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What I Read in February

Continuing my year-long series of what I read this past month, February’s book collection was a hodgepodge of reading genres. (In fact, I’ve got thoughts about this, which I’ll share in this week’s podcast — listen in on Friday).

Here’s what I read in February 2019.

1. Still Life, by Louise Penny

still life

I might be the last person on earth to read this first installment of the Inspector Gamache series, and I’ll trust everyone who says it only gets better. This was a fun read, but it hasn’t quite yet gripped its hooks in me. I love mysteries, and this was okay — but I’ll assume the opinions of everyone I trust that it only gets better.

3 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

2. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Technically this is my third time reading this, and it continues to be one of my all-time favorites. A solid bonus from teaching high school English this year is getting to dive back in to some classics I haven’t dusted off since college (I majored in English lit).

This is a must-read gothic, romantic, Bildungsroman story for the ages… It was a hit when it released in 1847, and for good reason. Add it to your TBR list if you haven’t yet had the joy of meeting Jane — you’re in for a treat.

5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

3. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde

the importance of being earnest

Same category here… all hail being a high school English teacher! I love Wilde, and this play of his is the epitome of his wit. Great one-liners, a fun little plot twist, and a great representation of the aesthetic genre from the late Victorian era for which he was known. Bonus: it can be read in a day.

5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

4. One Friday Morning, by Langston Hughes

langston hughes

I found this relatively unknown short story while researching good in-class reads for Black History Month. Well written, you can feel its publication date (1941) by its ending — I’m curious whether it would have such a nicely tied bow if it were written after, say, 1963 or so. Hughes is a master writer; share this one with your kids.

4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | read it online

5. Power Moves, by Adam Grant

power moves

This is one of the Audible Originals I claimed as my bonus for the month, and it flows more like a well-produced podcast than an audiobook — in a good way. I thought I might eyeroll my way through this book, but instead I found myself intrigued and attentive till the end. Full of interviews, Grant talks to business leaders in a variety of fields about the shifts in power over the past few years — have playing fields leveled?

This is a nonfiction book that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of direct application to my life, but it was inspiring — and it got me thinking. (It also made me grateful for my own self-employment.)

4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Audible

6. The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

the one thing

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this book around for several years, but it didn’t grab my attention until I heard one of its authors on Amy Porterfield’s podcast. He asserts that we should focus on one goal at a time, not the usual advice of 2-10 goals — and then goes a step further by advising we break down that goal into even smaller and smaller bites, until we can answer the question, “What’s one thing I can do today that by doing it will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

This is a book I want to read again, a bit slower. I’m not 100% sure what I think of his advice, but I do think there’s wisdom in breaking down goals into smaller, doable bites (I’ve always been a fan of that method).

3 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

7. What to Say Next, by Julie Buxbaum

what to say next

I really enjoyed Buxbaum’s earlier novel, Tell Me Three Things, so I snagged this from the library after Tate finished it. I loved this sweet YA read. Popular girl Kit and social outcast David become unexpected friends through a difficult circumstance, but their ways of communication couldn’t be more different.

The description continues, “When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?” A lovely, eye-opening read.

5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Amazon | B&N | Indie

8. Bonus: When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

when you reach me

This is our family’s current read-aloud, and we’re not quite done with it, which is why it’s a bonus. So far, it’s good, though it’s not our usual type of read-aloud. The mysterious notes have left one of our kids a little stressed during this usual pre-bedtime reading ritual, so if you’ve got a deep-feeling kid like me, know that going in. (It’s not scary, though.)

Amazon | B&N | Indie

I’m also slowly (on purpose) working my way through this modern translation of The Rule of St. Benedict, so I may share thoughts once I’m done. But right now, fascinating is the main word I can think of with this one.

Your turn: What was your favorite read in February?

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Emily Neal

    I read “Finish” by John Acuff, and my daughter and I read “City of Ember,” which was a wonderful children’s book. Thank you for the recommendations!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      City of Ember is so good!

  2. Christine Bailey

    Thanks for sharing these, Tsh! So many good ones to check out. My favorite read of February was The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Juvenile Literature). Could NOT put it down. Now I’m on to the sequel, The War I Finally Won. I love WW2 literature, but after reading so many REALLY heavy books (All the Light We Cannot See, The Hiding Place, The Nightingale), it was nice to some books from juvenile literature that still cover the real-life topics of the war but aren’t as heavy or violent.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Tate loved both those books, Christine! I think I’ll have to check them out. I’m weirdly a big fan of war-era fiction, so it sounds up my alley.

    • Kim

      I love the Louise Penny books! Keep going, they just get better and better as you get to the characters.

      My February reading: Stardust, Cherringham 16-18 (short mysteries, just perfect for those days you sit around waiting on doctors), Atomic Habits, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

  3. Caroline TeSelle

    I’ve added a few to my TBR pile after reading this, Tsh! I’m also one of the last ones to start reading the Louise Penny books, I’m currently in book #3. This month, I finally finished Kate Morton’s latest, The Clockmaker’s Daughter. Normally, I devour her books in a few days but this one took a while to get into. About a 1/3 of the way into the story, I was finally pulled in & neglected my family for a few days until I finished it!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I know what it’s like to neglect the fam (and sleep) because of a good book! And I enjoy Kate Morton, but I’ve admittedly never even heard of that book of hers! I’ll have to check it out.

  4. Katy Walton

    I read the Blitzcat after a colleague gave it to me because I’m a bit of a cat fan. I wasn’t convinced as I’m not one for period literature or war literature but it honestly gripped me. I loved the character of Lord Gort, who really is the cattiest of cats.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Whoa, this sounds fascinating!

  5. Andrea Debbink

    I just started Matt Haig’s “Notes on a Nervous Planet” and I’m loving it so far! He talks about how our modern life contributes to our anxiety and stress and what to about it. The chapters are also really short so I find myself saying “just one more chapter” and then I read three. Basically, it’s like eating M&Ms only it’s better for you 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Oh interesting — is this non-fiction? I loved his novel How to Save Time

  6. Cindy

    Two favs I read in February were The Art of Possibility and Circe. I took your recommendation and started Atomic Habits even though I was reluctant to read it. It has been surprisingly helpful! As an ennea 9 I tend to feel bullied by books that seem heavy handed with advice for how to succeed (obviously written by 3s ??) but this one didn’t come across that way. So thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Torrie @ To Love and To Learn

    One thing I miss about teaching Language Arts is the excuse (push?) it gave me to read the classics! February has been an up and down reading month for me, but some of the ones I enjoyed were Option B (who Adam Grant was a co-writer of, I believe), I’d Rather Be Reading, Off the Clock, My Mrs. Brown (meh), Little Soldiers, and Cozy Minimalist Home. In looking at that list now, that is a LOT of nonfiction, ha ha. I AM at least currently reading two fiction novels though–Brave New World (another meh so far, but I feel like I should finish it since it is in that “classic” category I always try hard to read from) and To The Bright Edge of the World (just because I loved The Snow Child so much).

    Methinks I should do a bit more fiction reading in March!

  8. Karrie

    Louise Penny just gets better and better. The series especially took off for me after her fourth book!

    I have enjoyed reading the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. It’s not my usual genre, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot.

  9. Laura Gaskill

    Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites! It’s a goal of mine to read more classics this year – so far I’ve read Persuasion by Jane Austen, and North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, which I LOVED. I’m a huge Louise Penny fan, and I do think the series builds over time (and there are a few in there that weren’t favorites for me, but I can’t remember which titles …. there are so many now!) and the most recent was my top favorite yet.

    I’m just finishing up I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations by Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers of the Pantsuit Politics podcast. It’s sooo darn good, and exactly what I think we all need more of.

  10. Nicole

    Have you read “Mr. Rochester?” It was not written by Charlotte Bronte (I forget who did write it at the moment) but it is SO GOOD and fills in all the gaps that Jane Eyre leaves you curious about! I finished it in February and loved it!

  11. Andrea Shirey

    I read The Selection series (YA) and loved them! So fun and a great way to destress as we sell and buy a house at the same time!

    • Ginger

      Just downloaded the first of these books (free for Prime members) today!

    • Hannah Beth Reid

      I just finished “The Selection” a few days ago. I’m up at night with a newborn and it was the perfect ebook for those times.

  12. Lindsay

    My favorite February reads were An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas.

  13. Nicole

    I loved What to Say Next (and Tell Me Three Things). Can’t wait to see what Julie Buxbaum writes next. Somehow I have never read Jane Eyre (cringe!) so it’s on my must-read TBR for this year.

  14. Melissa Hall

    This month I loved “I’d Rather Be Reading”, “Educated” and “Once Upon a River”. I was a huge fan of “The Thirteenth Tale” and her newest was a twisty wonderful read!

  15. Ginger

    I finished The Great Alone. I never want to live in Alaska in winter now. But the book was good!

  16. Kym

    If you are not LISTENING to the Gamache books, you are totally missing out!!! TRY IT! I promise it will be a totally different experience….:)

  17. Cayla

    You are NOT the last person to read Louise Penny! I just picked up Still Life at the end of last year. I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed that. If you’re not hooked, you might give the audio versions a try. The narrator is fantastic.

  18. Hannah Beth Reid

    I read Jane Eyre for the first time a few years ago when our book club chose it after it was referenced often in a modern fiction book we had read the previous year. What took me so long? 🙂
    “Still Life” has been recommended so many times, I finally read it in January and loved it! I look forward to squeezing in a few more in the coming months!

    • Hannah Beth Reid

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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