2024 Reading Challenge Update: March Winner and What You Read This Month!

March is over, and with the end of the month comes a new Reading Challenge winner!.Congratulations to Amanda Myron, whose name was drawn this month. Amanda is based at the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine, and will be receiving a Northeastern University Library finals week/end-of-semester care package.

And big congratulations to everyone else who read a book this month and told us about it. There are still nine more months of the Reading Challenge, so if you haven’t won yet, you still have time. For more chances to win, make sure to submit your reading to the Massachusetts Center for the Book, as well as the Northeastern University Library.

What You Read This Month

The theme for March was “a book whose protagonist has a different culture or lifestyle than you,” which opened up a lot of possibilities. Here are some of the stories you enjoyed this month:

Cover of Wandering Stars

Wandering Stars, Tommy Orange
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“Beautifully written and raw prose from multiple POVs dealing with important historical realities as well as contemporary issues faced by the Native American community. It is important to acknowledge the historical events in this book and the experience of people who lived through them. It was difficult reading because it was real and life is often difficult and messy but there is hope in the end of the book which is a testament to resilience.” — Carla

Cover of The Covenant of Water

The Covenant of Water, Abraham Verghese
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“I absolutely adore Abraham Verghese and was so excited when I learned he had another book coming out. It’s a long book but never felt like it was dragging. I loved it!” — Kerri

“This book makes you wonder about how big and small our lives are at the same time. It encapsulates the life of three generations of the same family set in a small town in Kerala and how the world changing around them is affecting them but also not at the same time…One of the best. Read it many times. Let it sink in.” — Anoushka

Cover of Shark Heart

Shark Heart: A Love Story, Emily Habeck
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“What a masterpiece of lyrical writing. The author presents us with layered characters with different issues and traumas that manage to find wholeness and joy throughout the painful process of life. — Priscila

Cover of Land of Milk and Honey

Land of Milk and Honey, C Pam Zhang
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“Engaging storyline, complex characters, thoughtful setting, and poetic writing. Poses a question to the reader of who they are, of where they’re from, and of what constitutes them.” — Harrison

Cover of The Island of Missing Trees

The Island of Missing Trees, Elif Shafak
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“I thought I was choosing a different culture by picking a book with a protagonist who is an immigrant from Cyprus living in London. Little did I know that the main protagonist of the book would be a fig tree. A truly insightful, deep, and intriguing read!” — Michal

Cover of The Country of the Blind

The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight, Andrew Leland
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“This memoir opened up an entire world for me, one that I was only vaguely aware of before delving into it. Leland’s account of losing his vision to retinitis pigmentosa and the incredible people he’s met on his journey towards becoming blind were at once moving and educational. Before reading this book, the thought of becoming blind myself would have terrified me. Now, I see that blindness is not something to mourn or fear, but rather a different way of being in the world that comes with its own joys and challenges. It’s a beginning, rather than an ending.” — Bianca

And What to Read in April

The theme for April is “a book about nature, the environment, or climate change.” which is perfectly on theme to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Here are some eco-friendly reads to help you get in touch with nature—even if you’re stuck studying for finals.

Birnam Wood, Eleanor Catton
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A guerrilla farming group in New Zealand takes on an American billionaire in this thriller (yes, a thriller about guerrilla farming!) that Stephen King calls “as good as it gets” and “a treat.”

Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World, Christian Cooper
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Christian Cooper unwittingly came to the public’s attention in May 2020, when a video went viral of a white dog owner calling the police on Cooper, a Black man, after he asked her to leash her dog. But beyond the Central Park incident, Christian Cooper is an avid bird watcher, a science writer and editor, and the first openly gay writer and editor at Marvel Comics. Cooper’s memoir explores the pleasures of nature, travel, and birds.

Yours for the Taking, Gabrielle Korn
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In the climate apocalypse of 2050, cities are in ruins, and the air is toxic. The privileged take refuge in climate-proof settlements, but Ava knows she won’t be among them—until she meets billionaire visionary Jacqueline Millender, who is building the newest climate-proof settlement in New York City. But as Ava and those around her bask in the newfound security of “Inside,” they begin to realize that something is very wrong, and Jacqueline might not be what she seems.

A City on Mars: Can We Settle Space, Should We Settle Space, and Have We Really Thought This Through?, Kelly Weinersmith
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“Wherever you are on this planet,” this book begins, “you’ve recently given some thought to leaving it.” Human colonization of Mars seems like an alluring option in the face of climate change, but as Kelly Weinersmith points out, we might not have really thought this through. A City on Mars looks at the facts of Martian colonization through a funny and approachable lens, with clever illustrations by the author’s husband.