February is short but my TBR list is not, so I’ve been reading like a demon this month. Here’s what’s been occupying my attention in February.
- The Power by Naomi Alderman
This book about what ensues when all girls develop electromagnetic powers really freaked me out. I am not over it.
- A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
This was sweet; it’s about a selective mute girl and a deaf boy and the obstacles that face their relationship.
- Radio Sunrise by Anietie Isong
A quick and easy read about corruption in Nigeria.
- March: Book 2 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
I am obsessed with this series and treated myself to the trilogy in a beautiful slipcase. Book 2 carried on with Lewis’ role in the Civil Rights movement. I’m learning a lot from these books.
- The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Obviously this was always going to be lovely, coming from the author of Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s the story of never-been-kissed Molly and her crushes, her relationship with her twin sister and all the romantic happenings around her that make her feel left behind. Features guest appearances from Simon characters too!
- Jane Austen, The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly
I really enjoyed this revisiting of Austen’s novels from a more political perspective. I didn’t agree with all of Kelly’s readings, but it’s so pleasant to see Austen treated with proper critical consideration.
- Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
This is the delightfully weird follow-up to the equally bizarre Binti. In this one, Binti travels back to Earth, with her weird tentacle things. I love it.
- The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
This weird tale of gods and the underworld and odd rituals started really well but I lost a bit of interest when the main character turned into a wasp.
- Ms. Marvel, Volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson
I’ve not particularly enjoyed the superhero-centric graphic novels that I’ve read, but I loved this; Kamala is a brilliantly normal heroine and I loved how the cultural aspect was embedded in the story.
- All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
I was on a right roll at this point in February because I really liked this too. It’s a really good sci-fi novel, with time travel and futuristic tech, as well as confusing parallel dimensions and general craziness.
- Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit
I was expecting this to be a bit more feminism-focused than it was, but this is, nonetheless, an interesting collection of essays. The title essay was the one that resonated most; it reminded me of the time a few months ago when a middle-aged dude explained to me what feminism really was. That was an enlightening conversation.
- Giant Days, Volume 1 by John Allison
I bulk-requested a load of graphic novels at my local library and they didn’t let me down; this was excellent too. It was a very realistic but entertaining depiction of university life. I really want to read the rest now.
- The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
Almost unbearably poignant at times, this is Fisher’s memoir of her time filming Star Wars and the impact it had on her life. Obviously, the big news in the book is her affair with Harrison Ford, and the way it’s dealt with in the book is simultaneously affecting and hilarious. I loved the writing.
- A Bit of Difference by Sefi Atta
This was firmly within my Nigerian-set-novels-written-by-women comfort zone, and it was good, but didn’t grab me particularly. I think I was unfairly comparing it to other books, which is silly as it’s a good book in its own right.
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Really powerful account of race in America, told through a letter from Coates to his son.
- History is All You Let Me by Adam Silvera
You can read my review of this here at Fourth and Sycamore should you feel that way inclined. It is very sad.
- Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, edited by Kelly Jensen
I really liked this scrapbook-style feminism primer, with lots of intersectionality and inclusive insights. I recommend.
- The Mothers by Brit Bennett
I had a big issue with this book; early on, one of the characters, at the age of seventeen, has an abortion, and it’s as if this means she can then never be happy. There’s a lot of language relating to this in the book that I objected to. It ruined the book for me, which is a shame as I’d really been looking forward to reading it.
- The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
My love affair with Jackson’s writing continues. I’d read a couple of these before but most of the stories were new to me and I loved them.
- What Not to Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford
It’s that time of year when I start reading shiny new children’s books in preparation for the next school year. This was fun; there was a lot going on beyond the whole invisibility thing.
- I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1 by Skottie Young and Jean-Francois Beaulieu
I’m having a great run of graphic novels at the moment. This was demented and hilarious; the contrast between the ultra-violent content and fairytale visuals was brilliant.
- Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
I will admit to being a little bit disappointed by this; I loved Rebel of the Sands for all its action-packed excitement, and that was pretty much lacking from the sequel. Fingers crossed for a frenetic and fast-paced end to the trilogy.
- American Housewife by Helen Ellis
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories, generally focusing on the rivalries and dramas of bored women. It’s darkly funny with some Palahniuk-ian twists.
- A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
Yes, yes yes. Although I thought this was excessively long (as I feel about all books that go over 400 pages), it had everything I wanted in a series-closer; all the characters I’ve loved so much, all together rather than split off in separate narratives, satisfying developments and plenty of action.
- Rotten Row by Petina Gappah
More short stories, this time set in Zimbabwe. I loved Gappah’s novel The Book of Memory and really enjoyed these stories too; I liked how certain characters kept popping up across the collection and Gappah’s writing is immersive and enthralling.
- And Then There Was Me by Sadeqa Johnson
A slightly soap opera-y family drama, focused on a woman about to give birth to a baby for her husband’s cousin. Full review on the way.
- Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
Here ends the run of excellent graphic novels. I have literally no idea what was going on here.
- Memoirs of a Porcupine by Alain Mabanckou
I really enjoyed Mabanckou’s Broken Glass earlier this year so I was pleased to find this in my local library too. Like Broken Glass, it’s very weird and features minimal punctuation and, again, I really liked Mabanckou’s dark humour. It’s narrated by an actual porcupine. Yes, really.
- Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
This was an excellent YA, split between a modern-day, mixed-race Tulsa teenage girl and a 1920s teenage boy. In the modern narrative, construction work at Rowan’s house reveals a dead body, and the historical chapters gradually reveal the mystery. It’s a really compelling and enthralling story; I highly recommend.
Have you read any of these? Or have I inspired you to with my immense words of wisdom? Please let me know.