February Round-up

I read 7 books in February. 2 were non-fiction, 5 were fiction. 4 were on the Kindle, 3 were in print. One was on my “Read It or Lose It” list, so now I only have 17 more to go.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Although this book has gotten a lot of good press, I probably wouldn’t have ever picked it up if it wasn’t selected for a Book Club. I’m so glad it was though, because the book is really good. It tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was shot down over the Pacific during World War II and became a POW. As you can probably imagine, he went through some horrible stuff, but Hillenbrand does a good job writing his story in such a way that it just skirts with being overwhelming and does go over the edge. Highly recommend.

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: Book I: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood. I sometimes read Jami books at night as we are getting ready for sleep. It started with Harry Potter, and has just continued on from there. I love this sometimes ritual. Anyway, children’s chapter books are the staple of this reading, and this was one I picked up because it sounded interesting (young governess cares for children, raised by wolves and eventually found by a wealthy couple), but I didn’t love it. It is a series, but I don’t think I’ll make an effort to read the rest.

Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton. I got this memoir for Christmas (thanks Jon & Christina), and I really enjoyed it! Amster-Burton is a freelance food writer and this is a look at the way he has fed his daughter (from birth to age 4). What to feed your kid is something I think most parents struggle with, so I liked hearing about how another parent has done it. It’s really a memoir, more than a guide. Amster-Burton works from home and has a flexible schedule, so his way of cooking doesn’t really work for me, and my “home from work at 5:45, dinner must be on the table by 6:15” rush. Still I enjoyed reading the book, and it gave me comfort to know that if this guy who has such a flexible schedule and who is a food writer by profession can sometimes struggle with how to feed a toddler (and said toddler can be just as picky as any toddler), then I am doing okay.

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez. I requested this book through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program because the writing was compared to that of Maeve Binchy’s. I really like Binchy’s books, but I was not a fan of this one. I couldn’t get into the characters, and I felt uncomfortable with an American woman ascribing all sorts of definitive beliefs to Afghan characters (Ahmet is like X because he is a traditional Afghan man, etc). It should have been a quick read, but it took me months to get through it. Just not the book for me.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I first read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in middle school and loved it. I was looking for a comfort read, so I picked it up again. I still really liked it, but I didn’t find it as hilarious and I had the first time around. Still, if you’ve never read it, you should. Your life will be richer for it.

The City & The City by China Mieville. This was my selection for the other book club I’m in (just 2!). My friend, Marcella, recommended it to me. It’s a mix of a fantasy novel and police procedural, and we hadn’t read either of those genres before, so I thought it would be interesting to branch out. The book is set in two fictional cities, which share a geography, but which are totally separate. It’s hard to explain, but the concept was interesting and I think Mieville did a really good job with it.

An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear. This is the 5th book in the Maisie Dobbs series, which I am slowly working my way through. They offer an interesting counterpoint to the Daisy Dalrymple series that I love – both are set in London between the 2 world wars. The Dobbs books are better written, but the Dalrymple books are amusing fluff that I can speed right through (which is why I have finished that series, but am still working my way through this one). This book deals with crimes occurring during Hop-Picking season in the country outside London, and features Roma (aka gypsies), which adds to my interest (I highly recommend Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca, if you have any interest in Roma). This was one of my favorite books in the series so far.

February Round-up