If I were to mark February out of 10, I’d give it a solid 8.5. It was a bit chaotic on the reading front because I tried to juggle too much, but a couple of exciting things happened (which I can’t announce quite yet because they’re not in the bag…). Hands-down, the highlight was visiting our wider family and a trip to Winchester which turned out to be the perfect literary break. There was so much to see that I ended up blogging about our travels rather than posting book reviews (they’ll follow in March). Spring cleaning has already started at our place with lots of gardening, painting and adding to book displays. Here’s the bookish summary for the month:
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (4/5)
- In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor (4.5/5)
- How Long ’til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemisin (4.25/5)
- Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (4/5)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (ongoing)
In Tearing Haste was the surprise hit for me despite the rubbish title. I’ve been working my way through Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books over the last few years and although I’ve enjoyed them, I didn’t expect to enjoy the epistolary format in this one as I much as I did. The exchanges were hilarious, as well as being full of adventure and gossip. I also loved finding out more about ‘Debo’ Devonshire who handed me several speech and drama awards as a kid. She always seemed very stern, but these letters reveal a really cheeky side.
- The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton (5/5)
- Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (4/5)
5/5 for the Turton! I asked Al if it had any flaws and he said no, it was perfect. I plan to check this rating by reading it very soon.
- On the Origin of Species retold by Sabina Radeva (4.5/5)
- The Worst Witch Strikes Again by Jill Murphy (4.25/5)
- Fairy Tale Play by Julia Spiers (4/5)
- All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman) (4/5)
- Cats and Robbers by Russell Ayto (4/5)
Little M was very lucky to be gifted the majority of these books and enjoyed them all. Writing from an adult perspective, On the Origin of Species really impressed. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a classic.
Movies and TV
- Kingdom Episodes 1 & 2 (4/5)
- How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World (4/5)
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (4.25/5)
A pretty solid viewing month but the clear winner for both Al & I was To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. We freely admit that we are not the target demographic, but we loved this quirky romantic YA comedy with a John Hughes vibe.
Family Days Out
I’ll be tying up our Winchester adventures in one post next week, but I’ve written about our odyssey to Jane Austen’s house in Chawton already. If you ever decide to visit Jane Austen’s House Museum then definitely make time to see Chawton House on the same day. The latter has a fascinating exhibition on Jane Austen’s reading material and houses the research library of the Centre for the Study of Early Women’s Writing.
If some of my news comes to fruition, I could be sharing a few cool pieces with you in March. Until then, wishing you many happy reads.
Mel, Al & Little M