Saturday 4 April 2020

Books I Read in March

This month, I bought new books. Many new books, because I did well at not buying new books last month (I realise this makes no sense). I also read a little less, I think because I have been feeling sleepier some evenings and so haven't had the brainpower to concentrate. This post contains affiliate links, you won't be charged extra if you click the links to purchase your books, but I will get a tiny sum each time you do.

Here are the books I read in March:

Where The Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens
I kept seeing people talking about this book online, so I bought a copy. I'd just been to the hospital and since I can't reward myself with cake right now, I rewarded myself with a book. I really enjoyed this book, I found myself completely immersed in Kya's world. Based in the marshlands of Carolina, the story follows Kya who has to grow up and survive with little help. Delia Owens is a wildlife scientist, so there is plenty of nature facts hidden in the story. It's a coming-of-age survival story about our disconnection with the natural world. I loved it and found myself thinking about it often in the days after I'd read it. I also stayed up way too late to finish it which I think is a good sign. 

Girl, Women, Other
by Bernadine Evaristo
I've been waiting to read this book for months. Laurie ordered it months ago but the paperback version so we had to wait for that to be released (why, Laurie??). It arrived when he was away so I decided to read it first (never live with me, I am a terrible human). This book won the Booker Prize and I've seen so many people talking about how good it was. I wasn't disappointed. It tells the stories of 12 women and their lives in Britain. The characters link together, but the book doesn't follow a typical narrative. Each woman has her own chapter and this tells her entire story, though some of the women link together as you progress through the book. It's unlike anything I've read before and I really loved it, I think every reader will have their own favourites in the book (I liked the grandma character best of all). 

Mothering Sunday
by Graham Swift
I saw this book as part of a Mother's Day display in Waterstones and decided to read it. It's set in 1924 and follow's the story of a maid, Jane Fairchild. As was the custom in those days, Jane was given Mothering Sunday off work to spend with her mother, although she didn't have a mother to spend the day with. The story follows her on that fateful day and how it would come to change her life. The book is well-written and the writing style reminded me of a Richard Yates story. The writing is beautiful yet to the point, there is no waffle. It's a short book, but I enjoyed reading it and was keen to keep turning the pages to discover what was to happen next. It wasn't one of my favourites from the month, however.

The View from Castle Rock
by Alice Munro

I've never read anything by Alice Munro before but have seen countless people talking about how wonderful her writing is, so I have had this on my wishlist for ages. In hindsight, it's probably not a great book to start with. It's a fictional book based on snippets of information she found out about her ancestors. I think I probably would have got more out of it if I'd been familiar with her writing and known more about her as a person. It was an interesting book and I liked the writing, but I wasn't particularly blown away by the stories. I've ordered another of her books so I can explore her fiction properly. 

The Hypnobirthing Book
by Katharine Graves

I listened to this book on Audible, no physical pages were turned. I just think it's better to admit that outright. Before the schools closed, I spent my daily walks listening to pregnancy audiobooks and focusing on the impending birth. Now I spend them playing Harry Potter A-Z with Ebony which is lovely but very different. I had booked a session with a KGH Hypnobirthing teacher and I wanted to listen to this book first so I'd be able to make best use of the session. 

Katharine Graves doesn't read the audiobook, she only appears to narrate the visualisations. For some reason, they chose a man to read the book. I don't really like taking pregnancy advice from a man so I found this quite jarring. Also, there's a lot of 'KGH Hypnobirthing' branding throughout the book which I found a little much. And some of the advice is bordering on dangerous, it's quite anti-healthcare professional and I'm not sure that's helpful. By all means, asks questions and play an active role in your care, but I didn't like the approach taken in this book which felt very them v us. 

Your Baby, Your Birth
by Hollie de Cruz

This was another hypnobirthing audiobook I listened to and I loved it. Hollie de Cruz has a nicer voice and is not a middle-aged man so I much preferred getting my pregnancy advice from her. She has a softer approach and focuses on the fact that birth doesn't need to be perfect. I really liked her book and found the visualisations helpful. I listen to the daily affirmations in the bath and I'm finding them really useful. They're definitely helping me to feel more positive about things, even in the middle of a pandemic. 

If you're expecting a baby, I would definitely recommend Hollie's book. It's really positive and features lots of lovely birth stories that will help to build your confidence before birth. 

Give Birth Like A Feminist
by Milli Hill
This was another audiobook I worked through on my morning walks. I've wanted to read this ever since it came out but, if I'm honest, the title put me off. I wrongly thought it would push an agenda or end up making women feel worse about their births. So many women already carry guilt about birth and motherhood, and I was worried that this book would add to that. I can safely say, I misjudged it. That's not what this book is about at all. It's about birth and feminism, and that's it. 

Hill makes a point of saying that all births can be feminist, and there's no such thing as a right way to give birth. She talks about how birth has been left out of feminist discussions for too long and the impact this is having on birth practices. I found this book fascinating. I really enjoyed reading it, if you're a birth geek like me, I strongly recommend it. I will say, however, it's perhaps not a great book to read during pregnancy, especially if you're already feeling anxious about birth. Perhaps save this one for when you're done having babies. 


Those were the only books I read last month. I also started two books I couldn't quite get into so hopefully, I will finish those at some point in the future, or not. It is hard to get lost in a book during lockdown, I find. Is anybody else struggling with escapism at the moment? I find myself staring at my phone instead of reading books, which I feel crappy about. I don't seem to have much concentration at the moment, but I'm sure that's true of lots of us. 

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