Wednesday, December 12, 2018

February books

I started off the year with a bang and actually wrote a post on the books I read in January. And that was it. No more. The 11 following months zoomed by with some changes and a big trip and suddenly it is December. I'm going to give it the old school try and see if I can write, very, very briefly, about the rest of the year, and then I hope next year to write more about what I read. Writing monthly about Gladys Taber's Stillmeadow book and Susan Hill's book has shown me that it is good for me to write about what I read. I think more deeply about a book when I write something about it.

Without further ado, here are my February reads. I copied and pasted from my book lists, hence the red, and the backwards order.

12. Stir It Up!
by Ramin Ganeshram
young adult fiction 2011
finished 2/26/18
American writer/American setting

A delightful young adult book about a girl who works in the family restaurant and wants to be a celebrity chef. I highly recommend it. Lovely book.

11. Dear Susan
Letters to a Niece
by Ben Hartley
nonfiction 2011
finished 2/22/18
English writer/English setting

This was a beautifully illustrated and written book, one of those books I would never have known about had it not been for an English blogging friend. It is a dear, dear book. The drawings are delightful, and his writing is as if he is talking to her, my favorite kind of letter. They are reproduced from the original handwriting. You may read about the project here, and I hope you do. This is what Cath wrote which made me want to read it.

64. Dear Susan: Letters to a Niece by Ben Hartley. Another non-fiction, this time by an artist who moved from The Peak District down to Devon to teach art in Plymouth. Ben Hartley went to live in a rural village and wrote letters to his niece that were illustrated with beautiful little drawings and full of interesting anecdotes. A totally charming view of life in a Devon village in the 1960s. 

10. Snowblind - book 1 in the Dark Iceland series
by Ragnar Jonasson
translated by Quentin Bates
crime fiction 2015 (it is billed as a thriller but I think it is really more police procedural, so I'm going to stick with crime fiction)
finished 2/21/18
Icelandic writer/Icelandic setting

I so enjoyed this mystery. It is not Icelandic noir. It is set in a small village that is completely dark for a few months a year, and is rather cut off from the rest of Iceland during the winter. I really liked it, and have since read the second in the series.

9. A Far Cry From Kensington
by Muriel Spark
fiction 1988
finished 2/7/18
Scottish writer/English setting

 I did like this book, but I don't think Spark is really for me. 

8. Mrs. Mike
The Story of Katherine Mary Flannigan
by Benedict and Nancy Freedman
fiction 1947
finished 2/5/18
American writers/Canadian setting (with a tiny bit in Boston)

This book really deserves a post of its own. I'm sure many of you have read it. It is the story of a young woman who is sent to live with her uncle for her health. Do people still do this? Go to the sea, or the desert, or the mountains to improve their health? Anyhow, she meets a young Canadian mountie, and they marry and go off to a sparsely populated, wintry part of the country to live. The book doesn't shirk from very realistic details of the hardships and worries and tragedies they see in their new life together. It is really, really wonderful. I loved it so very much.


  1. I see several books here I would like to read. I love when you write about the books you read even if you don't write long reviews, I always find one or two I would like.

    1. Which ones are you interested in? Did you ever read Mrs MIke?

  2. I read this many, many years ago when I was a young bride marrying a Canadian. We didn't live in the far north until later in the marriage, but for a southern California girl Nova Scotia seemed pretty far north. So I was surprised when we had a green Christmas and no snow until later in January!

    1. Oh, what a wonderful story! How far north did you live? Thanks for coming by to tell me.

  3. I enjoyed your brief comments on the books you read this year. Reading is what has fallen off this year as I've picked up some additional projects. I also think I'm still be getting used to my cataract surgeries. I no longer wear glasses but I need reading glasses at night if I'm reading a lot. Artificial lenses are never as good as your own even if they had cataracts and your vision was extremely near-sighted. That's my take.

    1. I'd like to know more - how were the cataracts affecting your vision? Is it better now? I've worn glasses since 5th grade. They are just part of my face. ;<))


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