A groovy month of beautiful books, my StoryGraph, and how to get out of your literary echo chamber.

In January’s Reading Roundup, I shared StoryGraph, an alternative to Goodreads that puts your reading into these colorful and interesting graphs and charts. Now that the first quarter has passed, I thought I’d share what mine looks like so far.

I love that my moods are varied, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the genres and fiction to non-fiction ratio develops throughout this year as well. If you decide to join, my handle is lanibearprincess. πŸ™‚

Are you on StoryGraph?


I spent most of the month reading West with the Night by Beryl Markham, a remarkable memoir by the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Specifically, “Markham [was] the first woman to cross the Atlantic east-to-west solo, and the first person to make it from England to North America non-stop from east to west.”

But her record breaking flight is a small part of the book. Most of it was her childhood and life in Kenya, learning to fly, and her time as a racehorse trainer. Along with Hemingway, I’ve got to agree and say her writing style is crushingly gorgeous, and her stories beyond amazing, they’re unreal.

Got to also love the fact that her ex- tried to claim her writing as his own and that “In 2004, National Geographic Adventure ranked it number 8 in a list of 100 best adventure books.” Oh, and did I mention how jealous Hemingway was of her writing? Hmmm, yeah.


The Great Alone is, not only an excellent title, but it’s the book that kept me up past my bedtime. I lost sleep and read it in what feels like record time. I chose it because after spending so much time in Africa with West with the Night, Alaska seemed like the next choice.

I had read The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah years ago and I remembered how much I loved it (by the way, the film comes out next year) so when I saw this one, I was both excited and hesitant. It’s like you read one great novel by an author, so surely they can’t hit another one out of the park, right? This would be her B-side, I figured.

Wrong.

It tells the story of the Allbright family from the point of view of 13 year old Leni and their move to nowhere’sville Alaska. And anything more is giving away the plot which I don’t like to do. In fact, one of life’s little pleasures is watching a series, movie, or cracking open a book and being surprised. Honestly, if I had knew what the story was about beforehand, I probably would have passed.


Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison is exactly just that — and for the most part, it was over my head. But reading over one’s head is a good thing, they say, and it’s the book that freed me from what I thought my WIP’s structure should be. In fact, soon after cracking it open, I was hit by that lightening bolt and restructured chapters. If you enjoy books on the craft of writing, I’d say this one’s pretty essential reading.


A Book Like Foo screenshot. Notice I added three books that I’ve enjoyed at the top and then book recommendations follows.

A Book Like Foo is an intelligent book recommendation and analysis platform — see above. It also claims to recommend books that help you “escape your literary echo chamber”, I entered the same books and was amused to see some of my favorite writers like Edgar Alan Poe and Agatha Christie recommended. So this, coupled with my StoryGraph makes me think that I do a good job reading wide. Yeaaa me!

Even though I have so many TBR books, I wanted to see what ABLF would suggest and experience how well the tastes match up, so I’m currently diving into one of them, and so far I’m quite pleased. I’ll let you know how it goes!

What did you read in March?

13 replies on “πŸ“š Reading Roundup: March 2021

  1. A Book Like Foo sounds like a fun platform – I’m definitely going to check it out. Despite having a long TBR – there are these lull moments where I don’t feel like picking something from my TBR – this app would be helpful to get through those phases.
    I read three books too – posted about them on my blog. Best read of the month – The Guest List by Lucy Foley. Have you read that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I haven’t read that one. Looks good, reminds me of A. Christie’s And Then There Were None. I’ll check it out for sure, thanks.

      And have fun with ABLF, it’s nice to get an AI generated list, right? Let me know how it works for you. πŸ˜€

      Like

  2. Noooooo, Lani!!!!!! I’m going to unsubscribe from this blog.
    Okay, who am I kidding? Of course I won’t.
    I love the A Book Like Foo website. BUT now, because of you introducing it to me, my ‘to read’ list will become inflated. Where will I find the time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ˜› You’ll find it. I know you will. Plus, I feel like no matter how big your TBR pile is, it really comes down to mood. What book are you in the mood for when you’ve finished one? So even though I had great books all ready, I decided to try A Book Like Foo and so far I am really enjoying the recommendation. xo

      Like

      1. I completely agree with you on books to suit specific moods. I’ve bookmarked the site, as I think it will be great to get recommendations based on books I enjoyed. So, thank you, Lani.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve read West with the Night too! Can’t recall who or what recommended it to me, but I’m glad I read it. It gave me life choice envy. Horse training to pilot? I now have a little trilogy – Out of Africa, West with the Night and Too Close to the Sun (about Denys Finch-Hatton, unread as yet).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heyyy, thanks for introducing me to To Close to the Sun. Looks really good.

      And I can’t believe you read West with the Night!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of mapping reading data, but suspect I’d get so tied up in analyzing (er, playing with) the data itself, I’d read less.

    Not much fiction for me in the last month; lots of books on fibre art and gardening.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow–so many good books! Yeah, I rarely read a craft book, these days, because it can mess with my head when writing my novel WIP, but that one is so different I felt like it just opened up so many more discussions about structure (rather than limiting). And that author is way smart; I think I’m probably due for a second read. As for the Hannah, book (and I’m excited to hear that they’re making a movie of The Nightingale) I liked it but it was an odd experience for me. Maybe because I “read” it as an audiobook, but I kept thinking it was ending…and then things got worse…and on and on. I psyched myself out that way like four times. Hannah’s new one looked good, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As strange as this sounds, Alison’s book felt particularly useful as a nonfiction writer. She cites heavily from both genres but it was the right book at the right time, as they say πŸ˜‰

      It has been ages since I read the Nightingale but I do remember loving it and her Great Alone did not disappoint. If anything, I feel like the latter one will stick with me longer… Thanks, Rebecca. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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