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March 2021 - This month's reading

Hi there!

Can you believe we're three months through the year already? Seems insane! How have you been spending your year so far? Work? University? New hobbies? New friends? Any new restaurant recommendations? Have you been planning a far away holiday on Pinterest for when COVID is over?

Another month over means another month of reading down. I had quite a productive month overall. This is my fifth post on the blog for "March" which is about a post a week and which I am quietly super proud of myself for. Work for me has been ramping up as well and I'm now in week five of the semester at university. It's all happening! I managed to fit in quite a lot of reading despite my busy schedule and I got through some fantastic books:

'A diamond as big as the Ritz' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

'This side of Paradise' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

'The defining decade' - Dr. Meg Jay

'A court of thorns and roses' - Sarah J. Maas

'Sometimes madness is wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A marriage' - Kendall Taylor

I suppose you could say my reading this month was quite thematic... I've developed an even deeper obsession with the 20s and with F. Scott Fitzgerald in particular. After beginning with the biography on the marriage, life and work of both Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald I moved into his first published novel 'This side of Paradise' and then one of his most famous short stories 'A diamond as big as the Ritz'. Following this I delved into some study about what the twenties as an age group are all about, the usual hopes and mistakes shared by psychologist Dr. Meg Jay and developed from her experiences with clients.

To finish the month I began a new fantasy series recommended to me by a friend after the release of the fourth instalment earlier this year. Suffice to say, I think I'll be quite a fan of this series.

To begin - my rankings:

5 - 'This side of Paradise' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

4 - 'Sometimes madness is wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A marriage' - Kendall Taylor

3 - 'The defining decade' - Dr. Meg Jay

2 - 'A court of thorns and roses' - Sarah J. Maas

1 - 'A diamond as big as the Ritz' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

My reviews:

1 - 'This side of Paradise' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

The first novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald proved to be very different to what I had initially thought. Having read the biography I was ready to notice small details about his female protagonist Rosalind that reflected his wife Zelda as key points. What I found though was an interesting reflection on the boyhood youth of Scott and a startlingly honest reflection of how he viewed his time at Yale. Much of the story felt almost like an autobiography with slight adjustments.

The style flicked between writing for the theatre, letters, poems and regular narrative structure. I found this difficult to grasp but understood the choices (most of the time). It was like stepping into a time machine into such a decisive time. It's easy to see why this novel propelled Scott to stardom as one of the most influential writers of his era.

Overall : 7/10 - a simple, engaging story with all the memories of a forgotten time.

2 - 'Sometimes madness is wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald: A marriage' - Kendall Taylor

Out of all the books I read this month this one took me the longest. It wasn't just the size of the book but the density. There was more than one occasion where I had to pause to reflect on what I had just read. The majority of the book centres on the couples life throughout the 20s and their enormous influence on the era. But it also takes a step back and peels back the layer on their turbulent and at times quite horrific personal lives and the toll their lifestyle was taking on them.

Both having died so young and so tragically I was really moved by this book and it helped me to see a different perspective, especially on Zelda, who people so often forget.

Overall: 7/10 - a pleasurable but challenging read about my favourite 20s writer.

3 - ''The defining decade' - Dr. Meg Jay

I really enjoyed this book. It's a very "Rhiannon" thing to study for something natural like progressing to the next stage in your life but sometimes the preparation is the only thing keeping me sane.

The way this book was written felt very much like Dr. Jay was speaking to me directly, referencing all the fears in the back of my mind and possible pathways ahead. After reading I felt refreshed and a little less anxious which I suppose is the best way I could feel going into this next stage in my life. I'd happily recommend this book to any twenty-something-year-old who is feeling unsure or unhappy.

Overall: 8/10 - informative, clever and hilarious!

4- 'A court of thorns and roses' - Sarah J. Maas

Wow. This book did not disappoint. As a quiet fan of fantasy literature I have always had stand out favourites. There's 'Harry Potter' of course and 'Game of Thrones' and my earliest fantasy series 'the Mortal Instruments' but it's been a long while since I read something new from that category. This series is sure to excel to be a new favourite.

Centred around the High Fae faeries and the humans who despise them this book delicately intertwines romance, the battle for the fate of the human world and overcoming prejudice quite well. It has the copy paste theme in all young adult fantasy literature with a female protagonist who has a clear blonde love interest and another "tall, dark and handsome" man who she appears to hate but who will probably also become a love interest later.

This was an enjoyable read and I'm excited to finish the series.

Overall: 8/10 - fast, engaging and spicy!

5 - 'A diamond as big as the Ritz' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Despite being a fan of writing short stories, I don't find that I read enough of them. So, while getting my hair done over a few hours I thought I would give this short story a read on my phone. It sure didn't disappoint.

The plot is clever and engaging and is paced so well throughout. It's easy to see how Fitzgerald wrote as many short stories as he did and how well they all did.

I loved the look into young love in the 20s and how class played a role in Fitzgerald's perceptions of himself. As a writer who always tried to put himself and his views into each and every story I found this one to be a brilliant mix of entertaining, thrilling and informative of the views of the day.

Overall: 10/10 - Easy reading with an engaging plot and wonderful characters.

That's it for my March reading!

This month I also attended (my favourite) the Lifeline Book fair. After collecting a considerable number of new books I stopped by IKEA, bought a new bookshelf and expanded my "library" ever so slightly more. What do you think of the new set up?

Till next time,

Rhi xx

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