There was only one real stand-out in March, but it was the best book I have read so far this year: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson. This is a brilliant piece of non-fiction, covering the history of the famous 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak in London and the consequences that it eventually had for epidemiology, city sanitation and map-making, among other effects.
The "best of the rest" was definitely Vintage, a chilly coming-of-age story about a young man who encounters a ghost that cannot rest because it had unfinished business when it died.
7 of the 9 novels were romances and the two that weren’t, Vintage and The Wicca Man, have strong romantic elements. The latter also seems to be the beginning of an intriguing urban fantasy series, although I couldn’t find any sequels listed on the author’s website. 3 of the novels were of the supernatural/paranormal sub-genres, featuring ghosts, faeries, witches and vampires.
Finally, there were 4 rereads: Nora Roberts‘ Bride Quartet. I had a hankering after some Nora and decided to reread this series although I didn‘t hugely like it when I first read it. As occasionally happens when I give books a second chance, I liked them better than I did when I first read them, but still don‘t think they are close to being on par with Nora‘s best.
At the end of March the TBR challenge seemed to be doomed to failure. For it to work, I need to read five TBR books on average each month, and I had only finished a total of four at the end of March, putting me 11 books behind. For some reason I was reading loaners and library books more than books I own, but I have made up for it in April, with half the April books so far being TBR. I still haven't caught up with the number I "should" have finished (about 18 by this point), but 7 behind is better than 11 behind, and there are more than 8 months left of the year, so I'm not panicking yet.
As for my choice of books, I am taking it book-by-book and not planning ahead. I finish one book and immediately go to my TBR bookcase (I'm down to one at this point) and pick up another and read at least a couple of chapters before I take a break. I recently finished a big translation project that took up a lot of processing space in my brain and I find that now its finished, I have the energy to read more and faster.
The books were:
- Steve Berman: Vintage: A Ghost Story. Urban fantasy, ghost story.
- Ally Blue: Fireflies. Fantasy romance, M/M.
- Harper Fox: Life After Joe. M/M romance, contemporary.
- Eleanor Herman: Sex With Kings: Five hundred years of adultery, power, rivalry, and revenge. History.
- Steven Johnson: The Ghost Map: The story of London's most terrifying epidemic. History.
- Simon LeVay: When Science Goes Wrong. History, essays.
- Fiona Lowe: The Boomerang Bride. Contemporary romance.
- Nora Roberts: Vision in White. Contemporary
- Nora Roberts: Bed of Roses. Contemporary
- Nora Roberts: Savor the Moment. Contemporary
- Nora Roberts: Happy Ever After. Contemporary
- Emily Veinglory: The Wicca Man: Tongue-Tied. Urban fantasy.