March was a bit of a cop-out. I’ve been reading so little already this year and March seemed like it would be even worse, so I cheated a bit to up my count.
I read four books this month – one more than the last few months (yay!), but one was a play I only needed to finish, one was a young adult/teenager book and one was a children’s book. I did read one adult novel, but it was a very easy read (so not so yay!).
Read on to find out what I read in March.
Three Birds by Janice Okoh
I took a group of drama students to see this play a few years ago and we all loved it. I had no idea what it was going to be about and I was kept guessing throughout about what the big ‘secret’ was. The main characters are three siblings who find themselves home alone in their council flat trying to keep life as they know it going whilst everything is crashing down around them. They fantasise about the future and the big house, musical fridge and real Ugg boots (that don’t go mash up at the sides) that they will have when they are older.
I bought my copy of the play whilst I was at the theatre and starting reading it straight away. Then for some reason it ended up on my book pile and never got finished. This month I finally finished it. I have no idea why it took me so long because it really is good and being a play doesn’t take that long to read anyway.
Mary Ann in Autumn by Armistead Maupin
I loved the Tales of the City series when I first came across it back in the ’90s. I thought I’d read them all (books 1-6) so was quite excited to find this ‘extra’ one in a charity shop. A look on Amazon has revealed the series now runs to book 9. How did I not know?
This book follows on from the original series with the characters all a lot older now. The house they all lived in is no longer owned by Mrs Madrigal and has become a victim of gentrification and is a posh family home rather than the collection of ramshackle apartments it once was. The same could be said for the characters as they settle into middle-aged, middle-class life and a new generation of 20-somethings has superseded them as urban rebels.
I found myself comparing the way their lives have changed and how their friendships have adapted and endured with my own. As always Maupin tells a gripping and engaging story, but this is the first time I’ve found myself being so reflective as I’ve read one of his books.
Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
Meg Cabot predominantly writes books for teenage girls and is probably best know for her Princess Diaries series. Her books are a form of pubescent chick-lit and the type of books I would expect myself to hate. But I don’t. She gets inside her characters heads and writes in such a way that I have to keep turning the pages.
This is a stand-alone book about a teen idol (yep, it’s an appropriate title) who enrolls at an American Midwest high school as part of his research for an upcoming role. The story is told from the point of view of the girl assigned to look after him whilst helping him keep his true identity secret. Like that’s ever going to be an easy task.
Of course it all goes wrong. I’m hardly giving anything away by saying that because it’s only to be expected and where would the story be if it all went right?
It’s an enjoyable, quick, guilty pleasure sort of read. Not high-literature and not the sort of book that would do your street-cred any good if you’re seen reading it on the train. But hey, who needs street-cred anyway?
Akimbo and the Crocodile Man by Alexander McCall Smith
This is a children’s book set in an unnamed African country. Local lad Akimbo gets a chance to spend the day with man whose job it is to monitor crocodiles. Akimbo learns a lot about crocodiles, but also learns about his abilities and strength of character when the crocodile man is attacked by a crocodile and it’s up to Akimbo to save him. Predictable? Of course. But it’s written by Alexander McCall Smith so of course it’s going to be told well.
As a children’s book it’s a very slim volume, with big font and illustrations. So not much to read at all. It took me minutes rather than hours to read, but it’s a book so I’m still going to include it here even if it does feel like rather a cheat.
What did you read in March? Share in the comments below.