Books I Read in March

Dark Money by Jane Mayer
Ughhhh. Just. Ugh. This was so scarily eye opening about where, and how, money has been spent over the last forty or so years to push the far right agenda, despite the majority of Americans polling progressive. Campaign financing barely factors into this massive web of tax shelters, secrecy, infiltrating universities and think tanks full of 'alternative facts' in an attempt to shift our culture by those who have wealth beyond imagining. I felt quite ill listening this one on audio. And although it was a little dry, all citizens should be aware of the actions of these people and the effects on our society (mainly the Kochs, but now I know even more about Betsy DeVos, which is gross).

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead
You can read my full (favorable!) review here.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
This was just ADORABLE. It felt like a well written, literary version of The Goonies, but set in NYC with a troupe of adorable siblings in lieu of a gang of best friends. No pirates either, just a mysterious and grumpy landlord who lives upstairs, never leaves his home and decides to terminate the Vanderbeeker's lease. Glaser creates a vivid picture of the 141st street neighborhood and it's inhabitants. It comes together with a lot of poignancy and heart. I also think it'd be a great read to please a lot of ages, as there's something for everyone with the characters ranging in age from toddler to teen.

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell
O'Farrell's memoir I Am, I Am, I Am is on my 'to be read' list, but I wanted to check out her fiction first - and I'm glad I did. This novel was completely up my alley, like a puzzle to piece together: full of family drama, with multiple narrators and settings, that jumps around in time. The short version is that it is a romance between Daniel, who is divorced and estranged from his children, and Claudette who is a former movie star who escaped to anonymity in rural Ireland. Yet it is a complex tapestry of the lives of their children, exes, friends, siblings, and parents. Each character has his or her own compelling story that leads to Daniel and Claudette. It did get rather confusing at points, and I'd have to stop and gather myself to remember who was who. But I loved threading the story lines together and seeing the full and beautiful picture come together in the end. This was lovely, and I can't wait to read all of her work. 

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
This was another audiobook and, though I am picky about audio, it was a perfect choice for listening. I love when books are read by the author, and you can hear the tears as well as laughter in Jahren's voice as she conveys her gorgeous prose. Not what I was expecting for a nonfiction work about a scientist. Alas, her use of plants as metaphor for the human experience is a wonder: from Sitka trees, cacti, creeping vines and moss. I feel as if I can relate to them all, and especially her sidekick Bill. Their dry humor and witty banter, from her point of view, is a delight and a beautiful tribute to their friendship. And, yes, I also learned about the struggles of the science community and about the science of plants. I really do feel the urge to plant a tree as soon as possible. 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
I picked up a signed copy of this one when visiting Parnassus books in Nashville, so it will always have a special place in my heart! It starts off with a terrible incident that rips the two main character's marriage apart and then goes into a slow burn of introspection on their relationship, family and upbringing as their lives diverge. Then the last third or so of the book builds to a near heart stopping conclusion. Seriously, I was so stressed to see how things would conclude between Roy and Celestial. It's an emotionally heavy story about the realities of love and marriage that had me absolutely captivated.


  1. Love the Vanderbeekers! I have American Marriage on my TBR pile and I'm a little nervous to start it.

    1. Oh definitely pick it up! It's worth the stress!

  2. I agree completely about Dark Money. I got 60% through before I had to get the audiobook returned, but I will get back to it. Like you, I thought it was all about the Kochs and have been shocked at all the other families and just how far they are going to get rid of government and keep more money. I grew up in Colorado but had NO idea about the Coors family. Makes me wish I hadn't drunk so much of their beer.

  3. Yeah, it was an eye opener- but not in a good way 😒