Reading Round-Up March 2013

City of AshesI have a confession to make, I often read more than one book at a time. Historically I have been known to read one non-fiction and one fiction concurrently, then I added a classic to the mix – because there is always a classic to read, right? Currently, I am in the middle of reading five books, so next month there will surely be more books in the round-up!

Below are the four I read in March:

Within the first two days, I had devoured the second Mortal Instruments book, City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare. Clary, Simon, Jace and company face grave dangers, and by the end, they’re in a nasty, supernatural war. This book was just as addictive as the first in the series and the first two in the prequel trilogy The Infernal Devices. Clare is an expert storyteller who is able to simultaneously transport you to a historical world and craft the hidden world within the story.

From the contemporary urban fantasy to pre-Austen literature, I eagerly began Evelina by Frances Burney. It is an epistolary novel, much like Dangerous Liaisons (Pierre Choderlos de Laclos) and Where Rainbows End (Cecelia Ahern). Evelina is a young woman of sheltered upbringing who is thrust into London’s bustling social world. She flounders in the social mores of the city’s etiquettes. Burney has created amazing characters through only journal/letters, it’s staggering. For my full review of Evelina and Frances Burney, click here.

Me Before YouBack at this end of the chronological pool, I read Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You. What a heartbreaking, heart-warming story. It was such a holiday to inhabit a character so unlike myself. No plans, even with the boyfriend of seven years. The family set up of sticking together to help one another resonated with me. Moyes details the life of Will, a quadriplegic who once lived a big life, with heartfelt truth.  The black and white of  the situation is all smudged into gray. I want to re-read it immediately, to soak up the detail, now I know what’s happened. What writing! What a master scene setter, here’s one example:

I could have told you what Alicia’s parents’ house would be like, even before I got there… A large, Georgian rectory, its tall windows partly obscured by showers of pale wisteria, its drive a caramel pea shingle, it was the perfect house for a colonel. I could already picture her growing up within it, her hair in two neat blonde plaits as she sat astride her first fat pony on the lawn. –P333

This truly deserves 5/5 for its storytelling, its illumination of such a difficult topic and the characters who I grew to love.

A Made Up PlaceIn the non-fiction category this month, I read A Made Up Place: New Zealand in Young Adult Fiction by Jackson et al. I picked this up from the library because almost all of the authors were my tutors at university. I love this sort of engagement with the text and enjoyed the analysis of nine different representations on outlining the portrayal of New Zealand in NZ young adult literature. It has prompted me to add a few novels to my to-read list:

  • The Tricksters by Margaret Mahy
  • The Salt trilogy by Maurice Gee
  • The 10pm Question by Kate di Goldi
  • Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox

I am burning to get back to my current read, The Storyteller (Jodi Picoult). But I am interested in other people’s reading habits, do most people start one book a time and finish it before starting another?

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