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February 2018 Reading Round Up

In the first few days of March each year, I listen to a couple of versions of Les Eaux de Mars, a happening that has come to mark for me the coming of spring. But this time I woke up, saw the snow, and realised that the tradition would have to wait. The children on my street are playing; they’ve managed to cobble together small snow balls from snow that melts as soon as it touches your skin, and are skidding along the pavement in lieu of being able to sled. Schools might be closed for safety reasons, but as our last proper snowfall was in 2013, it’s nice to think closures have afforded them an experience of weather we so rarely get.

As it has been in past years, this February was another success for me in reading, in relation to previous months. I didn’t read as much as I have in other Februarys, but it’s a vast improvement on the last 3 or so months; whilst I actually read similar numbers in those other months, it was mostly forced. I’m in a classics phase at the moment; I’ve finally finished Twelve Years A Slave – not a difficult book but daunting – and read my first Wharton. And I’ve started Charlotte Turner Smith’s minor tome, Emmeline which is proving difficult – my review is going to have to be in two parts: one in the context of the time, a second in the context of today. Romance has been a big help in getting over my lengthy slump and I’ve a few more ready to read, to be turned to when easier reading is required.

The Books

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Solomon Northup: Twelve Years A Slave – Northup’s account of his time as a kidnapped freeman from northern states America, when he was taken into slavery in the south. Absolutely worth reading.


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Edith Wharton: The Age Of Innocence – A man engaged to a young woman he believes he loves falls for her cousin, who has separated from her husband; society wants rid of her. Fantastic.

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Jessie Greengrass: Sight – A woman, pregnant with her second child, ruminates on the time she was first deciding whether or not to have children and looks on her time as a grieving daughter, as well as a subject for her psychoanalyst grandmother. Super.

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Shannon Stacey: What It Takes – A newly divorced woman moves from her rich, restricted home, to the campsite at the Kowalski’s Northern Star Lodge to find out who she is as an individual, but meets a very eligible friend of her employer’s family. It’s moving towards the ‘I can’t keep going and write about the saga family’s plumber’ situation Stacey spoke about, but it’s still good.

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Sherry Thomas: The Luckiest Lady In London – A rich man with a history of childhood neglect marries a poor woman who is looking for a husband who can provide for her family, and of course neither imagines they might fall in love. The thing I like most about this book is the way the author gives a firm nod to the concept of a romance novel needing a conflict but does not drag it out, creating instead other, less device-like, ways to keep the story going.

In terms of literary enjoyment this has been an excellent month. Every book was very good; even the one that wasn’t quite so good, the Stacey, was still fun to read. At a push I think my favourite would be the Wharton – the mastery of the set up and its execution…

Quotation Report

In The Age Of Innocence a man of great means but lack of general awareness as according to his station in the novel, laments the absence of independent thought of his beloved and looks forward to the opportunity he will have to educate her… to a certain point… she shouldn’t be too knowledgeable after all. Whilst in the same book, a few chapters later, the author of it all produces this fun line:

She sang, of course, “M’ama!” and not “he loves me,” since an unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.

Looking into this new month I’m hoping to start a few books that will be released in the spring and carry on with the classics.

What are you reading?



March 3, 2018, 4:32 pm

It was a good month for books for you. Finishing a big book is always a nice feeling. Happy March!


March 3, 2018, 9:46 pm

You had an excellent reading month. I’m trying to incorporate more classics into my reading, but this year is proving more difficult than ever because I’m reading veeeery slowly.


March 4, 2018, 7:33 pm

Charlie, I am so pleased to hear you had a successful reading month :-) I am currently reading historical fiction Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragorn, The True Queen by Alison Weir, the American classic This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald and non-fiction Ronald Reagan: A Very Brief History by Mark Black. Happy reading in March!

Andrew Blackman

March 4, 2018, 11:43 pm

I heard about the snow in the UK, Charlie! Sounds pretty bad. Hope things are warming up now :)

Your February reading sounds good. I loved The Age of Innocence—such a complex and layered story. Hope you have some good reads in March!



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