What I Read This Month: February 2017

Last month, I told you about my goal to read 30 books in 2017. I am happy to report that I am ahead of schedule! I read another 4 books in February, which leaves me with 22 left to reach my goal. Read on to see what I read in February.

What I read in February

At first I thought I may have been too modest with my goal and should have set the bar a little higher. However, I can already feel myself pulling back a little. I think it’s because I have been choosing books that are a little too heavy. I had a 50/50 split between fiction and non-fiction this month, which is an improvement over last month. But the fiction was still pretty intense. I’m going to keep this in mind over the next month or two when I am choosing my books.

Cockpit Confidential: Everything you Need to Know About Air Travel by Patrick Smith

cockpit confidential by patrick smith

I spent a lot of time on airplanes last year, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it. I’ve never been a relaxed flyer, but I have certainly come to terms with the fact that flying really is a necessary evil. I have found that two glasses of wine at the beginning of any flight does wonders in calming my anxieties, but it doesn’t really help get to the root of them. I’ve seen this book mentioned in various places and was curious to see if reading it could help me overcome my nervousness. I found that the author struck a good balance between the science behind flying and stories from his many years in the cockpit.

Now, I don’t consider myself to be 100% cured of my flight insecurities — I’m still not exactly comfortable during take-off — but I no longer have the feeling of dread when I have to get on a plane. I purposely read this book before we left for Hokkaido last month, and I can attest to the magic of this book. In fact, I had no problems before or during our flight to Hokkaido last month…with ZERO glasses of wine! I definitely recommend reading this if you’re a nervous flyer!

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

A friend introduced me to this book after I asked for recommendations last month. Doctor Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, was diagnosed with cancer just as he finished his training. He wrote this book while he was dying. As morbid as it sounds, I actually enjoyed reading this. Maybe appreciated is a better word? I was in awe reading about how he handled the fact that the life he and his wife had planned for was no longer going to happen. I’d recommend this book for sure, but it’s certainly not light reading.

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

I chose this book on the recommendation from an expat friend.The story is set in Afghanistan, and follows two separate story lines – the stories of Rahima and Shekiba. Both women found themselves practicing bacha posh, the custom of a family choosing one daughter in the family to dress and live as a male. Simply dressing as a boy allows the girl certain freedoms — attending school, going out in public without an escort and escorting her sisters in public, and working to help support the family — that are not granted to females.

I found this custom fascinating, especially because it really isn’t meant to deceive anyone. In fact, members of the community will usually know that the child is, in fact, a girl.

As an American woman, it’s easy to rattle off the numerous ways things differ for men and women in our own culture. But reading about how these women used the custom of bacha posh to ultimately save their lives was a great reminder on just how privileged we actually are. Overall, I’d recommend this book, especially if you enjoyed anything by Khaled Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner.

The Translator by Nina Schuyler

Imagine waking up after surviving a horrible accident only to find that you are no longer able to speak your native language. That’s what happened to Hanne, the lead character in this novel. She awoke after a freak accident and could only speak Japanese, a language she learned later in life. She ends up leaving the US and travels to Japan, where most of the story takes place.

Overall, I thought the concept for this story was interesting, and there were some parts of her experience that I could relate to, but I found that overall this story didn’t keep my attention. Not my favorite, but not terrible.

What are You Reading?

Have you read anything you loved lately? What is on your list to read next?

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