March was definitely a month of reading. I was able to find a few unique reads that I had either never heard of or had been recommended many times. The common theme with the majority of the books I read is that these pieces of literature deal with or discuss serious issues like mental health. I really wanted to find books that would leave a lasting impact on me; that wasn’t just fluffy and forgettable, like most I have read. Over the years of reading, I have realized that some books just aren’t worth reading and that your time is precious so use it wisely.
Besides all that, I hope you will learn something or discover some new and intriguing reads for the future :).
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, was *a chef kiss. It was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it greatly! The novel is about a journalist named Monique who is interviewing the Old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, who is now an old woman. Evelyn Hugo was this sex symbol, bombshell actress of the 50s and 60s, who in many ways is a personification of figures such as Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor. As the title implies Evelyn was married seven times, which is an important theme of the story. The story does an excellent job of telling Evelyn Hugo’s life story and keeping you hooked on the story. Also, the twists in the plot were very well done and even left me surprised. Overall a solid 9/10.
A Little Life
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, was a book that I had been seeing all over. If you have heard of it you most likely would know that it is very sad, and dark. Sad and dark are words that understate this book. I personally would never recommend this book to anyone since it is very triggering and graphic to the point that it could cause some serious harm to somebody. Overall if you do feel that your mental state can take a book like this please read this as a further warning, it’s a lot worse than I thought it would be. If you have a trigger it’s most likely in this book. Some of the Tws include self harm, sexual abuse, physical abuse, grooming, and suicide.
The book revolves around four friends: Jude, JB, Malcolm, and Wilhelm, and their lives over the decades. The book though primarily focuses on the life and perspective of the character Jude, who is a disabled, intelligent man who struggles with the effects of the severe childhood trauma he experienced; which is described in the book with great graphic detail. A major theme of the book is how the people in Jude’s life are affected by Jude’s personal struggles which they cannot do anything about. The book does an excellent job of making you fall in love with the characters especially Jude which makes it even more painful when the book continues to destroy the characters. With that said the thing that I really liked about this book was how the author was able to depict the happy moments or the beautiful moments in the characters’ lives. An effective tragedy needs to have happy moments to make the ending more of a tragedy and this book really goes by that truth. While reading this book I felt like I was watching a person I really loved fall apart and hurt, and being unable to do reassure or comfort them. It really hurt. To be honest I was very surprised I didn’t cry though I was very close too. I rate this book 8.5/10. It would have been a ten if it hadn’t been for the painful reading experience. Don’t read this book!
The Bell Jar
The Bell Jar, by Slyvia Plath, was on my reading bucket list for a while, it most certainly did not disappoint. Definitely, this book does have some trigger warnings(suicide, depression, racism, etc), which is important to note. The book is about a young woman named Esther Greenwood who is living in New York as a guest editor for a short period of time. Esther’s mental health deteriorates throughout the timeline of the story, and though she is supposed to be having the time of her life her emotional state states otherwise. This novel captivated and drew me in almost immediately. Plath does an excellent job of using the first-person narration style, and in many moments I felt like I was really in Esther Greenwood’s head, which made her story even more relatable. I highly recommend this book and rate it 9/10.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde, was another book that had been on my bucket list for a while. It most certainly did not disappoint, and I will forever call it a genius novel. The novel itself is about a beautiful young man named Dorian Gray who gets his portrait painted by the artist Basil Hallward. Basil introduces Dorian to Lord Henry who is a very worldly figure. Lord Henry influences Dorian to begin living his life in the indulgence of pleasure or sin. Dorian begins to wish that the marks of age would instead appear on is a portrait and not his physical appearance. This becomes a reality for Dorian. The worst and more corrupt Dorian’s character becomes is reflected in his portrait along with his actual age, which he realizes is a curse in actuality. This novel is beautifully written, and you really are able to experience the inner turmoil of Dorian’s character. The novel, in my opinion, is an excellent allegory of the mainstream, beauty culture today which has an emphasis on looking young and focusing on one’s appearance, often to a point of neglecting one’s inner character. This novel is a 9.5/10 in my opinion.
Though the reading list for March is quite short(I do have the excuse that A Little Life was over 700 pages long), it was a solid one from not reading for two months. Hopefully, April will be an even more successful month of reading but let’s see. I hope you guys find something new to read in this post.