01 March 2018

Last Month in Review: February 2018

For being such a short month, I got a good bit of reading done, and I’m maybe 10-30 pages away from finishing two other books I started in February. Did I consider fudging on those and including them here? Absolutely. But I was able to refrain and they will show up for next month’s stats instead. 

In reverse chronological order, then, here’s what I finished:

1. Hamilton: The Revolution. Dayum. I was slow to come to this musical, but that just makes me a fool. It’s just utterly brilliant, and I’ve been listening to the soundtrack while reading the book.  I have basically zero background in hip-hop, but that doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to how much I love and appreciate what Lin-Manuel Miranda has accomplished here.  I’ve rarely been as convinced of someone’s genius as I am with this guy.  

2. The Wicked King by Holly Black.  This is the sequel to The Cruel Prince, which came out in January, but this book won’t pub until January 2019. Holly’s books regularly make my year end best-of lists, and this likely will keep in line with that. Here she’s accomplished the improbable: she has written a sequel that is even better than the first book of the series. I pick up Holly’s books to read when I want an escape, since her world building is utterly immersive, but then I remember how sharp an eye she has for the politics that transcend the human realm and therefore how much reading her books can inform my current world.

3. Black Panther: World of Wakanda. This was the first comic I’ve read in years, certainly in my adult life.  Review here

4. A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker.  This book won’t be out until May, but since our store will be doing his book launch, we had access to the complete F&Gs.  This book is, in a word, gorgeous.  Becker’s illustrations are lush and thoughtful, full of layers that the reader can unpeel a bit more with each encounter.  Like his Journey trilogy, this book is also wordless, but oh! What stories the imagination can weave in the face of images like these. 

5. Florida by Lauren Groff.  This collection of short stories is just stunning.  I’ve read Groff’s novels before and have long considered her a master of language (you can see my review of Arcadia here), but this book also brings a powerful self-awareness to bear, particularly in the recurring character of The Mother.  The state of Florida is itself a sort of character here, too, its sights, sounds, and oppressive humidity lending flavor to the narrative. This book will pub in June, and I hope to get around to reviewing it. 

6. Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires is another story collection from a debut author.  The first story, from the which the book takes its title, is a real powerhouse. Subtitled "Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology," it plays with the fourth wall and and turns readerly expectations upside-down. While not all of the stories are as strong as the first one (frankly, I think that would be nigh-impossible, it's just SO DAMN GOOD), the collection taken as a whole is an important contribution to the narrative of race in America.

7. Last but not least, I finished the audio book of Code Girls by Liza Munday early in the month, and many of the stories she shares here have stuck with me since.  You can read my full review here.

How about y'all?  Was February a good reading month for you?  What did you love?  


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  3. February was a good reading month for me too. It really helps when you fly across the country--plane time is reading time!

    The Hamilton book is so good. I loved reading all the stories behind all of the songs from LMM and all the cast members.


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