First Wrap-Up: What I Read in February
March 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
After finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I did not pick up a novel until mid-February. I was completely exhausted, and I had partly forgotten why I wanted to major in English in the first place: I had forgotten the joy of reading.
On Groundhog Day, my brother and I went into New York City, and visited the Strand for the first time.
I want to live in that store.
I exercised a superhuman amount of self-control, and only allowed myself to buy one book. I chose Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman, and on the train home I read the first chapter. But my brain still wasn’t ready, and I put it down again. I picked it up a week and a half later, and finished it that day. I was back!
After finishing Catherine, I found time to read four and a half novels and part of a non-fiction book about children’s literature. Here’s what I read last month…
I will eventually write a review for this novel, which I have now read at least three times. I have such complicated feelings about it! But I love Catherine so much: seeing her character grow in wisdom and grace is what keeps me going back to this book over and over again. That and her obsession with the gruesome deaths of saints.
I reviewed this book on Goodreads. It was enjoyable and moving. I was surprised and glad that Palacio chose to tell the story from the perspectives of several characters, not just Auggie. I would definitely recommend this to 3rd/4th grade and up.
I read this at the recommendation of a young friend, who is a huge Snicket fan. I have read the Series of Unfortunate Events, and I enjoyed them. This novel fits his formula: knowing prodigies, incompetent/unreliable/evil adults, grotesque, even surreal settings, and plenty of melancholy and morbidity. WCTBATH felt more melancholy than the SofUE, even a little bitter, and I didn’t enjoy it as much. Perhaps I have begun to burn out on Snicket. It was still highly inventive and fun to read.
Here is another book about a precocious orphan surrounded by treacherous and/or bumbling adults in a dark, fantastic setting. I absolutely loved it. It is just under 500 pages long, and yet I couldn’t put it down. I would recommend this to older children – probably 7th grade and up – who are fans of Snicket. It is more fantastic, yet its darkness is more realistic, and the plot includes some fairly complex politics.
I am also partway through I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith, and Children’s Literature: A Very Short Introduction, by Kimberley Reynolds. I’m enjoying the former very much so far, but the non-fiction volume is very, very dry. Eventually, I’ll struggle through to the end…
What did you read last month? Which book was your favorite?