Month in Review: February 2018

I’m continuing to enjoy reading only from my own TBR pile, so much that I might extend the experiment for another few months! I especially want to give myself more time for rereading. Yes, I do want to read ALL THE BOOKS, and therefore am always lured by the new and shiny, but this is an impossible goal, so I would like to read more deeply and allow it to make more of an impression on me.

I love observing how books I read many years ago, such as Herland and The Kitchen God’s Wife, resonate so differently with me after all the experiences I’ve been through in the meantime. We never stop changing and growing, and that means that we’ll find new things in a book each time we read it — if it’s worth reading at all.



  • The book from my “Make Me Read It” giveaway, The Art Forger, was a pleasant diversion but suffered in comparison to some of my other favorite novels about the art world.
  • A reread of Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman raised some fascinating questions about gender and society.
  • Looking for ways to act as well as ways to understand our crazy world, I appreciated the insights of The Art of Waging Peace.
  • My review of The Sixth Extinction appeared as a guest post on the Ruminate magazine blog.

Other Books Read

  • A Severed Wasp by Madeleine L’Engle – Reread
  • Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson – Around the World
  • Octavio’s Journey and Black Sugar by Miguel Bonnefoy – Around the World
  • The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan – Reread
  • The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively – Review to come
  • The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith – Review to come

Other Features and Events


Shared in the Sunday Post hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, the Month in Review linkup at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction

25 thoughts on “Month in Review: February 2018

  1. I’m a great advocate of rereads — at least, that’s my excuse of retaining so many books 🙂 — because I nearly always find it’s like reading a new novel, or discovering new layers I’d missed first or even second time around.

    When it’s claimed that good books are like old friends I do so agree — especially as you wouldn’t want to dump a genuine friend after just one encounter: you’d want to continue the conversation, engage with them at different levels, even agree to disagree on occasion!


    1. So true. My mom just sent me a newspaper column by a guy who recently moved and reduced his book collection from 5000 to 1500 volumes, which he then stored in a basement (a la KonMari). But it made him sad and he realized books on the shelves interact with us even when we’re not reading them; they call up memories, thoughts, connections. So hooray for keeping our old book friends around, and opening them up for deeper conversation once in a while!


  2. I also enjoy retreads and sometimes read again several times always finding something new or a different perspective


  3. Can’t do better than L’Engle and Ibbotson. Have you read my favorite, And Both Were Young? I remember my grandmother trying to make me go to be mid-book and craftily taking it into the bathroom with me to outsmart her at 10 or 11…


    1. Yes, I loved it too as a child, though unfortunately my copy got lost in some bookshelf purge at some point. But I was reminded of it on this reread of A Severed Wasp as the main character crops up (at least by name), with her painting being an important part of the narrative.


    1. I know, they are sooo hard to resist! One publisher keeps sending them to me unrequested and I put them on the pile…someday I hope to get to them.


  4. Oh, I love rereading! One of my plans for this year is that I want to reread some books that I own but haven’t read in quite a while, to see if I still love them. My idea is that if it’s true love, I’ll still adore them; and if it’s not, better to find out and be able to get rid of the books. And I love getting rid of stuff! It’s a win-win!


  5. I am curious as to what you thought of The Severed Wasp? I started it a few years ago, but put it down and I can’t remember why. I am such a fan of L’Engle’s nonfiction, but her fiction is difficult for me to get into.

    Oh, and I am going to reread Jane Eyre sometime this year!


    1. Well…. I did not love it. I like the musical aspects and the setting (Cathedral of St John the Divine) but the plot is so melodramatic and the dialogue often so “stagey.” Plus there’s a fearfulness of homosexuality running through L’Engle’s fiction that I didn’t consciously notice before. However, as usual there are some beautiful thoughts and expressions. A mixed bag!

      Jane Eyre sounds great. Always a reliable reread.


  6. I “re-read” on audio Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club a couple of years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. Now I should move on to The Kitchen God’s Wife, and The Hundred Secret Senses. I find that I fell less guilty if I re-experience the book via audio since I can multitask. Plus, it is easy to orient myself in the audio format since I am already familiar with the story.


    1. Great idea — I always find my mind wanders during audiobooks, so if it’s a story I’m already familiar with, I might be less disoriented. I remember enjoying The Hundred Secret Senses as well.


  7. I’m failing horribly with my challenge to read all the books I own… most of my reads this year have come from the library 😦 oops! Perhaps I need to motivate myself by not allowing me to think about another trip to The Book Barn until I read all the ones I own!


  8. I try not to stress about not being able to read all the new books coming out. I’m still finding great books from previous years that I find calling to me. If I loved a book and I borrowed it from the library, I have to buy my own copy. I love the memories of being inside these different worlds that come to me just by looking at the covers.


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