Pretty wide range of books read in February! I devoured comics, dystopian YA, classics, historical fiction, and lovely literature. Variety is the spice of life, right?
Here are the books I read in February:
Beloved (1987) Toni Morrison
In this Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Sethe escapes slavery to the free state of Ohio, where she must protect her children and live with the ghosts of her past.
Toni Morrison’s writing is haunting and beautiful. I picked this up after reading A Mercy last March and these two books were all I needed to convince me I want to make my way through Morrison’s complete works. If you have a favorite, let me know.
This novel shows the depth of the psychological impact of slavery more than any other I’ve read, using supernatural themes to explore trauma. The emotions I felt reading this novel stayed with me long after I was finished, and I spent a lot of time exploring the meaning of the text.
(This is one of the works covered in Crash Course Literature, which I love.)
Illiad (760–710 BC) attributed to Homer
This epic poem tells the story of the Trojan War. At the end of the ten year siege of Troy by Greek states, battles and conflicts build to a face off between the most famed fighters from each side, Achilles and Hector.
War stories are not my favorite. I read this for academic purposes rather than for enjoyment. (I want to read all of the classics, because I enjoy understanding allusions to them in other works.) I went to see a theatrical interpretation of the epic in February, so I thought that was the perfect reason to motivate myself to read this.
It was difficult for me to read, mostly because I hated all of the characters and it was hard to get past all of the casual mentions of habitually raping “prize” women. Maybe I’ll do a little better with The Odyssey, because I’ve read and liked selections from it.
Also: the Trojan horse thing is not in the Iliad! I found that surprising. And Helen is pretty much an afterthought. Everything I thought I knew is a lie (or, rather, part of Virgil’s The Aeneid).
The Sound and the Fury (1929) by William Faulkner
The Compsons, once Southern aristocracy, fall slowly into ruin in this family tragedy.
This book was really hard for me and I’ll need to read it again to fully understand it. The stream of consciousness style and time jumps made it hard to pick up what was going on: I felt like I’d been dropped into the middle of a movie and the camera only gave me close-ups. I couldn’t get the big picture until nearly the end. I was a little lost. But now that I’m clear on everyone’s relation to each other and the main plot line, I can read it again and pick up on the things that weren’t making sense to me the first time through.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (2013) by Therese Anne Fowler
Based on the lives of writers Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald. From Southern belle to Jazz age adventurer to woman trying to find her identity in the midst of a troubled marriage and looming mental illness, this book is an attempt to give depth and beauty to the life of Zelda, often written off as simply crazy, giving her the voice that was so often silenced while she was living.
This was the Novel Tea Book Club selection for February. I mostly listened to it on audiobook. I’m glad I did, because I can’t read with a Southern accent in my head and I think Zelda Fitzgerald’s voice came through so much better in the audiobook than it ever could have had I been reading it traditionally.
I really loved this book. Zelda was feisty and opinionated, but made sacrifices so she could be swept up in a dream world. Where most romance stories end, Zelda’s is just beginning.
The Maze Runner Series: The Maze Runner (2009), The Scorch Trials (2010), The Death Cure (2011), and The Kill Order (2012) by James Dashner
This YA dystopian series begins with a group of trapped, memory-wiped boys working to solve a maze to escape with their lives. They must learn about the people who put them there and the world outside.
I liked the world-building and the big-picture plot outlined in these books, but I didn’t like the writing style or the methods used to move the plot action forward.
The first book was my favorite, with a very Lord of the Flies feel. Talking about any of the following books in the series is impossible without spoilers, but I just didn’t like them very much—they were pretty much all get captured / escape / run over and over, and the answers to the questions that are supposed to keep you interested are pretty obvious. That said, there were some shining moments with very creative and imaginative situations (I really liked the beginning of The Scorch Trials), but those scenes weren’t enough to keep me. And the motive makes no sense.
Captain Marvel – Volume 1: In Pursuit of Flight (2013) by by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Author) and Dexter Soy (Illustrator), Emma Rios (Illustrator)
Captain Marvel Volume 2: Down (2013) by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Author), Christopher Sebela (Author), Dexter Soy (Illustrator), and Filipe Andrade (Illustrator)
Captain Marvel Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More (2014) by Kelly Sue Deconnick (Author) and David Lopez (Illustrator)
What 9 year old me would have done to have a comic book character like this. Carol Danvers, formerly Ms. Marvel, takes the mantle of Captain Marvel and then goes on to totally rock. I like the more recent ones the best–super funny and set in space!
*I also read some issues of X-men, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Make sure to put a big SPOILERS warning in your comment to warn others if you have ‘em.
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