Reading round-up February 2018

book fanned open
CC0 Pixabay/Cocoparisienne

Brrr. Storm Emma has well and truly hit Bristol and I am cold, even huddled on the sofa under a blanket. The snow has been falling non-stop all day and is expected to keep it up all through tomorrow as well. We’ve changed our weekend plans from going away and seeing to art to hunkering down and maybe venturing out to take some photos – making our own art.

February was a pretty good reading month for me. I finished Anna Karenina and followed that up with a few short books to give myself a refresh. And then I read one of the best books I’ve found in a few years: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal. I loved that book so much. Eventually I will write a proper review, but you can see my initial thoughts below.

Thankfully our local chippy is still open so we have loaded up on fat and carbs to see us through the frozen night. Any excuse gladly taken!

Stay safe and warm, folks.

Books read

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This took me a long time to read, and I largely enjoyed it, but it was slow and frustrating at times.

Giant Days, Vol. 5 by John Allison (story) and Max Sarin (art)
I continue to love this series. Housemates Esther, Susan and Daisy have finally reached the end of their first year of university, which brings its own problems. There’s exams, part-time jobs, a music festival and last-minute problems with their second-year housing.

Ms Marvel, Vol. 8: Mecca by G Willow Wilson (story), Marco Failla (art) and Diego Olortegui (art)
Again, a fantastic ongoing series. Ms Marvel is still suffering from reputation damage and a new political power is taking full advantage. Kamala’s home life continues to be complex in a completely believable, warm way.

Magda by Meike Ziervogel
This novella follows the final days of Magda Goebbels. Knowing the bare bones of her story, I knew where this book would go, and expected something powerful. It’s a good book, but I didn’t experience the big reaction I thought I would.

Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K Vaughan (story) and Fiona Staples (art)
Another great ongoing series. Hazel’s narration is occasionally trite but the story is still original and universal (in both senses of the word) and moving.

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal
This is an astonishing book. Leon is eight when his little brother Jake is born. Their mother is struggling to support them on her own, but it’s okay because Leon loves his brother so much he wants to help any way he can, and their neighbour helps when she can. Until it’s not okay anymore and social services have to step in. At which point, the difference in the two brothers’ ages and skin colour threatens to have very real consequences for their futures. This book was so much better, more subtle and more enjoyable than I expected.

Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society by Dorothy L Sayers
As the title suggests, this tiny volume is a pair of pieces by Sayers on women’s rights. I was a little frustrated by her dismissing all feminists as too extreme while arguing the case for women being individuals. But in general she finds smart, astute, witty ways to explain how men, and society in general, treat men as human individuals and women as identical members of a stereotype.

Happy St David’s Day everybody!