February 2019, In My Stacks

Last year, February’s tally suggested it was one of my busiest reading months. Which I chalk up to January being over-stuffed with reading ambitions, which overflowed into the following month. This year, that feels true once more.

With the exception of L’Arabe du futur, a graphic memoir scooped up randomly on a trip to a distant library branch in the city, all of these books have been in my reading plans since December (or longer).

Like Mary Hocking’s trilogy about three sisters, which Danielle and I have been intending to read for more than a year. Mavis Gallant’s Home Truths collection, which marks the midpoint of my reading through her published stories. And Friday Black, which Andrew Blackman recommended later last year (and, then, I listened to an interview on the NYT Book Review podcast).

All of these have been waiting their turn. Including a reread of Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood, which is a reprint of the three novels which comprise the Xenogenesis trilogy: Dawn (1987), Adulthood Rites (1988), and Imago (1989).

When I first read the trilogy, it was an exercise in patience, because I desperately wanted to read the books all-in-one-go, but I had to wait for library copies to arrive. So I read the first in January 2000, the second in March, and the third in April. I remember that it seemed to take forever.

In the meantime, I was reading other feminist authors, including Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Adrienne Rich’s poems and essays, Jean Rhys and, even more classic, Sarah Scott and Frances Sheridan. Along with my first Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude) and finishing Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy, although I’d read Leviathan the previous year.

That was a rich reading winter. And if this reading winter is even half as brilliant, I’ll be doing alright.

If you had to choose your next read from my stack, which book/author would you choose?

How is your reading shaping up, this fine February?



  1. Naomi February 14, 2019 at 9:59 pm - Reply

    After much more consideration than I care to admit, I’m going to choose Sweetbitter, because I heard it has a restaurant setting. But, I imagine I’d like all of them!

  2. Alley February 12, 2019 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Lilith’s Brood!! First Butler I read and while not my fav, so good (and so strange).

  3. Kat February 11, 2019 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    I love the photo of your books. Why can’t I take good photos? Mine always look dark and gloomy.

    Good choices. I read Lilith’s Brood years ago and loved it (haven’t read the whole trilogy, though). I also read two of Hocking’s trilogy. I’m not mad about her books, but know there are enthusiasts. As for my own reading, I’m taking a break from my favorite 19th-century writers to read what I consider “modern” literature. I’m counting everything from, say, 1900 on. Is that crazy? Yes.

    • Buried In Print February 13, 2019 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Well “modern” is relative! If you read Lilith’s Brood, then you did read the trilogy, which includes all three books in the Xenogenesis cycle. But if you read them before the omnibus edition, and remember only one book, then you probably haven’t finished yet. I’ve got her Parable of the Sower/Talents lined up for next. Also “modern”. 🙂 [Oh, the picture thing – it’s not me, it’s my phone. It’s smart.]

  4. Andrew Blackman February 11, 2019 at 11:58 am - Reply

    Well, you know what I think about Friday Black! Out of the others, I’d probably try Lilith’s Brood. I’ve never read much science fiction, but I really enjoyed The Dispossessed recently and am looking for more books along those lines. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this stack!

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      The Dispossessed is the book of LeGuin’s which I usually choose as my favourite. (But I do admire The Telling and The Left Hand of Darkness too.) Octavia Butler is fascinating. You might like Kindred too. Not that you need any help lengthening your TBR. I’m looking forward to rereadig Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy, but I’m also a little hesitant to start, concerned that I won’t want to do anything else once I’ve begun! Edited to add the link to your post on Friday Black.]

  5. Iliana February 10, 2019 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I’ve heard a lot about The Leavers so I think I’d try that one next. February so far is great. I just finished one book that is no doubt going on my favorite of the year list. Yes, already! Enjoy your stack!

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      Oh, The Book of Unknown Americans? What a worthwhile read! You’d like The Leavers: and it’s particularly timely with the prominent of immigration policies in American politics these days.

  6. Laila February 9, 2019 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I loved Sweetbitter. If I had to pick one I hadn’t read I’d choose The Leavers (I think it’s on my Goodreads TBR.)

    I do intend to read a few stories from the Gallant this month. Things have been hectic lately, and we’ve been sick at my house, so I haven’t been able to get to it yet. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the reading I want to do. But I will get to it! Happy February.

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      I love the parts of Sweetbitter that are written like poetry, the random sentences overheard like a chorus in the restaurant! You would like The Leavers too. Especially the mother-son stuff. (There are grim parts, but do persist!)

      Whenever you get to Gallant, I hope you enjoy her. The first story is quiet and understated, but if you love the idea of a tearoom and girls’ boarding school, you’ll like it (and it’s short-ish).

  7. annelogan17 February 9, 2019 at 11:26 am - Reply

    My reading is going quite well so far, now that I’m waking up earlier to do it! I just finished The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and loved it. Review to come soon!

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      You’re rocking the new plan! But that book sounds dismayingly vampire-ish…

      • annelogan17 February 12, 2019 at 12:24 pm - Reply

        haha no no The Immortalists is extremely literary! I think you’d like it actually, it was a popular book last year.

        • Buried In Print February 13, 2019 at 9:45 am - Reply

          Because there are no literary vampires? I feel like that’s a group you don’t want to offend with casual generalizations.

          • annelogan17 February 13, 2019 at 1:16 pm - Reply

            true true. Ok, there are no undead people in this particular book!

            • Buried In Print February 13, 2019 at 6:57 pm

              In the meantime… picks up a copy of The Passage

  8. kaggsysbookishramblings February 9, 2019 at 4:27 am - Reply

    I might well choose the Mary Hocking – an author I keep meaning to read (particularly since HeavenAli championed her!) but never get round to!

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      And the 1930s timeframe would appeal to you too! That pesky Ali, always adding to our TBRs. sigh What are we to do with her.

  9. Rebecca Foster February 9, 2019 at 3:37 am - Reply

    Sweetbitter and The Leavers are terrific! I’m always impressed by the range of library books you have access to. I guess that’s the advantage of living in/near a major city.

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      For the longest time, there were 99 branches of the library here, but the 100th opened not long ago, so, yes, spoiled spoiled spoiled for choice! (And I cannot resist.)

  10. JacquiWine February 9, 2019 at 3:26 am - Reply

    Oh, the Mary Hocking trilogy is wonderful, so absorbing and compelling. Good old-fashioned storytelling at its best. I do hope you enjoy the final instalment.

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      I’m glad that I don’t have to wait a year for the next installment to be published: there is an advantage to discovering an author’s oeuvre “later”.

  11. A Life in Books February 8, 2019 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Two favourites for me in your pile: Sweetbitter and Now We Shall Be Entirely Free. I enjoyed the Hocking more years ago than I care to remember. Happy reading!

    • Buried In Print February 11, 2019 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad to know that And Now is on your list. It has the look of a story I’ll enjoy, but every time I’ve picked it up, I’ve put it down again, in favour of something else, in that moment.

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