Wednesday, April 7, 2021

March 2021 Reading Reflections

As I suspected, I lost significant momentum with reading for fun in March when things got busy at work. It's not a big deal, because I definitely don't have a goal of reading a specific large number of books this year or anything like that. As long as I'm having fun and enjoying the books I pick out throughout the year, it's all good!

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At the moment, I seem to be having a bit of a murder mystery phase. Most of the books I read last month come from that type of genre. None of my March books are frontrunners for my favorite books of the year, but they were all pretty enjoyable and engaging. 

Here are the books I read this month, listed in the order in which I read them:

  • Broken Harbor by Tana French - I've now read most of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, and I think this volume may be my favorite of the series so far. The Dublin Murder Squad series is somewhat unique in that each novel is told from the point of view of a different detective, and they each have dramatically different personalities, so each book can feel very different from the last. The main detective in this novel isn't really my favorite of the group - he seemed like a total jerk from his appearances in the previous volume - but he grew on me. I also thought the mystery at the center of this book was the most interesting and strange out of the others in the series. 
  • Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz - I picked up this book after seeing Adina mention it with a positive review in her Instagram stories. It's very much a "cozy mystery," which is unlike most of the murder mystery fiction I read, there's no real content warnings needed here. Anthony Horowitz was a new-to-me author, and I was happy to find I greatly enjoyed this book because it means I have a new author I like whose back catalog I can seek out. This book uses an interesting "novel within a novel" device that I was initially nervous about because I thought it would break up the momentum of the story when the second novel started up about halfway in to the book. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was quickly swept up into the second novel as well, and its placement in the larger story didn't distract from my enjoyment of the book too much. 
  • The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix - I decided to read this book after seeing Gabby describe it as a good, entertaining read. Like Gabby, I also enjoyed this book. It's a fun read and has a fairly unique take on vampires, one that really emphasizes how gross and monstrous they can be. The story builds up a bit slowly, but becomes a wild and fast ride towards the end. It's equally about social expectations in the main characters' well-to-do Southern suburban community as it is about the vampire. 
  • The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda - I randomly saw this book listed among the popular recent  releases on the New York Public Library's ebook website and I decided I wanted to try it. I really enjoyed this novel, and I couldn't put it down! The story is told from the perspective of a number of different characters who are tied, in some way, to the event mentioned in the title, a mass poisoning at a family party. Some Goodreads reviewers report that this was a difficult book to get into, the book definitely doesn't hold your hand or clearly tell you who each point-of-view character is and how they're related to the larger story. Instead, that information is revealed slowly in each character's chapters. I didn't mind this detail about the book, and didn't find it too confusing. The ending of this book is a bit cryptic and possibly frustrating: The identity of the person ultimately responsible for the murders is made fairly clear from early in the novel, but their motives remain somewhat opaque, even at the very end of the story. 

What have you been reading recently? Anything particularly good to recommend?

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