February 2021 reading wrap-up

When I started putting this together, I thought that the story of this month would be the long reading slump that I endured during its middle. Realizing that I had read more books this month than I had in January, I figured I had to reframe that just a bit.

This month is marked by an early period of extreme productivity, finishing eight of the eleven books in this list during the first ten days of February, followed by a deep lull towards the end of the month.

I kicked off my Toni Morrison read-through by finishing three of her books this month, and was able to snap out of my reading funk by enjoying some fantasy towards the end. Here’s my rundown of everything I read in February.

Best of the month

“Lonely, ain’t it?”

“Yes, but my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.”

From Sula by Toni Morrison

Sula / Toni Morrison

If you’ve read part one of my Toni Morrison read-through, you know that this month I embarked on reading the collected works of Morrison, and you also probably saw this selection coming based on my effusive praise of Sula.

Whereas The Bluest Eye was a reread for me, Sula was brand new and an incredible reading experience from start to end. Exploring themes of female friendship, empowerment, and motherhood, it was remarkable and ahead of its time in 1973, and still feels entirely modern in 2021.

It’s a book where men are not the focus, and the pages are filled with conversations between women and girls that don’t revolve around the men in their lives, least of all in the life of its title character, Sula, whose radical selfishness manages to enchant the reader. You may not agree with her actions, but you’ll find it hard to argue against her.

Other highlights

Can’t Even / Anne Helen Petersen

No recent book has bummed me out more than this one. A dive into the Millennial generation, what makes them who they are, and the circumstances that have led to the entire generation’s stasis, this book isn’t a fun read, but it does put words to the feelings so many people of my generation have. Petersen says at the outset that she doesn’t have solutions, but by illuminating the factors that have led to Millennial burnout, she manages to provide some small bit of comfort in knowing it’s not just you.

Astro Poets / Alex Dimitrov & Dorothea Lasky

If astrology isn’t your thing, then there’s a high chance that this book won’t be for you. However, if you’re even the smallest bit curious about what your sun sign means, then let the Astro Poets be your guide. A humorous and at times enlightening guide to the zodiac, Dimitrov and Lasky split the chapters and provide a guide to how our signs hold power over our lives, and how each of us can interact with other signs. I find that the fun of astrology is seeing connections where you may not have before, and this book is a perfect way to start exploring astrology, replete with poems along the way.

Missing from the Village / Justin Ling

A fascinating and depressing piece of journalism about the nearly decade-long investigation into a Toronto serial killer and the queer community he targeted. The book tells you exactly who the killer is in chapter three, connecting the obvious dots that are then overlooked and disregarded by investigators in the intervening years, mostly because of who the victims were. The book starts out as true-crime, but shifts its focus the history of police relations with the queer community, and especially the vulnerable immigrants, refugees, and trans people in that community. It’s a challenging story, but well-researched and well-told.

Complete list of february reads

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • God I Feel Modern Tonight by Catherine Cohen
  • Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • Missing from the Village by Justin Ling
  • Astro Poets by Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky
  • Homie by Danez Smith
  • Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation by Anne Helen Petersen
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

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