What I’ve Been Reading Lately: January/February

Leakey's Bookshop Inverness Scotland

A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe. 
― Madeleine L’Engle

Thoughts on Reading.

I love to read. For as long as I can remember, reading has been an integral part of my life. I spent many a lazy summer day devouring a good book. Throughout middle and high school, I regularly spent the second half of my lunchtime in the library.

The world of words has always been my second home.

At various points throughout the life of this blog, I have shared what I’ve been reading. In the older posts, they are usually mixed in with the Friday Faves or the What’s Up Lately series that I used to share. You can always search the tag: books if you’re curious.

Some time ago, I shared an entire post about my experience of making my way through Walden which you can find by clicking on Reading Walden.

During my year of #thisis40 challenges, my February Challenge was a reading challenge. I also shared the Lessons Learned During A Reading Challenge.

And then I participated in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2019 Reading Challenge. Life last year became a little chaotic and I did not share my progress. In case you’re curious, here’s how it looked for me:

  • a book you’ve been meaning to read: Here Comes the Watchman by Harper Lee
  • a book about a topic that fascinates you: The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
  • a book in the backlist of a favorite author: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts
  • a book recommended by someone with great taste: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
  • three books by the same author: The Testaments, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood all by Margaret Atwood.
  • a book you chose for the cover: The Lake House by Marci Nault.
  • a book by an author who is new to you: A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
  • a book in translation: The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán
  • a book outside your (genre) comfort zone: The Sound of the Hours by Karen Cambell (historical/military fiction)
  • a book published before you were born: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Reading in 2020.

Okay, so now that we’re caught up…I know that you came here to see what I’m reading in 2020. I’m once again doing the Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenge which you can find by clicking on the link since I won’t be giving away all the categories.

I also set an audacious goal (read here to see why I set goals instead of resolutions) to read 100 books this year!!

For my purposes, audiobooks can apply (hello treadmill time). As I share the books I’m reading, I’ll share if I listened on audiobook and I will also share if it ticks one of my categories off on the reading challenge in which I’m participating.

Here’s What I’ve Read During January and February.

1. The Road – Cormac McCarthy

“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.”

This checked off the re-read category for the challenge.

2. The Paris Winter – Imogen Robinson

“Tanya, why have we not been friends before now?”…”Sweet, you always seemed so sober and serious, so contained, I’ve been quite terrified of you.”

I was struck by this quote because it is an oft-made mistaken assumption about an introvert.

3. The Hanged Man and the Fortune Teller – Lucy Banks

“It was never the grand moments that thrilled me, but rather the simple mundane actions.”

4. Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

“She closed her eyes and felt everything: the warmth of the café, the taste of the muffin, the by now familiar smell of coffee and secondhand books.”

This is part of the category: three books by the same author.

5. Swords, Sorcery, and Self-Rescuing Damsels (short stories) – edited by Lee French & Sarah Craft

“The magic burned deep inside. For all that men coveted magic, would do anything to be able to control it, they knew nothing of what it cost.”

One of the things I’ve given myself permission to do this year is to stop reading a book if I’m disinterested…now matter how far I’ve made it in the book. I did read this entire book but some of the short stories I enjoyed and some I didn’t.

6. Nine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty

“Sometimes your life changes so slowly and imperceptibly that you don’t notice it at all until one day you wake up and think, ‘How did I get here?’ But other times, life changes in an instant with a lightning stroke of good or bad luck with glorious or tragic consequences.”

I listened to this on an audiobook. This is also part of the category: three books by the same author.

7. Truly, Madly, Guilty – Liane Moriarty

“in times of crisis a person’s face is somehow stripped back to something essential and universally human: all those labels like “beautiful,” “sexy,” “plain” became irrelevant.”

I also listened to this on an audiobook. This is also part of the category: three books by the same author.

8. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

“There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”

This one gets two quotes because it is my favorite book so far this year! The checks off the category: a book recommended by a source you trust. Thanks, Pam!

9. The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

“She longed to feel something momentous. Sometimes her life seemed so little.”

This was also an audiobook. What can I say?! I was on a roll.

10. The Dog Stars – Peter Heller

“So I wonder what it is this need to tell. To animate somehow the deathly stillness of the profoundest beauty. Breathe life in the telling.”

This was partly listening to an audiobook and partly reading a physical book.

11. The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim

“I wish you could see my true nature. Beyond my body and labels there is a river of tenderness and vulnerability. Beyond stereotypes and assumptions there is a valley of openness and authenticity. Beyond memory and ego, there is an ocean of awareness and compassion.”

12. You Can Have It All (just not at the same damn time) – Romi Neustadt

“I hope you focus less on being perfect and more on taking risks and giving yourself freedom to fail, because it’s in our mistakes, missteps, and full-out failures that we learn the most about life and about ourselves.”

13. Very Good Lives – J K Rowling

“It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s live simply by existing.”

14. Mindware (tools for thinking) – Richard E. Nisbett

“It’s more unsettling to learn that our understanding of the nonmaterial world, including our beliefs about the characteristics of other people, is utterly dependent on stored knowledge and hidden reasoning processes.”

15. Hivemind – Sarah Rose Cavanagh, PhD

“Like honeybees, human beings may also exist at least in part nestled within a collective,our individual identities both informed by and utterly embedded within our shared existence.”

16. What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

“But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums.”

And I’d argue the same can be said by replacing the words photo albums with social media.

17. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

Whew! If you’ve stayed with me for this long, thank you!

Now Over to You.

Have you read any of these?

Did you enjoy them? Did you hate them? Did you think they were meh?

Do you have any other great read that you’ve been raving to people about?

I’ll be back at the beginning of May with another reading roundup. Don’t worry it won’t be so long!! We’ve covered the back stuff and I have a very busy spring so my reading will be slowing down for the next few months.

(the header photo was taken in Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness, Scotland)

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one. -George R. R. Martin

Let your light shine!


*in full disclosure, some of these quotes I collected while reading the books. at the time, I did not know I’d want to set up the post with a collection of quotes and so some of these have been rounded up afterward through a web search. going forward I will be journaling at least one quote per book that I read in order to share them with you.

21 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading Lately: January/February

  1. I have read all of Liane Moriarty’s books – The only one I wasn’t in love with was 9 perfect strangers. Where the crawdads sing is one of my favorite all time books. 🙂

    1. I plan to read more of her books throughout the year. I didn’t really love Nine Perfect Strangers either. I had watched the HBO series of Big Little Lies so I knew what to expect during that one. What Alice Forgot may have been my favorite of the bunch.
      I love, love, loved Where the Crawdads Sing!!! I can relate to her to her so much in regards to the freedom of growing up in the wilds of nature.

  2. Thanks for the link to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Reading Challenge. I’d forgotten about doing it, which just goes to show you how scattered I’ve become. Most focus more.

    1. I ended up forgetting about it part way through last year and then was scrambling to finish it at the end of the year. lol. I’m hoping to be a little more methodical in making sure to mark off the categories this year. I’ve already planned out which book I’ll read for each category. Now it’s just actually making sure those books make it into my pile!

  3. Lots of great books here and many I’ve heard of but haven’t read yet. I was given 9 Perfect Strangers but haven’t read it yet. These days I have my kindle and read two books often simultaneously, often a personal development one and a fiction one. Happy reading Amy.

    1. I do the same thing Miriam!! Currently reading Stephen King’s memoir On Writing and then I participate each year in my library’s blind date with a book and have a Nicholas Spark’s novel. 🧐

  4. Hi Amy, I always appreciate book recommendations. You make a very good point about giving yourself permission to stop reading. I am still not so great on this and time is too precious. I made a note of your favourite book so far. This is quite an extensive list, Amy. Good for you. Lately, I have been gravitating to inspirational podcasts on my walks. No driving right now. Hunkering down. Stay healthy!

    1. Giving myself permission to stop reading a book is so hard. I’m slowly getting better. Do you have any podcasts that you are enjoying? I haven’t spent much time looking for podcasts. I’m usually with my husband on my walks, but listening to something while I clean around the house would sure be nice. 🙂 You stay healthy as well, Erica!!

      1. I just finished a very good one. I want to listen to it again and make notes. “Tim Ferriss #414: Jack Kornfield – How to find peach amidst COVID-19-How to cultivate calm in chaos.” xx

I'd love to hear your thoughts! Share them here.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.