March 2017

Although March was a busy month for me, I still managed to chip away at my reading challenge and also read some highly rated books. The real gem of the month was My Name is Leon – I’m loving audiobooks at the moment! Here are my reads from March:

1.In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom – Yeonmi Park

After reading Nothing to Envy back at the end of last year, I was keen to widen my reading about North Korea. In Order to Live differs from Nothing to Envy in that it is just one account, as opposed to multiple accounts, and focuses on the escape from North Korea as much as it does life in the country. The part I found the most interesting was the middle section of the book about North Koreans in China, which I didn’t know much about previously. I didn’t give this book 5 stars as the authenticity of the account has been called into question, however I still enjoyed the book overall.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

2. The Good People – Hannah Kent

I’m really glad I read this book, as it was everything I wanted The Wonder by Emma Donoghue to be. Set in 1820s Northern Ireland, this historical fiction novel focuses on the intertwined lives of three women and their lives looking after a young boy, also involving some mythical elements and folklore, which is where the name ‘the good people’ comes from. I felt like the characters were frustrating and naïve in equal parts, but waiting for the story to unfold kept me hooked. I thought the story also called into question an interesting debate about reactions towards disability through the ages, which is an aspect I haven’t really come across before.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

3. Closed Casket – Sophie Hannah

After reading The Good People, which was quite a heavy novel, I decided to next go for something which would be a bit of a lighter read. Closed Casket is a modern mystery story including the famous Agatha Christie character, Hercule Poirot. The story, which is set around a murder which takes place at a country estate in Ireland, was undoubtedly page-turning, and the whodunit element did keep me guessing to the end. I felt like the characters were slightly caricature-ish, although I know this is how they would have appeared in the original books. For fans of Poirot, this is an enjoyable read.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

4.Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller

I am starting to pick up a few more paperbacks which have been popular over the last couple of years as opposed to just buying new releases or classics, so I decided to start Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller actually has a new novel out at the moment, but I wanted to read this first. The story begins in London, but the main body of the book takes place after the father of the main character, Peggy, uproots their life and moves them into a cabin in Germany, telling her the world has ended.  I found some of the twists in the book to be overly dramatic and unrealistic but I liked the unreliable narrator aspect and would be interested to read Fuller’s newest work.

Goodreads Rating: 3 stars

5.My Name is Leon – Kit de Waal

My audiobook for the month was My Name is Leon, narrated by Lenny Henry. I had heard so many good things about this book, and it did not disappoint. It is set in the 1980s, which I enjoyed in itself after loving the 1970s setting of The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, and is the story of a boy, Leon, his brother Jake and what happens to the boys after they are removed from their mother’s care. The book focuses on the flaws in the social care system, but I found it to be incredibly heart-warming as well as thought-provoking. Listening on audio also gave the book an extra dimension for me, as I loved Lenny Henry’s portrayal of the characters and their accents. FANTASTIC.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

6. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

My classic read of the month was All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel written about the lives of soldiers in the trenches during World War One, but written from the German perspective. As someone who hasn’t read much fiction set in wartime, this book has definitely sparked my interest in the way that it was a truthful and harrowing read, but gave a real insight into the lives of those on the front line, with messages about war which still ring true today.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Film, TV and Theatre:

Film – Beauty and the Beast – my trip to the cinema this month was to see the live-action remake of the Disney classic, and it did not disappoint. I loved the songs and the characters, and thought overall everything was done really well.

TV – Broadchurch – having already loved the first and second series of the show, Broadchurch has started again in March and is still as gripping as it has been in the past. I love the characters of Hardy and Miller, and although the series isn’t finished yet, I am truly gripped!

Theatre – Little Comets – not technically theatre but still a show I have seen this month, I went to see my favourite local band Little Comets play in Newcastle, and as always really enjoyed seeing them live and having a good dance!

Happy April Reading! Beth


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