As another month comes to a close (slow down please, 2017), it’s time to take stock of what we’ve been reading once again. Throughout February I managed to finish a total of 10 books (4 novels, a novella, a memoir, a play, a poetry magazine, a graphic novel and a poetry Little Black Classic). This matched last month, taking me up to 20 so far for the year, and thus keeping me well on track to hit my 100 book target.
The highlight of the month was undoubtedly Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. We follow an unnamed young woman as she marries charming Maxim de Winter and moves with him to his estate, Manderley. She soon discovers however that the lingering presence of his deceased first wife, Rebecca, continues to haunt and influence her new home and all those who come to it. We delve deeper into the mystery surrounding her demise in a story that is dripping with atmosphere and a creeping sense of unease; masterfully written with so much hidden depth to be explored, and without doubt one of my new favourite books of all time.
Other enjoyable reads included Animal Farm by George Orwell, the iconic allegorical tale of animals overthrowing humans to try and govern their own lives; Pantomime by Laura Lam, the first in a trilogy about an inter-sex protagonist who flees the strict life enforced upon them to try and live freely as part of a circus; Carrie Fisher’s hilarious and honest memoir, Wishful Drinking, and After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross, a very timely and accessible read that flips the refugee experience on its head by cleverly posing the question: what if we were the ones having to flee our country? It was also a pleasure to take in more of Shaun Tan’s beautiful artwork in his collection of delightfully strange graphic-novel-style short stories, Tales from Outer Suburbia.
I read J.M. Barrie’s play, Mary Rose, partly to help towards my goal of reading more plays in general but also because it’s my local theatre’s main production throughout the summer and I wanted to try out the story before I booked tickets. I enjoyed it, finding the ghostly and mysterious tale of a woman who disappears on several occasions throughout her life, never having aged upon her eventual return, very intriguing and I have indeed booked tickets to see it played out on stage later in the year.
It was definitely a strong reading month overall and I look forward to seeing what books March will bring my way.
What was your favourite read in February?