Monday, April 6, 2020

Wrap-Up: March 2020

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March Snapshots

1. Feel free to skip this section because it’s depressing. Like other responsible humans, I spent most of March doing the social distancing thing. I haven’t gone to a store or left my neighborhood since March 17. My job situation is confusing. Am I going back to my old job? Am I getting a new one? If I’m going back, when is that happening? I WISH SOMEONE COULD TELL ME THESE THINGS! I spent March doing yoga, meditating, walking the dog, and trying to be very chill about my precarious future.

2. Another year closer to death. It was my birthday in March! I had Chinese food, chocolate cake, and social isolation. It was actually pretty awesome because I’m antisocial and lazy. I spent my birthday eating food and reading Sherlock Holmes. That’s an ideal birthday for me.

3. Furiously pretending to stop the spread of disease. We taught baby Brooklyn how to wash her hands. We’ve been washing her hands so often that she starts rubbing her hands together whenever she hears the sink turn on. I’ll be doing dishes, and she’ll be standing next to me, pretending to wash her hands. It’s hilarious and kind of weird. Are one year olds supposed to start furiously rubbing their hands every time they hear water? The hand washing is bizarrely successful, but babies don’t understand why they’re washing their hands, so this also happened:

4. I’d like to speak to the government’s manager. I live with my sister, who works at a gun store. When Colorado got its stay-the-heck-inside order, I thought my sister’s store would be closed for sure. But, nope. The government decided that guns are “essential items,” and she’s an “essential employee.” Her store is going to stay open during the virus. Since people love guns, and pretty much everything else is closed, her store has been packed every single day. Part of me is thrilled that she’s still getting a paycheck because so many people aren’t, but also . . . REALLY? We’re putting my family’s health at risk because people can’t wait until after the pandemic to buy guns? It turns out that guns (and marijuana) are so essential to the state that they’re on the Critical (critical) Retail list twice. I’m laughing really hard right now, but I kind of hate this place.

5. I did a thing to make myself feel better. I’m having a hard time accepting the fact that I’m not a superhero who can stop a virus. To trick myself into feeling like I’m helping, I wrote a blog post about new book releases that are being impacted by Coronavirus. If you want to grow your TBR, please consider picking up one of the books in that post.

Wayward Googlers

Here are a few amusing Google searches that led people to Read All The Things! last month. I’m sorry to the unfortunate souls who ended up here instead of finding what they were Googling for.

“All stuff to read.” This Googler isn’t actually wayward! “All stuff to read” is exactly what this blog is about.
“Buy Amazon reviews.” I don’t know much about Amazon’s review policy, but this seems naughty.
“lesbian ships.” Okay, I realize this person is probably looking for romance novel recommendations, but when I saw this search, the only thing that popped into my head was a fleet of spaceships full of lesbians. Someone needs to write that story.

Books I Read

Since I’ve been stuck in the house since March 17, I’ve read a lot. I read over 1000 pages of Sherlock Holmes! Altogether, I finished 9 grown-up books and 6 baby books.

Grown-Up Books

Son by Lois Lowry: I enjoyed being back in Lois Lowry’s bizarre Giver universe, but I think this book is my least favorite in the quartet. It has some major pacing issues.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio: I didn’t know enough about the characters to believe their actions. I loved the setting and plot, though.

A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle: I finally know how Sherlock and Watson met and became partners! (This is why you should read series in order.) This mystery is full of twists but is also very disjointed. Definitely not my favorite Sherlock story.

The Sign Of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle: So much racism but more action-packed than the first Sherlock book. It has a missing treasure chest, a boat chase, and a very random love story.

The Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: I finally read the story where Sherlock dies! Well, “dies.” I thought it would be more dramatic. I was a little disappointed in that story, but I liked the rest, especially the one about the missing racehorse.

The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle: Best Sherlock book! Atmospheric and unpredictable. A creepy setting, a supernatural mystery, big twists, everything you could want in a mystery.

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: Surprise, Sherlock isn’t dead! What a happy development. I’m impressed that the author could write so many short stories without them feeling repetitive. There was only one story that I found predictable.

The Valley Of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle: That ending? OMG, people. I did not see that coming. The middle of the book drags, but the beginning and ending are excellent.

His Last Bow by Arthur Conan Doyle: Watson describes the stories in this collection as “grotesque.” I’d agree with that. I like that many of the tales are darker and grittier than the average Sherlock story.

Baby Books

Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman: Bright illustrations and simple words. I loved this book as a kid, and baby Brooklyn loves it, too.

Pout-Pout Fish: Easter Surprise by Deborah Diesen: It teaches kids to help others, but the book is not preachy about it. There are a lot of words on each page, so Brooklyn got squirmy.

Potty by Leslie Patricelli: I have an immature sense of humor, so me and Brooklyn both liked this one. Funny illustrations teach kids about using the toilet.

My First I See You: A Mirror Book by Eric Carle: I found this book forgettable and kind of meaningless, but Brooklyn loves it because there are mirrors on every page. She’s an itty bitty narcissist who likes looking at herself.

Never Touch A Monster by Rosie Greening: Our biggest reading success! Clever rhymes and silly monsters with rubbery textures for kids to pet. A book that is entertaining for adults and kids.

Open The Barn Door . . . by Christopher Santoro: One of Brooklyn’s favorite books. We have read it approximately a billion times. The story is tedious for adults, but Brooklyn loves lifting the flaps to see which animal is hiding.

Best Book Of March

Most-Viewed March Blog Posts

March Bestsellers

Here are the books that people bought on Amazon or Book Depository last month after seeing them on Read All The Things! (Don’t worry, the link-tracking robots only tell me which books people are buying, not who is buying them. That would be creepy.)

All The Things!

Number of unread books on my TBR shelf = 59 books

I’m currently reading = Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

What did you do in March?


  1. When I was reading about Brooklyn and the hand washing, all I could think was Pavlov's dog. She is now conditioned. Good job! I saw an article about how they were worried, that if they closed liquor stores, they would have too many people in withdrawal. As for the marijuana shops, it's probably because of its medicinal uses, but guns, I got nothing.

  2. We're kind of in a similar work situation, being between jobs. It's weird to see everyone else working from home and I'm basically on an extended vacay! I also thought it was odd that gun stores are considered essential, even here in NJ, but I guess marijuana I can understand.

  3. Gun stores staying open is such a weird choice, not to mention a big concerning - I saw all the tweets about people packing up on guns to "protect themselves" which is like, wow. Maybe that should be stopped, not encouraged? 😅 I'm sorry your sister has to deal with that.

    I agree with you about If We Were Villains - the setting and atmosphere were nice, but I simply didn't care about the characters all that much. And the ending/twist was hyped up the end - at the beginning, the detective AND MC both said they still didn't understand what happened - but it was super straight forward and easy to guess. Eh, I expected more.

    Hope your April is going well! :)

  4. March was kind of crazy, as I had to figure out ways to do things without social contact--it's still going a mile a minute. I'm ready for a long paddle in the wilderness. I do find the gun stores being essential kind of weird, but not sure what isn't essential. After all, at least here, you can get groceries, hardware, liquor, bicycle parts, what more could one want?

  5. Happy birthday! Nevada is also keeping guns and marijuana open! Our dispensaries are delivery-only though because so many people crowded into lines after most other things shut down. I agree with you about Villains, it was an entertaining plot but the characters felt very thin.

  6. I sort of feel like that dog with the fire raging around him! Eating food and either reading or watching TV sounds like a good day any day for me! Why do people need to buy another pile of guns right now? Utilities are still on, food is still being produced, there is no mass looting and everyone is they plan to shoot the virus??? Weird. I hope your sister stays safe.

  7. I can relate to that gif so much! I work in a school and spent most of March trying to carry on doing my job while avoiding contact with hundreds of germy teenagers (impossible). Schools closed on the 20th March and since then I've been working from home and doing lots of arts and crafts with my daughter, which has been lovely.

    Happy belated birthday! Reading Sherlock does sound like a great way to spend it, though. My 4-year-old's hands were bright red and sore from all the washing so we had to get her some dermol emollient cream. She doesn't understand what's going on either, she's just thrilled to have us both at home all day.

    How strange that guns are classed as an essential item. I mean, we've survived without them for decades in the UK. *shrug*

    I hope you have a great month and that you and your family stay well. Take care!

  8. Kids are funny. I can remember when my girls would do things like lick the appliances but at least she has washing her hands down. I don't understand how they decide which companies are essential. I wouldn't put gun stores in that category at all. I hope your sister is able to stay safe. I also hope that you find out what is going on with your job situation soon. At least the social isolation is good for getting some more reading in. I hope you stay safe and have a wonderful April!

  9. Haha love that you included the googling section in this!! Happy belated birthday! I hope you're doing well!

  10. Okay, that's hilarious about Brooklyn fake washing her hands when she hears water. Oh, the things these kids are going to find normal for a bit. Happy Belated Birthday! I'm glad it was essentially how you'd like to spend your birthday. I haven't really gone anywhere for half the month of March either, ever since I started working from home. I definitely need to do better with being active though. I used to have two dance classes a week that would get me moving, so without those, it's tough to find motivation. Just gotta start out slow I guess. Something is better than nothing, right?

    That's crazy your sister still has to work - I'm sorry the store has been so packed too. I hope she stays safe and healthy!


  11. I totally agree with you on the weirdness of gun shops being considered essential. People, you realize this is a virus, right? You can't shoot it!

    I guess everyone gets all freaked out that a pandemic is going to cause looting or mobs or something, but that doesn't really make a lot of sense. If people are afraid of a virus, mobs are not their best choice. I guess logic isn't really ruling right now.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  12. It's great to hear that you had a good birthday. It is strange that gun shops are considered essential. I'm glad that your sister has a job, but the traffic to the store sounds worrisome! It's cute how Brooklyn fake washes her hands when she hears water. Social distancing has been rough. I haven't done as much reading and writing as I thought I would have, but I'm working through things and starting to find momentum again.

  13. Happy belated birthday! Eating food and reading Sherlock Holmes sounds like a fab day to me! Sending you positive vibes for April! ��

  14. Happy birthday! Glad you're safe & well!

    Side note: WTF is wrong with your country?! Like, your gun issues... wow. Just wow.

    Re: lesbian ships. I immediately thought of F/F pirate romances, even though I've never read them, I know that they are most def. a thing! Lol.

  15. Happy belated birthday! And there's some really great books that you read! I read Every Heart a Doorway and loved it, and I want to read If We Were Villains. Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

  16. I'm happy that you were able to enjoy your birthday! I don't understand the gun thing either, but I know the marijuana is medical. I also haven't stepped inside a store since March 13, which was also the last day of school for the year here.