3 books about found family

Plus highly anticipated March books and Bridgerton merch

Hey, readers!

After a February reading slump, I’m feeling great after the first week of March. That is entirely due to the fact that this week I read a book in a single day. There is nothing that makes me feel more like a reader and remember my love of reading than devouring a book in a couple of sittings. Some other habits that have helped me get back into my reading groove are making time to read a bit in the morning (even if it’s just 20 minutes) and making sure I have an engaging audiobook downloaded on my phone.

These are simple things but they make such a difference! If I read early in the day, I’m much more likely to pick my book back up again later. And if I don’t, that’s okay! At least I already got a few pages in. And having a truly unputdownable audiobook reminds me of all the times I can be listening to a book in a typical day: walks, chores, showers, etc. Hopefully these two small adjustments and the momentum from my single-day read will make for a very readerly month!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. I’d had several false starts with this book last year, but when I finally picked it up at the right time, I adored it. This book follows a lonely, rule-follower named Linus who’s sent to inspect an orphanage for exceptionally dangerous magical children. Of course the children open Linus’s mind and heart and it’s just a delightfully hopeful story of redemption and found family. I listened to this one on audio and while the narrator is pretty intense, I enjoyed all of the voices for truly engaging me. Amazon | Bookshop

  • People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry (out May 11). This is the book that finally broke my reading slump. It’s not short, but I read it in a single day because I was so wrapped up in the characters. The novel is about two long-time friends, Poppy and Alex, who have take yearly summer vacations together for the last decade—that is until something happens on their most recent trip that leads to them not speaking for nearly two years. When Poppy decides she needs Alex back in her life, she plans a spontaneous summer trip with the intention of restoring their friendship to its former state. The book alternates between this summer’s vacation in Palm Springs and previous trips. I loved the way this kept me turning the pages and the way it revealed how Poppy and Alex’s relationship changed and evolved over the years. I just really enjoyed this! I think if you liked Henry’s last romance Beach Read you’re going to want to preorder this one so you can devour it as soon as it comes out! Preorder on Amazon | Preorder on Bookshop

Now I’m reading…

  • Infinite Country by Patricia Engel. I’ve heard rave reviews about this one and, while I’m only a few pages in, the writing is stunning and I think this is going to be an incredible read. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology by Jess Zimmerman (out March 9). I love books that look at the ways myths serve as archetypes for our lives and the way this book looks at mythological monsters is fascinating. It’s more memoir-driven than I was expecting, which I’m not sure about, but I’m still planning to finish. Preorder on Amazon | Preorder on Bookshop

3 books about found family.

I really adored the comfort of reading The House in the Cerulean Sea because of the sweet message about found family. Here are three additional comforting stories of friends who become family.

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. For a magical found family that includes a misunderstood with, a teeny tiny dragon, a swamp monster, and a magical little girl. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend. For a wonderful group of whimsical friends who live in a wondrous hotel you’ll be desperate to visit. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Barduga. For a rag-tag group of kindhearted criminals who take care of each other through it all. Amazon | Bookshop

Links I love.

This list of books to read for Women’s History Month is fantastic and incredibly diverse.

There are a lot of amazing books coming out in March.

This Michael Harriot article is the best thing I’ve read on the racist depictions in Dr. Seuss and why what we read in childhood matters.

20 queer books in translation.

One year into this pandemic, I found comfort in revisiting this wonderful article about what Jane Austen’s novels can teach us about staying home.

18 books that capture the essence of Washington, D.C.

I keep telling myself that I really don’t need any Bridgerton merch, but I still have this tab bookmarked in my browser.

I was fascinated by Leigh Stein’s thoughts on motivational—almost spiritual—Instagram influencers.

End notes.

Watching: The Good Lord Bird. This show about John Brown based on James McBride’s National Book Award-winning novel is intense, but funny. It really makes me want to read the book!

Listening: We’d been watching WandaVision and enjoying it but also finding it less than satisfying. Listening to the Chris and Andy of The Watch share their thoughts on the show helped me put my finger on what was lacking for me as a viewer.

Making: Milk Street’s Instant Pot refried beans are so simple and shockingly delicious. You can access the recipe for free by signing up for their email list.

Loving: Our warming weather! Winter is definitely not over here, but we’re having a brief taste of spring. That means we’ve gotten to go for longer walks and, super excitingly, see some friends for distanced backyard visits. The warming weather also means I’ve gotten to break out some of my new spring clothes like these comfy thin mom jeans and my insanely comfortable new Birdies sneakers.

Readers, I hope you’re feeling like your best reading self this week. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!


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