wrap up: February 2018

Like last month, I’m going to start this post by giving a sort of life update before I get to the books.  As you may recall, I spent half of January in Houston for work which ended up being a pretty miserable experience, so I decided to treat myself to a week-long vacation in Los Angeles in February to visit one of my best friends, and I had such a great time.  I’m actually from SoCal originally (San Diego) but I’d never been to LA until last week, and I loved it!  Warm weather and an abundance of vegan/vegetarian restaurants is the way to my heart.

Obviously, I spent a lot of time at bookstores when I was in LA.  My friend and I hit up the following:

They were all pretty great, but I’d particularly recommend Skylight, Vromans, Book Soup, Iliad, and, if you like plays, Samuel French.

If you’ve been to LA, what’s your favorite bookstore there?

Anyway, all in all, it was a great trip, but it did end on a ridiculous and dramatic note, which involved my red-eye flight home being delayed 6 hours due to one of the passengers being arrested.  We were next in line to take off, when all of a sudden this man starts yelling and becoming more and more agitated and aggressive, and eventually he assaulted one of the crew members working, so we had to go back to the gate so the police could come on board and handcuff him and drag him off the plane.  After that we had to deplane and wait for another crew member to arrive to replace the man who had been injured, and then when we finally boarded again we had to wait over another hour because of a technical issue with their communications devices…. anyway, the whole thing was a very absurd and surreal experience and I was just glad to finally get home.  I have the worst and weirdest flight experiences.  On my flight out to LA a girl fainted mid-flight which at the time was quite scary but now seems like a totally ordinary occurrence.  Anyway, I think the moral of this story is that I’ve been tempting fate and I probably shouldn’t fly again for a little while.

Ok, now onto the books!

  • Himself by Jess Kid ★★★☆☆ + review
  • I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell ★★★★☆ + review
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi ★★★★★ + review
  • The Odyssey by Homer ★★★☆☆ translated by Emily Wilson ★★★★★ + review
  • Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao ★★☆☆☆ + review
  • The Broken Girls by Simone St. James ★★★★☆ + review
  • The Lonesome West by Martin McDonagh ★★★★☆ + review

Best: Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Runner up: The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Worst: Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao


Currently reading: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (audiobook – I’m enjoying it but I really only ever listen to audiobooks on planes so when am I going to finish this??), Medea by Christa Wolf, Happiness by Aminatta Forna, and Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (I’m determined to finish this in March – I’ve been trying to get through this since December).

I was hoping to finish more than 7 books this month, but that was kind of an unreasonable goal given that I took a week-long vacation and barely opened a book that entire time, so I guess 7 isn’t bad.  I’m also so close to being caught up with my ARCs, which is exciting – I’ve only got 2 more after I finish Happiness!  I’m also doing well on my 1 classic + 1 play each month resolution… granted, it’s only February, but I made a point of reading The Lonesome West yesterday so I’d be on track with this goal.

So how was everyone’s February?  And what’s the best book you read?  Comment and let me know!

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15 thoughts on “wrap up: February 2018

  1. OMG you mentioned Vromans! I absolutely loveeee that place. I always used to get carried away there with my mom’s credit card and then head to Urth for an overlypriced tea. I’m so glad you were able to leave Houston and head over back to sun socal! In terms of reading you’ve definitely been one busy buzzing bee – I haven’t read any of what you mention but now I have some to add to my TBR so thanks for the mentions!
    Happy March reading! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think Vromans might have been my favorite! We made a special trip to Pasadena just to go there and it was so worth it. The vibe of it reminded me a bit of The Strand, which is always good. Are you from the LA area? We didn’t go to Urth but I just googled it and it looks so worth the overpriced tea. We went to a quirky cafe called Zona Rosa which had a really nice upstairs area to sit and relax for a bit.

      Happy March reading to you too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! I’m originally from Venice so I know all over LA. I really like Vromans because it’s so quaint and quiet, unlike the Last Bookstore which is always filled with tourists (for good reason though, as it’s gorgeous).
        Oh wow – I never heard of Zona Rosa, I’ll definitely have to check it out when I make it back!! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s so cool! I loved Venice, the canals in particular were gorgeous. I also liked Vromans a lot more than The Last Bookstore, which I did like, but I think it had been overhyped for me, lol. But thankfully we went early in the morning so it wasn’t overrun with tourists yet.

        Liked by 1 person

    • You know I’M NOT SO SURE. These last few flights have only been a continuation of a very long series of air travel nonsense in my life. Other noteworthy experiences have included:

      – Munich — Montreal: my flight made an emergency landing in Maine because we didn’t have enough fuel for the rest of the flight, and, my personal favorite:
      – London — Bologna: as we were descending we suddenly swerved upward and they announced that because of ice on the runway we would be unable to land, and they were going to reroute the plane to Verona, over TWO HOURS AWAY, and have us get on buses to get us back to Bologna. The buses took FOREVER to arrive, I was supposed to get back to my apartment by 10 am and I ended up getting in around 6 pm.

      I don’t know which air travel gods I cursed in a past life but I should probably keep my expectations low on future expeditions tbh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you might be the only person to have as much of a bad time flying as I do. (I have had 1 emergency landing in Heathrow instead of Birmingham followed by a bus trip from hell, 1 emergency landing in Guadaloupe following a sudden illness possible death by a passenger, my luggage has been lost 5 times, my planes have been cancelled more often than I can remember, I have been stuck in Amsterdam due to snow, my plane has been forgotten on the driveway once, us passengers have been forgotten in a hallway and the doors would not open, my plane had to drive back because they forgot their papers, and lastly, I spent my last 7 hours flight throwing up. Flying to New Zealand will be fun I am sure)

    I am really looking forward to your thoughts on Happiness. I like the UK cover more though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ok, this settles it, we can never fly together, there is no doubt that the plane would simply catch fire. Those are some amazingly horrible stories and I’ve got so many similar ones. Emergency landing in Verona instead of Bologna followed by a bus trip from hell, emergency landing in Maine instead of Montreal to refuel, flights cancelled, stuck in Chicago for 3 days on my way home to Vermont for Christmas break, flights delayed up to 5 or 6 hours on a pretty frequent basis, planes having to be inspected for security reasons before taking off, and the guy being arrested was just the icing on the cake. Was the throwing up because of motion sickness or were you already sick?? An added level of tragedy to my flying experiences is that I get terribly motion sick and I always have to take medication for it, which makes me drowsy so I’m always fighting to stay awake whenever nonsense like this occurs. When are you going to New Zealand??

      And I’m not very far into Happiness but I think we’ll both like it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You might win. I don’t think flights are as often delayed in Europe as they are in the US. I had food poisoning from the first flight. That was quite possibly the worst experience (health wise) in my life…
        I am flying on the 17th and I am SO excited.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know about that, vomiting for 7 hours on a plane sounds like actual hell on earth, I think you may win (lose?) for that alone.

        That’s so exciting!! How long will you be there? Are you going on vacation or is it for work?


      • I’ll be there for three weeks of glorious holiday and hopefully no thinking about work. (although yesterday alone I told two students they could reach me per mail in emergencies. Which in hindsight, not so clever)


  3. Happiness is a thought provoking novel that I kept thinking about days after finishing it, I couldn’t write my thought at first because it requires time I believe to make all the connections and understand it. So I just wrote bullet point notes on Goodreads and was complimented for my poetry! I had to laugh, but I wasn’t brave enough to use that format in a review. I like both the covers, the UK cover reminded me that I didn’t even mention the parakeets! I think I like covers with foxes on them, there is something alluring about the fox and where it’s going to take us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so funny! I’ll have to check out your review when I’m done. I’m only about 20% in but really loving it so far. Forna’s prose is gorgeous and the narrative style is so unique and thought-provoking. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish by the end of the week.


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