february wrap-up

This month I uprooted my life for the first time this year and moved cities, leaving me with little time to read or blog.

Now that I’m settled, I’m hoping to return to routinely blogging. I want to commit to posting 3-4 times each week, including a mix of quotes, reviews, lists, and themed posts.

As I mentioned at the end of January, I’d planned to focus on memoir in February, which I did until the end of the month, when I also read an eclectic mix of poetry collections, novels, and photo books. A friend I’ve met here is a photographer, so as of late I’ve been trying to learn more about the medium’s history.

For the month of March, I’m planning on participating in Reading Ireland Month 2019, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books and Niall at The Fluff is Raging, and reading as many queer and trans novelists as possible.

Having used up some of my savings moving, I’m avoiding buying any new books for the foreseeable future. All the books I read in March will have to be borrowed from the library; as amazing as Chicago’s library system is, I’ll likely wind up reading more ‘classics’ than usual, since they tend to be easily accessible and free of dozens of holds.

I’ll post a full list of what I hope to read next month in the upcoming days, but for now I wanted to run through the highlights of what I read in February.


1.) Mean by Myriam Gurba

2.) Bettyville by George Hodgman

3.) The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

4.) Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

5.) Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

From the acerbic wit of Assata: An Autobiography to the contemplative reveries of The Faraway Nearby, my favorite memoirs of the month, as wide ranging as they are in subject and tone, all presented astounding life stories in brilliant prose.

I also found Marlon James’s latest novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, to be incredibly compelling, and I plan to post a full review sometime in March.

If anyone has any suggestions on what to read in March, I’d love to discuss them!

16 thoughts on “february wrap-up

  1. Congrats on your move! We moved from the burbs of Chicago to Florida in 2017. We sure miss the city but not the taxes or food. I always have good intentions to read more but I never sit down long enough to get through a book. I do enjoy audiobooks though.

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  2. Hope the move went well Michael and you’re feeling more settled. Thanks for joining in with Reading Ireland Month! I wasn’t that interested in reading the Marlon James until I heard him on the radio yesterday. He was so interesting and eloquent that I’m sold now!

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  3. Re: queer and trans writers, I’d definitely recommend The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara, although it’s relatively new so you might have a harder time getting to it at the library. And I’ve been reminded by the release of If Beale Street Could Talk that I need to read James Baldwin, particularly Giovanni’s Room. Depending on how you are with poetry, Adrienne Rich and Eileen Myles were both excellent queer lady poet choices for me last month.

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    1. Ah, thanks for the reminder – I came across Cassara’s novel late last year, but had forgotten about it. It looks like there’s an e-copy available, so I’ll definitely read it this month, along with more of Eileen Myles’ work. Whenever you do have the chance to check out Baldwin’s fiction, I’d recommend starting with Giovanni’s Room – it’s so moving and one of my favorite American novels.


  4. Welcome to your new place! I did miss you here. I’ve just read McCann’s “Transatlantic”. It’s not new but boy is it good. And it beings Ireland and abolition together in a way that I found fascinating. A fictional rendering of Frederick Douglass (another found in The Good Lord Bird, James McBride). Since I plan to read the new biography of Douglass, I liked learning about his trip to Ireland.

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    1. Thanks! It’s been an oddly long move for having just hopped a few states, but I’m happy to be finally settled. I’ll be sure to look into TransAtlantic later in the month, maybe toward the end for the final theme/week. I like that the premise weaves together multiple stories.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’d definitely recommend it. It’s very difficult at first, just because the style is disorienting, but I think it’s the kind of book that’s worth sticking with.


  5. Congrats on the move to Chicago! I’ve only been once, besides flying in and out of the airport (my aunt lives in Indianapolis so I’m often through there visiting, including next month) and I absolutely loved it. Such a cool city. And nothing more wonderful than having a good library system at your disposal!

    I’m glad you read and liked Bettyville, I hope you’ll review it, would love to hear your thoughts! I’m curious to hear what you thought of Mean too, I’ve read mixed reviews of it and can’t decide whether to try it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping to post a mini review of Bettyville sometime over the next few days. I like the author’s style, and appreciate how uncynical and warmhearted the book is. I definitely can see how Mean wouldn’t be for everyone, but I thought parts of it were brilliant and the writing felt fresh, as far as coming-of-age stories go.

      Thanks! Chicago’s layout feels spread out, with lots of great public parks/spaces across neighborhoods, and the view of Lake Michigan is wonderful. I’ve never been to Indianapolis, but it seems like a cool city and I’d love to travel there sometime.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bettyville definitely was warmhearted, I loved that about it. I hadn’t considered that he was uncynical but you’re absolutely right. I just appreciated his perspective on that tough subject so much. Great to hear that about Mean, it did sound very unique! I think I need to page through it at some point.

        The view on Lake Michigan was incredible when we were in Chicago, even in winter. It just seems like such a cool city with so much going on. Indianapolis is fun, I’m not sure it’s SO exciting though…I can’t imagine I’ll visit again after my aunt moves, but it has a lot to recommend it too.

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