Monday, 1 March 2021

Reading Wrap Up | February


We were a full week into February before I ended up finishing my first book of the month: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. For me, this was one of those beautiful books that you read a slowish pace, savouring, picking up all the little details within that truly speak to a reader.

The History of Love has four different narratives running through it, with a book (titled: The History of Love) connecting all four characters. The four main characters all have distinct stories and voice, but it does take a moment to get on board with that when first reading (there are icons at the top of each chapter which aid in knowing which character is the current focus). Of the four, my favourite character was, without a doubt, Leo Gurksy... You know those characters that stay with a while, he is one of them; in fact, this whole book is one that will stay with me a while. 

Moving into the second week of February, I finished reading a further two books. The first being The Exiles by Christina Kline Baker, which I read over the course of four days. I was gripped by this story from the very beginning, and what a journey my reading experience with this book was. Christina Baker Kline is a wonderful story teller, not only transporting the reader through her words, but writing in a way that we are also so invested in these characters; I don't want to give spoilers here, but there is a particular time in this book that really hit me.

The Exiles focuses on the colonisation of Australia from the British, with the story being told through female convicts sentenced to transport and exiled to colonies, as well as the unsettling times of aboriginal people being taken from their own lands and being used as entertainment. This book touches upon very hard hitting themes, with some truly horrific scenes, however Christina Baker Kline tells these stories of displacement with such a tender touch.

When I read historical fiction I always hope to come away with a want to further my knowledge on the time period or historical event that is written about, and I definitely found that to be the case with The Exiles. Helpfully, Christina Baker Kline has written some references at the end of the book, so I'll be delving into those at some point in the future... I will also, for sure, be reading more by Christina Baker Kline.

Over the weekend I devoured a newly released middle grade mystery: Murder on the Safari Star. This is the third book in the Adventures on Train series; I absolutely love this series as a whole, and this newest addition did not disappoint. Harrison and his Uncle Nat are off on another train journey, this time travelling through Africa, however as with all their other adventures, complications and crime soon arise. Much like the other two books in the series, I enjoyed seeing the dynamic of main character, Hal, and his Uncle Nat play out, the backdrop of the train journey was captivating, and I did not correctly guess the culprit of the crime. The Adventures on Trains series is one of my absolute favourite mystery series, and I highly recommend it.

My reading slowed down as we continued into February, with other things requiring a lot more of me and also preparing for my son to return to physical school (here in Wales, children within Foundation Phase - Nursery to Year 2 - returned to school the last week of the month). Last September, when the children initially returned to school, I dropped off a bit then too with reading & blogging, and so I did imagine the same thing would occur again - correctly so. I am comfortable with my son being back in the school environment, and his school itself are taking many measures, but it does take me a little while to process all of that and truly get back into the swing of things.

So, the last book I completed in February was Traces: The Memoir of a Forensic Scientist and Criminal Investigator by Patricia Wiltshire. This was a (digital) library borrow for me, and although I worked through it at a relatively slow pace, I was able to have it returned on time. I'm sure you can imagine from the title of this book that it was bound to be an intriguing read; it was just that and more. Patricia is a strong women, with an interesting life story, that she does not hold back from sharing. The main focus of the book is her line of work, although snippets of childhood and such are shared too. I think it is very important to state that this book isn't for the faint hearted, Patricia deals with crime and death, and in turn dead bodies, and she speaks about these things very candidly - including decomposition of the body and such. This book doesn't necessarily make for pretty reading, however, it was pretty fascinating. 

There are two other books (one fiction & one nonfiction) that I began in the month of February, however I have yet to finish them so will talk more when I have completed them.

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Happy reading in March!
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3 comments

  1. Jade, it really sounds like you enjoyed what you read. I can recall really enjoying History of Love, I read it over 10 years ago I think. Exiles is another I o want to read. Hope school goes well for your son. of my granddaughters returned last week after almost a year remote.

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  2. It's been well over a decade since I read The History of Love and I still occasionally think of Leo Gursky! The audio version of this book was fabulous. I'd love to reread it one day. Happy March!

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  3. The Exiles sounds like my kind of historical fiction. I’ll have to look that one up. I hope you have a great March!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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