The BFR Round-Up February 2022

The front of Clarendon Books, a brick bookshop with a table topped with crates outside.

February was full of stops and starts. A few plans were stalled due to bad weather but we made a few visits to see family. Reading progress slowed, mainly because we’re still working through our backlog, which involves tackling big books and stuff that hasn’t appealed to us in the past. We also broke our book-buying ban by visiting two bookshops – Clarendon Books and Scrivener’s Books and Bookbinding. The books were secondhand rather than new though so I feel better about breaking the book embargo!


All books on my February list were from my TBR. My favourite was definitely Fingersmith, which had a belter of a story and great characters. It’s my second Sarah Waters novel and the one I prefer. I’ve been putting off the The Luminaries for ages because it’s so big (832pp). Almost 3 quarters through and I’m still unsure about my opinion. It’s a feat for sure, especially as Eleanor Catton was so young when she wrote it (27). The pace hasn’t really worked for me though. It’s one of those books that you need to really think about to absorb fully. Julia and the Shark is an illustrated middle grade book that’s received lots of praise. My parents bought it for Little M, but I think she’s a little young for it at the moment as it deals with mental health. Some kids might be able to handle the subject matter.

Books Read (15 books out of 75 target)

  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (4.5/5)
  • The Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman (3.75/5)
  • Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave & Tom de Freston (4.25/5)
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (ongoing)


Al enjoyed The Apparition Phase, a folk horror with a YA bias, but felt that it didn’t quite hang together even though the component pieces were strong. He moved onto The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga next but I’m logging it for March as that’s when he finished it.

Books Read (4 out of 30 books)

  • The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean (3.75/5)

Little M

The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillips was a complete hit with Little M so we’re on the lookout for the sequel. At school, she’s working her way through the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. We’re reading The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke at bedtimes.

Books Read (4 out of 28 books)

  • The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt Phillips (5/5)

Film and TV

We started watching Malcolm in the Middle as a family. Al and I used to watch it years ago and it’s been fun to introduce Little M to the episodes. I’m still really impressed with the screenwriting. The show hasn’t dated at all. As for adult fare, I’ve been choosing to read instead so am behind on TV and film.

Days Out

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, we visited two bookshops – Clarendon Books in Leicester and Scrivener’s Books in Buxton – both full of character. Naturally, we had to buy a few books at each. I’m still planning on keeping new books to a minimum and have only bought one online so far.

Later in the month, we went to Rievaulx Abbey, an absolutely magnificent site, which Little M enjoyed exploring. It was great to use our English Heritage membership and we’re hoping to visit a few more places in April.

I’m going for fun, positive reads in March so will be trawling our shelves for some likely candidates. The other two have already lined up their next books!

Wishing you easy reads and daffodils.

Mel, Al & Little M


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