First of all, I'd like to wish my mom a happy birthday today! Now that we're one sixth of the way through 2017, it seems like time is moving both incredibly fast and incredibly slow. February is, of course, a short month, but it really flew by even more than usual, right? You might be wondering why you're seeing this today instead of a Top Ten Tuesday. TTT is actually on hiatus for the next two weeks, which works out fine for me because I am busy busy busy. Let's look at what's happened in the last month, eh?
- Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee: Technically, I finished this the last day of January, after my monthly summary went live. But we'll count it in with February. Anyways, this nonfiction book tells the story of American Indians in the West during the Manifest Destiny period. It's a much different take on that period than we got in school, and relentlessly depressing as everyone knows the Indians are going to ultimately lose and get pushed back and back and back. But it's an important and worthwhile read to get some perspective on history from the side of the conquered.
- Marlena (ARC): This book has gotten a lot of buzz, but I found it to tread very similar ground as Emma Cline's The Girls, and not as effectively. Julie Buntin's language lacks the raw power of Cline's, and even though her story is probably ultimately the stronger one, it suffers in comparison. Which was extra disappointing to me because I've got a soft spot for books set in Michigan, but this one just didn't live up to the hype for me.
- Orange Is The New Black: This memoir inspired the TV show, and it's important to remember that they are very different works. The book is, like all memoirs, centered in one person's experience, so although we see some familiar figures in the text, it's all focused on Piper. I enjoyed it for what it was.
- Flowertown: This is a mystery/thriller type about what becomes of a small Midwestern community after a disasterous chemical spill, and it's better than what I would have expected from an Amazon imprint. Not amazing, but compelling.
- Between The World And Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates is a writer who challenges me, and this book pushed me to think in ways outside of my usual lens on the world. This was a book club selection, and I was super bummed that professional obligations meant I couldn't attend this month because I would have relished the opportunity to talk about this book's searing language and powerful ideas in a group.
- Zealot: Reza Aslan takes a look at who Jesus actually was, grounded in the reality of his time in history, and it's fascinating to think about one of the most familiar figures in our culture from a more grounded perspective.
- Nefertiti: This book tells the story of the legendary queen of Ancient Egypt from the perspective of her younger sister. Hearkens back to The Other Boleyn Girl in many ways, and never really takes off very effectively. I've got more Michelle Moran on my TBR, so I hope she's grown a bit as a writer since this book.
- The Bear and the Nightingale (ARC): This book, which mashes up a Cinderella story with Russian folklore, created a fantastic character in Vasya and was an engrossing read, delightful enough in many ways to cover up some plotting issues. It's going to be a trilogy, apparently, which has me excited to read the follow-ups.
- The only real thing to report is that our legislative session has begun! In Nevada, they meet every other year for 120 days (including weekends), so it's 4 very intense months of 10-12 hour days on a regular basis...not to mention a 40 minute commute each way, and even longer days on deadlines. It's always interesting and I love my job but this is a hard grind. It's even worse for the people from Las Vegas who have to be away from their family and friends...I can't imagine how much tougher it would be to not be able to come home to my husband and dog every night!
- My favorite musical artist, hands down, is Ryan Adams. I've seen him live four times and was really bummed that his touring schedule brings him to my general area (well, the Bay Area anyways, which is about a five hour drive) right before session ends: exactly when I won't be able to go! But he released his latest album, Prisoner, this month, and I'm always happy to take the opportunity to plug Ryan in the hopes that other people might get the same enjoyment out of him that I do!