February Features – Haddi

*A few reviews and recommendations from my last four weeks of reading. 

While Hannah was cuddling up under warm blankets with her hot tea or coffee over the last four weeks, I’ve been cuddled up on my couch watching the Olympics!! I seriously have a problem…if the Olympics are on TV I cannot NOT watch, doesn’t matter which sport, I am obsessed. Needless to say, this obsession has interfered with my ability to keep pace with Hannah’s RIDICULOUS book count, but can I just say…I am totally ok with that. 

Thankfully, even with my complete obsession with all things ‘Olympic’ I have read a few good books that I’m excited to share with you! 

#1 Feature: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

I picked this book up at my local book shop, Commonplace Reader in Yardley, PA @commonplacereader last month when I was there browsing (always a dangerous endeavor). It caught my eye and when I read the synopsis I realized that I had already read one of the other books in this series, The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1) and thoroughly enjoyed it! Thankfully, the books do not need to be read in order so I had no problem jumping into #4 having only read #1 previously. Carolos Ruiz Zafon creates complex and unique mysteries that revolve around a multi-generational family-owned book shop in Spain and a secret collection of texts hidden in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. These books do take a bit of dedication to get through (over 500+ pages, so Hannah, you may want to skip them!) but I found them worth the effort and found myself completely immersed in the characters’ lives and the mysteries that surround them. 

Least Favorite: The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco 

I had high hopes for this mystery story that takes place in a Benedictine abbey in 1327, sadly, I think perhaps something was lost in translation as this novel was originally written in Italian. The English version (which I read) felt overly cumbersome with too many digressions into the minutiae of theological differences between Catholic orders that were only peripherally connected to the mystery-at-hand, and that’s saying something coming from a woman who has a master’s in theology!! So, unless you’re super interested in medieval theological politics and willing to put in a lot of reading hours (another 500+ pager) I would suggest finding a different historical mystery in which to immerse yourself. 

Wild Card: Freedom is a Constant Struggle – Angela Y. Davis & The Hired Girl – Laura Amy Schlitz

Like Hannah, I have two ‘wild card’ books that I would recommend, each for completely different reasons! First, Freedom is a Constant Struggle (*not pictured) is a collection of in-person interviews, email interviews, and talks/speeches with Angela Y. Davis. She is a brilliant and courageous scholar and activist who has struggled for freedom for the oppressed her entire career. Her voice is strong and unapologetic; I highly recommend this book to everyone who believes in freedom for all! 

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz was our ‘Book Club & Cocktail’ pick for January and everyone in the book club enjoyed this one! In this book, a young girl from rural PA in the early 1900’s runs away from the drudgery of farm life to Baltimore in hopes of finding a new kind of life for herself. The reader follows along with her emotional highs and lows when she confronts new challenges both interior and exterior, as she writes about her day in her diary. Reminiscent of Jane Eyre or Sarah, Plain and Tall, highly recommend this one for a cozy night in. 

Hope this helps you find some reading inspiration! 

Read on my friends!

-Haddi

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