What I Read in February 2022
So this month was a very slow reading month. Due to work commitments, weddings, and the inability to finish anything (it seems!) I only read five books last month – one of which I can’t mention! Here’s what I read in February 2022.
I finally read Virginia Woolf, and honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. Apart from the titular lesson of women needing a room of their own to write, there isn’t much else I gained from reading this. I listened to an audiobook version, narrated by Juliet Stevenson who is a favourite narrator of mine. But maybe I need to read this on paper to learn more from it.
One book I did manage to finish, after reading it for the past 3-4 months, was Eleanor of Castile by Sara Cockerill. This is a history book that looks at the life from beginning to end of Eleanor of Castile, wife to King Edward I of England. If you’ve ever been to Charing Cross Station and seen the big cross outside the station, Eleanor of Castile was who that was on in honour of. Or at the very least, the original one – the one now outside is about x5 more ornate than the cross that was put up in the 1100s!
Since my own name is Eleanor, I have a strong respect for Eleanor of Castile. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Eleanor of Provence – both relations to Eleanor of Castile on her husband’s side – were cool and all, but it’s Eleanor of Castile who I like best. She and her husband very clearly loved each other – despite the fact they were wed when she was just thirteen. And she was a businesswoman in her own right, who wrote books, created one of the first English printing presses, toured the world, and ruled England very diplomatically. She wasn’t well-loved in her time, but what free-thinking and independent woman was? But she’s all but forgotten in today’s history, which I think is a travesty.
If you enjoy history and learning about forgotten historical figures then I would recommend this book. It may be a history book but it was very easy to read.
In February, I listened to the audiobook of Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. I’ve often heard this book mentioned, as a solid memoir but had never picked it up. I have a love of films and TV shows that focus on Michelin and haute cuisine so it makes sense that I would also enjoy this book about the behind-the-scenes of the gourmet cookery world.
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
I recently went to see Mary Poppins on the West End with my mum. Honestly, apart from the scenes that featured Mary and Bert the play was incredibly dull. I had the book on my shelf – the gorgeous Lauren Child edition – but had never read it so when I got home I gave it a read to see if the story improved. It does minutely, but I can see why P.L. Travers and Disney butted heads when making the movie. Pretty much the entirety of the movie does not happen in the books and to that point even the play. Well worth reading to a child – but only if they haven’t seen or are going to see the film or musical as they’ll be mightily confused.
In February, I also read an incredible crime thriller for work. However, it’s not yet been announced so I can’t share too many details except to say it is fantastic!
And that’s it. Definitely, not the best reading month I’ve ever had. I have a lot of books I’ve started that I need to finish from February. Fingers crossed I’ll be more successful in March.