An Update: What I Read in March

So you may have noticed I’ve been absent from the blog for the last while, the same goes for my twitter and book tube channel. My last week of lectures is next week, the very last set of lectures of my undergraduate degree! After that I have a few weeks off before exams begin and I finish my exams in mid to late May. Naturally my focus has been on soaking up every last experience of undergrad, spending time with my friends and studying for my last three final exams in order to be sure I can meet the conditions of my offer to the Master’s course of my dreams (literally this university has been my dream school for 3 or 4 years). In light of all of this I can’t guarantee weekly reviews or blog posts but I’ll try.

Anyway, here’s a quick recap of the read the world books I read in March. If you remember, I had planned an East Asian themed reading month and that sort of happened.

I read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee which was a multigenerational narrative, following Koran emigrants to Japan. It was powerful and educational and totally deserving of the hype that it’s getting. I’d probably deem it my favourite read of the month if I’m honest, it was stellar. I tried to read Grace of Kings by Ken Liu which I didn’t really click which was sad because I love his short story collection The Paper Menagerie. The book just felt like a slog the whole time I was reading it, the writing was very plain and it took me hours and hours to read those first 160 pages. I’m not ruling out returning to it but for the moment I have it on hold.

Departing from the East Asia theme I read books by Welsh and English born authors, namely So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, an non-fiction book about public shaming in the Internet age by Jon Ronson and Stained by Abda Khan, a piece of contemporary fiction about a young British-Pakistani women who is raped by a close family friend. I enjoyed both though I found So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed somewhat emotionally manipulative and thought the narrative style in Stained was somewhat confused and off-putting in the beginning.

I finished the month off by reading a book by a Cameroonian author, Imbolo Mbue, namely Behold the Dreamers which was heartbreaking but also thoroughly enjoyable. It followed two Cameroonian immigrants to New York, one of whom has secured a new job acting as a chauffeur to a Lehman Brother executive just before the financial crash. Finally I’m in the middle of the audiobook of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, a Japanese author (see I managed to make it back to East Asia to round out my month!) I’m feeling really motivated to declutter although I am noticing cultural differences and points of clash which I will discuss in a future review.

Anyway, those are the books that I’m hoping to review over the next while, along with In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner which I finished at the end of February but haven’t managed to get around to reviewing. Let me know if you’d like me to prioritise any of these and happy reading!

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