If we’re going by numbers, February was a bit of a bust in that I only read three books (one of which was a re-read). But one of the non-re-read books was a whopper at 592 pages, and it was non-fiction, to boot, which I tend to read slower.

I flew through this second novel in the Veronica Mars series, Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas (NOT the guy from Matchbox 20!). I loved the show and have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the books. I guess it helps that the writer of the show is also writing the books. This book picks up right where the movie left off and gives us a LOT of Veronica and Logan, which is wonderful. The books so far have been a little grittier than the show, but very readable and fun.

The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee satisfied task #10 on my Read Harder challenge (a microhistory). Can we talk about the irony of that category name? Microhistory. I don’t think a single one of the books I considered for this task were micro by any definition. Rather, what it means is that it’s a history of a fairly small topic.

Emperor is a history of cancer. It went WAY back, to the first time in Egypt when something was diagnosed as a tumor. It talked about linguistics and medicine and public perception. It talked about advertising and research and human emotion. It was extremely well-written and made even some of the more technical bits fun to read. I can’t even fathom what it must have been like to tackle such a mega topic–all the research, not to mention the writing and editing that went into it.

I liked how Mukherjee interwove the history with anecdotes of his current patients. I got bogged down for about 150 pages somewhere in the 300s, but in general it was an enjoyable read that I would recommend if the topic interests you. I read this one in hardback, and, after mostly reading on my Kindle recently, it was sort of an adjustment holding up that beast! Plus paper books aren’t lit, so I can’t read as easily in bed. A true first world problem.

The final book I read in February was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. After several heavy books of late, my book club wanted to read something fun and light, so we settled on a children’s book. I had read this before and in fact own a paperback that I evidently bought or was gifted back when paperback novels cost $3.99.

I tried to read this book once as a kid and couldn’t get into it. Then I read it a few years later and LOVED it. This time around, it was only okay. Interestingly, most of us in the book club who had read it before had a similar shift. I’m not sure why exactly that was!

It’s still a very clever book, and I like the way Juster plays with language and takes phrases at their literal meaning. It’s a fun read, but I was not blown away this time.

Sadly, I forgot to take a picture at book club this month, so you’ll have to imagine our smiling faces around the table at Rebecca’s house holding up our blue-covered novels. Maybe we can re-create it next month for posterity.

The day of book club this month, several people emailed to say they had something come up with work or weren’t feeling well and wouldn’t be able to make it. Amazingly, my crew of bookish ladies has grown large enough that even with some unable to attend we still have a solid group! That’s a pretty exciting milestone to me.

I started Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry in February, but I’m still working on it, so it’ll count as a March book. Keep an eye out for that one!

What did you read in February? What’s next on your TBR list?

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Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman