I’ve updated my January reads to the 2010 Book Log and am now looking forward to February’s reads.

As February is Black History Month (which was initiated in 1926, partly based in the coincidence of Lincoln’s, Washington’s, and Douglass’s birthdays in the month) I’m turning to some Virago Modern Classics to mark the event.

I’m especially interested in these four:

  • Hannah Craft’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative
    (arguably the first novel written by an African American woman, between 1853 and 1861);
  • Zora Neale Hurston’s first novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1934);
  • Paule Marshall’s first novel, Brown Girl, Brownstones (1959);
  • and, Dorothy West’s second novel, The Wedding (1995).

I hadn’t even heard about Hannah Craft’s narrative until recently, but that has changed everything (more about that later this week), and the other three have been on my TBR list for awhile now.

And February 21st through the 28th is Freedom to Read week. I’m considering a re-read of a favourite Canadian book that is even still, as recently as last year, being challenged in our public libraries and schools.

I have three in mind (Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners, Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, and Timothy Findley’s The Wars) but haven’t settled yet: I would welcome the excuse to read them all, but there is a lot of competition for reading time these days!

I’m also thinking of another banned book title that is even more notorious, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, because it’s been referred to in two autobiographies I’ve been reading lately.

Also to come this month, as part of the Shelf Discovery Reading Challenge, I’ll have more to say about revisiting favourite childhood reads (following the Lois Duncan chatter with talk of Laura Ingalls and Karana).

And more from Ethel Wilson (the novel that followed Hetty Dorval, The Innocent Traveller and perhaps another, too) will flesh out my reading goals for the Canlit Reading Challenge.

And after I say a little more about Dorothy Livesay, with the Women Unbound Reading Challenge in mind, I’ll be delving into the work of Elizabeth Smart (some non-fiction and at least a partial re-read of her beautiful 1945 novel, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept) and Di Brandt, two more Canadian feminists worth reading!

At some point, I’ll be raving about a short story and, at some other point, a favourite magazine, and my Persephone read for this month is Making Conversation by Christine Longford.

And we’re catapulting towards Canada Reads in March, so I’ll be reading some more of those nominated books (following my reading of Nikolski last month).

In fact, I started reading Marina Endicott’s Good to a Fault today, so I’ll have more to say about that shortly. So far Canada Reads 2010 is looking great!

What are your reading plans for February 2010?