No, “dismals” is not a word—but it should be. This blog’s state of disrepair and my occasional meltdown-through-subtweet over at Twitter should be enough of an indication of how craptastic the last month was for reading. And for getting anything remotely related to soothing my inner self done. I feel like I haven’t had a substantial, quiet thought in weeks. Right. Anyway. I read a respectable number of books this month, but a majority of them were read either at the very start of the month—when I had more hope for the future—or read because they were deliberately diverting reads. Dammit. This is what I hate most about distracted reading—I don’t give the books the respect and the attention that they’re due. Sighs all around, people.
If we’re to be really look-at-the-bright-side about all of this: Every time I pick up a book and devote myself to it has become extra special. Stolen time, basically. I did read a lot of good books last month. I think I made sure I’d spend time with books I was very certain I’d enjoy. So there’s that. (I’ll figure out how to talk about all those books in the coming days or weeks. Because I have to. And, well, because they’re worth the energy.)
Anyway. I was gathering the books below for my usual end-of-the-month post re bookish acquisitions when I realized just how many books I’d amassed in March. I think I’d forgotten, if only because March seemed interminably long. At the start of March, for example, I ended a month-long accidental book ban. Halfway through the month, the P. and I ran around Metro Manila, in and out of Booksales—I got about ten books for cheap across four cities. And then as March faded away, I rewarded myself with more books—two of them, I’ve just read, and are very, very good. (Books bought vs books read, the perennial imbalance, no?)
I got a lot of books I’ve wanted for the longest time. I clasped Siri Hustvedt’s most recent novel when I saw it on the shelves, as I did Lorrie Moore’s latest collection of short stories. I built up my graphic novel collection with another Batman title—that I really needed to read, for continuity’s sake (she reasoned, lamely)—the first two titles of Azzarello’s Wonder Woman run and of Snyder’s American Vampire. The romance novels, old titles most of them, I picked up at steeply discounted prices. Sometimes, my Feels just need the company, yes? And. Picked up a good portion of classics, too. I can finally reread Wuthering Heights, for one, and more confidently proclaim that Jane Eyre is the best Brontë work (not that I haven’t already). I have no idea why I found it so hard to resist Walden, as I am not a nature-loving girl—but, well, I found this book at a time of great turmoil, and I figured Thoreau’s quiet reflection could serve as a balm. (We do what we must, right?)
Of the stacks above, I’ve read V.E. Schwab’s Vicious—it’s ridiculously diverting, very angsty-enjoyable. (And it’ll star in my Esquire column come June, so there.) Tessa Dare’s latest, Romancing the Duke, was an unexpected joy to start April with—but Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation devastated me so thoroughly, I still feel a tremor down my spine whenever I think of certain passages. This book absolutely wrecked me.
That’s a good note to start April with, I should think. Jinx, jinx, jinx.
Right. Hello, Internet, what did I miss?