My February Reading Wrap-Up

Farewell February!  It was a sad, tragic month, but with moments of inspiration. I read great books this month – February is perfect for slowing down and sitting by the fire with a book and a cat on your lap.  It should have been the coldest month of winter – except that it wasn’t.  We had 60 and 70 degree days this month, which I would have loved if it wasn’t sort of creepy (it’s February).  Other than that, I’m pretty excited because I just picked up tickets for a July show of Hamilton in a crazy DC lottery.

Here’s what I read in February:

  • Crosstalk by Connie Willis
  • Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
  • Gun Love by Jennifer Clement
  • The Changeling by Victor LaValle
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Happiness by Aminatta Forna

I also posted about books on my TBR the longest and my exploration of graphics and formatting — I got some fantastic recommendations, which I really appreciate!

My favorite read? I loved my re-read of Wrinkle in Time, and found Sing, Unburied, Sing a moving and at times beautiful read.  Pachinko was a fascinating look at Korea and Japan in the last century (and was especially nice while watching the Olympics in South Korea).  Happiness was excellent, a happy surprise in a book I knew nothing about.  But my favorite was the really thought-provoking Home Fire.

Most disappointing read? I found Gun Love by Jennifer Clement, which will be published March 6, to be rather pretentious.  This story about a teenage girl with a very difficult life should have been moving, and it wasn’t.

I did pretty well on challenges this month, and I did especially well reading diverse authors (5 of 8):

  • TBR Pile: Crosstalk
  • Read Harder Challenge: A Wrinkle in Time
  • SciFi/Fantasy Bingo or Swords and Stars: A Wrinkle in Time, The Changeling, Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Reading All Around the World: Home Fire, Pachinko
  • Back to the Classics: A Wrinkle in Time

What I’m reading now: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

What’s coming up: I have ARCS of Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao, The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg, and The Red Word by Sarah Henstra.  For book clubs and blog events I’ll be reading Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn, and Hunger by Roxane Gay.

Added to my TBR:  This month I added books from the just-announced Nebula award nominees:  Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly, River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey, Autonomous by Analee Newitz, and Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory.  On March 8, my favorite list will be announced, the Women’s Prize for Fiction.  Then I’ll have even more books to add to the TBR.

Things that made me happy this month:

The Black Panther: we’ve seen it twice now, and I was even more impressed with it the second time.  It’s a movie that makes a powerful statement and raises complex issues (especially for a superhero flick).  The acting and writing are excellent, and the movie is visually stunning. I personally appreciated that the violence is mostly hand to hand combat rather than explosions and gore.  All that, and it’s given both African-American and African communities something to cheer about.

Altered Carbon: my husband read this book by Richard K. Morgan a long time ago and was thrilled to see it come to screen.  At first I was a bit put off by the violence, and had to skip parts of two episodes because of torture.  But that aside, the characters were great and the world it created was fascinating. It reminded me of Outlander at times, in that it felt surprisingly female-centric, which is largely because the show’s writer and showrunner is a woman.  The cast was diverse, the female characters strong, and it’s the male characters who are at times the more emotional.  And -um – the male stars were not terrible to look at.

That’s my month of reading!  What was your favorite read this month?

  22 comments for “My February Reading Wrap-Up

  1. March 2, 2018 at 9:41 am

    That’s pretty awesome you won Hamilton tickets. I didn’t know there was a giveaway for it.
    I also saw Black Panther and LOVED IT!!! If it wasn’t so windy today, I’d go see it again.
    I also read Sing, Unburied, Sing for a bookclub. I thought it was okay. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would, but I do think it’s very interesting.

    • March 2, 2018 at 10:43 am

      Well, I didn’t actually win them, since I had to pay for them – and I also had to become a member of the Kennedy Center. But I feel like I won, since a lot of people didn’t get tickets. We got randomly assigned a number online, I was about 3,000 and some of my friends were 45,000 in line.

      • March 2, 2018 at 10:50 am

        Oh! I saw lottery and thought it was more of a giveaway. But lucky you!

  2. March 2, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I hope you enjoy Hamilton, and I’m glad you had a good reading month. Happy March!

  3. March 2, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    I’m hearing such mixed reviews of Exit West.I’ve enjoyed his previous work, but not sure about this new one

    • March 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

      I’m struggling to get into it, and I’m a quarter of the way through. I think because the character development is pretty minimal, and the setting feels abstract.

      • March 8, 2018 at 11:49 am

        you are not alone in that response it seems

  4. March 3, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Oh, I adored Black Panther SO MUCH – and to me, it too is allll about the women. (Sure, T’Challa eventually wins the day, but most of his opposition has actually already surrendered to Okoye – she wins that war for him. Not to mention the royal line only surviving because of Nakia, and Shuri being as good a fighter as she is an inventor.)

    I’ve got a copy of Altered Carbon to read, and am very excited for it. I may not watch the show, though, bc of the torture you mention; it’s much easier for me to read those scenes than see them.

    • March 4, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Enjoy Altered Carbon! My husband loved the book but said the female characters are not as strong (the detective has a much bigger role in the show). The good thing about the two episodes with torture is that it was easy to see coming so I could avoid it. Be warned – it might actually be worse in the book! I agree though, that seeing it is often harder than reading it. I’m not sure why, since my mind is much more active when I’m reading.

      • March 4, 2018 at 9:00 am

        For me it’s because I can choose how explicitly I picture something, and also because the thing I find hardest about scenes of violence is actually the sound – screams really upset me.

      • March 4, 2018 at 9:28 am

        That makes sense, you’re in more control with a book. I think it’s the visual for me – I can’t watch medical shows because seeing someone cut really bothers me.

  5. March 4, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Yeay for getting the Hamilton tickets.

    • March 4, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Thanks! I’m pretty excited. And we got a pair of tickets for friends too, so that’s even better.

  6. March 4, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    It wasn’t cold? How strange – it has been super cold here (-22C and stuff), and loads of snow. Brr!
    And I looooove A Wrinkle in Time 🙂 one of my favorite books! I just saw it on someone’s blog and it’s got this amazing new cover!

  7. March 4, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Congrats on the Hamilton tickets!! I saw the show last year and it was even better than I had hoped. Can’t wait to see it again! I really want to read Pachinko soon as well.

  8. March 4, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Enjoy Hamilton! My husband and I are going to see it in Chicago for our anniversary. Can’t wait!

  9. March 5, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Some excellent Feb reads there and sad to hear the new Jennifer Clement doesn’t live up to expectations, her Prayers for the Stolen was my favourite read the year it came out.

    Just finished Happiness and loved it, so thought provoking, so profound without ever slowing down the momentum of the story. Brilliant.

    I’m keen to read Pachinko, Home Fire I read last year and thought it was so good, I then went and bought about 4 books from her back list. I would love to read A Wrinkle in Time before the movie comes out and I’m hanging out to see Black Panther too, a great month all round.

    • March 8, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      I completely agree about Happiness! Such a good book, and thought provoking is how I’d describe it too — but without hitting you over the head or being pretentious. I’ve got a review coming soon.

  10. March 6, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    I’m going to Hamilton in Denver this weekend! Been listening to the soundtrack and loving it. I’m eager to get an audio copy of Pachinko–sounds so interesting. Never read A Wrinkle in Time, but your post has got me thinking that I should. You had a very productive reading month in Feb!

    • March 8, 2018 at 11:14 pm

      I hope you had a great time at Hamilton! Wrinkle in Time is such a good book, but it might be the kind of book that’s better read in childhood. But, it really held up well for me!

  11. March 9, 2018 at 12:25 am

    Have you read A Man Called Ove? I’m listening to it on CD right now, and so far it’s one of the bests stories I’ve read… er…. listened to. It has likeable characters, a great sense of humor, touching emotional scenes, and overall it’s about being human.

  12. Danielle Hammelef
    March 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I hope you enjoyed Hamilton. Everyone I know who has seen it loved it. My favorite book from February was an older middle grade book by Sharon Creech Love that Dog. It did make me cry as I didn’t know the ending and recently lost my own dog.

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