February’s Reading Round Up

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.–Haruki Murakami-4

Second month of the year completed already, so it is time for my end of month reading review.

Specifically, this is my report in relation to my goals to read 50+ books in 2016 and to work my way through the ModernMrsDarcy (MMD) 2016 Reading Challenge.  You can find out more about the background on these in my January reading round up post if you have not been following this aspect of my blog.

Since that post, there have been highs and lows with my reading.  Let’s start with the good news:  total number of books finished so far this year = six, five of which I finished in February.  All the books I have read have been great in their different ways – more to follow on this below.

Not so good news: I have not yet managed to finish my MMD February book, Guernica (Gijs van Hensbergen).  Although a fascinating book, it is also quite a heavy read and so is taking me longer than I had hoped.  More below on my plans for organising my reading time better in March.

In addition, I have not finished the books I highlighted in my January post, namely We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves  (Karen Joy Fowler) and Do No Harm (Henry Marsh).  These are still work in progress – both excellent reads which I am enjoying immensely.  Lucy and I are also making good strides with The Cat Burglar (Tamsin Cooke).  This is a stretching read for her, which is great, and we are both enjoying the story.

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Overall, I am happy with where I am in my life reading-wise. 🙂 None of this is meant to be pressurised or stressful.  I have given myself permission to deviate and read different books from those originally anticipated.  The main point of having my goals is to encourage more reading generally, which I feel I am achieving, although I would like to do more.  So….

February’s finished books

So Much For That (Lionel Shriver)
It is no exaggeration to say that this book has been life-changing for me.  I will be writing a separate review of this because it needs its very own post.

The Lie (C L Taylor)

A light but engaging page-turner.

The Winter Ghosts (Kate Mosse)
A very quick read (I started this one bed-time and finished it in a couple of hours the following morning), and entertaining.  It had the tone of a late 19th century/early 20th century ghost story.

Daring Greatly (Brené Brown)
I have written various posts about my reason for reading this book, which as expected is brilliant.  If you would like to know more about my involvement with it and Brené Brown, please do feel free to search for my related posts.

The Other Son (Nick Alexander)
An interesting story about different facets of family life.  Relatively light, but enjoyable.

Goals for March


  • Finish everything currently in progress, as mentioned above;
  • Finish my March MMD pick – Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
  • Read one other non-fiction book from my very long ‘must-read’ list



How will I achieve all this reading?  I have been thinking about my reading habits, or rather the lack of them.  I have decided that I would like to be a bit more organised with identifying specific time for my more challenging reads.  It is no good trying to snatch brief bits of time with a book like Guernica in between other things.  Nor can I read this kind of book at night before going to sleep – I am just too tired.  In neither case can I do the book justice.

I have therefore decided to attempt to find a ‘reading hour’ every day at a time when I can devote quality time to more difficult reads.  It will not always be possible to do so, and I won’t beat myself up for any days when I don’t achieve it.  There will be compensations on the days when I do manage it and can make good progress with books that I really want to engage with properly and cannot otherwise so do.

I would be really interested to hear what you guys think of this.  Do you have any special reading habits that you would recommend?  Let me know – I am always open to suggestions.  And of course, I remain interested in recommended titles too. 🙂

16 thoughts on “February’s Reading Round Up

  1. Well done getting this many read, Liz! I’m looking forward to your review of Lionel Shriver’s novel. I’ve read several by her and think her very impressive, but I haven’t heard of that one. I’m not sure it would be much fun to be trapped for any length of time with many of her characters! Setting aside an hour a day is quite an aim. I try to read on my train journey home ( the way in is invariably hijacked by train buddy chat, the curse of online fossickings, and looking for the backgarden chickens at specific points) but even that is hard to do regularly. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are ahead of me in reading. I have several books on the go and am loving the time I spend reading. The problem is “time” which seems to go by with the speed of lightning. The books I chose are non fiction which requires a different type of reading, much like you experienced in Guernica. I am reading Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxes. And Elsa Schiaparelli by Meryle Secrest. And a biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay that I have been on an off for over a year. But the good news is that we read – and now I’m considering reading blogs a part of my reading experience. Glad that you are reading Ray Bradbury – here’s one of my favourite quotes; “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” Ray Bradbury

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am always in awe of the fascinating books you find to read. But oh how difficult it is to fit them in! The eye is willing but the clock is weak, one might say. Fabulous quote, as ever, thanks – it is now one of my favorites too! Xxx

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  3. Well done for reading so many books! I am pleased that I have managed to finish five since New Year and one of those I started at Christmas! I think finding a ‘reading hour’ would be most useful – I try for a half-hour as often as possible for my heavy non-fiction (Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill (such a hobbity name!)). I daren’t read it in bed – I’d be asleep in minutes! I try to fit reading in as often as I can but these days I can’t often find more than 5 or 10 minutes together during the day. I also have to be in the right mood to read and each book needs a different mood too, which is why having more than one on the go at a time is useful.

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  4. That’s a phenomenal amount of reading, Liz. Like Clare my reading time is often limited to 10 minutes here and there. At night I manage about 10 minutes before I sleep. Slow going but the important thing for me is to enjoy what I am reading. Now I am off to grab another few pages of Anne of Avonlea!

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    1. You are so right that the key thing with reading is to enjoy oneself, Mandy. Speed is irrelevant, as is time of day, location etc. And everyone is different in their preferences too. It is so interesting to hear all the various approaches! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is brilliant, thanks so much for highlighting it. I agree with you that his approach & attitude is spot on – very inspiring 😀❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Farenheit 451 is a good read, although lighter than some dystopian fictions which could be good or bad depending on your thoughts on such books. I think you are right to leave the more challenging books for when you have time, that way you get to understand things better than starting something and being pulled away. For me the easiest way to read is go to a coffee shop or something and ignore everything and be consumed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am looking forward to F451 – it is something I have wanted to read for a long time. Thanks for the coffee shop advice – that is v helpful. There are always a lot of distractions at home, or at least the nagging feeling that one should be doing the hoovering or something!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you are out, then you have no need to worry, that is what I do and sometimes I even leave my phone at home just to confuse all those government agencies no doubt tracking my every move. F451 is a short book so you will probably fly through it, although talk of burning books may make you cringe.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I can see how cathartic it would be to stride out with nothing but a bit of cash and one’s book – will give definitely give it a try! And I am am galvanizing myself for the book burning – I feel up to the challenge…

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