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Reading Log: February 2015

Here we are, two months into 2015 already! This month seemed to pass pretty quickly, but I enjoyed some extra reading time thanks to the icy weather. Still have a bunch of half-finished books on the agenda, but I’m trying to finish them up before starting something new (even as I type that, I know it won’t happen… I just went by the library last weekend and added a whole new stack to the towering pile). As usual: too many books, too little time!

Below is my Reading Log for February 2015, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

February 2015

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/Format Genre
Here is Where: Discovering America’s Forgotten History,
by Andrew Carroll
9/29/14 2/3/15 B+
K
NF
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods,
written by Rick Riordan and illustrated by John Rocco
10/26/14 Still Reading TBD
HB
CL
Herland,
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
12/16/14 2/28/15 B+
AB
F
A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2),
by Louise Penny
12/17/14 2/22/15 B+
K
Mystery
Twelve Recipes,
by Cal Peternell
12/23/14 Still Reading TBD
HB
NF
Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists,
by Jenny Doh
1/20/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
C
In Cold Blood,
by Truman Capote
1/25/15 Still Reading TBD
PB
NF
Mequilibrium: 14 Days to Cooler, Calmer, and Happier,
by Jan Bruce, Andrew Shatte, and Adam Perlman
2/16/15 Still Reading TBD
K
SH
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,
by Jenny Han
2/16/15 2/17/15 A+
K
YA
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions,
by Randall Munroe
2/18/15 Still Reading TBD
HB
NF
Big Little Lies,
by Liane Moriarty
2/23/15 Still Reading TBD
K
F

Thoughts:

Here is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History, by Andrew Carroll – B+

The Amateur Librarian // September 2014 Reading Log

Finally finished! It’s not so much that it was boring as it was just very (very) long, stuffed with stories in such digestible bite-sized chunks that it was all too easy to read a chapter or two at a time and get distracted by something else. The premise is what drew me in: the author travels across the country looking for forgotten pieces of American history, meeting a ton of interesting people who help him along the way as he unearths the lost details behind each story. There are several really interesting topics (my favorites were the search for the Spanish Flu virus and the first person to be cremated) and many of them intersected in unusual ways, so that was cool. Most of the chapters were only a few pages long and gave the bare bones of the story, but I was often left with a feeling of “…so?” at the end of each chapter. It was hard to feel connected to many of the stories because the context kept jumping around across time periods, subjects, and geography. And since most of the history was forgotten, the actual location had often been covered up by a parking lot or was just an empty field. The author talked a lot about taking pictures everywhere (and the weird stares he would get), and I get the need to document it, but it seems like the words would have to be enough since, you know… it’s just a parking lot now, whatever it used to be. It wrapped up pretty nicely with a full circle moment about learning from the past that was missing from the rest of the book and a funny story about the FBI investigating his activity when he was looking for an old plane crash that happened to be on a restricted military base. Overall, the lack of a cohesive theme to tie everything together gave it a scattered feel, but it was full of interesting trivia and a fun road trip. (Full review here.)

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, written by Rick Riordan and illustrated by John Rocco – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // October 2014 Reading Log

Still sitting on the coffee table… I’ve read a couple more myths since last month, but I’m enjoying  the illustrations and reading this one slowly.

Herland, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – B+

The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log

Three male scientists discover a utopia inhabited entirely by women that they name Herland, and while they’re held captive they learn the ways of the land and eventually marry three of the women. The “book club” feel of the Craftlit podcast, which discusses classic literature from the public domain in weekly episodes with lots of background info, feedback from listeners, and discussions led by the host, definitely enhanced the book which was a bit of a dry interpretation of utopia, perfect in every way. A little too perfect, honestly, and doesn’t offer much in the way of plot or characters, but viewing it as more of a “thought experiment” in response to anti-suffragette literature of the time put it into perspective. It brought up some interesting ideas about society and offered a completely idealistic alternative, but it was an interesting vehicle to describe the author’s feminist viewpoint in the early 1900’s. Even though the plot itself didn’t feel like it could stand on its own merits without the political message, and it might have had more of an impact when the ideas were still considered radical, I think it stands the test of time because we’re obviously still dealing with gender equality issues a hundred years later.

A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #2), by Louise Penny – B+

The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log

This one was on the backburner for the past couple months, but a few days inside during Icemageddon were perfect for picking up again with Inspector Gamache and another frigid mystery that takes place in Quebec. Again I found the dialogue a bit stilted and the characters hard to understand sometimes, but the office politics and mystery were well done. I got stuck while the plot plodded along for a bit, but got more interested when it started to pick up toward the end. I definitely want to continue the series but I think I’ll get the rest of the books through the library instead of paying $10 per ebook.

Twelve Recipes, by Cal Peternell – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // December 2014 Reading Log

I haven’t picked this one up lately as reading material, but I have used a couple recipes. It’s a great example of elevating basics; all the recipes are really simple but still have a ton of flavor.

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists, by Jenny Doh – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // January 2015 Reading Log

This fun book is right up my alley… 18 different artists are featured, and each one offers 2-4 doodle prompts with step-by-step ideas. Some are more my style than others, but it’s been fun to dabble. I need to pick this one up again when I have some free time.

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // January 2015 Reading Log

I’m about halfway through this one, reading it in bits and pieces during breakfast each morning. It started a bit slow, but it’s a fascinating character study and analysis of the infamous crime that shook a small Kansas town in the 1950’s and coined the term “nonfiction novel.” It’s really interesting to read it after Gerald Clarke’s biography of Truman Capote, which goes into a lot of detail about how Truman Capote did the research.

Mequilibrium: 14 Days to Cooler, Calmer, and Happier, by Jan Bruce, Andrew Shatte, and Adam Perlman – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // February 2015 Reading Log

Another review copy through Blogging for Books. I decided to pick something a bit lighter, since I had such a hard time finishing the last one (Here is Where). Pretty interesting so far – all about how stress is part of our lives, but how we deal with it can have a big impact on our overall happiness. I’m working through the “14 Days” right now and it’s easy reading but still thought provoking.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han – A+

The Amateur Librarian // February 2015 Reading Log

I wanted a quick, fun read for prep day, but due to bad weather this turned into my Icemageddon read instead, and it was perfect! Lara Jean is a Good Girl who loves spending time with her family and especially her older sister, who’s kept the family together since their mom passed away. Just when her sister goes off to college, Lara Jean faces a major catastrophe – the love letters she’s written to every boy she’s ever had a crush on are mailed off… and now she has to deal with the boys who know her true feelings. I love a book that reads like your favorite romcom – complicated but amusing plot, believable dialogue, family dynamics, authentic characters, and enough twists that you’re not sure exactly who will end up together at the end. Such a treat, best YA I’ve read in a while!

 …

What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // February 2015 Reading Log

I gave this to hubby for his birthday but I’ve commandeered it for those moments when I only have a couple spare minutes but feel like reading something funny. I love XKCD comics, and the artist also has a background in physics so the scientific explanations to hypothetical questions are pretty funny. This book is also available though Kindle Unlimited but the hardback is nice for reading the comics that are included.

Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty – TBD

 The Amateur Librarian // February 2015 Reading Log

Picked this up a few days ago and it’s really fun so far. Liane Moriarty is the best at smart chick lit and mommy war politics.

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of February.  Anyone reading a good book?

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