February: A Retrospect
Life was a little crazy in February so reading took a little bit of a back seat. Having said that, it was a great time to dip into a lighter and previously unexplored series set in the Kingdom of Tortall by Tamora Pierce. A friend had recommended I start with The Song of the Lioness series and it had me hooked from the get-go – girls kicking ass, friendship, chivalry, magic, knighthood – what’s not to love? Having said that, the last two books were not as good as the first two because too much time was spent on Alanna’s female angst and relationship issues. On the whole however, definitely a world I want to return to so thank goodness she releases subsequent books more frequently than George R.R. Martin.
My favourite read from February was definitely Being Mortal in which Atul Gawande tackles the difficult subject of how a life can be better ended. A close second was the audiobook version of As You Wish, narrated by author Cary Elwes. As You Wish was a first-person, behind-the-scenes and totally fascinating account of the making of The Princess Bride, a favourite film of mine, and a must-listen for anyone who loved the slightly dry, tongue-in-cheek humour of the film.
I gave 3-stars each to Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Albert Camus’ The Stranger – both victims of high expectations and my impatience with the allegorical or metaphorical.
An unexpected find (yay for Kindle’s 99p deals) was Eric Barker’s Barking Up the Wrong Tree (pun definitely intended), a fun look at what separates the successful from the not-so-successful, and why much of the advice we have traditionally been given about succeeding is just wrong. It was a good summary read that tied together research and ideas from thinkers such as Adam Grant, Susan Cain and Daniel Kahneman with amusing anecdotes and facts on the questions exploring varied aspects how to live a better life.
- Being Mortal (Atul Gawande): ★★★★★
- The Stranger (Albert Camus): ★★★
- Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness #1) (Tamora Pierce): ★★★★
- As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride (Cary Elwes): ★★★★
- In the Hand of the Goddess (Song of the Lioness #2) (Tamora Pierce): ★★★★
- The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (Song of the Lioness #3) (Tamora Pierce): ★★★
- Barking Up the Wrong Tree (Eric Barker): ★★★★
- Lioness Rampant (Song of the Lioness #4) (Tamora Pierce): ★★★
- Exit West (Mohsin Hamid): ★★★