What I Read in February 2023

So this is fun, I only finished one singular book in February. This winter has been long (it’s been as long as it usually is but I think we can all agree it’s too long) and focusing on reading has been really challenging for me. I’ve discovered that while many people hibernate into books in times of darkness/ stress, reading is one of the first things to abandon me. Which is fine. I love to fall down a tiktok rabbit hole just as well.

While I only finished one book, I did quit a few books! I hesitate to share them because I don’t want to turn anyone off from them. But, I don’t know, sometimes hearing why someone didn’t like a book can be just as helpful as finding out why they loved it.

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai
Download the audiobook version here.
Order the hardcover copy here. (Or locals can stop into Twice Told Tales in McPherson and grab one of ours.)

It’s been a minute since I got sucked into a mystery/ thriller, so this was really satisfying. It’s about Bodie Kane–a successful podcaster and film professor who is asked to return to her old boarding school to teach a few classes over winter term. One of her students decides that she wants to do her podcast about the murder of a student in 1995–Bodie’s graduating year. To these young students, it feels like ancient history but to Bodie–the murder of her classmate feels like just yesterday. Together they explore the possibility that the wrong man may be in prison but on her own Bodie is forced to face the truth of what happened all those years ago. Who was she to other people? What did she really know? What did she not know at all?

Rebecca Makkai was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize for her novel The Great Believers. So while this is a whodunnit at its core–it’s a Pulitzer-level whodunnit. I highly recommend this book for book clubs–I think you’ll need to schedule extra conversation time though because there’s so much to think about and I’m confident that everyone is going to have completely different thoughts at the end of the day.

Okay, a peek at the books I didn’t finish:

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin: I read over 1/2 of this book expecting to eventually fall in love with it. The premise is great (a transcriber for a local therapist falls in love with one of the therapist’s clients without having met her) but there’s not a single character that I wanted to root for and I didn’t understand most of the decisions that most of the characters made. Turns out, I need that in my novels.

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth: A big selling author in my store (and all across the US!), I was excited to get hooked into this thriller. But maybe I was just being picky–but one of the first things that was supposed to make us feel suspicious just felt super unbelievable to me. I’m being vague because it probably won’t be a deal breaker for anyone else and I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Spare by Prince Harry: I got this on audiobook and I’ll be honest. He’s a mumbler. Also after watching his Netflix documentary and 600 interviews while he was on press tour for the book, I felt like I got enough information here. Also I want to be clear: I’m 100% team Harry. When I tell people I didn’t finish this book, they usually think it gives them permission to say awful things about him–but no, no. I just don’t want him to read his book to me.

Really Good Actually by Monica Heisey: After about a chapter, I could tell this was going to have big If-I-Lose-Weight-It’ll-Solve-At-Least-Some-Of-My-Problems energy. Sometimes I have it in me to power through that stuff, but not today.

Do you feel the need to finish every book you start? Or are you a generous quitter like I am?

2 thoughts on “What I Read in February 2023

  1. Thank you for telling us why you quit the books you didn’t make it all the way through! Sometimes that is just as helpful as saying why you loved a book.

    1. I listen to a podcast called What Should I Read Next where the guest on the show tells the host three books they loved and one book they hated (and then she uses that info to recommend the next books that the guest should read). And honestly, I’ve added quite a few books to my TBR from what someone said about books they hated.

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