All in all, February has been a pretty damn good month – I’ve got around to reading some books that I’ve been meaning to read for months/years at this point and, personally speaking, life is just pretty good. The January blues seemed far behind as I officially signed a contract for my promotion at work (which technically starts tomorrow on 1st March – woo!); my parents came for a flying visit to Liverpool and I introduced them to the Tavern and they loved it; I saw a couple of films I had been anticipating and enjoyed them immensely (Early Man and Black Panther); and I became quickly obsessed with the Winter Olympics, limited basically to the mixed doubles curling (John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes all the way, “HARD KAITLYN HAAAARD”) and the ice skating (what a rollercoaster ride of emotion discovering Virtuemoir has been for me). So February has treated me rather well, professionally and personally speaking. And, as I said, reading-wise it’s also been very consistently brilliant and I’m happy with where my reading is at now we’re two months into 2018.
In February, I read a total of 6 books – 5 fiction and 1 non-fiction – and 1 was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 2292 pages in total.
In terms of format: 3 were paperback, 2 was an ebook, and 1 was an audiobook.
And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 1 book was young-adult fantasy; 1 was sci-fi/dystopian; 2 were young-adult contemporary; 1 was non-fiction/memoir; and 1 was a romance.
Onto the books themselves…
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell *
Genre: young-adult contemporary
Read: 2nd – 4th February
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #41: A book by an author with the same first and last initials
Review: “Yes, it has humour (and the dialogue is A+) and it’s extremely readable (it’s 450 pages long and I read it in 2 days), but it also allows its characters facets which Rainbow Rowell could have so easily brushed over quickly because she wanted to get to the juicy bit of the romance storyline. But she didn’t; instead, she lets these other elements sit and grow and I respect this story a hell of a lot more for it.” (full review here)
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Genre: science-fiction; dystopia
Read: 5th – 11th February
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #37: A Women’s Prize for Fiction winner or nominee
Review: “Much as I deeply appreciated the geographical sweep of The Power, I also enjoyed how it showed various different levels and classes of society. We got to see how this newly discovered female power affected society through its religion, its education, its politics, its culture, and each had clearly been carefully considered by Alderman when planning her novel’s narrative…” (full review here)
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Genre: young-adult contemporary
Read: 11th – 13th February
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #49: A book from one of the Goodreads Best Books of the Month lists
Review: “The great strength in Becky Albertalli’s writing is how easy it is to fall into her stories, and relate to her characters. She manages to construct a deeply diverse cast of characters in terms of race, religion, culture, and sexuality, without it once seeming far-fetched or written into the story simply to ‘tick off’ some kind of quota.” (full review here)
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Genre: young-adult fantasy; historical fiction
Read: 13th – 16th February
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #42: A book that takes place on, in, or underwater
Review: “When it comes down to it, I was never not going to love The Girl from Everywhere and, with buzz words like this, no one could possibly be surprised: pirates, heist, time travelling ship, political intrigue, maps. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? Add in a funny, bantering dynamic between the main male and female character and I’m sold.” (full review here)
How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb [audiobook]
Genre: non-fiction; memoir; gender
Read: 8th January – 16th February
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #1: A book with the letters A, T and Y in the title
Review: “As Webb highlights through non-preachy and funny (though at times bittersweet) recollections, by compounding ideas of “what it means to be a man” to boys and girls, we are not only limiting entire generations of boys into a rather narrow view of masculinity that is largely toxic and harmful to their own mental well-being; we are also allowing a generation of boys to grow up and father children who either perpetuate this learned behaviour (in the case of boys), or “learn” that this idea of man is “how men are” (in the case of girls).” (full review here)
Carol by Patricia Highsmith
Genre: romance; LGBTQ
Read: 21st – 24th February
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #8: An “own voices” book
Review: “… what the book’s synopsis doesn’t adequately portray is the oppressive nature of Therese’s yearning for Carol – it is painful on occasion to read of the two of them and sense the longing underneath their seemingly empty words – nor does it do justice to the more serious and risky path which they both stumble down when they agree to take a trip together across the United States. […] I found myself pleasantly surprised by its addition as the stakes suddenly shifted and it turned from a novel about obsession and love to also highlighting the dangers of obsession and what you stand to lose by loving someone, for better or for worse.” (full review here)
I’m currently also reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman on audiobook, as read by Gaiman himself, and it’s obviously a delight. I have a small confession: many moons ago, Neverwhere was the first Gaiman book I tried to read back in secondary school I think and I DNFed it because I just could not get into it. Fast forward a few years and he has become one of my all-time favourite authors but I’ve still been hesitant to try picking up this book again, in case I ended up DNFing it again. I don’t think that will happen this time, since the audiobook is very good, and Neil Gaiman is a very good narrator, so I’m confident that this book will feature in March’s Wrap Up.
I’m also reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari which is going to be a project and unlikely to be finished anytime soon because I obviously read non-fiction more slowly than fiction and find it harder to read it for longer stretches of time. But I’m still actively reading it and it’s incredibly intriguing so I’m very much enjoying it. I own the “companion book” Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow as well so hopefully if I finish Sapiens I can move onto that after it.
Lastly, I’m also reading The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry because after months of the extremely stunning Waterstone’s exclusive hardcover sitting in pride of place on my desk, I’ve finally bitten the bullet and picked up the actual book and god I’m in love with it. At the time of writing it I’m about 70 pages from the end and, if it wasn’t for it already being half 9-ish at the end of a tiring day, I’d definitely be staying up to finish this tonight. Aside from finishing these books off, I don’t really have a TBR planned for March but maybe I should think about it…
How did your February reading go?
What was your favourite book you read this month?
Please do share in the comments below and let’s chat books!