Monday, March 4, 2019

What I Read: February

February was a great month for reading. I only had one dud this month. I also read some books from my book stack beside my bed. My audiobooks were both just so-so but I wasn't much in the mood for audiobooks anyway so I mostly just listened to them in the shower and while doing chores. It took a lot longer to get through them since I didn't listen to them on runs. I usually listen to my audiobooks on a couple runs a week when I'm running with Tesla.
My stacks of books on my night stand.
Regular Books:
  • Bear Town by Fredrik Backman- I loved A Man Called Ove so I was interested in reading other books written by Backman. When I saw this one as a good winter read I decided to read it in January and put it on hold at the library. While the book dealt with some heavy material, I finished it amazed with it's beauty. He was able to weave so many complexities into the book without it seeming over the top. The book dealt with sexual assault which was hard for me after having multiple books dealing with domestic abuse last month. It felt heavy and like too much all in a row, but he did it so well. He was able to write from a victim's perspective in a way that amazed me, especially coming from a man. I was also impressed that he got you invested in all the characters before the darkness struck so you felt empathy toward everyone involved. It was just a beautiful book and definitely a good read for all the people who immediately jump on the bandwagon accusing a woman of lying when she comes forward with allegations of abuse. I have always considered myself sensitive to the issue but it even made me think differently. This is not a light read but a beautiful book.
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate- My parents got me this book for my birthday thinking it was a picture book I could read with the kids. It was actually a chapter book but I still wanted to read it. I figured if it was good we could read part of it each night at bedtime. When I finished Bear Town I needed something uplifting to read. I went to the nightstand by my bed where I've stacked up all the books I own that aren't displayed somewhere, most of which are ones I haven't yet read. I scanned the stacks and when my eyes landed on The One and Only Ivan I knew it would be the perfect book to follow Bear Town. It won the Newberry Award so I knew it would be good but figured it would be an easy read and would likely have a happy ending since it was a children's book. It was beautiful and I loved it. I finished it in 2 days. At times it reminded me a bit of Charlotte's Web. It wasn't quite as perfect as Charlotte's Web but it had the same realness. One of the characters reminded me of Charlotte but that was really the only strong similarity.
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen- I've been dragging my feet about reading this book because I just didn't want to have read all of Austen's books. I loved that I had a book of hers still unknown to me and I didn't want to be finished with initial reads. I bought it in January when I was at a locally owned bookstore and finally decided February was the perfect time to read the last Austen book to complete all of her work. I loved the book but my favorites are still Emma and Pride and Prejudice.
  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman- When I was adding Beartown to my Goodreads list I saw this book listed as Beartown, #2. After finishing Beartown I added this book to my list but figured I'd wait a bit to read it. A few books later when I found myself still thinking about the characters from Beartown I decided to go ahead and read this one. There were parts that were more depressing than Beartown but I still enjoyed this one as well.
  • Triangle by Katharine Weber- This was a novel about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire back in 1911. At our February book club we voted on which book to read next based on 3 choices the host for the March book club provided (that's how we do it each month). When she read the title Triangle, I immediately blurted out Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and was really excited about this book choice. A different book was chosen but I decided to go ahead and read this one anyway. Our book for March was supposed to be nonfiction so when this book was suggested I assumed it was nonfiction. Once I started reading the book I was really confused and felt like there was no way it was nonfiction, that's when I realized it was a novel. I was really disappointed in the book, mostly because I was expecting nonfiction. I felt there was an unnecessary emphasis placed on one of the supporting characters and his music career which I wished had been left out so more attention could have been given to the more interesting story of the fictional last survivor of the fire. Although I was still disappointed when I finished this book, it left me really interested in reading nonfiction about the fire so I could learn more about it and the aftermath.
  • Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham- I wandered past this book at a local book store a while back and even though I didn't watch Gilmore Girls, I wanted to read it because I like Lauren Graham. She seems funny and different and I figured her book would at least be entertaining and it was pretty short. I downloaded it as an ebook and it was great for that because it was an easy read with short chapters. It was funny and some parts had me cracking up. She had an entire chapter about Gilmore Girls and another about the Netflix series of Gilmore Girls they created recently. Those chapters weren't particularly interesting to me since I didn't watch the show but they were still enjoyable because she's a good writer and funny. I was actually surprised by how much I loved the book. Now I want to try Gilmore Girls as well as Parenthood and see if I like either show.
  • Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed- I saw this on a book list somewhere and thought February would be a fun time to read it. It was a good one to read as an ebook because I could read small bits at a time. I enjoyed the book but it wasn't anything profound or super special, just enjoyable
  • The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg- I was reading this one at the same time I was reading Triangle. At times I got the books mixed up because they were both about women close to 100 years old who had been through difficult times. This one was much better than Triangle though. The format of this book was really interesting. The main character got an address book as a present when she was young. The address book listed everyone she had known throughout her life. At the end of her life she wrote for her great niece telling about the important people in the address book. I enjoyed it, it was quite good.
  • Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman- I kept seeing this book pop up in random places. I love Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson in Parks and Rec but we didn't even make it all the way through his stand up show because it was just not funny. I figured I'd go ahead and give the book a try, just with low expectations. The audiobook was read by Offerman so I figured that would help. I struggled through the first half of the book and almost gave up, but I'm glad I powered through because I really enjoyed the book from where he met his wife onward, especially his small section on Parks and Rec.
  • Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns- Goodreads recommended this book for me and when I saw the title I was pretty sure I had read it around the same time I read Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop CafĂ©, I'm thinking it was in middle school. I couldn't remember anything about the book but the title and the cover just seemed so familiar. I decided to read it as an audiobook and it was the most interesting thing. I knew I had read the book once I got into it and once something happened I remembered it and knew I had read it before, but I for the life of me could not remember what would happen next in the story. It was very strange and not something I've encountered with a book before. Maybe that was because it had been so long since I had read it. It was fun to remember back to my responses to what happened in the book and my confusion over things that didn't make sense to me as a child that now make sense that I'm an adult.


  1. I really like Lauren Graham, too. And what you did with The Cold Sassy Tree, I did with About A Boy. I never knew what was happening next, but it was all familiar as I read it. It was so good I enjoyed rereading it.

    1. Isn't that interesting?! I would remember what happened as it was happening but I couldn't ever remember what happened next.

  2. As usual, I'm adding some of these to my reading list! I am reading "After Anna" by Lisa Scottoline right now and can't put it down - I definitely recommend it, although I can't tell you if I like the ending yet.

    1. I'll add that to my list! I need some really good fiction right now!

    2. I love Lisa Scottoline's essays, when she's talking about her life. Her daughter writes with her too. They're really funny. I'll have to try one of her mysteries.

  3. I love those essays too! I’ve read almost all of the books she has written and am never disappointed. I found After Anna and another newer one I hadn’t read (I think it’s called Fear) at my library recently and was pumped.