I planned 3 books, AND I READ ALL THREE! WHAT A RARITY! But in total I finished 7 books this month.
I just went for 3 books in February, because I think even at that point I knew how the month would go. xD
As I noted, I finished the three I had wanted to get done in February. Thank goodness I had Hero in a Halfling by William Tyler Davis as a lighthearted and fun read, because Her Name is Knight by Yasmin Angoe was WAYYYYY more brutal and violent and hard to read for the subject matter than I expected. I really needed those to counterbalance.
I also stumbled into some unexpected nonfiction this month with Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton (aka Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies) which was a lovely memoir with a good mix of behind-the-scenes fun and personal reflection from him that made me feel warm and fuzzy. This is How Your Marriage Ends by Matthew Fray was one I found from an article about a blog post he wrote years ago. I’m not married and don’t plan to be, but I found it was applicable to any long-term relationship you might have. Honestly, I even used some of the ideas in meetings with coworkers this month! I really enjoyed it overall, from both a practical standpoint of ideas for fixing (or preventing!) relationship problems, as well as from an emotional reflective point that got me thinking and considering.
The Dalai Lama’s Cat by David Michie probably wins for favorite book this month because of how it made me think, opened me up to new ideas, possibly showed me a spirituality I can embrace, and genuinely entertained and interested me. Super recommend!
Biggest flop of the month was definitely Really Good, Actually which is an ironic-sounding sentence. You can read my review if you want to hear about all the ways it disappointed me. 🤷♀️
Hey y’all! It has BEEN A WHILE since I did one of these! And even longer since I did them consistently! But I felt like a list today, and what easier time then to do it with a love / Valentine’s Day theme? Things I love!
Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish question idea that was originally created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, from way back in June 2010! Since January 2018, Top Ten Tuesday has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Thanks for taking it over! The idea is to make a list of ten books or bookish things on different topics each week. Check out her site for details on how to join and what the upcoming prompts are. 😊 You can also see all the posts from other bloggers linked on each weekly post on their main site.
This week’s prompt as I kind of hinted at above is a freebie on the theme of love or focused on Valentine’s Day. Originally, I had gone through and looked at all the books I’ve read on or around Valentine’s Day each year to see if there was ever a pattern I wasn’t aware of. There wasn’t. xD I just read whatever I’m reading, and it wasn’t really what I wanted to do for the bulk of this post. However, I will include a simple list of those titles after the main post here!
I ended up going for something much simpler: books I’ve read with the word love in the title. xD Here we go!
Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
I had to read Anna Karenina by Tolstoy my senior year of high school and while parts of it were cool, parts of it (*ahem* LENIN) suuuper dragged. So I was HYPED when this YA re-imagining of the book came out, and was curious / wary of how it would end. In short: loved this book, have the duology, and will probably re-read it soon now that I’m thinking about it.
Hey y’all! I only have a few books specifically planned for this month, and the rest is going to be a lot of mood reading. Here’s what I have in mind!
Her Name Is Knight by Yasmin Angoe is a book I got from Kindle First Reads a while back, but didn’t end up reading yet. It’s part of the current Kindle Challenge as an option for Black History Month, so I figured now was the time! Unfortunately, it’s incredibly graphic and violent and covers some really terrible things. So far I’ve been really struggling to read it because it’s just so incredibly grim, even though it’s also interesting and compelling and intriguing. I think I’m past the worst of it though (god willing…) so I’ll continue on… slowly.
Hero in a Halfling by William Tyler Davis is my answer to the book above, and some of the others I’ve finished recently that were on the darker side. I really needed a light fantasy where no one was worried about suicide or rape or financial ruin. So far, none of those have come up. I have a feeling this is a bit similar in vibe to the wildly popular Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree, though I haven’t read that one (yet). It’s lightly parodying and makes me smile a lot.
Divide Me By Zero by Lara Vapnyar is a book I had not heard of until I found it on a shelf at the bookstore today where I treated myself to picking one book out. This was the winner! It’s a reflective book with a Russian immigrant who was raised on math as the MC. It’s also by Tin House Books, which I’ve been recently introduced to through Aardvark Book Club and have enjoyed their unusual subject range in their titles. Maybe this is another winner?
Honestly, that’s it. This is all the energy I have for planning right now. I haven’t even posted in a week, which is extremely uncommon for me. This is what I could manage. Back to reading….
Hey y’all! Just sharing some excitement and good luck I’ve had with getting in holds for newer books lately at my library. Have you heard of any of these?
From Borrower to wizard, Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame saw him catapulted into the limelight aged just twelve when he landed the iconic role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.
Speaking with candour and his own trademark humour, Tom shares his experience of growing up on screen and as part of the wizarding world for the very first time. He tells all about his big break, what filming was really like and the lasting friendships he made during ten years as part of the franchise, as well as the highs and lows of fame and the reality of navigating adult life after filming finished.
Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.
Good people can be bad at relationships.
One night during his divorce, after one too many vodkas and a call with a phone-in-therapist who told him to “journal his feelings,” Matthew Fray started a blog. He needed to figure out how his ex-wife went from the eighteen-year-old college freshman who adored him to the angry woman who thought he was an asshole and left him. As he pieced together the story of his marriage and its end, Matthew began to realize a hard truth: even though he was a decent guy, he was a bad husband.
As he shared raw, uncomfortable, and darkly humorous first-person stories about the lessons he’d learned from his failed marriage, a peculiar thing happened. Matthew started to gain a following. In January 2016 a post he wrote–“She Divorced Me Because I left the Dishes by the Sink”–went viral and was read over four million times.
Filtered through the lens of his own surprising, life-changing experience and his years counseling couples, This Is How Your Marriage Ends exposes the root problem of so many relationships that go wrong. We simply haven’t been taught any of the necessary skills, Matthew explains. In fact, it is sometimes the assumption that we are acting on good intentions that causes us to alienate our partners and foment mistrust.
Maggie is fine. She’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s broke, her graduate thesis on something obscure is going nowhere, and her marriage only lasted 608 days, but at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new life as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.
Now she has time to take up nine hobbies, eat hamburgers at 4 am, and “get back out there” sex-wise. With the support of her tough-loving academic advisor, Merris; her newly divorced friend, Amy; and her group chat (naturally), Maggie barrels through her first year of single life, intermittently dating, occasionally waking up on the floor and asking herself tough questions along the way.
This book has taken me all over the place, from a very slow start to an insistent pull to each character. I wanted to take my time reading it and it’s a good thing I had planned for that, because it’s definitely necessary for me. My library loan runs out two days so I am determined to finish it before then. And considering how easy it is to fall into it right now, I don’t think there will be any worry about not meeting that goal.
I don’t know that I had expectations for this book other than that I would probably enjoy it, so I think it’s going well by those standards. Allowed to sink into the story in the bones of the characters, I’ve been tracking through this one consistently for about a week. The whole thing is a bit like that song about a horrible crash where you just can’t look away.
Hey y’all! I just started a book for my book club this month and it was making me think about reasons that I’ll read a book I might not usually try. In this case, it’s a book that I had my eye on when it originally came out, but I was on the fence with.
On the one hand, Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi intrigued me with its basic premise of a time-traveling cafe with very precise rules. On the other hand, I’ve read other literary works by Japanese authors that weren’t really my favorite (looking at you, 1Q84!) and worry this might end up in the same vein (though I don’t want that to come across as generalizing all Japanese authors of course — it just seemed like this might have the same kind of vibe).
But here I am reading it, because my book club chose it for a pick! I actually voted for it as well, because I wanted to have a reason to give it a chance. When we were debating if we should do just book one, or the first two since they’re fairly short, I was super blunt and said I’d just read the first and if I liked it would try the second, but no guarantee. Everyone laughed and agreed and we settled on reading the first for sure and maybe the second.
So here I’m thinking about other reasons that I might try a book outside my usual and wanted to see if y’all had anything that’s pushed you as well (and if it was worth it or not!!).
Of course! The in person one that started all of this is an example of course, but I also have Aardvark Book Club as a subscription that has had me try some I would not otherwise have tried or maybe even heard about. Most recently, I finished How to Turn Into a Bird by María José Ferrada and while my first impression upon finishing was just ?????? I did enjoy it and am glad I read it. And there’s some interesting discussion about it in the Aardvark app! Anyway, that’s just an example.
Hey y’all! A couple years ago, I learned of a challenge that was able to wholeheartedly embrace. My impulsiveness will actually help me with this one, since it’s the 2023 Library Love challenge! Hosted by Angel’s Guilty Pleasures & Books of My Heart, the goal is simple: read books from the library!
Who doesn’t love the library? When I move to a new place, I always go to the library to check it out and get a card within a day or two of moving in. Usually before I’m even fully unpacked. Priorities, right? 👌🏼
So this year I’m joining the 2023 Library Love challenge and going to shoot for at least 24 books. In 2022 I went absolutely library mad (apparently) and read SEVENTY-TWO books from the library. But in 2023, I have some challenges for myself centered on reading books from my shelves to help determine what I want to keep, so I actually want to aim lower for library reads this year since I own a lot already. I’m sure it will end up being a lot of library reads anyway, though. xD
I planned roughly 7, mostly to get my nonfiction goal for the year wrapped up. I read all of them, and finished 13 in total (including a buzzer beater entirely on Dec 31st!).
I wanted to finish a lot of the things I had started this year and not completed (in particular, Will by Will Smith had been on my “in progress” list for like a year and a half). Then there were several nonfiction titles that were meant to fill my 25 nonfiction books in the year goal (success!). Other than that, it was mostly random things I decided to read, like The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman when I decided I wanted a cold, arctic fantasy. Or when I saw a review (driving me nuts that I can’t remember from who!) for When The Tiger Came Down The Mountain by Nghi Vo and decided that it was finally time to read that book I’ve been looking forward to for a while.