february 2020 books

We’re another month into 2020, and I managed to hit my goal of 2 books per month in February. Both were pretty delightful but wildly different in terms of subject matter.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

I’m a huge fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, both the book and the Hulu TV series, so I’ve been excited to read this one for a while. Technically, this is my second try at reading it; the first time was last November, and I just got too busy to even start it before my turn was up! Luckily, life slowed down just enough this time for me to finish it in just a few days. Typically, I don’t like it when I’ve seen the movie/TV show before I’ve read the book, but this is one instance in which I am loving this order of events. Picturing the characters in this book in my mind’s eye as the actors in the TV series really brought the story to life. Much of this book focuses on Aunt Lydia: past, present, and future. As it turns out, she’s a pretty multi-faceted indivudal who I somehow grew to like over the course of the book, despite her seeming heartlessness in Atwood’s first book. The other “testaments” comprising this book are the tales of two young girls: one growing up in the confines of Gilead’s extreme patriarchy, and the other coming of age in Canada, a hub for Gilead refugees.  I quite enjoyed how the author used this structure to place Gilead in a global context in this book, describing how this decaying society was perceived by the outside, “normal” world. I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to others, particularly for those who watch the TV series–season 4 premieres in the fall!

5/5 stars.

This Is Where You Belong: the Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melanie Warnick

This book took some dedication for me to get my hands on it. I first heard this book recommended on my favorite podcast, well over a year ago. I requested it from the library but soon discovered that their single copy had gone missing. I waited and waited for them to replace it in their stock…but that never happened. I finally resorted to buying my own copy (gasp!) from a Goodwill store on eBay. Fortunately, I ended up loving this book, so it was well worth the wait (and a few bucks). It should come as no surprise that this was a home run with me; it fits well within my beloved “personal experiment” genre. The author sets out to learn how to love Blacksburg, Virginia after yet another cross-country move that has left her with feelings of mere indifference. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of her master plan to love where she lives and concludes with a useful checklist for those who want to do the same in their own towns. I took many of her suggestions to heart such as committing to making 3 purchases per month at a locally owned business and viewing your city from a tourist’s perspective. (Can I change my resolutions?!) I really do love where I live, but I think there is room for me to become more invested in it, in every sense. I could give more of myself to this place that I have grown to love and cherish.

5/5 stars.

What did you read in February?

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