March at a Glance

As I summed up before, I used March to get into books by diverse authors. I read a couple urban fantasy books that were just released as well that I’d been waiting for, but the rest were by PoC. The majority were by women of color or about women of color as it was also Women’s History Month. I didn’t get to as many as I thought. I recently discovered an interest in cross stitch and that sewed up my time. (What? Stop groaning. It wasn’t that bad.)

Here is what I read in March.

  • The Twentieth Wife and The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan. Both were about Empress Nur Jahan and Emperor Jahangir. The first is about them before their marriage and the latter is during their marriage. There is one more in the trilogy that I want to get to as well.
  • A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. Told by a Chinese woman who goes to England to learn English and finds herself in a relationship with an Englishman, this was amazing to read. I already have a few of her other novels on my list.
  • Come Together, Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez. I read The Book of Unknown Americans last year and it made me sob. This collection of short stories didn’t do that, but it did give me a case of the feels. I generally don’t seek out short stories, but it is stories like these that start convincing me to.
  • Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. I started reading PotS for the new speculative fiction by ladies book club I am in. My very first Octavia Butler and I see what all the fuss was about. I read it in probably a day and then immediately sought out the sequel, read that in a day then went out and bought Kindred which I hope to get to this month.
  • Self-Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler. I had heard of Aisha Tyler and read raves about this book, so when I found it on Scribd as an audiobook I decided it was time. I swapped between the audio and ebook, mostly because of the fact the audio wasn’t one for my kids to listen to, but I totally recommend the audio if you can. Tyler narrates and pushes her own humor into her stories. Since then I’ve seen her on an episode of Table Top playing Cards Against Humanity and then started listening to her podcast Girl on Guy. I think she’d be a blast to hang out with.
  • Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older. I had bought HRB on ebook when it came out, but never got around to it, then I started following him on Twitter, found out he was going to be at Book Riot Live, and got a paperback copy of HRB in my Quarterly box. The stars aligned. I read a lot of urban fantasy and it’s hard to impress me these days. This book did. The storyline was fresh. The hero was intriguing. There was a wide cast of supporting characters who were diverse and fleshed out. I want book 2 in my hands right now! Until then I have a collection of his short stories Salsa Nocturna to keep me busy.
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have a weird relationship with Ishiguro novels. I’ve read Never Let me Go and An Artist of the Floating World. I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them either. They’re not bad books. I want to stress that. I keep reading them though, and I’m never sad that I do. TBG is another I didn’t hate, didn’t love, but I’m glad read it.
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. For a debut novel, Bulawayo did amazing. I really felt like I was seeing the world through her protanist’s eyes to see how it might feel to live in Zimbabwe and then move to America. I definitely look forward to anything else she will write.
  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae. I saw Issa Rae on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. As I have an affection for fellow geeks, picking up her book seemed like a no brainer. I’ve yet to watch her show after the similar name, but reading her book moved me closer to doing so (I generally don’t get into a lot of the youtube content). She shared pieces of her life that were hilarious at times as well as poignant.

I’m definitely not going to stop reading so diversely, but I am going to be less strict about the other books I want to read. I still have a few books on my To Be Read Sooner Rather Than Later (RBRSRTL doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?). I still want to read China Dolls by Lisa See, A Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan, and Sula by Toni Morrison in April. And I’m sure there will be others that I decide to add in.

How was your reading in March?

Making March Count

I did one of those things where I stopped paying attention to my diversity count and the inevitable happened. My ratio dropped to 15%. In my defense I was binging a couple series so it was bound to happen, but it proved to me that it’s true how the publishing world doesn’t reflect the percentage of authors of color that are out there. To get my numbers up and to challenge myself I have decided to dedicate March to reading AoC. The only exception will be a couple series books that come out that I can’t bear to wait on. Here’s a list of books I already own or have easy access to (Thanks Oyster and Scribd), plus a stack I picked up at the library.

Come Together Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo, Mona in the Promised Land by Gish Jen, and Frog by Mo Yan
Come Together Fall Apart by Cristina Henriquez, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo, Mona in the Promised Land by Gish Jen, and Frog by Mo Yan

Possible March AoC books (in no real order)

  1. The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan(scribd) – I’m actually working on this one right now, but I doubt I’ll finish by Mar 1st so I’m counting it.
  2. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (oyster) – Same same
  3. Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand (kindle)
  4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (kindle)
  5. Half Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Holder (kobo)
  6. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi (kobo)
  7. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri  (kobo)
  8. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie (oyster)
  9. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie (oyster)
  10. Becoming Madame Mao by Anchee Min (oyster)
  11. Wild Ginger by Anchee Min (oyster)
  12. In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner (oyster)
  13. The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan (oyster)
  14. Three Sisters by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi(oyster)
  15. Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (oyster)
  16. Thirst by Mahmoud Dowlatabadi (oyster)
  17. The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (oyster)
  18. Skeleton Women by Mingmei Yip (oyster)
  19. Secret of a Thousand Beauties by Mingmei Yip (oyster)
  20. Rules for Virgins by Amy Tan (kindle)
  21. Brick Lane by Monica Ali (scribd)
  22. Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos (scribd)
  23. Kickboxing Geishas: How Modern Japanese Women Are Changing Their Nation by Veronica Chambers (scribd)
  24. The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey (scribd)
  25. Pearl of China by Anchee Min (print)
  26. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (print)
  27. Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid (print)
  28. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (print)
  29. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (print)
  30. The Calligrapher’s Daughter by Eugenia Kim (print)
  31. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (print)
  32. Sula by Toni Morrison (print)
  33. Paradise by Toni Morrison (print)
  34. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushie (print)
  35. The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie (print)
  36. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (print)
  37. China Dolls by Lisa See (print)
  38. Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi (print)
  39. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (print)
  40. On Beauty by Zadie Smith (print)
  41. The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan (print)
  42. An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine (print)
  43. No Longer at Ease by Chinua Achebe (print)
  44. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (print)
  45. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez (print)
  46. We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (print)

I can’t even begin to tell you where I’m going to begin, besides the library books and the two I’ve already started. I’ve been averaging about 30 books a month so I think I can make a good dent. There are so many that have been sitting on my shelves for so long. I also forgot to add I’m reading Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler for a Scifi/Fantasy by AoC book club I just got invited to today. I definitely am going to read at least one Toni Morrison, Gabriel García Márquez, Salman Rushdie, and Zadie Smith. Which ones I’m not sure yet. I’m up for suggestions.

Any others off of the list I should get to sooner than later?