March 2024 Books – Part 2

March has been a more stressful and crazier month so I have been less into the books as I wish.

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Read by the author. This was delightful. White did not have the polish of a professional voice actor. Instead, it felt like a father or grandfather reading a story to his kids. Lovely. A good reread. I remember the last time I read this I was a kid as well.

Setting: Probably Maine, USA.

1.0x. March 1-6, 2024.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Wawaguchi

I read this in two sittings. I started it at a Silent Book Club event. It was the first time I’ve read that much prose in a loud bar. This was a nice little novel. It was lighthearted but had some emotional stakes. I did find myself a little interested in the characters, but I wish there was more character work in general. The prose would move between past and present, background and foreground, a lot. I think I prefer What You are Looking For in the Library more as it connected the stories a little better. There are three more sequels to this coffee series. I am not discounting reading the next one, but not anytime soon.

Setting: Tokyo, Japan.

March 4-9, 2024.

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Alison Steadman. I liked The Flatshare and have a couple of other Beth O’Leary books from a little library. On a thread in the Reading Glasses Slack, others recommended The Switch as well. This novel focused on a grandmother (Eileen) and granddaughter (Leena) switching their homes for two months, one in rural Yorkshire and another in London. Leena’s story had grief and emotional stakes which seems to be a trademark of O’Leary’s protagonists. If it was just Leena in the standard hallmark plot of woman goes back to small town and meets local hunk who has a small child then I would not have finished this book at all. Thankfully Eileen and the actor Alison Steadman (who was Mrs Bennett in the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice”) made this better. I enjoyed reading about a 79 year old woman living in London for the first time and being a wholesome busybody. Unlike The Flatshare though, the romantic male leads for Leena and Eileen were not as developed. Something I liked about The Flatshare that set it apart from a lot of contemporary romances was that the male lead was developed and not a romantic novel trope. All in all, not a bad listen over the week.

Setting: England.

1.25x-1.5x. March 5-9, 2024.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

I thought this graphic novel would be cozier with baking on the cover. It was more of a fantasy coming of age adventure story with a strong inclusive romance. The art and one of the characters reminded me of an old friend of mine. Overall, I felt it lacked a little something by the end. Still cute though.

Setting: Fantasy.

March 10, 2024.

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