Happy April! Has spring hit your neck of the woods yet?
We have exactly two daffodils blooming, but the high for today is 74 degrees F, so I have some hope in my heart.
Definitely need to rake those leaves…
On to the books!
What Shannon Read in March
Very little. I read very little in March. I was hit by a terrible reading slump and managed only four books, including two comforting re-reads. What else is one to do during a slump but embrace what one knows?
Why am I talking like an English person from a past century?
I don’t know. I’m all off today.
Here are some notes on the four books I did manage to read.
Touching the Wild: Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch
Joe Hutto is one of my favorite nature writers. I first discovered him when I came across Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season with the Wild Turkey.
After reading that, I became obsessed with spotting wild turkeys on the roadsides wherever we drove. (I was often successful too, since they tend to hang out at the edges of fields along roadsides.)
But this book is about Hutto’s befriending and observing a herd of mule deer who live in the mountains in northern Wyoming.
He names all the deer and tells their individual stories. Some are fun and interesting and others are sad because living in the wild as a prey animal is, of course, inherently dangerous.
King of Wrath
This is the dumbest book I’ve read in a long time. I blame TikTok. I started following this creator who does cute little skits about reading, but all she reads is romance.
I thought, why not. I’ll try a genre I’ve given up on before. Maybe there’s something new and interesting out there that will hold my attention.
Well, maybe there is, but this wasn’t it. This is just poorly written smut. There’s no art to it at all.
I did discover that this is part of the “arranged marriage” sub-genre of romance. I did not know that was a thing. Now I know.
And I’m not judging, by the way—if this is your brand, please enjoy. 🙂 It’s definitely not for me.
The Salt Path
In other news, I finally got around to reading The Salt Path, which was both heartwrenching and delightful at turns.
This is Raynor Winn’s memoir of walking the South West Coast Path in England, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
One of the reasons Raynor and her husband Moth decide to walk the path is that they’ve just lost their house and income due to a bad business deal with a lifelong friend. In addition, Moth has been diagnosed with a terminal illness that is slowly stealing his ability to move.
They decide to strike out and walk the path while they still can. It turns out to be emotionally and physically illuminating as they learn about themselves and the wilderness—and even Moth’s stiffness seems to abate due to the constant movement.
It’s a wonderful story. Highly recommend.
Elizabeth and Her German Garden
If you know me and my reading life at all, you know I’m going to re-read this book every spring.
This is Elizabeth von Arnim’s highly autobiographical novel about creating a garden in Germany. She is a native Brit, but lives in Germany with her husband, “the man of wroth,” as she calls him, and their three small children.
Elizabeth loves the land around their stately home and much of the book is a diary of her plans, enjoyment of, and interaction with her beautiful and varied gardens.
I feel like that makes the book sound like there is no action, but there is!
We hear about the man of wroth, the children and motherhood, and Elizabeth’s interactions with her friends and guests. She is a wry observer and many of the episodes are humorous.
It’s a wonderful book and a perfect read for spring.
And that’s it for March! Wish me luck getting out of this stupid reading slump for April.
I have a feeling that re-reads and audiobooks will be my salvation per usual.
Happy spring to you!