Thursday, March 1, 2018

February 2018 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on my reading goals, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

February News 

I have always loved February. Kevin cites it as his least favorite month, but I have a special affinity for the briefest of months. When I was young, I think it was because of Valentine's Day and my half birthday (yeah, that was a thing I tried to get people to celebrate for longer than I'd like to admit). Neither of those events registers much on my radar now. In fact, for a few years there, when Kevin and I were first together and living in Ohio, he nearly pulled me over to his disdain of February. But now we live in the South. And spring comes in February. February marks the end of winter. Sure, we may get one random cold streak yet - even a brief snow is possible, but not probable. Now, February brings pink buds on trees and sleeping with the windows open and putting our coats away after their whole six weeks of work. Spring in the South is beautiful and February ushers it in.

So, did this February live up to expectations?

Well, I finally got my feet underneath me after a rough first month of the semester. I felt so underwater there for a while; it is nice to feel more stable again. We're still intensely busy; we always are. February at our house has mostly been an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, we're once again engaged in some active measures to sort out Kevin's health issues. It's been five years since he was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and we have yet to find a solution. It's a thing we live with daily, but we go through periods where the search for answers is more active. This is one of those periods. It's exhausting and hopeful and disheartening all at once. In contrast to that emotional soup, though, is the sheer thrill of having finally booked our tickets to Italy! We have been planning this trip for about two years. It got pushed back several times because of things both within and outside of our control. I had honestly gotten to place where I no longer believed it would happen, but it is happening! We're spending 9 days there at the start of the summer. Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence, and we come!!

With work and doctor's visits and hours spent on Airbnb finding Italian lodging, I haven't done a ton of reading. Two months in and I can already tell 2018 is going to be my least prolific reading year in quite a while. However, I'm actually very pleased so far about the intentionality in my reading. I know I don't have as much time or energy for it and so I'm only picking things I really want to read. The TBR Challenge (see below) is helping me feel less guilty about culling my to-read list. I'm trying to be more realistic about what I really will read or enjoy. After doing the 100 Best Novels challenge, I don't feel much obligation to read things just because they are supposed to be good or classics. That mentality applies to older books and newer ones. I just don't want to spend time reading things other people loved and I won't. In this phase of my life, I need enjoyment. Depth, but depth with pleasure. No more slogging through things I'm not appreciating. At least not this year.

Books Reviewed

  1. The Tortilla Curtain - T. C. Boyle
  2. Timebound - Rysa Walker
  3. The Radicals - Ryan McIlvain
  4. Hallelujah Anyway - Anne Lamott
  5. Cinderella Ate My Daughter - Peggy Orenstein
  6. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
  7. Prince Charles - Sally Bedell Smith
  8. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? - Alyssa Mastromonaco

Books Read

  1. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
  2. Prince Charles - Sally Bedell Smith
  3. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? - Alyssa Mastromonaco
  4. Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker
  5. An Altar in the World - Barbara Brown Taylor
  6. L'Appart - David Lebovitz
  7. Out of the Silent Planet - C. S. Lewis
Pages Read: 2,370

Favorite Book Read: The Prince Charles biography by Sally Bedell Smith was just such a fascinating deep dive. I have to pick that. 

2018 Goals 

One of my goals this year is to read 3 specific books each month:
  • 1 Faith-Centered or Philosophical Book 
    An Altar in the World - Barbara Brown Taylor
  • 1 Political of Issue-Driven Book
    Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? - Alyssa Mastromonaco
  • 1 Books Written by a Minority Author
    L'Appart - David Lebovitz (LGBT)
I also am trying to work my way through my TBR list. My goal is to get from 350 books on the list to 200. That means lowering that number by 13 in some form or fashion every month. Here's how that went this month:
  • Books Read: 5
  • Books Removed: 10
  • Books Added: 1 (only 1! I'm so proud of myself!)
  • Total Count for the Month: -14
  • Books Remaining on TBR: 317

Elsewhere Online...

Nothing to share specifically this month. Just that those Parkland teens are amazing and I'm hopeful this moment will actually lead to some real change in regard to common sense gun laws.

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As we march into spring, I hope you find some space in your life to read for pleasure - whatever literary pleasure looks like for you. 

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