February Reading – The Month Ahead

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile, but I thought I’d share what’s in store for me, reading-wise, in the month ahead…

Starting with my “required reading,” I have two books and one short story I’ll be reading for book clubs or discussion groups.

First, for the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library book club, we’re reading “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.” This will be a re-read for me, as I read it last year “immediately” upon discovering it was the only one of Vonnegut’s novels that I hadn’t read. I look forward to giving it a deeper reading this time, though, in hopes of being better prepared to “discuss it intelligently” with the largely erudite membership of that group…


I’ve also just started today in reading Willa Cather’s “The Professor’s House,” which is the February selection of a discussion group at a local library whose last meeting I crashed when I learned they’d be discussing Muriel Barbery’s “The Elegance of the Hedgehog.” I became hungry for more Willa Cather after reading her wonderful short story, “The Old Beauty,” as part of my annual short story reading project last year.


Speaking of short stories, I’ll be re-reading Isaac Beshevis Singer’s classic tale, “Gimpel the Fool,” for a local discussion group/chapter of the Great Books Foundation. It’s been so long ago that I read this one the first time, though, that it will be practically the same for me as reading it for the first time. (Memory problems…)

(below: Isaac Beshevis Singer)


Other, non-required reading includes Lloyd Alexander’s “The Prydain Chronicles” of which I began a “nostalgic re-read” of last month. I first read these books when I was but ten or eleven years old. The fact that they were written for younger readers has not diminished my enjoyment of them this time, though. I’m already on the third book (of five), and they’re quick reads so I also am padding my book total for 2013 (heh, heh).


I’ll also have four short stories for my 2013 short story reading project that I’ll Knock off this month. In fact, I finished the first one yesterday (Poe’s “The Devil in the Belfry,” which I had never even heard of before today.) but there will be three more, decided – as always – by the turn of (hopefully) a friendly card.

What else? Oh, I’m considering reading Anna Karenina for a discussion at a bookstore in March, and it’s so long I’d better get started on it in February if I’m to have a chance at finishing it in time. Dale at Mirror With Clouds has said he’ll consider reading it along with me too – any other takers?


One other book I’m intrigued with is “Generations of Winter” by Vassily Aksyonov, a novel that I first learned about via Ana’s review at Ana the Imp. I’m a long-time pushover for “anything Russian” (perhaps a relic from all those years playing chess, that favorite of Russian pastimes…) so this would be a natural choice for me too.


That’s about it for me, although I’m sure I’ll read some other random short stories as well. But what about YOU? What books and stories are in your reading plans for February 2013?


  1. jenvolk5 said,

    February 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I’ll be finishing “The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916” by Alistair Horne and “The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S Grant in War and Peace” by H.W. Brands. The latter is lengthy at 855 pages but has been very interesting so far!


    • Jay said,

      February 5, 2013 at 1:24 pm

      Sounds like fun reading. 🙂

      I’ll mention again that book, “Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomatox” which I thought was really good and which you might like.


  2. Dale said,

    February 4, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    I think this is going to be the year of big books for me. I’m really liking Gone With the Wind but it’s taking so long to read. There’s a Newbery Medal winner that I’m wanting to re-read – The Trumpeter of Krakow. I might have to read some short stories and kids books to pad my “books I’ve read” list this year.


    • Jay said,

      February 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Dale,
      I’ve never heard of the Trumpeter of Krakow, but the. Title makes me curious…

      It took me awhile to get through GWTW too, and I was reading a long Stephen King novel at the same time. That was a whole month gone…. 🙂


  3. anatheimp said,

    February 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Jay, I now have the sequel to Generations of Winter. It’s called The Winter’s Hero. It’s a second hand copy – the book itself being out of print – and I had to send to the States to get it!

    I re-read Anna Karenina last year after seeing the new movie. http://anatheimp.blogspot.com/2012/11/life-and-fate.html


    • Jay said,

      February 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Ana,

      Thanks for the link. I am looking forward to reading GoW soon. It’s a good, seasonal title too.

      Happy we Yankees were able to help you out in getting the sequel. 🙂



  4. Alex said,

    February 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I was considering Anna Karenina as my 2013 project after last year’s good results with War & Peace, but my baby-brain is just not up to it. On the other hand, I enjoyed the recent adaptation more that I thought I would, especially after all the “meh” and negative reviews.


    • Jay said,

      February 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Alex,
      I didn’t see the recent movie adaptation, but plan to someday. I liked Keira Knightley in P&P a few years back.

      I pretty hard-core reader here at my office read AK last year and it took ‘even her’ a long time to get through. Perhaps I should get started now…


  5. Melissa said,

    February 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I’d love to get more info on the Vonnegut book club group if there is any!


    • Jay said,

      February 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Melissa,

      They meet every month on the fourth thursday of the month. They now have a wordpress site (both the book club and the library’s site are linked in my blogroll); their about page is http://vonnegutbookclub.wordpress.com/about/

      The site also has notes/minutes from prior meetings that perhaps would give you an idea of what the meetings are like.

      The problematic aspect for me is that they meet in the middle of the day – on a workday – so when I go (and I usually do) I always have to work flexible hours that day or just ‘take the afternoon’ off. Most of the other members work downtown or are retired or semi-retired.



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