Just as I had hoped, maternity leave has been great for my reading goal. 5 books in March is much more my style. Hey, when you're nursing a newborn every 3 hours during the day, you have a lot of time just sitting around and there's only so much Netflix I can watch without feeling like a zombie.
18. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
The 6th book in the Outlander series and I'm getting more invested in it than I was for the last couple of books. The storyline is getting closer to the American Revolution, and I'm starting to connect more to Brianna and Roger, who I didn't love as much before. Like all the books in the series, the book was close to 1,000 pages, so there was a LOT that happened. So much that it's hard to write a summary as there are so many significant pieces. The biggest part for me were the changes with Roger and Brianna and their family- I'm really curious as to how the next book will go based on what happened towards the end of this book.
19. The House Girl by Tara Conkin
I'm not sure what I expected when I picked up this book, but this wasn't really it. It's told from two perspectives; Josephine- a house girl in antebellum Virginia who is looking to escape her slavery and Lina- a first-year lawyer in modern day New York City. The two are connected by Josephine's missus: Lu Anne Belle. Lu Anne is famous for her paintings, which some are saying where actually created by Josephine. As we follow Josephine's struggle for freedom, we also see Lina discovering Josephine's past as she works on a case that seeks reparations for slavery. The dual story lines were an interesting way for the pieces to fall together, but at the end I felt like it was incomplete. I wanted more. I wanted to discover what happened to Lina next and more about Josephine's legacy. I guess that's a sign that it was a good book; I was so invested in the characters and the story line that I just needed to read more.
20. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trapper
Hilarious, depressing, and moving. Judd walks in on his wife having an affair with his boss. Then his dad dies. Then he finds out that his wife is pregnant, and the baby is his. He finds out that his father's dying wish was for the family to sit shiva for a week. The entire story unravels the seven days of shiva along with the complicated history of Judd and his semi-dysfunctional family along with Judd's own issues regarding his cheating wife. Not going to lie, parts of this book are crude, but that made me love it more. Judd is the type of character that you feel bad for, but at the same time he makes you laugh so much that you forget that you feel bad for him.
21. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Several of my students have raved about this book; and I completely get by. I read this book in about half a day, because I just couldn't put it down. August is a 5th grade boy who is going to school for the first time. He had previously been homeschooled due to multiple medical issues stemming from facial deformities. As he tries to navigate middle schools, friends, and family you get to see his quiet strength that just blows you away. I loved Auggie and his matter of fact approach to the way people view him. Another thing I loved about this book was that it took multiple perspectives of the same events. It wasn't repetitive, but it allowed you to see why people were acting the way they were and also the affect of those actions on the people around them. Even though several of my students have read this book; I really want to do it as a read aloud when I go back to work because I think this book could spark some amazing conversations and thought about bullying and people who are a little bit different.
22. Sold by Patricia McCormick
Another amazing read for this month. This is the story of a young Nepalese girl whose family sent her to "the city" to get a job when finance got too tough. What they didn't know, was that by sending her away, they were actually selling her into the sex slave industry in India. At 13, Lakshmi is too young to really understand a lot of what is happening until it is too late. She's naïve and inexperienced and honestly thinks she's going to be a maid to a wealthy city woman until the moment when a man is brought to her. Ugh, this book was sad but so captivating, I couldn't put it down.