March was a helluva month at la Casa Bryant. As I write this, on the last day of March, there are five men upstairs ripping out my carpet and installing beautiful new floors. All of March and part of February has been about getting ready for this moment--basically moving out of three rooms of our home without having any other rooms to move into because we still live here.
No wonder I escaped into books as much as possible. And it was a good month for reading:
- Four amazing books: The Between by Tananarive Due, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen , The Lottery and Seven Other Stories by Shirley Jackson, and Amazing Grace by John Hartness.
- Three quite good: A Spindle Shattered by Alix E. Harrow, The Boys Omnibus volume 1 by Garth Ennis, and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor.
- One that was fine, but not really for me: The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
It was "women in horror" month, so a perfect moment to revisit Shirley Jackson, one of my favorite authors of all time, and Tananarive Due whose work I love more and more, the more of it I read. Both of these books were well worth the read.
For full disclosure, the author of Amazing Grace is my publisher. That probably influenced my choice to read it, but I assure you that, when I read work by friends and colleagues, if I don't like it, I just don't comment at all. If I'm telling you about it here, then I liked it. In fact, I loved this one. I really enjoyed the main character Lila Grace, a middle-aged Southern woman with the ability to talk to ghosts. I liked the sparks of romance between her and the new sheriff and the way that what she knew about the community mattered as much as her abilities when it came to solving the central mystery. I hope John writes more with these characters. There's definite series potential. The poor man already writes several series though, so I might have to be patient to wait for him to get back to this one.
Winslet and Emma Thompson repeatedly, I was predisposed to loving this book. I'm not sure when I last read/watched it, but it was before I married my husband, so that's coming up on twenty years. In fact, I had completely forgotten that Elinor and Marianne had a younger sister (to be fair, she's really only in the beginning and end of the book). It was just as good as I remembered, and remains my favorite of Jane Austen's work (yes, I set it higher than the acclaimed and beloved Pride and Prejudice).
- A Spindle Shattered by Alix E. Harrow (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with a multiverse angle and a chronically ill main character)
- The Boys Omnibus volume 1 by Garth Ennis (a darkly humorous, transgressive superhero series)
- and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (a girl-meets-magic world series set in Nigeria among Leopard people)