Continuing my reading challenge for the year, I found that February was a month filled with the magic of books and vacation. It was also the month of travel and stress that pushed me to long workouts and evenings spent diving headfirst into books late into the night.
My February books can be classified into two areas:
- Vacation reads
The vacation reads category included:
- An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir
- Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard
- Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple
- The Readers of Broken Wheel, by Katrina Bivald
In the “I better read something else so people think I’m smart” category we had:
- Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott
- Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith
- I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai
- Palace of Treason, by Jason Matthews
- 10% Happier, by Dan Harris
Vacations reads are supposed to be light-hearted books you can read on a beach, caring only enough about the characters to want to finish the book, but not enough so that it’s hard to put down to go swim in the beckoning blue ocean. Most of my vacation books qualified in this category, with one exception, An Ember in the Ashes.
My first day of vacation where I had the afternoon free, I decided to meander my way to the North Shore of Oahu where I could grab a drink along the ocean, watch the waves, and then check out a few art galleries in Haleiwa while I was up there. The drive along the coast provided spectacular views and I stopped to take a few photos from my challenge. After the last stop when a local guy who thought I was a local (a compliment) tried to convince me to go swimming with him, I hopped back in my trusty rental car and began listening to Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. I love this book. It took me a while to get through it since I listened to it in segments, but I am forever going to associate her story of looking at the world bird by bird, with driving along the North Shore of Hawaii.
It was on my way back that I made my mistake. After checking out the Volcom surf competition, art galleries and picking up a coffee, I started my not-as-scenic drive back to Kailua through the middle of the island. “An Ember in the Ashes, why not try it,” I thought. It’s bound to be another sci-fy-ish young adult book that will entertain me.
I didn’t count on it not letting me go. The book is one of the best I’ve read in a while, not just for that genre, but overall. I couldn’t stop listening to it until late into the nights that week.
The books I chose to read on my kindle in between listening to An Ember in the Ashes proved to be perfect vacation reads. Good books that I didn’t care if I kept reading or put down for a while.
But when I returned and looked at the books I’d been reading, that I realized I needed to step it up. J.K. Rowling’s…sorry, Robert Galbraith’s crime detective series continue to keep me glued to them. It was nice reading Career of Evil, the third book in this series, without the feeling of wanting to punch her in the face that I had throughout reading the second book. Perhaps I’m maturing, or I’ve just accepted that some people are ridiculously talented and I need to just enjoy it.
I’ve had I am Malala on my Kindle for a year or two now and hadn’t built up the desire to read it. Not because of any other reason beyond my shallow dislike of non-fiction. When I saw her on the Daily Show, her poise and purpose blew me away. Reading her book, I felt the same. To go through all of that when she was only 15 when her only desire was to gain an education. The book is a stark reminder of how lucky we are and of how much I take for granted.
Palace of Treason is the second book in a series written by a former CIA agent. I’ve never been one to read spy genre books, but I have been known to wish I could throw on wigs, blend in, kick-ass, and be a super-ninja secret agent a la Sydney Bristow. It was a solid second book that I enjoyed reading.
The last book I read in February was 10% Happier, a book written by an ABC news journalist who went from doing cocaine and having panic attacks on air to being a huge proponent of (secular) meditation and the benefits found within. At one point as I listened to the book, I realized I was cooking, texting, and counting my steps, all while the author talked about the power of meditation on his life and his ability to focus, manage stress, and life a fuller life. Stop looking at me, 10% Happier guy! I’m happy trying to do 453 things at once! Shut up!
Which leads me to my March Challenge: meditation.
Books read to date: 18