Thursday, March 5, 2015

For the Record: February 2015

I thought I was going to be able to squeeze one more book into February, but it didn't happen.  Still, it was a pretty rewarding reading month for me. Since I've been so busy with house design, I feel like more time is passing than really is—I keep thinking it's almost June.  SoCal weather is absolutely no help in this regard.  While the rest of the Continental US is suffering through another terrible winter, we're still sunny mid-70s. It could be any month of the year, honestly. That's definitely one of the factors urging me to read messed up conception of time.

Since I'm getting anxious to move back into our house, I thought I'd give you guys a little peak at what we've been working on for the last two years.

One of the [way too many] bathrooms - not complete yet
but I love how the tile and stone work together.

We have a lot of walnut in the house (floors, closets etc.)
This is a half flight of stairs leading to kitchen.

My laundry room is going to be so gorgeous! Alder cabinets and a mahogany
counter. Can't wait to see them after the wood is sealed.

This is a little private courtyard off the master suite where a lot of our
exterior materials converge: cedar, teak, andesite.

7 Books (1,858 pages) Read in February: 
[17 books (5,084 pages) year-to-date]

2 Nonfiction:
  - Lies My Teacher Told Me, James W. Loewen (3.5) I liked the topics (American History and how it is taught in public schools) but the tone was somewhat alarmist which isn't my jam. Most of the stuff I already knew, whether through my own reading or by virtue of homeschooling, (not via traditional textbooks,) so what was most interesting to me was his brief comments on how little continuing education most history teachers do. That, to me, seems to be a large part of the problem. It's always easier to learn a subject if your teacher is enthusiastic about the topic.
  - The Light and the Glory (for Young Readers), Peter Marshall & David Manuel (2.5) I was disappointed to find much less usable text in this book as compared with its sequel. Most frustrating was the coverage on Columbus, who was presented as very rose-colored two-dimensional character. Almost as irritating was the general lack of organization in the writing.  Maybe I was just in a bad mood when I read it!

2 Junior/Teen Fiction:
  - Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson (4.5) Woodson did a beautiful job writing about her childhood, really giving a full picture of her family members and the locations they lived. Recommended! [counts towards the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: YA Novel]
  - When Mystical Creatures Attack, Kathleen Founds (3.5/4) This was fantastic to flip through, and I loved the first half or so, but as the story went on it got more and more depressing.  I kept hoping that there would be a sparkle of hope that would bubble up and infiltrate the various emotional problems and mental illnesses, but no such luck. [counts towards the Book Riot Read harder Challenge: Something Recommended to you]

2 Adult Fiction:
  - Still Alice, Lisa Genova (4) Read for my book club...actually listened to, since I did this one on audio.  It was read by the author, and I had a bit of a hard time deciding if it was just read poorly or if it was also written poorly.  I ended up forgiving the writing quality because I appreciate the author's goal of using the novel as a way to illuminate the intricacies of a disease.  This was about early onset Alzheimer's, and provided good discussion for our group. [counts towards the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Audiobook]
  - We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson (5) I thought this story was just about perfect. Well written, atmospheric, creepy, so wonderful.

1 Classic:
  - Cakes and Ale, W. Somerset Maugham (4) Almost more of a fictionalized essay than a proper novel...though there was indeed an interesting story to be had.  The main characters are authors, who are giving their thoughts about publishing and literature, so that's always fun.  And a commentary on society as well, done in a humorous manner. [counts towards the Book Riot Reader Harder Challenge: by an author of a different gender than yours]


1 Current Reads:
I'm kind of in between books today. I have a couple of books I'm reading aloud to my 10yo, but those will be on hold next week because I'll be out of town. I got sucked into the audio version of The Girl on the Train and didn't pick up any books in print in the meantime.

  - The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, Rachel Joyce. From LibraryThing's Early Reviewers. I loved Harold Fry and am hoping to love Miss Queenie also.

On My Nightstand:
I read all my new books from last month except The Magnificent Ambersons and Wolf Winter, so I'll be taking those on my trip next week...maybe I'll also take my new book club pick: The Light Between Oceans.



  1. Wow, those photos of your house are *gorgeous* even if it's not yet complete. It must be hard living with renovations for two years, but how lucky you'll be once you're settled in amongst all of the loveliness!

    Your reading month was a little better than mine was. We don't have any overlaps this time around, but I'll be curious to know your thoughts about Queenie Hennessy once you've finished.

  2. Your house looks beautiful. Can't beat natural materials!

  3. You must be so anxious to get into that beautiful house! The mahogany counter top is amazing. I've never seen one before--people are so into granite and quartz and marble and stone! And the private courtyard is different too. You'll love sitting out there, reading.

  4. Thanks for all your kind comments about my house - I'm starting to get very excited about actually being able to live there, instead of just eternal decision making. :)


I'd love to hear what you have to say, leave a comment!