This was a strange reading month for me. I typically read fiction almost exclusively. In February, I only read one fiction book that was just for fun, and I did not particularly enjoy it. The others I read were for work or personal growth. They were great. I was really surprised by some of the things I read this month and inspired to diversify my selections. I’m also working on three other books currently, but I haven’t finished them so they’ll be in the March post!
- On the Incarnation, Athanasius, theology
David gave me this to read over Christmas break, but I didn’t actually pick it up until January. To be honest, I was intimidated by it. It was written in the 300s. That is not a typo. The edition I read included an introduction by CS Lewis, and as usual, he summed up my feelings perfectly. He said: “When I first opened De Incarnatione I soon discovered by a very simple test that I was reading a masterpiece…only a master mind could, in the fourth century, have written so deeply on such a subject with such classical simplicity.” Reading this work inspired me to worship and increased my knowledge. Athanasius is clear and accessible while expounding on the great mystery of the universe. I was glad to have a physical copy so I could underline, which I did frequently. I loved this especially, on the resurrection: “For he rose whole, since the body belonged to none other but Life itself.” Almost at every sentence I nodded in agreement and marveled at the beauty of the God I serve. Although I hesitated to read this, I enjoyed it more than anything I have read in a while. In the introduction Lewis said, “It has always been one of my main endeavors as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.” I have been persuaded.
- Insidious (FBI Thriller, #20), Catherine Coulter, fiction
This book is the twentieth in the series. I have not read any of the other nineteen. Honestly, I picked it because I wanted a new book to read and it was available immediately to borrow from the library on my Kindle. It felt a bit like turning on a movie halfway through. There were two (unrelated) cases running simultaneously, one led by an FBI agent in California, and another by two married FBI agents in DC. From what I could tell, the two married agents are recurring characters, and I felt like I was supposed to know at least some of their backstory. The chapters switched back and forth between the two cases. The series is called FBI Thriller, but neither case was particularly thrilling. I’ve been reading psychological thrillers, so this felt flat and formulaic. I wanted to quit and go back to a Tana French book instead.
- Rascal, Sterling North, memoir
David is not thrilled I read this book, because I now really want a pet raccoon. This is on a list of recommended books from my school for my students to read while they’re in third grade. I’m working my way through the list slowly, and there are some great books on there. This may be one of the ones I enjoyed the most so far. I didn’t know before I started reading it that it was a true story, and once I realized that I was hooked. It’s a recollection of a year in the author’s life when he adopted a baby raccoon. It takes place in 1918, right around the end of World War I. The whole time I was reading, I kept picturing this little guy who was outside my sister’s cabin on one of her recent vacations.
I love him. North tells his story simply, but the bare truths of his life inspire sympathy for the boy and his four-legged friend. I wanted to adopt both of them.
- Ficciones, Jorge Luis Borges, fiction/short stories
Since I don’t teach Spanish anymore, I decided to read some books in Spanish to keep up with the language. My go-to is usually Harry Potter, but since I basically have those memorized, I realized that I wasn’t really reading the Spanish and needed to find something else. I definitely could have picked something easier than Borges to start with. Ficciones is a collection of short stories. Borges’s work is philosophical and complicated; some of it borders on magical realism. He references lots of other works as well as discussing difficult themes like time and labyrinths. I discovered that I could not try to read this while sleepy, or I would read the same sentence over and over trying to make sense of it. I did find myself thinking in Spanish after lengthy reading sessions, so maybe it was beneficial for the goal of maintaining my skills.
- Across the Plains in 1844, Catherine Sager, memoir
One of our literature books at school is On to Oregon, a story that chronicles the Sager family’s journey from Missouri, with the goal of reaching the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I recently discovered that the Sager family is real, although much of Honore Morrow’s story is fictional. Catherine Sager wrote her own account of the journey and the Whitman Massacre that followed. This is not a work of literature; rather, it is a historical account of the tragic events one girl managed to survive. It was graphic and heartbreaking and sparse in description, leaving the bare-bones retelling of the events. It was a quick read and provided valuable background information.
Reading Challenge Progress: 12/50 books completed. Next month is spring break, so hopefully I’ll get some great books in!