Just like last month (but on time!), I’m reviewing the books I read during March. I spent most of the month trying to make progress in my 40 before 40 Book list. I got through 14 books last month, so this is going to be a long one.
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March started off with a light read from my 40 before 40 list. I loved this book so much when it came out and I loved it this time around too. Bridget is always fun and I also loved the sequels. I can’t believe I forgot about the fire pole.
Another 40 before 40 selection. This book has been on my TBR list for years. My husband loves it and has asked me to read it countless times. I finally did. Honestly, I’m glad I waited. This was a time in my life when I was really ready for the messages that it had about reshaping your self-image. It’s an older book, so a lot of the language and references may seem dated, but it’s still accessible and easy to implement. I can see the influence of this line of thinking on many of the personal development books that I’ve read. It’s a really good read, but I can understand where it might be hard for people to get into.
Another 40 before 40 selection. This was a childhood favorite. I didn’t reconnect with it on the same level that I did with Anne of Green Gables, but I did enjoy it. It’s a quick read and a little more racist than I remember. I spent the entire time with songs from the musical stuck in my head.
Another 40 before 40 selection. This was my first time reading The Little Prince. Robin got a copy for the little guy when he was born. I loved the story and can’t wait to read it with him when he is a little older.
Another 40 before 40 selection. Okay, I know. I KNOW. This is everyone’s favorite book. This is a book that made non-readers into total book lovers. I’ve read JK Rowling’s adult fiction and marveled at her writing skills. Yet, for reasons I can’t explain, I never got around to reading it.
Like most other people, I adored the book. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, which I plan to do after I finish the rest of the books on the list. I could not get through it fast enough.
And, according to an internet quiz, I’m Ravenclaw. Since I’m only one book in, I don’t know if that is good or bad. And I don’t need to take any quizzes on “which character are you.” You all know damn well that I am Hermione Granger. (I mean, unless she changes drastically in later books and then I will revise my opinion.)
If you are one of the four people left who haven’t read this book, do it. It’s just as good as they say it is.
Another 40 before 40 selection. I added this book to the list because it kept appearing on “best of” lists. It was enthralling, but I know that if it hadn’t been on the lists, I never would have selected it for myself. I’m glad I read it. I don’t know a lot about Chinese folklore, so I really enjoyed that aspect. The section on the underworld was fascinating. It also led to a lot of conversations about opium because I had more questions than I realized on that topic.
Little Women was a 40 before 40 selection. I got the version available on Kindle Unlimited. I thought something was off when friends talked about how it was a “quick read” and I had 450 pages left. It felt like it would never end. It turned out that the version I read had Good Wives attached to it. So, I thought I was reading one book that would never end, but it was actually two books. Still very long and tedious, but it wasn’t just one never-ending book.
This was my first time reading Little Women, so I don’t have any attachments formed from my youth. I wasn’t a huge fan. It was fine, but eh. I only liked Jo and everything felt like a lesson and I wasn’t keen on the narration. I am pretty sure that younger booknerd me would have loved it though. Pity I didn’t read it then.
Another 40 before 40 selection. I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time, but I avoided it. It is a very haunting memoir from Alice Sebold about her rape and the aftermath. Her retelling of the attack is vivid, brutal and gut-wrenching and that’s the first 20 pages of the book. Everything that followed, while less physically violent, was also incredibly moving. This is not an easy read, but it is something I definitely recommend.
Another 40 before 40 selection. Like many, I read and enjoyed Gone Girl. (Unlike many, I was fine with the ending.) I really like Gillian Flynn’s writing style. Then I read Sharp Objects and I was traumatized. I found it incredibly disturbing and it lingered. I purchased Dark Places when it was on sale and it sat on my Kindle for close to a year. Quite simply, I didn’t think I could handle it. I put it on the 40 before 40 list to challenge myself.
It’s very dark and some sections are incredibly hard to stomach. Flynn’s style is stark and paints very vivid images. A few of those images will stick with me for a while. (One of them was a very brief mention that wasn’t a critical detail, but I wanted to stop reading it immediately because it hurt my soul to consider the possibility.) I kept reading and I’m glad I got through it. The only disappointing part was that I figured out the ending pretty early on. It didn’t make finding out the details any less worthwhile, but the twist felt like a lot less of a surprise.
After the two heavy books, I needed a break from the 40 before 40 list. Badly. I thought a business book would help with that.
I was originally introduced to Ray Edwards on an Amy Porterfield podcast. I’ve listened to a lot of podcasts and copywriting and his PASTOR method is the one that resonates the most for me. I loved this book and how simply he lays things out. Telling stories and giving lists of random bullets comes naturally to me; copywriting does not. If you feel the same, it’s a good one.
Also, I have to share the story of how I bought this book. Oh, but I don’t remember buying it. You see, Ambien Danielle isn’t supposed to use the computer. She is, however, allowed to have her Kindle. One morning, I checked my email and I had a receipt from Amazon that I purchased this book. I then checked my Kindle and this, along with five other titles from Kindle Unlimited related to copywriting, were waiting for me. It seems that Ambien Danielle really wanted to address my lack of skills in the area. Well, thanks Big Pharma, because I liked it, even though I really wish I could disable 1-click after 10 pm.
Another 40 before 40 selection. (Are you so sick of seeing those words? Because I’m tired of typing them, but paraphrasing the same thing this many times also seems just as exhausting, so bear with me.)
I remember seeing Sarah Vowell on Colbert and I thought she was hilarious, so I always wanted to read one of her books. This one is really highly rated, so I made it the selection. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, especially related to history and presidents, so this was a different turn for me.
I enjoyed it. I feel a particular kinship with President Garfield since he was an avid reader and seemed to prefer his books to most other activities.
Good book. Recommend. I think my husband would really like it. (Can you tell we’re getting toward the end and I’m losing steam?) (Do people still say that? Whatever, I’m old and I’m keeping it.)
Another 40 before 40 selection. I’m glad I gave myself a break between Dark Places and The Bell Jar. Because, so much dark. So many emotions. (Desperately need cotton candy fiction.)
I can’t remember how old I was when I first read this. I think it was my early 20s. I remembering it impacting me then, but this time, it was far more raw. I think I’m more aware of depression and and her descent affected me much more so this time.
After The Bell Jar, I needed light. I wanted my standard romantic fare. Cat recommended this series, so I purchased the full series while it was on sale recently.
This was a good one. It’s a prequel to another book in the series, so I read it first. It’s set in the early 90s, so that part was especially fun. I miss mix tapes. A particularly good palate cleanser after The Bell Jar.
Okay, March was a busy month. Lots of progress made on my 40 before 40 list. Although most of the books that I have left are things that I’ve been avoiding. A handful have been slow because I’m on the library waiting list. Otherwise, I’m just avoiding them. (Guys, I don’t want to read The Shining. I don’t like to be scared on purpose. I am terrified of The Pearl that Broke Its Shell because people who enjoy feeling emotions while reading say that it wrecked them. UGH.)
The award for favorite book of March goes to Harry Potter, for sure. Followed by Lucky (even though immesnse trauma). Then The Ghost Bride. Least favorite goes to Little Women. (Sorry Rachel Green.)
As always, leave me any book recommendations in the comments. I’ll be done with this list by the end of May, so I will need something new to read. You know, once I finish the Harry Potter series.