Reading Recap: The Month I Read A Lot of Books At The Same Time

Published by The Connected Reader on

When I went to list out the books I read this month I had to count twice because it just didn’t feel like I could have read this many. 

It was a very slow start to the month, and I found myself reading four or five books at once, so I finished everything all at once toward the end of the month. 

I never used to read more than one book at one time, but somewhere around the fall of 2020 I found my reading mood was so unpredictable that it helped to have lots of different options available to encourage myself to read. Ever since then, I have at least two books I’m reading simultaneously. 

My reading habits certainly shift with the season of life I’m in, and I’m finally starting to learn how to flow with the tide. If you are curious to hear more, I talked about how I’ve found time to read more on this episode of the What To Read Next podcast and I’ve written about it on the blog here and here.

Check out the books I finished this month below. Have you read any of these? What did you read in February?

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

This was one of two favorites from the month and it’s a book I never would have chosen to read on my own. I read this for the Reader Retreat at The Bookshelf (I wrote about the retreat here) and it is just a whole mood, with vibrantly developed female characters and moments that just made me catch my breath. It is not a happy book, but one that I think is beautifully written and will make you think – you will definitely want to discuss this one.

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A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood

This is a young adult collection of short stories with young, female protagonists, written across time from the 1800s-1900s. I read this for my YA book club and would have abandoned it if not for that. Just not my cup of tea, though if you are a historical fiction reader, you may enjoy it more than I did.

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Spare by Prince Harry 

Yes, I finally did read it. Have I mentioned it is very long? 

Here’s the thing – I empathize with Harry and found it validating to see someone working through setting boundaries with family in real time. And I recognize that this is one side of a story. I thought the contributors on this episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour had an interesting conversation about the book and it’s worth checking out. 

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Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery 

My seven-year-old, Big E, and I have been listening to the first book and this second book of the Anne of Green Gables series on audio in the car. It’s lovely to share a beloved book from your childhood with your own child. This one in particular is not my favorite, but the nostalgia and sharing factor outweighed that.

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Anne: An Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables (Sort Of) by Kathleen Gros

I was browsing at my local bookstore one day and saw this. I am not a big graphic novel fan, but Big E is, so I picked it up. It did not change my feelings about graphic novels, but I thought it was a fun addition to the Anne world. Spoiler alert: Anne and Diana go to a middle school dance together as a romantic couple and it is as adorable as it sounds.

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Book of Extraordinary Tragedies by Joe Meno

This was my other favorite of the month and it is a book I picked up randomly from the new-ish release shelves at my local library. Both of my favorites this month were not from my TBR and that is something to think about. This one is told from the perspective of Aleks, a 20-year-old living in Chicago, who is dealing with understanding his own identity as a former child prodigy, understanding his family’s identity as immigrants, and navigating several big challenges with his sister, mother, father, and grandfather. It is filled with small moments that will both stop your heart and restart it. I loved it.

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I read this one for the Everyday Reading book club, and it’s another one I would have abandoned if not for the book club forcing mechanism. In this case though, I would have missed out. This is a memoir written using unique structure. It is set up like a textbook with different academic topics, then each entry ranges from a phrase to a piece several pages long. It’s filled with musings, wonderings, and wordplay. There are two longer pieces in the middle – an essay and a short story – that pulled me in, and the whole last third of the book is devastating to read knowing the context that shortly after publishing the book, the author will learn she has cancer and she will pass away less than two years later. 

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President of the the Whole Fifth Grade by Sherri Winston

Big E picked this one out as an audiobook for us to read in the car. This is not one I would have chosen myself, but I stuck it out for that connection time. Big E laughed and squealed and enjoyed the real-life setting; the everyday experience of life as an elementary school student is her whole world now and this one seemed to resonate with her.  

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Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America by Michael Ruhlman

This was on my list of non-fiction books I wanted to read this year and it was available as an audiobook at the library when I needed something to read, so I scooped it up. I liked the structure of it; the author frames the story with why this is so personal to him and how it connects to his family, and then follows a small grocery chain in Ohio through several different topics related to the buying and selling of food. My takeaways? 1. The marketing of processed food is just as bad and as misleading as the marketing of prescription drugs that I learned about in Empire of Pain last month. 2. The pandemic made me realize how dependent we are on the grocery store and how screwed we are when the systems that support getting our food to and stocked in grocery stores break down, and this book validated that. The one thing that made me pause with this one was that I felt like the author was a bit preachy and elitist when it came to the choices people make based on what’s available to them at the grocery store.

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