01 March 2015

Last Month in Review: February 2015

God, what is it with the winter this year?  I'm so full up with snow fatigue that I don't know what to do with myself.

February had its ups and downs.  The snowfall has been terrible, but at least I got to escape a little while to head to Asheville, NC, for a book conference for work.  It was amazing, what with the all-you-can-carry free book buffet and the author dinners, but frankly one of the best parts was being in a place where I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Being outside without coat, hats, scarf, gloves, or balaclava
February wasn't a big reading month for me.  Solid, but not amazing. In chronological order, here's what I was able to finish last month:

1. The Jesus Cow by Michael Perry (novel). This book is as understatedly funny as the title might imply. Anybody who has grown up in the country or in Wisconsin (and other rural parts of the midwest) will probably find much to relate to in this one. 

2. Moranthology by Caitlin Moran (essays/nonfiction).  I treated myself to one essay/column per day over breakfast.  I loved a LOT about this book and found my attention wandering in other parts. I found myself not caring very much about the pop culture stuff (except for Benedict Cumberbatch), but when she was taking on social issues in England, I found myself wanting to stand up and roar in agreement.

3. Wild Tales by Graham Nash (memoir/nonfiction).  I'd had this audio book sitting around for quite some time but hadn't been too interested in it until the day I had no book to listen to in my car.  I gave this a whirl, and while I didn't love it, I'm really glad that I had the chance to listen to it. Review here

4. Leaving Before the Rains Come by Alexandra Fuller (memoir/nonfiction).  This book was excellent.  Her story is a common one -- a woman with a raucous upbringing marries a man who seems to promise stability, but then realizes the fit isn't quite right -- but her writing and the setting set this one apart. I hope to review it one of these days. Definitely the best book I read in February.

5. The Wonder Garden by Lauren Acampora (fiction).  Great collection of interconnected stories.  Or maybe a novel in stories?  I am not entirely sure what the difference is.  Review is in the can and will post later this week. This might actually tie for best book I read in February...

6. & 7. This One Summer (fiction) by Mariko Tamaki and Strange Fruit (history/nonfiction) by Joel Christian Gill.  Two graphic novels written for younger readers.  I didn't love either one and I reviewed them together here

I think this is the only month in my own recorded history where I read more nonfiction than fiction (4 vs 3). Without really intending it, I achieved a bit of diversity, too.  Only four of the authors are American, and two of the authors are non-Caucasian.

What did y'all like this month? Have you read any of these?  What did you think?


  1. I love winter but yeah, I hear you about the winter fatigue. I'm done. I also read Leaving Before The Rains Come and liked it well enough but I think I prefer her earlier books. And I'll have to give Caitlin Moran's new book a closer look, too. It looks like something I'd enjoy.

    1. I didn't like Leaving Before the Rains Come quite as much as Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, but I liked it a bit better than Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight. I definitely liked the African settings better than the North American one that comprised parts of this one.

  2. Am looking forward to your review of "The Wonder Garden". I can't find any info about it all over here and I like this style of book when I'm on holiday and really don't want to read anything too long and involved.
    I find Caitlin Moran's social observations interesting and exasperating. The English benefit system is the most generous in Europe which is why we are getting swamped with Romanians and Bulgarians who make their way across the continent to take advantage of our free healthcare, housing, education etc. Ms Moran undoubtedly grew up in poverty and yet she seems to think this is solely because her parents were not given enough handouts and nothing to do with their choice to have 8 children with no income. Just sayin' there are two sides - stepping off my soapbox now ma'am.

    1. Please, I welcome soap box deliveries! I think the UK is leaps and bounds ahead of the US when it comes to many social programs and I wish we had more in place like you do. Obviously your POV of living inside the system is necessarily different from mine, as I've only read about it -- and often through novels, not nonfiction.

      The Wonder Garden may not have a UK publisher yet, as it's with a relatively small house here in the US. maybe after the next Frankfurt book fair it will find a UK house.

  3. And the snow just keeps coming and OMG NO MORE OF THIS PLEASE. But at least Moran is good to help get through those cold days :)

    Leaving Before the Rain Comes your fav book of the month, hmm. I look forward to that review!

    1. Yeah. I keep telling myself that at least we don't have it as bad as Boston, but that's pretty cold comfort. Pun absolutely intended.

      Yeah, the Alexandra Fuller and the book of stories both were the right book at the right time for me.

  4. Aw, I like that pic of you at the hotel.

    And I super-liked Moranthology! But I haven't read anything else on here. But Moranthology!!

    1. Awww, thanks. Obviously I should smile less in my photos from now on.

      Reading Moranthology made me think that How To Be a Woman would probably be a better fit for me. I laughed a lot in Moranthology, but I wanted to think more than she made me think.

  5. Loved the picture of you. Most of us are suffering from winter fatigue and counting the hours until SPRING!!!

  6. What is this sun you speak of?? I'm not sure I have experienced it lately.

    I just read another monthly wrap-up where The Wonder Garden was a favorite. I think it will have to go on my tbr list!

  7. Well I certainly wish I could trade some of our excessive sunshine for some of your snow...SoCal is no place for a person whose favorite season is winter, but such is life.

    I love it when my reading is accidentally diverse - good job on that!


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