Reading Round-Up: February 2018

Oh, right, it’s March. Here’s what I read last month:

  1. And Life Comes Back (Tricia Lott Williford)
  2. The Four Tendencies (Gretchen Rubin)
  3. The Divine Comedy III: Paradise (Dante, tr. Dorothy L. Sayers and Barbara Reynolds)
  4. Follow My Leader (James B. Garfield)
  5. One Step at a Time (Deborah Kent)
  6. Real American (Julie Lythcott-Haims)
  7. Persuasion (Jane Austen)
  8. Camino Island (John Grisham)

February was a bit of a lighter month for me — both fewer books read, and a number of them on the shorter side as well. It’s not so surprising; I watched a lot of Olympics. Coupled with the nasty stomach bug that took each of us out in turn, and our three-season marathon through Poldark, small wonder that the book pile sank quite slowly in February. No matter.

Somehow I came out of my childhood owning two young adult novels about losing sight. In Follow My Leader, eleven-year-old Jimmy Carter (really) is blinded suddenly after an accident with a firecracker, and has to learn to navigate his new life, first with a cane and then with his guide dog, Leader. In One Step at a Time, thirteen-year-old Tracy Newberry finds that she has to cope not only with entering high school thoroughly in her older sister’s shadow, but with the terrifying suspicion that she is slowly losing her sight. The two books offer some interesting contrasts when read in conjunction with each other: younger boy vs. older girl, grade school vs. high school, 1950s vs. 1980s, sudden affliction vs. an inescapable decline. I’ll be keeping these two around for the kids.

And Life Comes Back is Tricia Lott Williford’s first memoir — I read her second, Let’s Pretend We’re Normal, back in December I believe. And Life Comes Back tells the story of her sudden widowhood (in her early thirties, with two preschool-aged children) and her slow reemergence into life afterwards. It is sad, but lovely.

In the “and now for something completely different” department, I finished February with some back-to-back Jane Austen and John Grisham. As one does. I enjoyed Persuasion, although I would probably not count it as my favourite Austen (that crown belongs, always and forever, to Pride and Prejudice). But Anne Elliot is a most sympathetic heroine, and I’m sure I will re-read her story in a year or two with equal pleasure. Camino Island is Grisham’s latest-but-one, a novel that opens with a bold heist of several original F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from the Princeton library, and centres around a group of writers, book collectors, and blackmarketeers in Florida. It’s a fun read.

The Four TendenciesParadise, and Real American have already been treated in their own respective posts.