February’s Reading List

This is a bit later than I’d planned as it’s a chaotic time of the year for teaching, but I wanted to include my reading list from February. Once again, I read three books, and once again, they are all SO different. (I think I warned you all last month that my reading tastes are uber-eclectic.) Here goes!

The first book I read in February was “This is How You Lose the Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. I initially spotted it on the reading list of a friend from grad school. It is science fiction and beyond that, a bit difficult to explain. If you’re looking for a clear plot and setting, this is not your cup of tea. However, if you enjoy poetic writing, time travel, and unreliable narrators, this may an excellent choice for you. The premise is that two futuristic female-like characters (they seem more like cyborgs than humans) are on two opposite sides of an epic war; their roles are to change events throughout the history of time to favor their side’s advantage. The two narrators leave notes for each other that are embedded in objects in very unique and bizarre ways (a letter in the trunk of a tree or inside an animal carcass, etc.) that start out almost like teasing threats but that become more like love letters. We learn a bit more about these characters through the letters, and though we get some stunning glimpses of scenes, it feels a bit like free-falling through space and time.

The second book I read was written by a contact I made here on WordPress– exciting! “Even Ducks Get Liver Cancer and Other Medical Misadventures” tells of hospital adventures and misadventures by Dr. Wilfredo Liangco, who you can find here. Having already read some of his catastrophizing blog posts, I had a preview of the hilarity that is this book. Will shares his journey through medical school, residency, and fellowship in the Philippines, with humor in the forefront all the while. I laughed so hard that I shot coffee out my nose, and I intend to share the book with my oncologist so that he, too, can shoot coffee out his nose if he is so inclined. Despite being very lighthearted at times, there are also some inspirational moments to glean in here, too, which I appreciated from my side of oncology as a cancer patient and survivor.

I wrapped up February with historical fiction, a genre that I definitely have a soft spot for. “Libertie” by Kaitlyn Greenidge was a fascinating story. Libertie’s mother is the first Black female doctor in her Brooklyn community and plays a role in the Underground Railroad early on in the story. When Libertie is still a child, the Civil War takes place, and her community experiences changes that already have her wondering about the many definitions of freedom. Libertie knows her mother holds high expectations for her daughter to become a doctor as well, but Libertie doesn’t feel drawn to that life and already feels disconnected from her mother for various reasons, one of which involves the tones of their skin (Libertie is much darker than her mother, which is something that everyone in her life draws attention to). Though Libertie begins college, she is unable to return, and instead marries with a man from Haiti who moves her back to the island to live with his rather unusual family. Throughout the story, there are many examinations of what it means to be free: free from parental expectations or from community bias, free from our own insecurities or from judgment, and free to be who we are meant to be. I was drawn in from the start by the unique premise and lyrical writing, and Libertie’s search for identity is poignant and powerful.

6 thoughts on “February’s Reading List

  1. At first I saw sci-fi and automatically assumed I’d like it, but I’m not one for poetic prose in novels, lol. The Ducks book sounds good though. Right up my alley. Especially since I’m a Sedaris fan and this looks like something similar. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! Yes, I think you’d love Will’s book!

      The sci-fi one was very, very different; I’ve seen some negative reviews about it saying that the authors seemed very self-indulgent, and I could see that. It was okay, though; my third favorite on this list of 3, but I liked it well enough lol.


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