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What I Read in March

This was a weird month, reading-wise. Not sure if it’s the spring weather, the malaise of this time of the school year, or the heavier-than-usual schedule (that’s probably it); whatever it was, I wasn’t as focused a reader.

But I’m not concerned — I read for enjoyment, without rules, goals, or must-dos. This keeps it fun, and keeps it my favorite hobby. I’m always reading something, I’ll always be reading something.

Here’s what I read in March.

1. Eligible, by Curtis Sittenfeld

This has been on my TBR list for awhile, and after quite a few classics in January and February, I felt the need to pace myself with something light. This definitely was light. It was well-written and sweet, one of the better Pride & Prejudice modern interpretations, but a bit heavier on the sex and shallowness than is my preference.

All in all, an okay “beach” read.

3 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

2. My Oxford Year, by Julia Whelan

Y’all, I wanted to like this book… It’s been on my radar for a year, and I thought I might like it as part of my Literary London repertoire. It sounds up my alley: Oxford (one of my favorite cities), first-person narrative fiction that reads like a memoir, American-Brits relations. 

It really wasn’t good. Poorly written, unbelievable plot points, unlikable characters, cliche, and chock-full of telling not showing. I read afterwards that the writer is actually a screenwriter and not a novelist, and that made sense to me: this reads like a made-for-TV movie, not a novel. The idea had potential, but unfortunately it just wasn’t what I was thinking it would be.

1 out of 5 stars ⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

I haven’t read this in ages (early college, I think), and it’s been a joy to re-read it for my English class. It needs a bit of an onboarding process, since Hurston wrote the protagonist’s storytelling phonetically (though an omniscient narrator takes over) — but a few chapters in, and I was engrossed.

This is an important, groundbreaking, long-forgotten (until the mid-70s, when Alice Walker resurrected it) novel from a significant early 20th-century African-American female voice. We need to listen.

4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

4. Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferriss

I have mixed feelings about Tim, so I held off reading this for awhile. Turns out, I think this is actually my favorite of his. This non-fiction book reads more like a handbook, meant to be flipped around to various chapters based on your interest. He’s a masterful interviewer (check out his podcast), and he takes this skill to book format by dedicating chapters to specific people and their answers to the same overall questions.

My favorites included interviews with BJ Novak, Maria Popova, Scott Adams, Derek Sivers, and Mike Birbiglia, as well as his own thoughts in the chapters about the Dickens Process, earning your freedom, the law of category, and one of my long-term favorite business philosophies: your 1,000 true fans.

4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

Not sure what this means, but I’m actually in the middle of reading lots of books, which isn’t my preference (I find it’s a sign of distraction; when I’m more focused I read only one book at a time, which means I tend to read/finish more). Currently I’m in the middle of The Girl on the Train, Man’s Search for Meaning, Company of One, and Gilead

I go through weird reading stages like this, so I’m not worried. I’m just ready to get back to some solid contemporary fiction to pair with my classics — which is what I’m talking about on the podcast this Friday. Make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss an episode.

What are you reading right now? 

• Listen to the podcast episode about this post

Reading Time:

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  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I’m with you on being in the middle of a number of books as not being a good sign for my reading…it means nothing is really grabbing me. If something grabs me, I drop everything else to focus on that one book.

    And – I really enjoyed Tools of Titans as well – it’s my only exposure to Tim Ferriss and I read it over the course of a few months…a few interviews here and there when I needed a palate cleanser. It was fascinating, I picked up some stretches I still do for my back, and I loved the chapters on Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece.

    • Kristin Heider

      I have noticed the same thing about reading multiple books at once! I think I try to “multi-task” with reading sometimes, but it actually makes me more distracted and read less. I also think I’m unable to give my brain the space it needs to really absorb and process whatever I’m reading (be it a fun mystery or a non-fiction.) There’s only so much these poor brains of ours can take at once. Or at least, mine 😉 Love your book posts!

      • Tsh Oxenreider

        Exactly! Our brains really do prefer multi-tasking… 🙂

  2. Kristin Heider

    I have noticed the same thing about reading multiple books at once! I think I try to “multi-task” with reading sometimes, but it actually makes me more distracted and read less. I also think I’m unable to give my brain the space it needs to really absorb and process whatever I’m reading (be it a fun mystery or a non-fiction.) There’s only so much these poor brains of ours can take at once. Or at least, mine ? Love your book posts!

  3. Anya

    The best modern Pride & Prejudice take-off I’ve ever read is -Pride-, by Ibi Zoboi. It’s a YA novel set in Brooklyn, in a close-knit working-class neighborhood in which the Haitian-Dominican Benitez family lives, with their five teenage daughters. Another black family moves in across the street after remodeling the run-down brownstone across the street — the wealthy Darcy family, with their two handsome sons: friendly and charming Ainsley, and aloof Darius. The narrator is the Lizzie Bennet equivalent in the family, poet and skeptic Zuri. My 16-year-old daughter (honors student, avid reader, smart cookie, Janeite) could not put it down, and I can see why. 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Ooh, that sounds fantastic! Thanks for the rec, Anya.

      • Anya

        You’re welcome! 🙂 It was a great read.

  4. shelly Dixon

    were any of the books you read audio books ?
    looking for a good starter audio book
    I have been absolutely stuck on your podcasts for the last week, cant tell you how many I have listened to.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I do love audiobooks, but none of these this month happened to be audiobooks. I talk about my audiobook strategy in this podcast episode, if you’re curious… 🙂

      As for a starter audiobook… Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? And is there a particular genre you already enjoy?

      • Shelly Dixon

        Hi Tsh
        Sorry for the delayed response. Im a fiction fan, anything with a bit of suspense.

        thanks Shelly

  5. Aimee

    I’m so the opposite when it comes to reading multiple books! I’m always reading at least 6 books at once and I love it that way. I read a couple non-fiction books in the morning, a memoir or audio book throughout the day, and a novel before bed. But I can see how it would feel good to focus on just one book at a time! It’s fascinating to me how different rhythms and styles work for different people.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I used to be able to read multiple books at the same time… but it’s like my brain just doesn’t want to anymore. I get the beauty of it, though!

  6. Lisa

    In looking at your list of ‘in the middle’ books I think it may be because I know at least two of them are thinking books. I am a voracious reader and I needed to take Gilead slowly. It has so many thoughts and loveliness that I felt I had to soak it up. I have not read ‘Man’s search for meaning’ but knowing the topic I feel it might be the same. 🙂
    I do feel validated as I might have had the same feelings about “Eligible”.

  7. Caroline Starr Rose

    I finished A Company of One yesterday and plan on (finally!) reading Their Eyes Were Watching God later this year. I’ve pulled 25 books from my shelves that I’ve never read and have committed to working in two a month. This is one of them!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Smart! I own a number of books I haven’t read — and everytime I plan to stick to those for reading, I then go on my library’s website… too. many. good. books. to read!

  8. Stephanie Quigley

    “My Oxford Year” was also one I read back in January. I too was really disappointed with it. I picked it up hoping to be transported to another world and escape the blah winter days at home. Instead I was continually frustrated with immature flat characters, unexciting plot twists, and nothing at all to do with the rich English landscape. My husband got an ear full of my rantings each evening concerning each of these things. My only enjoyable takeaway was dissecting it myself and working out how it could be improved. It seems like there were so many missed opportunities for a really delightful book.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Agreed 100%, Stephanie!

  9. Melissa Lewis

    I am in the midst of too many 3 star books right now which makes it hard to find motivation to keep going in the middle of a very busy season!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Yes! I think that’s partly what happened to me this month too.

  10. Laura Gaskill

    Oh my goodness, I’m the same way — if I have a whole stack of books I’m switching back and forth between, I know I’m in a distracted headspace (and that’s where I am right now, too). After reading your words it made me wonder if forcing myself to pick 1 book to zero in on and finish might also help me regain some of that sense of focus? Interesting…

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      That’s basically what I’m doing now and I’m finding it helpful… I set aside everything but Girl on the Train and I’m almost done now.

  11. Ellen Edens

    I’m reading Mans Search for Meaning too! Been on my reading list for 20 years. All my colleagues have read it—but the idea of reading about the concentration camps made me hesitant. I’ve read so much about them. Wouldn’t this just depress me? But his views on tragic optimism feel right on!! Brilliant.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I’m teaching Night by Elie Wiesel in a few months (one of my all-time faves), and I’m thinking MSFM will give new/added insight. I hear it’s a game-changer!

  12. Christine Bailey

    I’m a chronic reader-of-too-many-books-at-once. Very distracted is a good way of putting it! I’ve actually started Gilead several times and never finish it. This encourages me to give it another go!

  13. Dee

    What a great list! I’m currently reading Sweet Valley High when I need a bit of a break, and piles of Egyptology books when I’m working.

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