Read Harder – February Progress

I blame Girl Scout cookies for the reason of the extreme lateness of any and all posts for this month, which is why our February progress report is making its appearance less than a week before the end of March.

My husband appears to be a more active participant in this year’s challenge. Probably because I’m not randomly throwing books at him (both figuratively and literally). He has been trying to find books that fit the various tasks, aiming for two books per month.

Speaking of tasks, February saw the across-the-board completion of our second task: #11 – A book < 100 pages long. Go us!

Emma: I only read four books this month, The HUB challenge taking up most of my reading time. My Lemoncello’s Library Olympics was not as good as the first book, but still enjoyable. One of the main antagonists, Marjory Muldauer, was incredibly annoying. The Fair Fight was well-written and well-thought out. The characters felt real within the historical context. I liked that their endings were not necessarily happy. I ended up enjoying Relish more than I thought I would. I want to try her huevos rancheros recipe specifically because it is different from how my mother made it when we were kids. My favorite part was her mention of the movie Antionia’s Line. It has nothing to do with food, but it is one of my favorite movies. I knew My Fair Lady ended differently than Pygmalion, but I never realized how much extra stuff was added for the movie.

Husband: Stuff Matters started out strong and focused, but started jumping around later on; the topics were too broad. He saw parallels between Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan in Most Dangerous – both are wars of compromises without concrete missions. He also liked that it addressed balancing the government’s needs to keep secrets with public accountability.  My husband tends to be a sucker for psychological character studies (Death Note and Code Geass are excellent examples of what he likes in this genre – books, anime, or otherwise). Heart of Darkness fits nicely into this, using the ivory trade in Africa as a backdrop for the depth of the human soul and how easy it is to go off kilter.

Sophia: Hamlet never came up in school, so I was excited to finally have an opportunity to read it. I enjoyed it, but I liked Macbeth better. I know you lose something in just reading a play as opposed to watching it performed; hopefully, I’ll get to see it at a theater. Men Explain Things was powerful and certainly hit home at times. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of her points, I do think this is a worthwhile read, especially as a jumping op point before delving further into feminist issues. A Late Verdict was recommended to me by a friend of the authors. It is a solid debut novella. Milo Bell perfectly captures the tone of classic British murder mysteries and creates a believable 1960s atmosphere. It was a fun, quick read, and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of Bell’s works.

Without further ado:

Me 10/24
My Husband 5/24

Sophia 10/24

#2 – Nonfiction science book

stuff matters

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik

#3 – Essay collection

men explain

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit

#4 – Read aloud to someone else

lemoncello olympics

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

#11 – A book < 100 pages

heart darkness late verdict

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
A Late Verdict by Milo Bell

#15 – Historical fiction set pre-1900

fair fight

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

#21 – Politics (fiction or nonfiction)

most dangerous

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

#22 – Food memoir


Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

#23 – A play

pygmalion hamlet

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Hamlet by William Shakespeare



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