Happy belated February Wrap-Up to all who celebrate

Enough.

I’m calling it.

Winter needs to end right now, immediately, or possibly yesterday, and if it keeps going I am going to lose my mind and do something drastic, such as giving books non-critical ratings or posting regularly on any of my 1,000 platforms.

The most absurd actions I can think of.

In other words, I am not thriving, I need warm weather on an almost medical level, and the fact that there is a bizarre and cute-adjacent woodland creature in Pennsylvania decreeing to us all to get with it for the next several weeks is the worst thing I can imagine.

But let’s get into it.

And no, I’m not going to further acknowledge the multiple weeks it’s been since the normal time to post this. How many more jokes can I really make about how bad I am at blogging?

Redundancy is boring, and to be boring is the worst crime there is.

The Winter Scaries have set in, folks.

Pretty convenient timing, since (allegedly) winter is waning (alliteration), but even still I’d like us to get all this done as soon as we can.

I have done some very cool things this past month, and in fact had some of my favorite experiences of my young life, but what is it to achieve or do or live if I can’t get dressed without checking the weather while doing it.

Anyway.

I read books by Black authors all last month, but I was in a terrible reading slump and didn’t get to as many as I wanted, which was very disappointing.

Well, considering the context provided by the above…my hopes are not high.

FEBRUARY GOALS

READ ALL BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS ✓

READ 28+ BOOKS X

KEEP UP MY INSANE REVIEW PROCESS ON GOODREADS X

BLOG LIKE THREE TIMES IDK X

POST ON INSTAGRAM 8 TIMES MAYBE? WHO KNOWS ✓

I actually posted seven times on Instagram, but that’s just so close and I did so poorly on everything else that I need the win.

I also lost my #1 spot on Goodreads for the first time since achieving it, which is a bummer. Turns out there was one upside to spending 100% of my time online. Gotta get back to my screenager life.

GOALS FOR MARCH

HAVE A BETTER BRAIN

READ 31+ BOOKS

FINISH MY TWO PROJECTS

BACK TO #1 ON GOODREADS PERHAPS

BLOG LIKE THREE TIMES IDK

POST ON INSTAGRAM 6 TIMES MAYBE?

Last month was a pretty bad brain month, and the start of this one wasn’t great, but I’m feelin good now!

I love my apartment and my city and my friends and my hobbies and life is good. It’s nice out and in a few weeks I’m going on vacation. I’m out of the reading slump that I spent 99% of this post complaining about, and I’m able to listen to music again. (Anyone else unable to have the space for thinking that music gives when their brain chemistry is bad?)

Life is good!!!



1. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Read: January 31-February 1 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

I always feel really weird about reviewing nonfiction. Reviewing fiction is cool, because it’s just my opinion versus something somebody made up, but reviewing nonfiction…what am I against facts?

Just kidding. I review everything and I’m obsessed with myself.

This was pretty good but I did have some lil issues with it. Because this is me we’re talking about.



2. Business Not As Usual by Sharon C. Cooper

Read: February 1 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3.5 stars

Romance quest continued apace into February…and finally, enough of a goddamn win that I could give myself a f*cking breather.

Yes, originally I was aiming for a 4, if not more, but honestly growing up is about getting realistic. Eventually I had to look to other dreams. Like reading any other genre, or liking books again.

This was cute and fun, though.



3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Read: February 2-3 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4.5 stars

Lately I’ve had a hard time feeling books – as in actually have them impact me emotionally – so I’ve read increasingly crazy lit fic to attempt to undo it.

This just shattered all of that and fixed it no problem. I teared up.

It was honestly frightening. Briefly I reconsidered my reputation, my self-perception, my coldness and lack of feeling.

Then I realized Alice Walker is just that good.



4. The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat

Read: February 2-3 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars

Here is where we start seeing the slump set in.

See, when I do a project like I ATTEMPTED to do in February, I can do it just fine if I have an extremely set agenda. When I did my ARC project, for example, I read 35 books in 31 days because I had a literal physical stack to pick from.

In February I just vibed, I did a bad job selecting, and I failed in every conceivable metric. Except drama, at which I always excel.



5. Wrapped Up in You by Talia Hibbert

Read: February 5-8 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2.5 stars

This Christmas season, I spent all of December – nay, all of the time since it dipped below 70 degrees – looking forward to the Big Day. And then the very same night I arrived home for the festivites, I tested positive for COVID-19 and thereby had to spend the entirety of the Christmas-to-New-Years lineup in quarantine.

That feeling is roughly the same as how I feel being disappointed by a Talia Hibbert Christmas romance.

And yes, I stole that comparison from my own review. But I’m proud of it.



6. Kindred by Octavia Butler

Read: February 3-9 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

Look at those read dates! Didn’t I tell ya the slump was coming in! Thar she blows, or whatever.

I mean, to be fair, this probably would have taken me a week to read regardless of circumstance, seeing as this book is very brilliant and very brutal, but still.

See above reference to my tendency toward drama.

This is all I have.



7. The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

Read: February 9-10 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

See, my hubris is showing. I think I can do better than a 3.5 star romance when the worst reading slump of recent memory is setting in?

Please.

This was not good, and I deserved it.

I think I temporarily ruined romance for myself. In books, I mean. In life I ruined it permanently.



8. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Read: February 10-11 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2 stars

The thing about this book is that it sounds very cool, and it has a very pretty cover, and yet somehow I did not enjoy reading it or generally have a good time or think it was fun.

This feels rude to me, specifically, but honestly the reading month I gave myself seemed like some kind of cruel prank so it’s par for the course for ol’ February.

We’re all disappointed.



9. Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor

Read: February 10-11 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

And finally I am rewarded for my suffering (aka experience a blip in which I am actually able to pick books for myself): A BOOK THAT HAS BEEN COMPARED TO SALLY ROONEY!!!

Okay, it’s been compared to Sally Rooney by me, but still.

I think other people did so too. And honestly I’ve read her books enough times to be considered an expert, I’m pretty sure. (If an expert is a nice way of saying a creepy obsessive who needs to get over it for a sec.)



10. Passing by Nella Larsen

Read: February 13-14 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

Is there anything better than a short classic?

Mentally I said that to the tune of that one Bo Burnham vine, but I actually don’t have an example of something that’s better. The proverbial and elusive perfect chocolate chip cookie? A conclusive moment where you’re like, yeah, I’ve done everything I wanna do? That combination baby’s first laugh / angel getting its wings moment?

I haven’t experienced any of those, but this was pretty damn good.



11. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

Read: February 15 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

I love James Baldwin (obviously, who doesn’t), but his writing has this special factor to it that makes me really slow down and pay attention and savor every word.

To a normal person, this would be a good thing, but for me, with my various projects and complexes and challenges, it’s a low-level nightmare.

But in a good way.

Like a very well-done nightmare. An Academy Award-winning bad dream.



12. Ayiti by Roxane Gay

Read: February 15 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

I love looking back at bad reading months because there’s always a day or two when I managed to finish multiple books.

Like aw, February 15 me still thought she could pull this off! Very cute. Keep the faith, recent-past me. It won’t do anything but it is nice to see.

This is my least favorite Roxane Gay so far but it was pretty okay anyway. Thank heaven for small blessings or whatever.



13. Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Read: February 13-15 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

I don’t know what I expected out of this book, but…it sure as hell wasn’t that.

I guess I kind of expected a Literary Romance, based on the synopsis and the cover, and then when I started reading I was like “okay maybe rom-com?” and then holy god so much darkness so much suffering so many teenagers acting like characters in Justin Bieber fanfiction. The dark kind.

I read a lot of Justin Bieber fanfiction at one time, and sometimes I need to reference it. So it was worthwhile after all.



14. The Blue Road by Wayde Compton

Read: February 16-17 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

Eventually things got bad enough (both in me getting behind on reading, and in me not wanting to read, and in me generally having no fun at all), that I was like “okay, time to read graphic novels no one has ever heard of.”

And I got my comeuppance in that the art in this was amazing and everything else was annoying and silly and ugh.

Good review, huh? That’s why they pay me the nothing bucks.



15. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Read: February 16-17 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

Thank you, Audre Lorde, for saving the day.

I mean, not actually – the rest of the month kept going BAD – but that was my fault and also a good book after a series of meh ones is like an oasis.

Except better. Because books are better than, like, water and shade or whatever an oasis is.

Why did I wait so long to read this!



16. Mediocre by Ijeoma Oluo

Read: February 16-18 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

At times like these I thank god / the holy spirit / whoever that I have been so behind on my reviews for so long that my current best-case cycle is I get to reviewing books a month after reading them.

Because my review of this book is going to get me completely and totally canceled.

If I thought trying to navigate why I took a star off Caste was tough…baby I have another thing coming.



17. The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams

Read: February 18-19 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

Something I am passionate about doing is getting a book on Netgalley, downloading it, forgetting to read it, waiting for the authorization to expire, and then having to frantically search around my various libraries and Scribd accounts in order to find it to keep my Netgalley percentage up without buying the book, and thereby breaking my new book buying rule, which is that I can only buy books I already like.

It almost never works out well for me. I don’t even know whether I’m saving money at this point. And I’m definitely reading too many ebooks.



18. Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Read: February 19 ✿✿✿ Rating: 5 stars

FIVE STAR FIVE STAR FIVE STAR FIVE STAR FIVE STAR!!!

This was my first real five star of the year (I went back to give another five stars, and I have since given another one but after), and goddamn I forgot what it felt like.

It had been…maybe 5 months since the last time?

Authors I compare to Sally Rooney for almost no reason always coming through for me.



19. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Read: February 21 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

I often compare the way I read to assigning myself homework.

I give myself month-long projects. I give myself daily projects. I give myself requirements, percentage proportions, and deadlines.

But perhaps no example of how I read is more school-y than when I reread books I actually did have to read for class but don’t really remember.

It usually works out for me, though.



20. The Short Stories of Anton Chekhov

Read: January 26-February 21 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

I resumed my genius project! I took three-ish months off, the first two for my clear your shelves challenge and the last one because I forgot I was ever doing it.

This was a pretty okay installment! I spent most of it reading it in 2 or 3 story chunks because I lost the habit of reading a story a day, but honestly I think it helped me get back into making books a huge part of my daily routine.

Which is why I have no explanation for what the remaining week of this month looks like.



21. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Read: February 21-22 ✿✿✿ Rating: 3 stars

Here’s where I pulled out the big guns.

I’d been prioritizing short books in an attempt to stay on track, and it wasn’t working AND I wasn’t having a good time, so I did the unthinkable.

I read a long book I was SURE I was going to like.

Spoiler alert: I did not really care for it, but I did manage to read it faster than anticipated in a flurry of self-created anxiety.



22. On Girlhood, edited by Glory Edim

Read: February 22-23 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

This was another Short Book I Know Nothing About In The Wild Hope I’ll Finish, and it was an unexpected win for the good guys. (Assuming I was the good guys. Which, big assumption.)

It’s an anthology of already-published stories by a variety of Great Authors, which meant I got to read stories by people like Toni Morrison and Jamaica Kincaid and Zora Neale Hurston I wouldn’t have had the time or unslumped energy to get to this month otherwise. Woo!



23. This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

Read: February 22-23 ✿✿✿ Rating: 2 stars

If I am the good guys, as assumed above, and thereby deserve some achievements that can be categorized as being “wins for the good guys,” then I would urge the universe to not immediately sandwich my recommended read between two meh ones.

But if I am not the good guys: carry on!

It’s L after L around these parts.



24. Assembly by Natasha Brown

Read: February 25-27 ✿✿✿ Rating: 4 stars

Looks like I AM the good guys, after all!

Not really, because while I had about 3 or 4 current reads at this time, I had to DNF all of them because I was slumped so bad I had become functionally illiterate, and I finished this project 5 books short of where I wanted to be.

Anton Chekhov does not count.

Still. Ended on a high in some ways.

Average Rating

Okay…everyone put your hands together…

Yes, this was a bad reading month in quantity, but in quality…

3.46!!!

YES!

Crushed it.

That’s almost a full half star higher than last month. No biggie.

Once again, I only posted twice, but here they are!

1. January Wrap-Up: or, do I remember how to write these

2. Valentine’s Day Reads for Sad Ghouls

Maybe next month.

So! There was February.

I don’t think winter is a winner among anyone with a bad brain chemistry, but it’s nice outside now! It was 70 degrees today. I ate dim sum at 7 pm in an outdoor booth and it wasn’t dark out. And my city’s basketball team won. And I discovered that the greatest food combination on earth is strawberries with that little vanilla sheet cake from Trader Joe’s.

Life is good, really.

How was your February? What was your favorite book you read? Have you read any of the books I read last month?

17 thoughts on “Happy belated February Wrap-Up to all who celebrate

  1. Karla says:

    I absolutely love this blog post!! You’re incredibly funny and witty and that’s definitely the highlight of my month! Also the amount of books you read despite being in a slump is pretty impressive! Bravo to you! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sofi @ A Book. A Thought. says:

    As always, wonderful post, honey, always super spontaneous, natural and funny. ❤️✨👏🏻
    I hope March is being a great month for you and you’re finding amazing reads!!! 😍 I just got back from my break so trying to catch up with your beautiful blog.☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Siena says:

    I completely agree with you about winter, I’m so sick of it and I want to move somewhere warmer hahaha. I’ve been meaning to read The Color Purple for the longest time, it seems like a great book!

    Liked by 1 person

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