March Redux: focused

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

March saw me laser-focused on passing an accreditation at work (flying colours, take a bow) and enjoying the realisation that spring has sprung in spite of the odd snowstorm – birdsong, buds and lingering light all tell the tale of a fresh season. Will that mean a new leaf for me in terms of 2023 reading habits? Maybe. Maybe not.

Reading Round-up

The first half of March saw a rush of completed reads, which was a delight after the slow pace set through January and February. The penny dropped that I am only really making progress with audio reads and rereads, so maybe I’ll embrace that – all the audio in my future now that there’s enough light for evening walks in the woods! This may involve DNFing Babel, as it’s good but very dark academia, which… isn’t my jam. I know it’s not my jam. Guess what? Still not my jam.

However, I inhaled The Seawomen by Chloe Timms, a bleakly beautiful account of a wayward young woman raised in a deeply religious island community that drowns girls who don’t bear children in their appointed Mother Year. From its tantalising suggestions about the future of humanity to its handsome merman and tortured characters, this is a book that will rattle around in my memory for some time.

I recovered from the trauma with a reread (listen) of The Calculating Stars, which may not have hit quite the same highs second time around but remains an endearing tale. I’ve been meaning to continue with this series for a while, so I’ll be picking up the sequels in audio over the coming months.

My epic read-along of Kushiel’s Legacy concluded this month as I reached the end of Phèdre’s history, deeply grateful for the company of my buddy readers who carried me through the darkest moments. A second outing hasn’t changed my opinion of Kushiel’s Avatar – it’s much too long, with the second half of the book feeling like an extended epilogue after the drama of Daršanga – but I love these characters and their commitment to one another.

After that doorstop, I spent the second half of the month reading Subjective Chaos novella nominees. This year’s batch are excellent and my ratings deeply, deeply subjective. With three left to read (which I’ll aim to polish off in April), it feels like the field is wide open.

  • Kushiel’s Avatar – Jacqueline Carey ★★★★
  • Bite-size Reads:
    • Uncommon Charm – Emily Bergslien & Kat Weaver ★★★
    • One Arm Shorter Than The Other – Gigi Ganguly ★★★★
    • Rosebud – Paul Cornell ★★(★★)
    • Kid Wolf and Kraken Boy – Sam J Miller ★★★★★
  • Audio Reads

Additional Reviews

I unexpectedly snuck out a mini review this month. I know, I know, steady on. I’ve got another one in the works, but don’t hold your breath.

Stacking the shelves

With the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards nominees announced at the end of February, I have been getting my hands on my first round categories of choice (novellas and SF). I continue to be intrigued by the SF choices for Amazon First Reads each month although I’m not sure when I’ll get time to read House of Gold.

What’s coming up?

I’m looking forward to Easter and a long weekend. My plans continue to be very meatspace-focused – I’ll be cheering Wyrd and Wonder on from the sidelines this year as it looks like I’ll be doing a lot of long haul work travel in May, and I’m making no other blog-related plans.

How was your March?