February’s Reads #2015ReadingChallenge

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Following on from January’s reads, I did a bit less in February since I was busy working on a project, and went on a conference/vacation trip for 10 days. Here’s the rundown of my Reading Challenge for February:

The Remains of the Day was the first of the books that I’m reading in preparation for the TIFF Books on Film series: we will be seeing the movie – starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson – plus a live discussion with Kazuo Ishiguro, the author, in March. I saw the movie when it was first released, but have never read the book, which won the Man Booker Prize. The book is beautifully written; the language is a joy to read. It’s sad in a “wasted opportunities” sort of way, and the main character is oblivious to many people’s true nature and feelings, as well as to the changing times around him. Interestingly, having watched Downton Abbey made this richer to read, since I have some additional visualizations of life in an English manor.

Categories checked:

  • Became a movie
  • Set in a different country
Although the first of the Books on Film series, I read Coriolanus after Remains of the Day, and have to confess that I skipped over parts and read the study notes and Wikipedia entry instead: reading Shakespeare is not my strength. Having now seen the Ralph Fiennes movie adaptation and heard it discussed with Shakespearean scholar James Shapiro and CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel, I definitely understand it much better; I highly recommend the movie although you may struggle with the actual play.

Categories checked:

  • Became a movie
  • One-word title
  • Set in a different country
  • More than 100 years old
  • A play
After reading Station Eleven in January, I went on a bit of an Emily St. John Mandel binge, and read Last Night in Montreal. It has a similar driven yet melancholy view of travel as in Station Eleven, and is the story of a slow-motion collision of lives. Well-written but tragic in spots.

Categories checked:

  • Female author
  • Popular author’s first book
Continuing with Emily St. John Mandel, I also read The Singer’s Gun. Lots of great complex interactions between the characters, and everyone has secrets, many of them illegal. Good read.

Categories checked:

  • Female author
  • Set in a different country
I read The Maze Runner as a piece of vacation fluff, purely because I saw some hype about the movie. The story has a good concept, but the writing is terrible: “Goose bumps broke out all over him, a creepy fear trickling down his spine like a wet spider.” Not recommended.

Categories checked:

  • Became a movie
  • Non-human characters
  • Mystery/thriller
I didn’t read this cover-to-cover, but it was a trusty source in our trip to Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona and the Grand Canyon at the end of February. I find the Fodor’s to be very informative and well-organized, and use them often for travel.

Categories checked:

  • More than 500 pages
  • Non-fiction

Only six this month, with one really being a reference book rather than a cover-to-cover read. I am working on two or three others, but not far enough along to include here.

I’ve included the Amazon links above, if you click through on one of those and buy the book (or anything else), I’ll get a few pennies. However, I encourage you to give the money to your local library instead, and get the books from there.

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