Short month means short books! Ha! I read four books this month. Three were fairly short, under 300 pages while one was over. Two of the books I read with my teenage students, who are studying literature with me online, which means the other two were for my nighttime reading.


Love original book cover art.

First up was Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. You know how after you read a really good book, it’s hard to find a follow up? That’s how I felt about The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. Sometimes I still get faint dreamy impressions of the novel.

I started reading some books on my Kindle but couldn’t get into anything, so I kept going farther and further back in my library until I found Out of the Silent Planet. It was different and weird enough to get my attention.

It’s a sci-fi novel first published in 1938 (!) but it holds up well like other vintage sci-fi greats like The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.


I still need to watch the movie… looking forward to it, actually.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is wonderful. I was gobsmacked to learn that Susan wrote the book when she was in high school. Published in 1968, it tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis, a greaser, and his family & friends, and their fights with the ‘socs’ or socials (rich kids). The book was also banned for its gang violence which these days seem quaint in comparison. Highly recommend.


Another movie I need to watch…

When doing research on what to read with a 16 year old girl who doesn’t like to read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky came up. It’s considered the most re-read book among young people. So I was taken aback by its content: drinking and drugs, making out, sex, rape, abuse, but it’s such a good story. I recommended it for my nephew via my brother. Chbosky does a remarkable job encapsulating those teenage years and feelings.


Adorable.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman was recommended by my dear British friend, Henry, who has introduced me to British panel shows and P. G. Wodehouse.

So when texting, he asked if I knew Richard Osman, the comedian, freaky tall like Greg Davies, from all those panel shows, and I said yes, wears glasses, famous for saying ‘there’s strength in arches’ on Taskmaster. Yes, yes, yes! He wrote a book. What?

So impressed with little Richard. As soon as you start, you fall in love with the geriatrics trying to solve a murder, and I started to think about how good this will be as a film or TV adaptation, and how this needs to be a series, so I was over the moon to see that book 2 is in the works. Some good laughs, surprisingly touching, and despite my adoration and fascination for all things British, I still had to look up some vocab specific to the Isles. Dang it!

How were your February reads? Any recommendations?

36 replies on “πŸ“š Reading Roundup: February 2021

  1. I hadn’t heard of ‘Out of the silent planet’ – definitely intrigued since I’m a HUGE Chronicles of Narnia fan. But I’m guessing this is a different genre altogether.

    I’ve had such a good run with reading in February – every book I’ve read turned out to be so good. Madeline Miller’s two books – just blew my mind. I’m currently reading The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee and it’s so good. Definitely recommend her books – if you haven’t read them – feminist angles on Indian mythological tales. This book revolves around Indian history though.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Cool! Thanks. Yeah, I went to one of your book recommends and downloaded Jeffrey Archer’s book, so it’s in queue. πŸ™‚ But the Last Queen sounds like my jam, too. So I’ll remember that one too.

      Yeah, the Silent Planet might not be your thing if you don’t like vintage sci-fi. CS Lewis was so prolific!

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      1. The Last Queen sounds great I like this recommendation and will add it to my TBR along with Samurai’s Garden which looked amazing too. Hope you are well my lovely friend 😍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, just a tad busier than I’d like to be these days, but I’m hoping to return to my blogging world more in March!

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  2. It’s interesting that some of your February reads were older books. I’ve been seduced by Amazon ads into reading newly released books on Kindle. I’m currently reading The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. It’s a good book, and I’m learning a lot about the details of what it took to survive the Dust Bowl. Now I’m waiting for something to turn out right for this suffering family.

    Before that, I read another good novel: The Children’s Blizzard–yet again, a climate disaster book about the Great Plains blizzard of 1888. Melanie Benjamin created lots of good characters. A fascinating look at immigrant homesteaders, one-room schools, quickly changing weather, and lots and lots of snow.

    I did read one much older novel, The Bell by Iris Murdoch. An excellent story and somewhat different from current novels

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    1. With the teens, the classics seem to be a good bet, although I don’t know if Perks would be considered a classic like The Outsiders.

      Amazon is seductive though πŸ˜‰ Generally, I go with other ppl’s recommendations. I did download one of Kristin Hannah’s books recently, it’s on the TBR list, sth about Alaska…

      The Children’s Blizzard sounds interesting. I love historical fiction and/or history books in general. I’m reading more older books this month!

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  3. I just watched The Outsiders–never having read the book (she says, sheepishly). It was good, and what a cast! Who WASN’T in that movie? Impressed you’ve been reading so much. I’ve been swamped with work, so behind on my reading. I did manage Florence Adler Swims Forever, which is by a friend of a friend, and enjoyed it . Also reading Graham Greene’s classic, The Power and the Glory, for a class I treated myself to–just four sessions over Lent. And no quizzes or anything, so I can just soak up the literary goodness with no studying! Just started Caitlin Horrocks’ The Vexations, about composer Erik Satie, so now I have music on my to-do list, too. Hope you’re well and writing! Oh, and P.G. Wodehouse–have read a little but mostly love the show (I know, as a writer I should be flogged for saying that!) with Hugh Laurie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t that funny? Yes, that movie was an incredible all-star cast, so I’m looking forward to it. But the book was stellar. I’ll be curious how they did it.

      Woody was fun to read. Educational for me. Perhaps one day I’ll look at the classic series, but I did enjoy some of his stories πŸ™‚

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  4. I haven’t read much fiction this month; I started researching a 1930s murder for a blog post and have become quite obsessed with that. I did read Breakfast at Tiffany’s though β€” having watched the movie a gazillion times. Have you read it? I know Sarah had it on her list a month or two ago.

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    1. No, I’ve never watched or read it. Hmmmm. That’s not a bad idea for my teenage girl to read.

      The murder research sounds like fun! πŸ˜€ Looking forward to reading about that one.

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      1. The book is quite dark compared to the film, but a great read.

        I’ve gone down such a rabbit hole with the murder β€” even driving 200km to see a one-off production of a play about it (terrible, terrible play, but a fun dinner party story) 🀣🀣

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      2. Dark, eh? Interesting!

        That’s great that there was a play. Ha. Love it, and that it was bad, even better. The whole project is turning into its own story πŸ˜€

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      3. It’s the second play that I know of — but the first musical. There was also at least one documentary, and a ballet is in progress. I can only hope they are better than the musical!!!!

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  5. I look like getting through four books this month: two non-fic: Lift as you climb: women and thebart of ambition by Viv Groskop; and Design your work life by Bill and Dave (surnames forgotten right now). I read the Midnight Library by Matt Haig (wait for the movie); and I’m about to finish a James Patterson murder novel, the Never Never, set around a series of murders on a mine in the outback of Australia. It’s surprisingly claustrophobic considering it’s set in such an expansive wilderness.

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  6. You read a lot! And I get it, with following an awesome read. It is like my mother having a crisis after one of her K-dramas ended. Haha. I will check out C.S Lewis, I think it is cool, by your description. And I remember reading Perks of Being a Wallflower when it came out and found the characters interesting and relatable. May you find more time to enjoy good reads next month!

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    1. Thanks! Actually, I don’t feel like I do, but it’s all relative, right? πŸ˜‰ Hope you like CS Lewis’ novel. Cheers.

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  7. I haven’t read any of these and they sound so cool they go right on my TBR list! I can’t believe I’ve never even heard of the C.S. Lewis ones! πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚
    I’m all for early sci-fi and loved reading The Time Machine a couple of years ago. First I thought why should I read it after having watched so many movies made of it, but was really glad when I did because it was so worth it!
    And I think it’s awesome that you pick books your students might be interested in, all of my teachers only imposed their favourite books on us students without giving it a thought if it might be something we’d actually like to read.
    Going to include my books in my virtual tea party post later this months if that’s okay with you? πŸ˜‰πŸ’•

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  8. ooh.. have you read the Chronicles of Narnia? I only read one of them (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) and I enjoyed it.

    I am currently reading “The Last Boat out of Shanghai” which is historical fiction. It’s really good so far, you should check it out next .=)

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    1. Awesome. It’s on the TBR list. Yes, I’ve read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe with my 1st grade students many years ago. And I even got in trouble for do so! One of my parents got so mad with me and I had no idea why so I had to ask around… apparently it was too Christian for her, which is rather pathetic in my opinion. πŸ˜›

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  9. These four books sound great! I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower movie, but to be honest I don’t remember anything, except that Jennifer Lawrence was in it. For a teenager that is not into reading, what about graphic novels? Blankets by Craig Thompson, for example.

    I didn’t read as much as I wanted in February. But I read Virginia Woolf for the first time, that has to count, right? It was Mrs Dalloway. I started thinking maybe it wasn’t for me, because it felt a bit like Ulysses and I couldn’t finish that, but I ended up enjoying it a lot.

    I need to put aside more time for reading… I don’t know what I’m doing lately!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I don’t know what I’m doing lately!” Ummm, maybe raising a child? πŸ˜›

      Never watched Perks, but I did a quick look at the cast and J. Law isn’t in it, unless she does a cameo… so you remember nothing. πŸ˜› Ha! But I do need to watch it. Just not into movies lately… I’ll remember Mrs. Dalloway… need to read more of the classics, thanks!

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      1. HAHAHAHA I think I confused it with Silver Linings Playbook!!!! Why? No idea. So, I didn’t read the book neither watched the movie, and I don’t remember anything about an unrelated movie xD

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  10. I love to see what others are reading, Lani, and often discover excellent reads that way. Feb was not a prolific reading months for me, and although I’m not quite finished I’ve been reading “Signs of Life” by Stephen Fabes of his around the world cycle trip that took around 6 years. I also finished reading “A Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki Murakami, which was different to say the least.

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