February was a pretty nice reading month for me—I started off well, and thought I might manage more than my usual number of reads, but then slowed down because of work commitments. In terms of numbers I did a little better than in January—11 books as against January’s 10, but effectively it was less than January since two of my reads were picture books. Looking over the list of what I read last month, I realized to my own surprise that a fair number of these were actually children’s or young person’s books, far more than I usually pick up in a month (6 of the 11 in fact). But there were also mysteries (of course), a cute humour book, a book on women’s political rights, and by extension social position, and a range of Japanese writing.

Considering I’ve never really reviewed (nor very recently read) picture books, it was interesting that I ended up with two in February, both very cute reads. The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife by Bastet the Cat, Sophe Berger and Laura Winstone, was an informative look into Ancient Egyptian burial rituals and beliefs about the afterlife. Told simply but without glossing over the gorier details, this one also had lovely illustrations with vivid colours. Junga the Dancing Yeti by Stephen Tako and Peter Guelleurd (illustrator) is the story of a little yeti, Junga who ‘dances’ to keep himself warm, something that both gets him into trouble and out of it. A sweet story with an important message about understanding those different from oneself.

Among my ‘fantasy’ reads this month were Ela Green and The Kingdom of Aboud by Sylvia Greif in which a fourteen-year-old Ela, who studies in a boarding school in Switzerland, finds a mysterious bracelet and scroll in her home when there for the holidays—this takes her to a magical world and the presence of the tree of myth Yggdrasil who tells her she is the subject of a prophecy, which requires her to undertake some challenging tasks. This book created an interesting world and I liked that nature was central to the story, but the fact that it stopped on a cliffhanger was a bit of a disappointment. Next was The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Nastukawa, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, which is the story of a high school student Rintaro, who has hikikomori tendencies. When he loses his grandfather whom he lives with, he goes more into his shell. But then an orange tabby, Tiger appears in their second-hand book shop, taking him on an adventure that not only brings him out of his shell, but also highlights some issue afflicting the world today. A good read, but I wish I had connected with the characters more.

The King of the Copper Mountains by Paul Biegel (translated from Dutch by the author and Gillian Hume), was another cute read about Mansolain, the King of the Copper Mountains, who has been ruling over animals and other creatures for a thousand years. Now ill, he can be saved only with a magic potion but till that is prepared, he must be kept alive with a new story every day. Animals from all over the kingdom from rabbits to a lion and even a dragon bring him stories. With shades of the Arabian Nights, this was a book with a charming collection of stories. Then of course there was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, the third read for Narniathon21 hosted by Chris at Calmgrove. Here Lucy and Edmund find themselves back in Narnia with Caspian about the Dawn Treader on which they have exciting adventures and travel to interesting lands. But their travels are not without danger and they are accompanied by their annoying cousin Eustace. This was fun as always, both as an adventure and in noticing the allegory and symbolism in the book.

Unnatural Ends by Christopher Huang was the first of two mysteries I read in which three siblings are called home to Yorkshire when their father dies. But on arriving at Lindwood Hall, they find their father has actually been murdered and his will mentions that his heir will be whichever of them solves the murder. This leads them on a journey uncovering secrets from their father’s and their own pasts. This dealt with some pretty unsettling themes but was still a gripping read. The other mystery was Fear Stalks the Village by Ethel Lina White, in which a poison pen strikes a picturesque village disturbing its peaceful life. This was nicely written with plenty of humour in the writing as well, and I enjoyed it overall except for some aspects of the solution.

Voting Day by Clare O’Dea explores the stories of four women in Switzerland in 1959, as they unfold on the day that the men of the country voted for (and rejected) the proposal to give women the vote. Only indirectly touching on the vote itself, the book highlighted through the stories of the women the inequalities, lack of opportunities, and injustice they must face every day in the absence of formal equality, while ending on a hopeful note.

The Diary of a Buddhist Cat by Julian Worker was a fun read about Freddie, a black-and-white tom, who is adopted by John and Mary. Freddie is no ordinary cat but one who has read about Buddhism and tries to apply its principles in his daily life being nice to everyone and trying to help whoever he can. Alongside he also loves to read. In the book, we follow his adventures as he gets to know the other animals in the neighbourhood, makes new friends, explores the local library and tries to get along with John and Mary’s other cat, the not-very-likeable Gemma. A great book for readers and cat lovers.

Finally, I read Monkey (Vol 2), a literary Magazine which showcases a range of Japanese writing translated into English. This, the second volume, focused on travel, and had entries from genres including fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and nonfiction travel essays. The selection also included a traditional Noh play, and an excerpt from a story that appeared to be a Japanese equivalent of Journey to the West. With its vast range of writing, there is something every reader will enjoy and I ended up with quite a list of authors I’d like of read more of.

So that was my reading this February. No nonfiction except the one picture book, but I’m making up for that now with two back to back reads which I hope to finish this weekend (I’ve read most of one and the second is fairly short).

How was your reading this February? Any books you’d like to recommend? Looking forward to your recommendations!

On Keli Cat’s Book Corner this month, I finally added the Christmas catalogue (long overdue) and a new section with manga around cats, as well as few additions to the existing catalogue!

(The book titles have links to my full review)

6 thoughts on “February 2022 Reading Wrap Up

  1. Wow! You had an amazing February! Such good picks and reads. I’m adding some of the books to my TBR too. And I’m so intrigued by the lit magazine Monkey. Great post, Mallika!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jee 🙂 Hope you’re doing well. Monkey does have an interesting selection–I’m going to keep an eye out for future issues as well. Hope you enjoy the books you plan to pick up!


  2. That’s a lovely variety of reads! I had a good February with a range of books, and a seemingly unending March TBR I’m struggling to get through. So many books, so little time, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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