Without further ado, books I've read in February:
Crow Planet by Lyanda Haupt was the start of a three week long fascination with birds (you'll see what I mean when I list the other books I've read). Since we mostly spawn magpies during the winter in Alberta, it was great to read a book with an uncommon look at a common bird. My attempts to identity other birds around our neighborhood has caused Smootch to start keeping a list of her own bird sightings. (She also is starting a book list, but that's another story.)
To See Every Bird on Earth is Dan Koeppel's memoir of his father's obsession with birding. The more I read about birding culture, the more I worry about Smootch's bird list. One thing I loved about Koeppel's book is how he brought in birding as a specialist culture and individual passion into historical context.
The Bird Detective by Bridget Stutchbury was another fascinating book. Stutchbury presents the lives of birds much like a soap opera. After reading The Bird Detective, I found myself suspiciously looking at the small twittering beasties in the trees, wondering what sorts of adulterous acts they were getting up to.
Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I left about halfway through. I was mostly just hungry reading her book and envious that I didn't live on a small coastal farm in a crumbling but charming farm house. Plus my kids aren't nearly as clever as hers.
Benjamin Mee's We Bought A Zoo was one that I could hardly put down. I have seen little bits of the movie (I have an issue where I can barely manage to watch an entire movie but can watch movie trailers for an hour and half straight) but was pleasantly surprised to learn that Mee's story is quite a bit different than the movie. He is also charming, in a self depreciating type way, and I suddenly found myself more inclined to visit some small, family zoo. There are a couple in our area. I will do my best not to notice they do not have tigers (and one, in particular, features not much more than stuffed gophers posed into human-like scenes... on second thought, maybe I'll save that trip for a time when I'm feeling more macabre).
And, in an abrupt change from birds, animals and nature, you need to know that I almost wee'd myself reading the chapter when Jenny McCarthy does Ecstasy along with fourteen other Playboy Bunnies in Confessions of a Recovering Catholic. Just so's you know.
Notorious Nineteen is yet another Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich. I don't care what kind of literature snob you are, Lula is funny as hell.
Reading with Smootch (and sometimes Birdie)
We read through Philip Ardagh's second and third books in the Eddie Dicken's trilogy - Dreadful Acts and Terrible Times - and found them sufficiently silly and funny. Plus, just when we thought it was over, we are thrilled to learn there are actually three more books in the series. (Ardagh does trilogies like Douglas Adam's with his Hitcher's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy in five books).
Another series we started is Kate Klise's 43 Cemetery Road of the ghost, the writer and the small boy. We've read the first two books, Dying to Meet You and Over My Dead Body. I find this a little dry but Smootch finds it novel that the entire series is written in the form of secondary source documentation - letters, newspaper articles and such.
Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children by Lisa Wheelerwas a surprise find at our local library. Absolutely charming illustrations (animals in clothes, yay!) and has given our family our new favorite rhyme that is recited several times a day:
Ring around the rosie
Don't pick your nose-y.
Please use a hanky,
Children's literature I read just for me
The Great Unexpected and The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech. I enjoyed The Great Unexpected particularly, it left me with a nice hopeful feeling and I'd like to read it again with girl child someday.
Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne. The kids, perhaps because of Disney's disgusting erasure of any bit of clever in Milne's work, still haven't figured out that Pooh Bear is hilarious. He's still all mine.
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry is the story of an old fashioned family having old fashioned adventures with orphans, nannies, and benevolent benefactors. It's also extremely funny. I am reading it again to Smootch now, and, since we are also, at heart, an old fashioned family, I believe she is starting to plan my demise. Very funny. Read it.
I have very much enjoy all the book recommendations I've received since I posted January's list. I have several coming, hopefully, through interlibrary loan. Please keep sharing with us all!