January started my reading year well. My favorite book was probably Watership Down but only time will tell if it makes it onto my Top Reads Wrap-up for 2020. I didn’t read as many books in February because of many personal goings-on. But I still squeezed in enough to keep my tally on the rise.
All ratings out of 5 ⭐️’s
Educated: a memoir by Tara Westover
This is my second read of Westover’s memoir (It is also my second copy. I bought a paperback from England because paperbacks are my fave). I read it last year and found it simultaneously beautiful and painful. Rereading it was no different. Her emotional journey is at points a mirror reflection of my own. It sometimes feels like she wrote my story.
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
I’m not a huge fan of Woolf, but because of her renown, I keep trying to read her stories and enjoy them. This book was about being a woman and a writer. I did not agree with all of her sentiments. I found them too class centered, though, to be fair, that was exactly her point. In the end, I felt it was more about feminism and the need for liberation of women than pointers on creativity and art. (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
I am gradually working my way through the complete works of Shakespeare. This wasn’t my favorite of his plays, but at least I didn’t hate it like All’s Well that End’s Well (which I may or may not be writing a novelized, parody version). Filled with typical madcap misunderstandings, crossdressing, and trickery of one of his comedies. The best part of reading it was reading it in conjunction with Elements of Eloquence which talked a lot about the technique of Shakespeare’s writing.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
While the excessive encounters with prostitutes irritated me, everything else about this book was excellent. Especially the way Heller satirized war. The beginning was so absurd that I found myself laughing, but by the end, I felt agitated, trapped and frustrated for the characters. My change in emotion said so much to me about his ability to weave the truth about war into his fictional account; how it all begins as a grasp for power and the chaos filters downward through the ranks even to civilians. The genius technique of the non-chronological timeline added so much to its telling. Excellent read.
The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase by Mark Forsyth
This was an interesting book on elements of rhetoric that are somewhat lost in our culture, though still used because of the pleasing patterns they create. It was interesting to put names to things that I’d read many times but didn’t realize that the pattern of speech was what caught my ear. As a writing book, I found half of it useful for improvement, but some of it just felt like information for information’s sake. Generally an interesting read though.
You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt
I picked this up after starting Noelle Handcock’s My Year with Eleanor. I have little knowledge of Eleanor and I wanted to widen my knowledge before finishing Handcock’s book. Roosevelt’s book was full of wisdom and encouragement. There were multiple chapters about political involvement which I found less helpful. But what I loved, I loved. (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a boy soldier by Ishmael Beah
This book was eyeopening and heartbreaking. Beah’s memoir is about his time as a child soldier during the civil war in Sierra Leone. The stories about the suffering of innocent families and young boys drawn into war were horrifying. But the ultimate rehabilitation of Beah was ultimately hopeful. It also strengthened my anti-gun sentiments by brushing upon subjects such as violent films and the American children’s reactions to Beah’s time as a solider.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
I haven’t read this in years, but it was one of my favorite books as a child. Pure joy is the only way to describe rereading it from the old paperback that I’ve had since elementary school. None of its humor or magic was lost on me as an adult. It is just as perfect as I remembered it.
Second Best Thing: Marilyn, JFK, and a Night to Remember by James L. Swanson
This was a short historical piece about the discovery of rare photographs taken at the private afterparty of John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday bash and the infamous birthday song performed by Marilyn Monroe. It was a quick, interesting read. (Free with Kindle Unlimited)
Desiring God by John Piper
This book was so encouraging and convicting. It came to me just when I needed it. It lightened my path for my current trial. And I love John Piper’s teaching voice. It’s so gentle and firm, like a loving father. It was a perfect read this month.
Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome
I read Three Men on a Boat years ago and loved it. Jerome’s humor is very P.G. Wodehouse. This book was the sequel. It was quite funny at points, but on the whole I found it rambling and disappointing. Not my favorite sequel.
Why the Reformation Still Matters by Michael Reeves and Tim Chester
There was nothing wrong with this book. It was interesting and insightful. My personal issue with it was that the information within its pages was an amalgamation of this month’s Desiring God by Piper and last month’s What is Reformation Doctrine by Sproul. In the end I liked the other two books better.
Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions for me based on what you see here. Obviously, I’m always up for another good read.
Happy Reading everyone!
Book count for February: 12
Total book count for 2020: 29