I finally finished Lonesome Dove in February!

If Goodreads is to be believed, it took me a solid month to read. It’s been quite some time since a book took me that long, even given that I work full time. I have GREAT reading time on my train rides to and from work, which is how I usually manage still to fly through books. Some part of it is that I read a trade paperback copy that was so thick and hard to hold. (I know, first world problems.) So I found myself not wanting to pick it up. It was a relief to get back to my Kindle after that one.

I can sort of see why it won a Pulitzer Prize, but it won’t be making the short list of my favorite books. Upon reflection, I like some of the characters better than I did when I was in the trenches.

Lizzy and Jane was February’s book club pick. Reviews were quite mixed! It was decidedly fluff-y, which usually doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but I poked some holes in this one. We had one member who agreed with me and had some harsh criticisms, but another who pretty much loved it (although we all admitted there was nothing life-changing about it). I don’t think any of us are rushing out to read Reay’s other novel, Dear Mr Knightly.

The Paying Guests was a recommendation by my pal Meredith, and my hold on the ebook came in sooner than I expected. One thing about aut0-checkout on library holds is that sometimes you end up with a book at a less-than-ideal time! I put it off until I finished Lonesome Dove, out of fear that if I paused on it I’d never come back. This book was NOT what I expected! Definitely a bit darker. Dealt with some very interesting themes. I won’t say more so as not to give anything away.

I heard Austin Kleon speak at a conference back in September and relly enjoyed his talk, which is what prompted me to ask for Steal Like an Artist for Christmas. It’s a quick read, as it’s essentially a listical but written out in book form with some fun embellishment. I read the entire thing on a plane ride to Austin, TX (which, oddly enough is where Austin Kleon lives). If you think of yourself as creative at all, or if you want to, I’d definitely recommend it. There’s a journal that corresponds to the book, and, now that I know the premise, I’d really like to try it out. My main takeaway is that creativity, in whatever form you choose, is acceptable just for its own sake! I’d love the journal prompts to help me get/keep those juices flowing.

I wrapped up the month with a dear old Nicholas Sparks. In fact, I started it on the plane ride home from Austin….and then ended up staying up until 12:30 that night after we got home to finish it. Whoops. So technically I finished it on March 1, but I’m calling it February. This was far from my favorite Nicholas Sparks. He occasionally attempts to write romantic thrillers, of which this was one, and I don’t think he does it as well as he does straight romance. I figured out the whodunnit twist pages and pages before the characters did and kept thinking, “DUH!” Yet evidently I enjoyed it well enough to stay up far too late finishing it. We chatted at book club last night that sometimes you can objectively admit that a book is bad (poorly written, stilted dialogue, shallow characters, etc.) while still finding it fun to read. This one fell into that category for me.

Did you read any winners in February?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman