Oh, March…you killed me.
I still did fairly well with my reading, but I honestly don’t know if I remember a single thing that I read! Haha! I mostly just laid on the couch in misery this month, I didn’t even have the brainpower to crack open the book. I managed 7 books, but the Urban Homesteading Cookbook was dumb and I didn’t actually read it.
Urban Homesteading Cookbook: I don’t really know what I thought this would be about, but it wasn’t what I thought at all. The person lived in the city and kept ducks in their studio apartment and learned to eat the weeds that grew in the park. I think I was looking more into a book that would give practical tips to how to raise chickens and can applesauce. I flipped through the pictures, but I didn’t actually read any of it.
However Tall the Mountain: This was an interesting story about a group of Afgan girls who formed a soccer team. While that sounds all la-ti-da to Americans, this is a HUGE deal for women in Afganistan. I found the book a little bit boring with no plot, but also very fascinating. I learned a lot about the Afgan culture and way of life. I was surprised to learn about how progressive Afganistan actually was before the Taliban took over. Overall, I really enjoyed the tidbits of knowledge I gained from this book!
However Long the Night: I think this book and the above book must have been on the library shelf next to each other. They both had similar titles and similar topics, but I enjoyed this one much more than the above. However Long the Night is a story about an American who makes her home in Senegal, and works with the Senegalese people to abolish the ritual of female genital mutilation. I think that having grown up in West Africa around customs and cultures so different from American ones really made this book fascinating for me. I also loved how the woman approached aid situations. Over and over again she reiterates that sooo many NGO’s go into impoverished communities with their ideas of how to make it right. Her approach was to instead approach the villagers, study their customs and ways of life, find out what they are doing really well and then ask them how they would like to improve, and give them the tools to initiate improvement themselves. I also loved the way that this book respectfully explained cultural practices and traditions. Most Americans would frown at the term “female genital mutilation” and shake their heads at how unfortunate it is that so many people don’t see the harm in such things. But the way it is explained the book shows how such customs are woven so deeply into the culture.
The Bridesmaids Manual: I picked this one up because I’m going to be a bridesmaid twice this summer! I know, I have already been married and I’ve already been in three weddings, so I should have this down by now. But I wanted to read a little bit of light reading that might give me some good tips. This book did not disappoint and I loved a lot of her tips and the history woven in. Did you know that bridesmaids were originally all married women who were expected to bring good luck and fertility to the bride? Check. And since I’ll be largely pregnant in both weddings: check. One thing I didn’t like about this book was the sexual undertones (at least once a chapter she referenced hooking up with the groomsmen or attractive cousin. #nothanks). I also found that she never once mentioned being a married bridesmaid. I wish she had included a little more advice and etiquette on that!
I’ll Stand By You: This was the cheesiest book I have read in a long time, and it was just what I needed. It is the kind of story that has two characters and you know from page 1 that these two characters are going to end up 100% in love with a fairy tale ending. And indeed, that was the case. It was cheesy and cute and made my heart a little happy, even if things like that don’t really happen in real life. I think sometimes we need to step out of our little lives and read something totally unrealistic because it can start a spark in your own life to achieve more and dream a little harder. So, yes…super cheesy, and I don’t necessarily recommend it, but I enjoyed the whole thing, from cover to cover.
And that’s it for March! What have you been reading lately? What is on your must-read list right now? How are your New Year’s resolutions going (one of mine was read at least three books a month)?