The books I read in March 2021
The months are going by pretty fast and things have become worse instead of improving. In these crazy times, books have been my only solace. I wanted to write about the books I read in March 2021 a lot earlier than this. But with all the anxiety, I found it difficult to concentrate on my writing. But this is a resolution that I want to keep, so here are the books that I read in March.
1. The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo
I love reading mysteries! Though I have been leaning towards historical fiction of late, a quick whodunnit has always been my go-to genre when I need a change in my reading and Japanese mysteries are some of my favourites!
Sahei Inugami, the head of Inugami clan dies leaving his fortune behind him. What makes things complicated is the strange will that he has left behind. When his law firm gets to know of this strange will, one of the lawyers sends a cryptic letter to Detective Kendaichi foreseeing that all hell will break lose when the will is read out to the family. And as expected, things go bad – there are multiple murders committed. Each of the murders are committed in such bizarre ways that leaves everyone wondering who is behind these murders.
While finding out who the murderer is, Detective Kendaichi is forced to look back at the history of the Inugami clan- of how Sahei Inugami- an orphan grew up to be such a rich businessman. This unravels more secrets which the family members themselves were not aware of and some which Inugami’s daughters chose to keep secret.
If you are someone who likes a good mystery, who has liked reading Keigo Higashino’s books, The Inugami Curse is perfect for you. Set in the 1940’s in Japan, with huge estates, a strange will and all that family drama, it has all the elements to make it an interesting read.
I had a hunch about who the murderer could be, and it turned out right! But the point of murder mysteries is not just about the who- but the why and how are often more interesting! This book also made me read up about some interesting things about Japanese Culture. There is another book by the same author that is translated to English as “The Honjin Murders”. I hope to pick that up soon.
My rating : 4/5
2. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
Though I do not read a lot of non-fiction, I have a soft spot for memoirs because I like reading about or listening to people’s stories. I loved reading Becoming by Michelle Obama and when A Promised Land came out, I was a little intimidated by the size of the book and I almost decided not to read it because politics isn’t my cup of tea. But then when I got my shiny new Audible credit at the beginning of the year, I thought of making the best use of that one credit by picking a book that is long and that is why I ended up picking the Promised Land.
The book is Obama’s political memoir or rather a part of his political memoir because this is just part one and there is part 2. He speaks a little about his early life, the reason for his entry into politics and most importantly about what his experience was being the President of the United States of America.
The book is quite dense in its subject matter and you will definitely need an understanding of how the American political system works. There are mentions of events of important events around the world that happened during that time and Obama speaks of the various discussions and decisions that were taken and often the results or repercussions of those decisions.
What interested me more in the book was the human aspect of it rather than the political aspect. Barack Obama has been an inspiring leader but it takes a great human being to acknowledge ones mistakes. He does exactly that in this book. He speaks of Michelle’s role in his life and the times when he felt he wasn’t being fair to her and for his kids not having a totally normal childhood.
At 700+ pages or almost 30 hours, it is a rather long read. It took me over 2 months to finish it. I’d recommend listening to it on Audible because Obama is an amazing narrator.
Can I tell you something? I liked Becoming more than this book.
My rating : 4/5
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I haven’t read a lot of classic and of the ones I have read, there are only a few that I might read again. Little women is one of the first classics that I read and when I won a beautiful copy of it in a giveaway, I knew it was a sign that I must read it again.
If you haven’t read it already, Little Women is a story of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Each of the sisters have their own qualities that make them different from the others. But their differences often bring them together rather than away from each other. This is a heartwarming story!
From the fights between the sisters to making up their own stories and plays to missing having their father around, this book reminded me of some aspects of my own childhood. From the first time I read the book, I have always identified myself with Jo because I like how she does what she believes in and stands up for it.
If you haven’t read it, I suggest you read it again. If you have already read it, I’m sure you may also want to read it again. I found a modern retelling of the Little Women on Spotify and I enjoyed it. You can find it here.
My rating : 5/5
4. White Bird by R J Palacio
Wonder by R J Palacio is one of my all time favourite books. And I have also read quite a few World War 2 stories and I most definitely will end up reading more.
The two points above are why I picked White Bird!
White Bird is a graphic novel which is set as a conversation between a boy and his grandmother who narrates her life as a Jew in France during World War 2.
If you have read Wonder, you will know Julian. So this is Julian’s conversation with his grandmother. Julian has a school project for which he must talk to his grandmother about her life during World War2.
Julian’s grandmother was a little girl during German occupation of France. She had a comfortable life with her parents until the Germans occupied France and started treating Jews differently.
When Jews are being sent away to concentration camps, Julian’s grandmother escapes and is hidden because of the kindness of one of her classmates and his family.
The book beautifully reminds of the message that was the central theme of Wonder too – Be Kind.
This being a graphic novel is a quick read, but the message surely stays with you forever.
My rating : 5/5
5. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
After I read “Beartown” I knew I had to read this too! So I picked up for the books I read in March 2021 Us Against You is Beartown’s sequel. You can read my thoughts about Beartown here.
After all the events that have happened in Beartown, there is more disappointment for the people. Beartown which has always been a hockey town finds its hockey team disbanded after all that has happened. But Beartown can’t go without a hockey team. If the hockey team gets noticed, then there would be more funds and more funds would mean more development and more jobs in Beartown and without a hockey team, none of this would be possible. And so begins the quest to make a new team. But it isn’t so easy.
Us Against You continues the stories of each of the characters from where they were left of previously and introduces us to some new characters. And this book again is a beautiful because of the characters.
This book is a perfect sequel to “Beartown” and puts together everything so well. I’m not sure if there is a third book in the series. But if there is, I’m surely going to read it.
My rating : 5/5
6. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
I picked up a romance novel again and this time I liked what I picked! The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is an interesting book. Yes, it is a love story- but it is funny and serious and all in the right measure.
Tiffy is in search of a cheap place to live after breaking up with her boyfriend. Leon wants to make some extra cash and decides to share his flat and his bed with a stranger. Leon works night shifts so the other person can live there when he is on his shifts. For Tiffy who does not have a lot of money this seems like a perfect solution though her friends find the arrangement strange.
Leon and Tiffy are flatmates but they have never met. They communicate with each other through notes on post-its and soon begin to learn a lot more about each other.
But will they ever meet?
This book is a refreshing, light read. I loved the characters because they are so real! The main characters are different with each dealing with their own personal issues and all the drama of it adds to the beauty of this story. I found Tiffy’s character to be absolutely entertaining!
This is a quick read and I found it a welcome change after all the serious books about wars, deaths, and crimes that I read about.
Even if you aren’t a big fan of romance, I suggest you pick this up!
My rating : 4/5
March was a good month in terms of reading. And you can see that all of the books I read in March 2021 were either 4 or 5 star reads. April has been okay so far in terms of reading and I hope that continues.
The second wave of Covid-19 has hit us badly and I pray it goes away soon.
Stay home, stay safe and please take care!
What books have you been reading? Have you read any of these? Which is your favourite from this list of books I read in March 2021?
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