lately? Reading, of course. I fully expected to slow my reading pace in March after an excellent February, but that didn’t happen. I somehow managed to read even more! Like last month, I could barely fit my whole March Goodreads shelf in one screenshot, so the bottom books are cut off a little bit. And, as always, you can see everything I’ve read this year on my 2023 Goodreads shelf. But let’s talk about March!
Like February, it is so hard to know where to start! I won’t try to write about everything this month because I think everyone’s eyes would glaze over, but I do want to highlight a few titles and accomplishments.
+ We wrapped up our Erdrich Along in March when we finished The Bingo Palace. And what a way to end this wonderful time with Louise Erdrich. It was a return to the Love Medicine series and some beloved characters but with an ending that left a number of us scratching our heads. Perhaps Louise Erdrich has more to say about these families? I’m hoping for more in this series!
+ I read a second Louise Erdrich novel on my own in March: The Master Butchers Singing Club. I think it’s my favorite by her so far. It was full of the coziest details and had a great plot. This is a wonderful place to start with Erdrich if you are so inclined!
+ Song of Solomon was my Toni Morrison selection for March and it’s become a new favorite. This book was stunning – full of the most amazing imagery that I’ve seen from her (or anyone) so far. I wish I was more adept at picking apart literature because so much went straight over my head. Morrison is brilliant and because we share a birthday, I think of her as my spiritual literature guide. I’m planning to read Tar Baby this month and am so excited to see what else she has in store for me.
+ The Women’s Prize for Fiction released their longlist in March! It’s the most wonderful time of the year for me, for sure. I read Memphis, Cursed Bread, and Homesick in response to their announcement. All were excellent.
✊🏾 Memphis was a beautiful story about three generations of women in Memphis; it documents the good and the bad times in the most uplifting and hopeful way.
🍞 Cursed Bread is set in a Post-War French village and is about the baker’s wife. It was electric, startling, and so suspenseful.
🏠 I read the memoir version of Homesick and not the fiction version that was nominated for the prize, but their descriptions are so similar that I think that’s enough to give me a feel for Croft’s prose. This chronicles Croft’s childhood and her sister’s scary illness. It was so interesting to see how close they were as children and how they began to drift apart as young adults.
+ Oh! And I finished War and Peace. I took it so slowly that it’s almost an afterthought by now. But it’s certainly an accomplishment to mention in this post!
Readalouds in March:
+ We finished two morning readalouds in March! We had been working on Granted for several months and then just flew through Because of Winn-Dixie. Both were excellent and sparked wonderful conversations. Our homeschooling style is literature based and we do a lot of reading. The novels that we read aloud also serve as opportunities for writing. All of our vocabulary words, spelling words, copywork, and independent writing exercises come from them. Because of Winn-Dixie, especially, was a wonderful opportunity to come up with funny stories about dogs!
+ Bronwyn and I read Meet Samantha, Samantha Learns a Lesson, and Ivy & Bean: What’s the Big Idea? as our bedtime readalouds in March. It has been fun to break up the American Girl reading with the occasional Ivy & Bean — they are fun girls!
+ Bryce and I reread a couple of Captain Underpants novels (Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers and The Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000) before his bedtime. I recently tried sneaking in a non-Underpants book and he wasn’t having it. Expect to see more of these in April!
And we are nearly halfway through April so I won’t be sharing this month’s plans, but you can get a good idea by checking out the Women’s Prize for Fiction and the International Booker Prize longlists. I’m planning to be back in the next couple of days to share this week’s reading with you. Until then – take good care!
What a magnificent month of reading, Katie! Thank you for your long list reviews… I have added a few of them to my TBR list!
Yay, Kat! I can’t wait to see the shortlist next week 🙂
I finished Memphis yesterday. I have mixed feelings about it, and I sort of wonder if it’s because of the stuff related to the author’s behavior that you shared with me. I think she has some real talent, but I think perhaps the book needed better editing (I found a handful of grammatical errors, for starters). I am looking forward to getting through more of the Women’s Prize list — it feels good to have so many books written by women to choose from!
I love your thoughts on Memphis. I didn’t notice any grammatical errors and I wonder if that’s because I listened to it on audio? Or maybe they would have gone over my head anyway? I loved how she focused on creating joy and beauty in these women’s lives despite all of the challenges they faced. It will be so interesting to see what makes the short list next week!
Yes, a magnificent month of reading. Surely, for certain folks, books (and libraries) are a great gift. With a good library, you don’t need a lot of money to have access to the world of story and ideas. I laughed when I read about your son’s obsession with Captain Underpants. Fun! For the birthday of the boy next door, I bought the first two Dog Man books, written by none other than Dav Pilkey. Those books look like a ton of fun, and I especially like the titles. Who could resist Mothering Heights? 😉
I hope your neighbor loves the Dog Man books! Bryce really enjoys them too. Dav Pilkey is VERY funny and I think his humor is one that is appreciated over time. Although we have read these Captain Underpants books FOR YEARS, Bryce understands more and more of the jokes with each rereading. That makes them so much fun for young readers!
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This whole time, I have been taking screenshots of each book cover and making a powerpoint slide to use in my posts. I COULD HAVE BEEN USING GOODREADS THIS WHOLE TIME! So, thanks for mentioning that 🙂 It seems like you had an amazing reading month, and I hope April continues more of the same! Adding Cursed Bread to my list.
Ha! It is a handy tool BUT — I love how pretty your posts are! It looks like you have a lot of control over what your image looks like. I always want to move the book covers around on mine but I can’t!
(You could also right click and save the image of the book cover on Goodreads. That might be easier than taking a screenshot and resizing it? Not sure.)
What a great month, Katie – and a fantastic start to reading Women in April. I wish we’d been able to read Master Butcher with our Erdrich-along. It’s still on my TBR.
Thank you, Mary! I hope you get to Master Butcher soon. It was such a good one!
Here’s hoping April provides as many reading riches as March did!
Thank you, Laila! I hope you’re getting plenty of time outside in your garden lately!
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