I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe?
Today’s post is my March wrap up talking about the books I’ve read this past month.
I was quite proud of my reading amount this month as I managed to get through one very long book!
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This is the first book in Maya Angelou’s autobiographical series. It tells of the life of Maya and her brother, Bailey, as they are sent to live in a small Southern town with their grandma. At the age of eight, whilst visiting her mother in St.Louis, Maya is raped by her mother’s boyfriend. This first book really focuses on Maya navigating that trauma at such a young age as well as the politics of the south.
I had always known that Maya Angelou was an incredible woman. I had read snippets about her life. But reading her autobiography really opened my eyes to how traumatic and difficult her early years were. She seemed even more incredible to me after reading because she managed to persevere and carry on, and that’s really shown in this book; her resilience. The book addresses racism, politics of the south, rape, sexual abuse, navigating youth, education, and family relationships. It is honest, poignant and a must-read for all. I’m just ashamed that it’s taken me this long to read it!
And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
This is a collection of poems celebrting the courage of the human spirit as it overcomes the hardest obstacles. This book is full of inspirational poems that will make you believe in the goodness of humanity, whilst simulanteously showcasing the horrors of humanity. It encourages women to overcome hardship, to show courage, and to reach new heights of success regardless of what society may throw at them.
I admired Maya Angelou even more after reading this collection. It reminded me of my English teacher at secondary school who had always read “Phenomenal Woman” (a poem in the collection) to us. As I studied at an all-girls school, back then I probably didn’t realise its importance or what lessons she was trying to teach us. But now reading that poem ten years later, I completely get it. I would definitely recommend watching Maya Angelou read some of her poetry – you can find lots of videos on Youtube!
The Sittaford Mystery by Agatha Christie
Set in a remote house in the middle of Dartmoor, six people are huddled around a table ready for a séance. Tension rises as the “spirit” communicates a chilling message to them, telling them all that Captain Trevelyan has been murdered. Unsure whether it’s a trick or not, they must venture six miles over to his house struggling through the snow. What will they discover?
This is a fast-paced mystery with lots of red herrings (as is very common in Agatha Christie books). The mysterious and foggy setting of Dartmoor in winter is absolutely perfect. Though I was always trying to guess whodunnit, I couldn’t seem to put my finger on it. This is a classic example of how Agatha Christie often gets her audience to question every character besides the most obvious culprit (who it turns out to be!)
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie
There’s a serial killer on the loose… His signature style being that of leaving the ABC Railway Guide besides the body of his victims and sending mysterious letters to Hercule Poirot. A is for Alice Asher bludgeoned to death in Andover. B is for Betty Barnard strangled in Bexhill. So what will C be for? And can Poirot get there before it’s too late?
This book is a lot more complex in plot compared to The Sittaford Mystery. It almost seemed like there were several plots intertwining throughout this book. Agatha Christie held my attention entirely in the two days it took me to listen to this audiobook. I haven’t read any other Poirot books but I have heard that this one is a little bit different to the rest. The Queen of Mystery does it again!
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
A whopping 850 pages, this book took me the whole month to read (whilst reading other books at the same time). The Pickwick Papers is Dickens’ first novel and the novel that sent him to dizzying heights of fame. Readers are able to follow the lives and many adventures of Mr Pickwick, Tupman, Winkle, Snodgrass, Sam Weller and Job Trotter from Rochester to London, a manor farm to a local election.
Charles Dickens’ characterisation continues to astound me – he has such a specific way of naming characters that I now refer to other characters in books as a “very Dickens character”. They all have wacky names and exuberant personalities. Reaching the last page honestly felt like I’d been on such a journey and I actually felt quite emotional. So many characters, so many varied scenes that it does get quite complex at times. The book did start off quite slow for me in the beginning (but I think I’m going to attribute that to the size of the book and how daunting it is!)
Books I’m Still Reading
I am still currently working my way through How to Fail by Elizabeth Day and Dickens’ Women by Miriam Margoyles and Sonia Fraser.
What did you read this past month?
Thanks for reading!
Love, Zoë xx