Sometimes life winds up and pitches a twister of a curveball at you and the only thing you can do is be flexible and roll with it. Like, really, really roll. That’s what I’ve been doing this month. Rolling.
Not reading. Not much, anyway.
It’s been a month, reader friends. Lots of unexpected changes, with my reading time drained down to so very little. That’s not to say it’s been a bad month (though I wouldn’t mind more reading time- you hear that, Life?!?!??), just different, and I’ve had to do a lot of adjusting. But that’s okay. That’s what life is: things happen and we roll with the changes the best we can. And hopefully we read a few good books along the way.
I’ll get more into this in the last section, but for now, let’s get this recap *ahem* rolling, shall we?
Books I Read in February 2022
1. When It’s Real by Erin Watt
2. Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford
3. After Long Silence by Helen Fremont (no review, because my brain derped out and I completely forgot)
4. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
5. Anne Frank Beyond the Diary: A Photographic Remembrance by Ruud van der Rol and Rian Verhoeven (no review; read out loud to my daughter)
6. American Literary Almanac, edited by Karen L. Rood (no review; read as part of my personal Read Harder Project)
7. Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott
8. The Day the World Stops Shopping: How Ending Consumerism Saves the Environment and Ourselves by J.B. MacKinnon (review to come)
9. Period. End of Sentence.: A New Chapter in the Fight for Menstrual Justice by Anita Diamant (review to come)
10. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (no review; read for my personal Read Harder challenge)
WORST. MONTH. EVER. That’s what happens when all your reading time gets sucked into the void. I did read an enormous stack of various children’s books, mostly nonfiction (do you see where all this is going???), most of which I enjoyed immensely, however. Children’s nonfiction is totally my jam and my library has a fabulous section, so this is absolutely a plus in my book. I just don’t count most of those in my Goodreads totals.
Six of these books came from my TBR; four came from my own shelves.
Reading Challenge Updates
Reeeeeeeeeeeally glad I made the decision to not participate in any reading challenges at this point. I would’ve felt very frustrated right now if I had.
State of the Goodreads TBR
Arright, so last month, we ended with 158 books snuggled up together on my Goodreads TBR. This month, we’ve got…156! Even two less is a triumph this month!
Books I Acquired in February 2022
So, I didn’t buy any books, wasn’t given any, and none showed up out of the blue on my doorstep, but I did receive an email that informed me that I had won a Goodreads giveaway! My copy of Aviva vs the Dybbuk by Mari Lowe will arrive sometime in the near future, and I’m excited! I don’t read that much middle grade fantasy, but it’s Jewish fantasy, so you know I’m all in. Looking forward to adding this to my shelves!
Bookish Things I Did in February 2022
I did attend a virtual ‘how to fight book banning in your community’ presentation put on by Red Wine & Blue. Super informative and helpful, and I hope to attend more programs by them in the future!
Current Podcast Love
Still listening to Ologies with Alie Ward (which was SUPER helpful when we visited the Field Museum this past month! I’ve learned SO much from this podcast and it really informed so much of what I saw when we made our way through the exhibits) at night (when I’m not listening to BBC World Service, that is), and I listen to Crime Junkie when I nap. I don’t think I want to know what it says about my brain that I nap well when listening to shows about murder…
Stephanie’s Read Harder Challenge
I finished American Literary Almanac, edited by Karen L. Rood! This had been sitting on my shelf for an embarrassing number of years, so it was high time to get it out of there. It was okay; mostly just lists of trivia about various authors from American history. Not my favorite read of all time, and not likely something I would’ve enjoyed sitting down and reading in anything but thirty-minute chunks, but I’m glad to have put it and all its various knowledge into my literary arsenal. I moved on to A Room with a View by E.M. Forster and finished it on the final day of February. It’s part of a three-books-in-one book; I’m currently trying to decide if I’m going to plow through the book and read three Forster books in a row, or read another author in between these books. Not quite sure yet…
Real Life Stuff
What a month.
So, all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, a judge in my state decided that protecting schoolchildren from COVID-19 was illegal and forced the schools to go mask-optional. I believe this happened on a Friday; the stress of this gave me a migraine that pretty much blinded me the rest of the day, my ocular disturbances were so bad. It was a really, really stressful weekend trying to figure out what to do. At first, we thought we would send our daughter and see, and the more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable I became. My dad has Type I diabetes; the number of kids developing Type I diabetes after COVID infections has really bothered me, and the idea of subjecting my daughter (who is double vaccinated, but still) to that when it wasn’t necessary scared the absolute hell out of me. And so that Sunday, I said, “I can’t do it. I can’t send her,” and my husband replied, “So don’t. I completely support keeping her home.”
So we did.
And though we started working that Monday morning, it took about two weeks before we were registered as official homeschoolers with the state.
I’m sad about this, and angry, and disappointed. The numbers aren’t horrible in our area, but I’m not feeling confident enough that this is the end to drop all protections just yet, especially among a group of kids that has a lowish vaccination rate, who have young siblings that aren’t able to be vaccinated, and who are, as kids are wont to be, up in each other’s faces in small, cramped classrooms all day long. I’m sad because I love my daughter’s school (and this isn’t their fault), and she loves her friends and her teacher. I’m disgusted at the judge who thinks that asking kids to protect each other and their families is just too much to ask of them (but it’s not too much to ask them to handle potentially infecting and killing their family members or classmates! THAT’S apparently just fine!). I’m exhausted and frustrated by all of this.
I’m not sad about homeschooling my daughter. She’s made the transition pretty flawlessly and doesn’t want to go back at the moment. You can see our stack of library books above; we got this pile a week ago and have already blown through about a third of them. She’s learning SO much, and we’re having a ton of fun together. We’ve developed a pretty good routine, and though I’m a bit bummed about my lack of free time and my inability to get pretty much anything else done, I’m enjoying spending all this extra time with my kiddo and with being able to use my brain so much during the day (although my jaw sometimes hurts by 3pm from reading and talking so much! I know a lot of homeschoolers are able to get their work done within a few hours, but I’ve always taken a really literary approach to homeschooling- I taught my son at home until he was 9, so this isn’t anything new- so we do a lot of reading and discussing).
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately and why I’ve barely gotten any reading of my own done. I’ve read a buttload of books about things like plants and American history and Native American myths, though, and that’s been pretty awesome. : )
Homeschooling has pretty much taken over my life! This isn’t meant to be permanent, though it’ll likely last throughout the remainder of this school year. We’ll reassess mid-summer and see where things are at that point. Hopefully she’ll be able to go back, but if not, Mama’s got her.
I’ve got three doctor appointments in March- nothing serious, two yearly checkups and an appointment with a neurologist thanks to all the migraines I’ve had lately- and Purim begins at sundown on the 16th, so I’ll be making some yummy Hamantaschen then, but besides trying to sneak in all the reading I can, that’s all I have planned (and oof, that may be all I can handle at this point!). Hopefully your months have more exciting events planned!
Be well, friends. Warmer weather is coming, for those of us in the Northern hemisphere! (I mean, not in March, haha, but we’re one month closer!)