Last month was actually a productive reading month for me (considering how busy I’ve been), despite having read two of the five books on my TBR. (I intend to finish the others this month.)
For my March 2017 TBR, I’m hoping to take things slower than usual with some smaller reads this time around.
From a book inspired by one author’s encounter with a natural disaster to another’s examination of our human appetite and brutality, you can say my March reading list takes a turn for the tragic.
Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward
Synopsis: A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn’t show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; she’s fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull’s new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.
Thoughts: It only took one book for me to put full, complete trust in Jesmyn Ward‘s writing. I don’t even need to explain why she’s on my list, but I will anyway. Ward is a sage and after reading Sing, Unburied, Sing (due out this fall) I don’t even think there will be another book comparable to the experience I felt in that book.
With that being said, I plan to read every book she’s published, continuing with Salvage the Bones. Aaaand the reviews I’ve read so far state this book has an extraordinarily grim opening, which is so me. I am biting my nails with excitement ’cause I can’t wait!
The Vegetarian, Han Kang
Synopsis: Before the nightmares began, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary, controlled life. But the dreams—invasive images of blood and brutality—torture her, driving Yeong-hye to purge her mind and renounce eating meat altogether. It’s a small act of independence, but it interrupts her marriage and sets into motion an increasingly grotesque chain of events at home. As her husband, her brother-in-law and sister each fight to reassert their control, Yeong-hye obsessively defends the choice that’s become sacred to her. Soon their attempts turn desperate, subjecting first her mind, and then her body, to ever more intrusive and perverse violations, sending Yeong-hye spiraling into a dangerous, bizarre estrangement, not only from those closest to her, but also from herself.
Thoughts: I’ve heard goods things about Kang’s work, and I purchased both The Vegetarian as well as her follow-up novel, Human Acts, just because I wanted to see what all the hype was about. The Vetegarian is a bit gruesome from what I’ve read already—a tad macabre, much like the others on my list.
Gutshot, Amelia Gray
Synopsis: A woman creeps through the ductwork of a quiet home. A medical procedure reveals an object of worship. A carnivorous reptile divides and cauterizes a town. Amelia Gray‘s curio cabinet expands in Gutshot, where isolation and coupling are pushed to their dark and outrageous edges. A master of the macabre, Gray’s work is not for the faint of heart or gut: lick at your own risk.
Thoughts: I picked up Gutshot over a year ago, and I’ve yet to read more than a few stories from it before shelving it. However, the one I do remember reading was quite strange and scary. And since I’ve developed a thing for the strange and scary lately, I know Gray’s work will fit right in.
McGlue, Ottessa Moshfegh
Synopsis: Salem, Massachusetts, 1851: McGlue is in the hold, still too drunk to be sure of name or situation or orientation—he may have killed a man. That man may have been his best friend. Intolerable memory accompanies sobriety. A-sail on the high seas of literary tradition, Ottessa Moshfegh gives us a nasty heartless blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.
Thoughts: I chose Moshfegh’s story collection Homesick for Another Planet as my BOTM pick back in January, though I haven’t had much time to read it as initially planned. So I thought I’d take an steadier introduction to her work with something short—McGlue, I’ve heard, is rife with vomit-inducing subject material. But for whatever reason, that only strengthens my appeal.
Have you read any of the books on this list?!
Tell us which books you’re most looking forward to reading in the comments below!
Be sure to keep up with the Paperback Paris Team’s monthly TBRs!