Happy end of February! It’s been kind of a weird month over here. I ended up taking almost the entire month off from blogging, which was unplanned. Everything is fine, I’ve just been feeling a little burnt out lately and needed some good self-care time. But I did use some of that time for reading (and I watched a lot of movies) and I’m feeling a lot better now. So hopefully March will be a better month and I can get some good blog posts out.

But for now, let’s talk about all the things I read in February:

What I Read

I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya – ★★★★★

One of my reading goals for this year is to read and explore more books by trans or nonbinary authors. I’m still figuring out what books I want to read this year, but this is one book I knew had to be on my list (I even put it on my reading list for 2022). It’s a memoir about Shraya’s experiences as a trans woman and being forced to adopt masculine qualities growing up.

And wow this was a good memoir. It’s so impactful and wonderfully written. It’s also very short, so I was able to finish it in a single evening. I really enjoyed reading about Vivek’s experience. Though I recognize there is a vast spectrum of trans experiences and I have more to learn, I think this was a really great place to start. I loved it so much that I just recently ordered two more of Vivek Shraya’s books and am very excited. Resisting the urge to meet my trans books goal this year with only Vivek Shraya books. I have a couple more on my list, but if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark – ★★★★☆

I was feeling very slumpy this month and decided to basically abandon the majority of my TBR and just pick up whatever sounded good. This one caught my eye, my library had a digital copy, so I immediately borrowed it. What better way to combat a slump than with historical fantasy/horror? Okay, there are probably better ways, but I picked this one. And while it didn’t quite work as intended, it was still a fun read.

It’s basically an alternate history set in the American South in the 1920s. We follow a gang of badass Black girls fighting monsters called Ku Kluxes. The tagline: “In America, demons wear white hoods.” There is also the regular Klan which is mostly humans stupid enough to follow the monsters they don’t realize are monsters. Which is such a cool premise (and I would like a movie, please). I thoroughly enjoyed the creativity of this book. It didn’t draw me in quite as much as I was hoping, and it got a little weird at the end, but overall a great read.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin – ★★★★☆

Would you believe that I honestly did not plan to read anything specific for Black History Month? Because I honestly just wanted to cross more books off my 2022 reading list and this one was short. Perfect for slumps. And I did really enjoy this one. Honestly, the only reason I gave this four stars (and not five) is because it got a bit too religious for my tastes. After twelve years of Catholic school, my brain kind of rejects stories like this.

However, it was gorgeously written. I can’t believe I made it thirty-two years on this planet without once reading James Baldwin. The number of must-read Black authors I’ve read for the first time in the last five years and LOVED is crazy. Octavia Butler, Alice Walker, James Baldwin… why are these not being taught in school? (Or maybe they are now, and I’m just old.) But seriously wow. Even though the subject matter of this one didn’t speak to me personally, I loved the writing so much. Definitely need to read more James Baldwin. I think I’m going with Giovanni’s Room next, but if you have any recommendations, let me know.

Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York – ★☆☆☆☆

Turns out, reading a book you loathe is also a pretty decent way to come out of a reading slump. Rage can be just as strong an emotion as love. And this book was seriously rage-inducing. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, because it might make me mad. But I did blog about my entire experience reading this book, so you can go read that if you are so inclined.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh – ★★★★☆

This book took me a month to get through. Partly because of my slump. But also because it was giving me so much anxiety. Not what I was expecting from a book with “rest” and “relaxation” literally in the title, but okay. This was my very first Ottessa Moshfegh book. I’ve been seeing her books around for years and am always intrigued. Really not sure why I hadn’t read her books before now because they always felt like something I might enjoy.

And I did enjoy this one. But I’m honestly not quite sure why because I genuinely disliked all of the characters. They all annoyed me. I’m kind of at a loss as to why it didn’t irritate me as much as I felt it normally would. I don’t think any of the breaks I took while reading this were due to anything but the fact that I was feeling a reading slump coming. It was definitely an interesting reading experience for me. And I definitely want to read more of Ottessa Moshfegh’s books to see how I feel about her writing in general.

This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel – ★★☆☆☆

This month turned out to be a little disappointing overall, so it’s fitting that I ended with this one. I loved Stephanie Wrobel’s debut, Darling Rose Gold, a couple years ago. And I was very excited to read this one. But it really didn’t do it for me. It’s about a woman who gets a message from the wellness retreat her sister disappeared to with information no one knows, and she really doesn’t want anyone to find out (especially her sister). Intriguing premise.

Unfortunately, that’s where my interest in this story dies. It’s supposed to be a thriller, but it was almost unbearably slow and boring. I also had a hard time keeping all of the POVs straight (there are several as well as flashbacks). I wanted cult vibes, and was a little hopeful when we started seeing all the family trauma these characters had in childhood – the idea of how childhood trauma affects people, and how they might be led into a cult hoping for answers is interesting to me – but this book could not keep me interested enough to care by the end. There were some decent creepy moments, and I actually liked the story we got in the flashbacks, but otherwise I just couldn’t get into this one at all. Didn’t hate it, but definitely feel pretty meh about it.

*This Might Hurt was provided to me by Netgalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

What I’m Currently Reading

She Would be King by Wayétu Moore

I started this one in February for the Buzzword reading challenge (this month’s prompt is “pronouns” – so you’re supposed to read a book with a pronoun in the title). It’s also on my 2022 reading list AND one of you recommended it to me a while back (if that was you, let me know in the comments!).

However, I don’t think this is a good book to be reading when I’m feeling slumpy. I wasn’t feeling the audiobook all that much and am planning to switch to the hardcover when I pick it back up. But I think I’m going to just start over completely when I do. I have a good feeling about this one, but I think it’s a book I have to really been in the mood for to fully appreciate it and I just want to give it that chance because I am very interested. So for now, it’s on hold.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

I haven’t really been feeling a lot of the books I’d planned to read lately. So I’ve just been scrolling through the ebooks I can check out from my library. Short horror/thrillers seem to be what I’m currently in the mood for and this one has been on my radar for a while, so I picked it up the other day. It’s also very short, which is helpful. Sometimes, finishing books and having that little serotonin boost from the accomplishment gets me out of my slump. This also has an insanely low rating on Goodreads, which means there’s a decent chance I will love it.

What I Watched

Inventing Anna

I did read the original story about Anna Delvey back when it came out (in 2018 I think). And then was even more intrigued after one of my reading experiments last year had me read My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams, which is about her story being Anna’s friend. I also just really love Julia Garner, so I was very excited about this show. And I really enjoyed it. It was great seeing the story from a different lens, but no less crazy.

Spencer

I didn’t really like this movie. I do like Kristen Stewart and think she did a decent job (the whispery thing she did with her voice wasn’t my fave). But the movie itself was just so… boring and weird. But not weird in a good way (we all know I love weird things). But this one? I don’t know. I did like the idea that this delved into Princess Diana’s mental state as she was contemplating whether or not to end her marriage. But I don’t really think it made the point it was trying to make in a very good way.

Like, I get that Diana was going through a lot and it was probably a really disorienting and difficult time of her. But I didn’t love that this movie made her seem so unstable. I actually went and listened to some recordings of Diana herself talking about this afterwards, and that is not the vibe I got at all. I don’t know. I just don’t feel great that this movie exists if that makes sense.

Blog Highlights

I Read Fergie’s Romance Novel (So You Don’t Have To)

I only published one post this month that wasn’t my reading list and it was this one. I am so glad I decided to blog about my experience with this book because it absolutely deserves to be discussed – the badness is almost unparalleled. It’s just a truly terrible, and honestly a little offensive, book. While I hated reading the book itself, I did have fun writing the post, so go check it out if you missed it!


And that is it for February! Hopefully March is a better reading month (and just better month in general) for me. I have a lot of posts planned and a ton of things I want to read, so keep your fingers crossed that actually happens!

What was your favorite book this month?

Check out my bookshop, where you can go and buy books and also shop my curated collections of my personal favorites AND all of the books I’ve read for my reading experiments.Or you can just buy whatever books you want to. I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, and you get to support your choice of indie bookstores – it’s a win all around! 

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