Thursday, February 27, 2014

What I've Been Reading: February 2014

It's that time again!  I'd love to say I've been reading lots and have tons to share with you  this month, but that would be false.  The Olympics seriously cut into my reading hours, but they only come around once every two years, so they're forgiven.  Also, those were some great hockey games, so they're extra forgiven.

However I do have several titles to share...

Twisted Sisters, by Jen Lancaster.  I've mentioned a time or three how much I enjoy Lancaster's work.  I'll still go on record and say that I prefer her auto-biographical non-fiction (such as her most recent, The Tao of Martha, which I reviewed here).  That said, this was hugely entertaining, funny and insightful.  Reagan Bishop has always pushed herself, and now she pushes others professionally, using her licensed psychologist credentials to help people overcome their fears on the breakout cable show, I Need A Push.  When the show is picked up by a major network, however, it's revamped almost beyond recognition, making her job nearly impossible.  Since her personal life is also nearly impossible already (sibling rivalry with both her older and younger sisters, a romantic relationship that alternates between booty-calls and stalking), Reagan is left grasping at straws.  Enter New Age Guru Deva who offers Reagan a very unorthodox solution, and some most unexpected results.  Very much recommended.

The Seamstress: A Memoir of Survival, by Sara Tuvel Bernstein.  This audiobook, read by Wanda McCaddon, has been what's keeping me company during my snowy commutes this past month.  This detailed, heartrending account of one exceptional woman's struggle in the rural Jewish community  on the border of Hungary and Romania during the Second World War, culminating in her imprisonment in the Ravensbruck concentration camp (located in northern Germany).  As profoundly disturbing as the subject matter is, it is also a story of hope and survival, and I consider myself the better and wiser for Bernstein's words.  Highly recommended.

The Martian, by Andy Weir.  I couldn't keep this one to myself.  You can read my review here.  At the risk of repeating myself, this was excellent, a total page-turner that I couldn't put down.  Very highly recommended.

The Bear, by Claire Cameron.  Told in the honest, raw voice of five-year-old Anna, this is a story of love and survival (I apparently seem to be on a survival kick this month).  Anna is on a camping trip with her parents and little brother when their campsite is attacked by a rogue black bear during the night.  Hidden with her brother by their father, Anna ventures forth at the faint, dying urging of her mother to save herself and her little brother, paddling away from the island in the family's canoe.  I'd recommend this to readers who also liked/were impressed by Emma Donoghue's Room

And that, my friends, is it.  Four whole titles for the month, bringing me to a whopping seven for the year.  At this rate, 75 titles by December 31 is going to be a challenge indeed.  What does give me hope, however, is that this blog has allowed me to look back and see that February tends to be one of my slower reading months in years past, too.  So there's hope for me yet!

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