Reading Better | February.

Looking back, February feels like a different kind of reading month. For sure I read fewer books than I have recently (like since early 2021!) I also read mostly on paper (only five of the 16 books were audio, and most of those were short); and a few books – The Night Watchman, The Luminaries, What Are We Doing Here?, and Platonic – took me a while (they were long, or complicated, or both!). That said, the five days I spent with The Night Watchman, followed by six with The Luminaries, hold so many happy memories. as do the three weeks I sat with Marilynne Robinson dark early over coffee, soaking up history, philosophy, and theology.

The biggest takeaway – which I’ve already shared about here – is how much I enjoyed re-reading. Those three five star books, plus Patron Saint of Liars (4.5 stars), and Lion, Witch, Wardrobe were all re-reads. I definitely want to incorporate more re-reading into my life.

Here are a few more highlights from my reading journal:

♥ Connections … 13 of the 16 books! So many conversations about such a wide range of topics! All four of those 3-star books were ones I connected with other readers; those conversations were helpful and certainly added to my enjoyment.

♥ DeepDives … I read one each from Louise Erdrich, Ann Patchett, and Marilynne Robinson. I also read one more Booker Prize winner (The Luminaries). These DeepDive books are slowing down my reading in a very good way!

♥ Only one book – Bleeding Heart Yard – didn’t check any of my intentions, and only four checked Diversity. My author DeepDives are going to skew these numbers a bit … I sure hope the Prizes make up for that!

♥ This is the second month I ranked all the books. I didn’t even think about stars until I had all the books ranked and then it was obvious which books were on which shelf. Only two months in, so I know this will get harder, but it does feel like this month’s shelves are consistent with last month’s. I’m also already sure it’s going to be very hard (not sure I’ll even try!) to rank all the books in one big list.

♥ Half the books I’ve read this year (18 of 36) were books I owned at the beginning of the year. yay!

And finally … my TBR

I left six un-read last month … two I’m carrying forward, and four I’m letting go (for now). Last month was all about the long books, and this month … many are less than 200 pages! It all evens out, doesn’t it?!

What are you excited to read this month?

…and the Women’s Prize long list is out – I’m planning a whole post about it tomorrow.

9 thoughts on “Reading Better | February.

  1. I really loved Patron Saint of Liars…I think it’s my favorite of hers. Will Hamnet be a reread or a first-time for you in March? (It’s one of my all-time favorites.) (Just sayin’…!)
    I was debating about whether or not to give Lincoln in the Bardo a go, because I made the mistake (?) of reading the Atlantic Review… Then Sarah and Kat talked me in to reading it with my ears! (TY to them!) So that’s up next on audio, after I finish Pachinko. (Which I’m liking a lot.) With my eyes, I’m starting the 2018 Women’s Prize winner, actually! Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie. Thoughts? (I’m guessing you’ve read it?!)
    Enjoy writing your Women’s Prize post. Looking forward to it. ♥

  2. I do think the long, more complex books are worth my time and energy. I have also come to relish rereading books. I plan reading for each season and as I reflected on my winter reading this morning, I noticed I’d read fewer books but I abandoned more than usual. Now I’m trying to think how that happened – not that it is a bad thing but the time I spent on the books eventually abandoned means I wasn’t reading something better.

  3. You’ve got some ambitious TBRs! I’m looking forward to reading some of the Women’s Prize longlist. I’m on hold for a few of them, but so is everyone else, so I’ll be waiting for a bit. I don’t re-read very often but when I do it’s often interesting to see how I’ve changed since I first read the book.

  4. I’ve always been a re-reader. 😉 I think it’s really hard to re-read . . . when there are so many new and exciting books to choose from . . . but many books are just WORTH a re-read. Glad you’re continuing to find joy in your reading, Mary.

  5. I have already done a fair amount of rereading this year, and there is more to come. In some cases (like The Shipping News), I’ve remembered nothing from my first read, so it’s like the first time for me. I was excited to see the Women’s Prize long list come out — so many books and authors I’d never heard of! I think I will likely wait for the short list, but I’ll certainly look more into the new-to-me books.

  6. Like Sarah, I’m re-reading The Shipping News and don’t remember anything about it! Typically I do not re-read (too many bright and shiny objects distract me). Hamnet is on my list to read, but I returned it to the library since The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois is taking me SO LONG to read!

  7. Just finished some light/easy reads and am ready to dive into From Beirut to Jerusalem which won’t be very light. Need to compare my Want to Read list with what the library has so I can do a bit of shopping in April at Bookshelf. Looking forward to the next 44 Scotland St installment and the newest from Jacqueline Winspear. Happy Friday.

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