How are you? How is your reading life going? It’s been a good news/bad news situation for me.
The good news is that I have thoroughly enjoyed each one of the four books I’ve read so far this year. Two of them are listed below. You can find the other two books in my January 2022 Book Report post. It is rare when I get on a winning streak like this one. So much so that it makes it hard to pick my next read because I don’t want to be disappointed.
Maybe this is why February has been a slow reading month for me. That’s the bad news. Typically, I like to have at least three books to report on here, but you are only getting two from me this month. I plan to pick up the pace in March and have already selected my next book, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love.
But before I pick that book up, here are my reviews of the two books I read this month.
The last science fiction book I read was The Hunger Games. It was also the first one I’ve read, although it might be considered young adult dystopian by others. But I’m not going to split hairs here. It was a book that my daughter wanted to read, and we decided to do it together. Side note: I read all three books in the series, and I don’t think she finished the first one. LOL.
The point is that while I enjoyed that series, I prefer historical fiction, family drama, mystery, and the occasional romance novel.
Having said that, I did enjoy Project Hail Mary immensely. It is hard to talk about this book without revealing spoilers. I’ll just say that it’s about a middle school science teacher who finds himself alone on a spaceship with amnesia. With that description alone, you should know that it is a story worth sticking around for to see how it ends.
Here are the things I loved about the book. The bromance between the main characters with their banter, quirks, and sense of humor made me feel like I was right there in the room as this relationship came to be.
Okay, spoiler alert – he isn’t exactly alone.
Also, while much of the story takes place in outer space, there are flashbacks to unravel the mystery of how this teacher wound up in outer space in the first place. I loved this particular storyline and might consider re-reading the book just to see what hints it may have dropped along the way that I missed. By the way, I also loved the ending – which was incredibly satisfying.
I’m glad I listened to the book on Audible because the narrator was so entertaining and kept me engaged even though I found the scientific aspects somewhat exhausting. Every time there was a problem, it took a lot of trial and error, circular logic, and self-talk for the main character to arrive at the solution.
If you have Project Hail Mary on your TBR list, I’d recommend it for the sci-fi fans and even for readers like me who like their stories to be from this galaxy. Amaze! Amaze!
Back here on Earth, I love historical fiction. The Personal Librarian hits all the right notes. The brilliant Belle da Costa Greene is the personal librarian to American financier J.P. Morgan – a lover of the written word. Belle travels the world, securing rare manuscripts, books, and artwork to build an incredible collection. But, she has a secret that she is keeping from everyone – including Mr. Morgan. Belle is a Black woman passing as white. As she mingles with socialites and secures treasures for the library, she must tread carefully so that her true identity is never discovered. If her secret were revealed, the effects would be devastating to her career, her life, and her family.
Historical fiction is at its best when the books are well-researched, and the characters are fully developed. I didn’t know much about J.P. Morgan and had never heard of Bella da Costa Greene before picking up this book. By the end of it, I wanted to know more. I’m seriously considering picking up a nonfiction book about the life of Ms. Greene because she is that fascinating.
The story behind the writing of this book is also equally captivating. Co-written by Marie Benedict – who has written other books about strong but little-known women in history – and Victoria Christopher Murray – one of the country’s top African-American authors, these women are just as impressive as the book itself. If you read this book, do not skip the author notes from each of them.
I can’t recommend it highly enough, and if you read it, I’d love to discuss it with you.
Zibby Owens is a podcaster for “Moms Don’t Have Time To Read.” She interviews authors, recommends terrific books, and supports indie bookstores. So much so that she has put out her 22 in 22 challenge, which is to visit 22 independent bookstores this year. As you know, I love indie bookstores, so this is the perfect challenge for me.
February is my birthday month, and I never work on my birthday. Instead, I drove to The Doylestown Bookshop and spent at least an hour combing through the stacks. I purchased four books, and because I am on their mailing list – I had a coupon for 20% off one title. Guess what – they took the discount off of the most expensive book! Happy birthday to me!
I love this bookstore because they have a large selection of bestsellers and backlist books. The nonfiction sections of the books are also well stocked, which is a bonus for me. If you have young children or teenagers, the children’s section and young adult books have plenty. And if you love jigsaw puzzles, they have an excellent selection in the back of the store.
The other bookstore I visited this month was The Story in Ardmore, PA. This place was more of a cafe than a bookstore. The coffee was excellent, but the shelves were quite limited. The prices were right – $5 for a paperback and $7 for a hardback. While it was nice to browse, I didn’t find anything I wanted that day – even with such low prices. Maybe next time.
I hope this inspires you to skip the big box booksellers and check out one of these stores instead. I’ll keep posting which ones I visit. Here is hoping I reach 22 books and 36 titles by the end of the year.