Fiction Read in February:
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley-
Read as part of a co-op class that I assist with (assist meaning basically sit and listen and do nothing, not a bad gig). I had never read this classic horror story. I found it interesting and I’m glad I read it.
The Dinosaur Feather by S.J. Gazan
This debut mystery was awarded the best Danish crime novel of the decade (or something like that). In a bit of serendipity, I found it when searching for something unrelated for John for school. It looked intriguing so I put it on hold at the library only to later see it on many “best of” lists at the end of the year. I read a lot of mysteries and this one may have used the most ingenious (and creepy) method of offing the victim that I’ve ever seen. In some ways this felt similar to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in the Scandinavian setting, very liberal attitudes towards sex that seem to be the societal norm and use of many similar-sounding to my ear Danish names. It’s not as violent as Dragon Tattoo and overall I think I liked Dinosaur Feather better.
A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley
I admitted last year that I had to eat crow after initially disliking Flavia deLuce and the series of mysteries she stars in. After reading the third in the series, I have to say these continue to get better and better. Quirky, endearing girl detective and chemist, small English village and clever murders make for a very enjoyable and fun read.
Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King (audiobook)
I continue to enjoy listening to King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series in the car in the mornings.
The Unwanteds: Island of Fire by Lisa McMann
The third in a middle grade fantasy series that John and I have read and enjoyed. It’s sort of a Hunger Games meets Harry Potter meets a bunch of other fantasy series that have been done before. But it’s well-written and always especially nice to discuss a book with John that he likes. These must be read in order to be appreciated. The author doesn’t do any summing up of the plot at the beginning of the second and third books so if you are interested, start with number one.
Non-Fiction Read in February:
The Little Way of Ruthie Leming by Rod Dreher
A memoir/biography of the life of the author’s sister, Ruthie Leming. Dreher grew up in a small town in Louisiana but left as an adult to pursue a career in journalism. His sister stayed behind in the town and lived a very different kind of life surrounded by family. The difference in their personalities and life paths causes tension between the two siblings. Dreher deals with this tension as well as his sister’s life and death when he comes home to live in his hometown after Ruthie’s death from lung cancer. We read this book for my book club and although we all mostly enjoyed it, we all thought it would have been a better book if the author had waited a few years to write it. There are a lot of questions about the themes of community and calling and family that are left unexplored or that he might answer differently when the traumatic events of the book aren’t quite so raw.
With the Kids:
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Like her brothers before her, Ruth is quite liking the tale of Elmer Elevator and his quest to free the baby dragon from the creatures of Wild Island.
Obi, Gerbil on the Loose by Michael Delaney
We just started it but as fans of the Humphrey the hamster series, I think David will enjoy this one. He likes anything with animals and books that are funny. This story of a gerbil named after Obi-Wan-Kanobi seems to fit the bill so far.
Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson