2021 Reading Challenge: February Update
Did February fly by or what?! I cannot believe we’re starting into March already. The end of this month marks the first quarter of the year, and I’m very motivated to see good progress on my reading challenge. This year, the biggest change I’ve made in how I’m making sure I keep up with my Educational Reading is to check in every single week in a reading journal notebook.
I love Goodreads and electronic tracking, but checking in with paper and pen every week makes it a lot more physical and meaningful to me. So, I tuck my 5×5 challenge list into my planner page for the next week after I’ve updated it. As I look over my planner on the weekend, I pull it out and see what I’ve made progress in, what I’ve finished, and make a general plan for where I want to focus my reading efforts in the coming week. I note those plans down in my reading journal, and we’re off to the races!
It is working beautifully for me so far! I’ve currently finished 8 out of 25 books in that challenge, and currently have 4 more from that list in progress.
On that note, I bring you: The Books of February.
The Books of February
- The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore. Absolutely riveting book about some of the first workers who experienced radium poisoning. Nonfiction, but I was so invested in the outcomes of these poor women that I could hardly put it down. Sad story, but unforgettable.
- The Friend Zone by Abby Jiminez (#1 The Friend Zone). Light and funny romantic comedy, but some bad language and a little too racy for me. I skipped sections but I didn’t put it down. Overall a very sweet story, engagingly told, and a happy ending.
- The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jiminez (#2 The Friend Zone. This probably tells you more about how enjoyable The Friend Zone was, in spite of its issues. I moved on to the second book of the series. Not as funny as the first. More stressful, at least to expert conflict-phobes like me. Ultimately, a sweet story, though again with the same shortfallings of The Friend Zone.
- The Techwise Family by Andy Crouch. Very good. Definitely gave me some thoughts about how I can better manage my own time in technology and encourage different pursuits as a family. We don’t watch a ton of TV, but we’re making a big effort to be more engaged in playing games or reading together in the evening, instead of everybody just doing their own thing from dinner to bedtime. Not that that is a bad thing. Sometimes everybody needs space. But for the most part, it is more pleasant, and leaves us all feeling happier and more connected at the end of the day.
- Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. Cute story. Reminded me very much of some modern twists on Jane Austen type storyline. Even though it is a romance, I really liked that the drama in the end of the book wasn’t so focused on the main relationship. I don’t think I can say more without spoiling it, but it was a pleasant twist.
- The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox. Enjoyable. Family mysteries and intrigue, and dual time-lines are almost always a winner for me. It felt a bit slow through the middle but overall, not a bad read. Not one of my favorites either.
- The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver. This was one of my favorite books this month. It’s a very sweet story about moving through grief. Very sad beginning, but great personal growth and very sweet, moving ending.
- The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. Easy, literary, bibliophile fiction about a group of people who start ‘The Jane Austen Society’ as a way to preserve some of the family heritage after WWII. The multiple viewpoints and main characters made me feel a little disconnected from the story though. It was harder to keep up with everybody, and there wasn’t any one character who stood out to me as really pulling the whole story together and along. Then again, it’s a book about a society. The members of which all had important roles in it’s origination. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just never felt totally invested in the story.
- The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli. Absolutely fascinating science read. Beautifully written literature, compelling information and interesting philosophy. I want to reread it!
- Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery. Biography of the first woman to walk the Appalachian trail from start to finish. As you might expect, an absolutely fascinating woman to read about. It makes me excited to get out and try to start hiking again this summer.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Crafty by Stephen King. I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King’s fiction (Not one for the scary stuff here!) but I really enjoyed this one. It was funny and entertaining in all the right ways, but still very informative and inspiring.
- The Last Letter from Juliet by Melanie Hudson. Light historical fiction, set in World War Two. This one centered around female pilots and their role in the women’s air auxiliary corps. Not really your typical wwii historical romance, still very interesting and good.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Another one off my writing education list. Very encouraging. Anne Lamott is very good at making writing seem accessible and she validates the writing experience, whether or not it ever leads to publication. Basically, if you love writing, you should do it as much as you can and just see what comes of it. Between her and Stephen King, I feel like I’m making strides towards a better writing practice.
So that’s it! 13 books in the shortest month of the year is pretty good in my book. Looking forward to March!