My book buying game was on point in February. 16 books, $30. Booyah. Thanks, library sales!
My reading game, on the other hand, was almost obscenely weak. I started three books plus one re-read, but only finished one of my selections. Oops. It was a busy bee/Netflix in pajamas/no in between kind of month.
But since I’m late posting this, I managed to squeeze in one more finish this morning. So…just consider this my February + 1 update, okie dokie?
Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Park is your standard suburban teenager. He loves music and comics and detests riding the bus. Eleanor’s life is anything but standard. If her unruly red curls didn’t make her stand out enough, her odd clothing choices certainly would. Plus she’s the new girl at school. When they wind up sitting on the bus together, a slow relationship begins to blossom, against the initial objections of both parties. As the back cover blurb says, “This is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.”
I mentioned in my January update that the standard trappings of YA novels are beginning to wear on me; I suppose I’m finally getting old. But my love for Rowell’s Landline (it landed on my 2015 Top 10 list) and the absolute fervor for E&P online meant I couldn’t strike this one from my To Read list quite et. And I’m glad I didn’t. While it won’t be a personal favorite for me, there was enough novelty (ba-dum-tss) in the story to keep me engaged, and the ending had me speeding through the pages. If you’re looking for a YA novel with a different one than you might be used to, this is probably a good pick.
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker
This is the book that kept me from reading more during February (in conjunction with my spontaneous re-watch of The West Wing). It’s a bit of a beast, clocking in at right under 500 pages, and it can take a little bit to really engage with the material. Or at least it did for me.
The novel weaves together the stories of Chava, a golem whose master died shortly after bringing her to life, and Ahmad, a jinni trapped in the form of a man who has just been awoken after more than a thousand years, as they navigate the very human world of early 20th century New York City. There are so many unique pieces and characters in this novel, and just when you think you’ve discovered all the threads, another gets pulled. There are discussions of religion and faith, mythology, family, immigration, and all feel completely natural among the plot lines. The end might come together a bit quickly for some, but I was so immersed in the story by that point that I didn’t care (I actually woke up early this morning to finish it before work). As an added bonus, the cover is lovely and the page edges of the hardback are colored a rich blue. I would recommend it to anyone interested in urban fantasy/modern mythology/magical realism.
Favorite book this month: The Golem and the Jinni
Most likely to re-read: Eleanor & Park
Most likely to recommend: Eleanor & Park and The Golem and the Jinni
Hopefully March will be a bit more successful for my reading game, especially since the weather is getting warmer and I have all those new books to devour (plus a newly reorganized bookshelf to go with them).
Support your libraries, and keep reading, y’all.