What I Read in February 2022

Happy Friday, everyone!

Did you know that I used to think February was the shortest month of the year, so nothing much could happen in it? Well… I may have been a bit naΓ―ve πŸ˜… Both on a personal and global scale, I don’t think I’ve ever had a month as eventful as February 2022.

First, there was the good. After almost two years of not being able to practice and perform due to COVID, my orchestra and choir finally had concerts again. I moved to a new town, started working at a school I immediately felt welcomed at, and although my days are now very busy, it feels great to be back to a fixed routine. I’ve been slowly finding my feet, exploring my surroundings, and stuffing myself with carnival food. I even went to visit a friend in Munich after we hadn’t seen each other in person for almost three years!

A few good impressions of February: Performing Swan Lake with our university orchestra, actual swans in Munich, and one of the best foods ever invented – Faschingskrapfen 😍

However, what had begun with me being excited about upcoming concerts, moving, and starting a new job somehow morphed into a nightmare of shock and terror, as a formerly relatively peaceful country was reduced to a brutal warzone by the choice of a power-hungry egomaniac. Just a few weeks ago, if anyone had suggested the possibility of a war in Europe, I would have laughed it off as ludicrous. Now, I’m fearing for the lives of Ukrainian citizens, desperately hoping for news of family friends in Kyiv, and aching for those Russians who did not want the war and feel powerless to stop it.

And I’m terrified that the violence might spread to the rest of the world. Because, let’s face it, it’s not like these types of things have never happened before. One of the advantages of being able to speak Russian is that you can watch and understand the Russian news – and the similarities in rhetoric that Putin’s speech has to one made by a certain German dictator when he decided to invade Poland roughly a century ago are doing absolutely nothing to quell my fears that we might be at the brink of World War III…

So, what do you do when you start freaking out about the historical parallels you’re seeing in today’s political situation? You have a deeply philosophical discussion about it with your friend while strolling through a graveyard that somehow ends up in the two of you deciding that you should visit a concentration camp on your weekend off, of course.

The entrance to the prisoners’ section of Dachau concentration camp, and a memorial commemorating the atrocities committed there

Unsurprisingly, it was awful. Although I have been to a concentration camp before – visiting one is a mandatory part of the German school system – KZ Dachau was a very different caliber from KZ FlossenbΓΌrg. As one of the oldest and biggest concentration camps, it served as a model for all others. Some of the most horrifying forms of Nazi torture were developed there, over 41,500 people died on its grounds, and countless others passed through before they were murdered elsewhere. I’m going to spare you the details of what exactly the exhibitions contained, but suffice it to say I had a hard time not vomiting into my mask during certain parts of the tour.

That being said, both my friend and I were glad we decided to go. The museum was so much more informative than anything we had ever learned at school – which is saying something, since it feels like half of our history lessons were dedicated to the Holocaust – and we left feeling so much more grateful for the society we live in now! As bad as things currently are in the world, I am incredibly lucky to reside in a country where I don’t have to fear inhumane torture if I speak out against the government or hold the “wrong” beliefs. I have never had to go hungry, experience bombings, or watch others threaten the people I love to get me to comply. I have never had anyone take away the peaceful life I have with brute force and felt powerless to stop it. Which makes me all the more sad that there are others out there who don’t have that privilege πŸ˜₯ And I hope the world won’t look away until everyone does!

So yeah, after that depressing life update, I guess we should get into what I read last month… πŸ˜… Thanks to being drawn to a whole bunch of positively massive tomes and spontaneously deciding I needed a full Harry Potter reread halfway through the month, I didn’t actually get to that many new things, but the books I did read all made me think a lot. So I hope you enjoy my reflections on them!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (3/5 Stars)

(Original Russian title: Анна ΠšΠ°Ρ€Π΅Π½ΠΈΠ½Π°; I read the German translation by Herrmann RΓΆhl)

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve ever had such conflicting feelings towards a book before. Half of the time, I wanted to fling Anna Karenina across the room because I just didn’t think I could take another fifty-page bird-hunting, horse-racing, or talking-about-lawn-mowing-or-art-or-cows-or-dresses-or-something-else-that-was-absolutely-irrelevant-to-the-plot-of-this-book scene. The other half, I was engrossed in the world of 19th-century Russian aristocracy, deeply invested in the lives of these characters, and, yes, I even shed a few tears towards the end.

While Anna Karenina is best known for the plotline involving its titular character – a young woman trying to escape an unfulfilling marriage by having an affair with a cavalry officer – it actually has a much broader scope, interweaving multiple stories to provide a detailed tapestry of late 19th-century high society in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Next to Anna Arkadyevna Karenina and Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, there are Stepan Arkadyich Oblonsky and Darya Alexandrovna Oblonskaya, who are half-heartedly trying to salvage what is left of their marriage. There is Konstantin Dmitrich Levin – My favorite character! πŸ₯° – a socially awkward landowner who flees to the countryside after having his heart broken by the love of his life, Kitty Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya. There is Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin, unable to form a true connection with anyone and forced to watch in horror as his wife draws away from him. And so many more.

Ultimately, Anna Karenina is a tale of a changing country. Of the stifling nature of societal conventions. Of marriage. And although I came close to giving up on it several times, persevering was 100% worth it! If you’re willing to put up with a bit of frustration and boredom along the way, this is a book that will really make you think and give you a much deeper understanding of Russian history.

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (5/5 Stars)

I positively adored this book πŸ₯°πŸ˜­ While To Paradise isn’t the life-wrecking tearjerker that A Little Life is, it has a way of hitting you in the feels in a much subtler way, confronting you with a cast of characters who are all united in their profound emptiness, loneliness, and hope for something better.

Split into three parts, To Paradise shows us different alternate versions of the United States of America. In 1893, after the Confederacy has successfully seceded from the Union, we follow a young man who lives in a country that seemingly gives its citizens the freedom to openly love whomever they want. In 1993, in the midst of a global AIDS pandemic, we find ourselves in New York, accompanying a Hawaiian expatriate in a relationship with a much older man. In 2093, we reemerge in a country so ravaged by diseases and a horrifically totalitarian government that it is almost unrecognizable, following a famous scientist’s granddaughter as she tries to find a sense of meaning in her life. All three parts are interconnected through deep-running themes such as freedom, loneliness, LGBTQIA+ rights, power, family, death, love, a longing to eventually reach paradise, and something else that you are just going to have to discover for yourselves.

To Paradise is not the type of book you can just blaze through; it does not spell things out for you; it is dark, introspective, and rather slow-paced. Instead, it is the type of book that will really make you think. It gets personal and will confront you with emotions you might not be quite ready for. It will frustrate you by leaving so many things open-ended. But the more you reflect on it, you’re going to realize that that is precisely what makes To Paradise so brilliant. If you give this book a chance, you will feel much richer for having read it!

Zeit der Schuldlosen by Siegfried Lenz (5/5 Stars)

(I saw this play in the original German, but in case you’re interested, the title of the English translation is Time of the Innocent)

Technically, I did not read this play. I saw it on stage. But I loved it so freaking much that I wanted to talk about it somewhere, so you’re just going to have to deal with me including it here!!! 😁

Zeit der Schuldlosen is split into two acts, the first of which takes place after an underground resistance group fails to assassinate the head of the totalitarian regime ruling their country. One of the resistance fighters, Sason, is caught, but despite heavy torture, he does not reveal the names of his co-conspirators. Because of this, the government decides to test a new judicial method: They lock Sason up with nine innocent civilians, telling these people they cannot leave their jail cell until they either get a confession out of the prisoner or sentence him as they see fit. Four years later, after a successful revolution has put the resistance fighters in power, the civilians are forced to reconvene and confront what happened during that fateful “trial” – this constitutes Act II.

Holy shit, guys, this play!!! 🀯 I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after seeing it, and thought the way it portrayed guilt, – or lack thereof – was absolutely fascinating. There was so much in here about the value of human life, about collective responsibility, about atrocities that happen while everybody “guiltlessly” looks the other way.

Zeit der Schuldlosen made me think a lot about Germany’s post-WWII history. It made me think about how I would act if given the choice between speaking up for what I believed in or quietly going along with something awful to keep myself and everyone I loved out of danger. It made me realize I didn’t have answers to a lot of scary questions.

I would highly recommend attending a performance if you ever have the chance, and definitely intend to get my hands on a physical copy at some point!

Shadow Status by River K. Scott (3.5/5 Stars)

When the author reached out to me, asking whether I would be interested in a review copy of this book, I immediately said yes. I mean, it’s dystopian! It features artificial intelligence! You don’t have to give me any more buzzwords than that; I was sold! πŸ€—

An extremely action-packed YA cyberpunk novel, Shadow Status is set in a future where an attempt to make human DNA disease-resistant backfired spectacularly and made all of humanity extremely vulnerable to pathogens. But some people – like the protagonist Jaffrey – are more affected than others, making them second-class citizens in their society’s eyes. If somebody found out Jaffrey was a Proset, he would lose the opportunity to become a Watcher – someone trained to search virtual reality for malware that could doom efforts to find a cure. However, when Jaffrey encounters an illegal AI, he realizes his future is not as secure as he once thought and that there is a lot about his world that has been kept from him…

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this! I absolutely loved the setting and all the questions the dystopian backdrop leads the reader to explore, and I also really liked how much Shadow Status focused on Jaffrey’s relationship with his siblings.

However, the book was also a tad too plot-driven for my tastes – I personally prefer to have a stronger focus on the characters and their relationships, and I kind of missed that here. Plus, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the romance or the excessive amounts of futuristic slang, and I thought the ending resolved everything a bit too quickly and conveniently…

Still, Shadow Status was definitely an engaging read, and if you’re a fan of fast-paced, plot-based science fiction, I think you might really like this one!

(And if you’re still unsure and would like more of my thoughts, you can find my full-review here πŸ˜‰)

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (2.5/5 Stars)

After reading To Paradise put me in an enormous book hangover, I decided a good way to cope and prevent a full-on reading slump would be to continue on with another deeply depressing Hanya Yanagihara book. Little did I foresee that I would absolutely hate the experience πŸ™ˆ

It’s not that The People in the Trees wasn’t good – it was! The writing, as I have come to expect from Hanya Yanagihara, was poetic and beautiful, and the story, which follows a doctor who discovers a substance that will ensure longevity on a trip to a Micronesian island was dark, deeply thoughtful, and provocative. BUT, OH MY GOSH, I FUCKING HATED BEING IN THE MAIN CHARACTER’S HEAD!!! Before reading The People in the Trees, I would have said that I actually enjoy an unlikeable narrator every now and then. That it’s interesting to see how they think, what goes on in that twisted mind of theirs.

Dr. Norton Perina’s mind, though, was too much even for me. When I wasn’t disgusted by his seeming fascination with torturing helpless mice or inspecting Ivu’ivuan natives’ pubic hair, the obnoxiously self-righteous way he had of describing absolutely everything in his surroundings bored me to tears. As did all the footnotes added to Norton’s narrative by his possibly even more despicable friend, Ronald Kubodera, who lost no time framing the story by saying that even though his bestie Norton had been accused of raping his adopted children, he was such a distinguished individual that he, Ronald, would stand by Norton’s side no matter whether he was guilty or not.

So yeah – while this book has a very interesting way of making you think about Western self-righteousness and the destruction of indigenous cultures, I absolutely detested reading it and had to force my way through tremendous boredom and hatred to make my way to the end. I did not like it at all, but the story also really stuck with me, so I have no freaking clue as to whether I would recommend it or not. Read it at your own risk, I guess? πŸ˜…

Midnight in Everwood by Maria A. Kuzniar (2/5 Stars)

Allegedly, Midnight in Everwood is an adult Nutcracker retelling with beautifully lyrical writing and an enchanting story reminiscent of Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy. In my opinion, the only one of those three things that is actually true is that the book is an adult Nutcracker retelling. In no way does it deserve to be compared to the Winternight Trilogy, and I’m also puzzling over how people could possibly love the writing so much πŸ€”

HONESTLY, ALMOST EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK DROVE ME NUTS!!! The prose is littered with pages and pages of sweet descriptions, weird candy metaphors and similes (I swear, if I have to hear about a character having butterscotch eyes or someone’s skin tingling like a sherbet lemon on their tongue one more time… πŸ™„), and so many loan words and ballet names that I felt like the author wasn’t actually trying to tell a story here, but to impress me with the amount of research she had done for it. Our protagonist Marietta, a member of Nottingham high society who would rather become a ballet dancer than marry her creepy new neighbor, was such a strong, not-like-other-girls feminist that she always felt the need to do the exact opposite of what everybody told her to do, no matter how stupid it was. And of course, she immediately attracted the attention of loads of handsome, butterscotch-eyed men without having to show a hint of agency herself… In my opinion, the romance and friendships in this book went from indifference to “I-would-die-for-you” passion out of nowhere, most of the characters’ decisions did not make sense, and overall, I just wasn’t a fan πŸ™ˆ

The only things I did love about Midnight in Everwood were the Marietta’s relationship with her brother, the German and Russian language snippets (which were actually grammatically correct for once πŸ˜‚), and the unique spin the author brought to the Nutcracker story by making her protagonist an adult rather than a child. But unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough to redeem this one for me…

I must confess, I was kind of terrible at blog-hopping these past few weeks… Starting a full-time job has its side effects, I guess, as does getting very distracted by horrifying international news πŸ˜… Still, I did read a whole bunch of amazing posts around the blogosphere this past month, and I’m not going to withhold those from you!

  • Lila @ Hardcover Haven and Jan, formerly @ The Doodlecrafter and now @ Inkspun Tales, both returned from their hiatuses (Hiati? Hiatus? What the heck is the plural of this word?? πŸ€”) and made my month when I saw their posts pop up in my reader! You guys have no idea how much I’ve been missing your content! 😍
  • Riddhi @ Whispering Stories wrote an amazing discussion on content creation and what makes her follow a blog. If you’ve been wondering why you haven’t snagged my attention yet or why you can’t seem to get rid of me, look no further – that post and its comments should tell you pretty much everything! πŸ˜‰
  • Nehal @ Quirky Pages ranted about five annoying habits readers have that she can’t stand. As someone who can’t stand these things either, I felt extremely validated in my pettiness! 😈
  • Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise analyzed trends in YA murder mysteries. And let me tell you, she is hilariously spot on! πŸ§πŸ˜‚
  • Simran @ Far From Perfect became the star of the show in a collab organized by Nehal @ Quirky Pages and Riddhi @ Whispering Stories, where they asked other bloggers to share types of Riddhis/Nehals they all knew. Since I also contributed, I feel kind of weird mentioning these posts here, but Simran’s response regarding Riddhi was so far from far from perfect that I just felt the world needed to be made aware of it! 😁
  • Frances @ Volatile Rune wrote a review of Bridget Collins’ The Betrayals πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° Do I really need to tell you any more than that to explain what I loved about it?
  • In a brilliantly creative post, Lay @ bookshelfsoliloquies told us about musicians she wants to write books. Take all my money, musicians, because I desperately need these works to be real!! 🎡
  • Phoenix @ Books with Wings wrote a super interesting discussion on the pressure book bloggers feel to write reviews – which Maria @ The Character Study followed up on with an equally fascinating discussion of her own! πŸ€“
  • Line @ First Line Reader gave us a wonderful discussion on medieval Europe as a fantasy setting, which immediately had my fantasy-loving heart ensnared! πŸ₯° (And she also wrote a much better review of To Paradise than I ever could have given you, so if you’re still on the fence about reading the book, just head over to Line’s blog and let her do the rest of the convincing πŸ˜‡)
  • Emily @ Frappes and Fiction explained to book snobs why it’s okay to read YA. I really loved her take on this topic! 😎

And that was it for February! Let me know down below how your month went, and if you stumbled across any interesting books along the way! Have you read any of the books I mentioned here? If so, what did you think of them? Do you have any exciting plans for March? I would love to hear from you down in the comments!

56 thoughts on “What I Read in February 2022

  1. Meena Green says:

    I’m glad you had a good February! And yeah, this war stuff is going crazy, especially here because Russia seems to be close to starting a war here too, we’re being told to buy certain things and getting bunkers (there’s only 7 million bunkers here and there’s 10 million people plus they’re expensive so won’t be able to get one of those haha), Russia has decided 2022 is going to be its year! πŸ˜… But the books you read seem pretty great, especially To Paradise, was thinking of reading but so scared it’ll destroy me as a certain other book of theirs has destroyed everyone haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Oh, wow, that’s crazy! 😳 I knew that countries like Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, or Finland were worried, but I didn’t realize Sweden was also panicking that much! Though honestly, the fact that Germany has gotten involved and is now sending Ukraine weapons is also not making me feel super comfortable in terms of Russian retaliation… At this point, I’m mostly just hoping that someone within Russia will either make Putin see sense or get him out of the picture πŸ˜…

      But yes, at least several of the books I read last month were good! To Paradise is nowhere near as destructive as A Little Life, though πŸ˜‰ – I only came close to tears once, rather than having to sob my way through the entire book! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meena Green says:

        Yes, Putin seems like a very reasonable man, I’m sure someone can talk sense into him πŸ˜‚ I’m not even sure why he wants to attack Sweden, Russia hasn’t owned Sweden so it’s not like they’re getting any land back, he just wants to fight πŸ˜… Hopefully Germany will be okay though, even if you are helping Ukraine.

        πŸ˜‚ That sounds great, a lot more hope for To Paradise then haha

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I am not giving up hope!! Putin did prove himself to be a pretty good strategist in the past, so those logical thinking skills that tell you it might not be a good idea to start crazily invading countries when you’re already facing a global pandemic have to be buried somewhere in his brain… right? 😭😭😭

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel says:

    yes the potential ww3 situation is so scary even to those in other continents, i can only imagine how it must be like for you since you’re actually living in europe.
    March? yep i have LOADS of plans, not least because its MY BIRTHDAY MONTH! i kinda took a break from blogging in feb, but i have lots of exciting (hopefully lol) posts planned out for march, and hopefully i’ll also read more after my exams get over in the 16th.
    thank you for the mention!!
    have a great march naemi :))

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      It’s crazy! I never would have expected this kind of stuff to happen here within my lifetime! πŸ˜₯ Though, thankfully, there are still a few countries between Germany and this whole situation, so the only direct impact we’ve seen here so far are rising gas prices and a huge influx in refugees… But of course, watching everything unfold is still terrifying, and I’m just kind of desperately hoping Putin will somehow come to his senses!

      But on a much happier note, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONTH, RACHEL!! πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ Hopefully, a lot of greatness will accompany it, and I’m already looking forward to the special exciting content! πŸ€— I felt you already started the month with some pretty epic content, so if there’s even more to come… AAAAAAAHHH, I JUST CAN’T WAIT! 🀩🀩🀩

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nehal Jain says:

    However, what had begun with me being excited about upcoming concerts, moving, and starting a new job somehow morphed into a nightmare of shock and terror, as a formerly relatively peaceful country was reduced to a brutal warzone by the choice of a power-hungry egomaniac.

    You say things like this and then expect us to NOT call u a grandma who has swallowed a dictionary πŸ’€.
    And and wow you mentioned my post hehe!!!! Thenks so much naemii 🀩.
    Also that thing where u used to think that Feb is supposed to be the most uneventful month…i also think that just because Feb has less days 🀣. I mean idk it seems like a non existant month even tho there r so many people ik who have their special days in it…and ofc the whole valentine’s thing πŸ‘€.
    Amazing wrap, that butterscotch eyes pun πŸ˜‚. God i wanna eat butterscotcg iceam cream. And that far from pun perfect pun were lit!
    Also judging from your reviews I don’t think any of these books are meant for me πŸ˜‚. They either sound too deep or too annoying for my liking lol.
    And that deep worry you showed about the chances of ww3 almost made me forget ur evil….almost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, I did also say I was proud to be an eloquent grandma, so thanks for yet again complementing me! πŸ˜‡πŸ˜

      And of course I mentioned your post – it was a rant!! My evil self can’t get enough of those! πŸ˜‚ And Simran’s contribution made your other post so epic that I just couldn’t help but commemorate that with a pun of my own 😎

      Also, yes!! February has fewer days! It’s not allowed to be eventful! 😫 Especially since I couldn’t care less about Valentine’s Day, either – it’s not even a public holiday were you would get time off from work that could be funneled into reading, so what’s the point of it again? 😜

      And lol, yeah, I did have a month of books that were all either super deep or super annoying πŸ˜‚ So I get why you’d want to steer clear!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Riddhi B. says:

    Honestly, when the war between Russia and Ukraine escalated, my first thoughts were- WWIII has begun. Because, the parallels between the situation preceding WWII and right now are astonishing! I mean, Hitler invading Poland for the trade corridor (I cannot remember the name- my WWII history’s slightly rusty) and Russia invading Ukraine just seems scarily similar!
    And the fact that this one’s bound to be nuclear, meaning people of the following generations are going to be affected by it more than we are by WWII is just scarier!

    Also, wow, I’ve always wanted to see a concentration camp- I promise I am not a sociopath, I just love WWII history, which also sounds bad, but like it’s just fascinating!

    But hey, there were also a lot of positives to your month, I am glad you had a partly good month!

    I have actually always wanted to read Anna Karenina since it seems rather interesting (+World History, that’s always an added bonus), but I am sorry you didn’t like it!

    Thank you so much for mentioning my post Naemi! Also, please, I was the highlight of that post, okay?

    As for plans for March- I am already dreading the month and we are like 4 days into it, there’s just too much work this month.😭😭

    What are your plans for this month?

    Great wrap up! Loved reading the post!
    P.S.- I don’t know if you’ve read it, but if you like reading about WWII and the entire concentration camp thing, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an amazing non-fiction read, you should definitely give it a go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m so relieved someone else agrees with me on how creepy those parallels are!! Honestly, I should not have started googling and comparing dictatorial speeches, because that did not exactly make me freak out any less… 😨 (And I think that corridor was just called the Polish Corridor? At least, that’s what we call it in German… I don’t recall it having had some super specific name, so, thanks Riddhi, now I’m questioning my history knowledge as well πŸ˜…)
      I’m really hoping this conflict won’t turn nuclear, though. I guess at least in that regard, it’s good that Ukraine is right next to Russia and that Germany is pretty close to both of them. Dropping nuclear weapons in the vicinity of your own home territory just doesn’t sound like the smartest plan… But then again, neither did invading Ukraine, so who knows what kind of other crazy shit Putin would be willing to do πŸ™ˆ

      (Also, don’t worry – if you’re a sociopath, I guess I am, too, because nobody was forcing me to visit that concentration camp, either. At least not the second time. πŸ˜…)

      And I did actually like Anna Karenina overall! I just thought parts of the reading experience were extremely tedious πŸ˜… Like, Tolstoy, I just did not care about all those beautifully long descriptions you used to describe killing birds for sport… for hundreds of pages πŸ™ˆ But I learned a lot from the book and the ending brought me pretty close to tears, which is always a bonus!

      And lol, I think all my plans for March so far are to survive work, so I’m right there with you! πŸ˜‚ But I’ve also been enjoying working with the kids at school and get along great with my new colleagues, so hopefully the survival won’t be that bad πŸ˜‰

      And I actually have not read The Tattooist of Auschwitz yet! I’ve heard of it, but am also always a little skeptical of WWII literature because I’ve had so many examples that were riddled with black-and-white stereotypes and weird love stories between Nazi soldiers and Jewish prisoners πŸ˜… But when I do find gems (**cough The Book Thief, All the Light We Cannot See, Dunkelnacht, Salt to the Sea cough** πŸ₯°), I tend to love them, so I’ll definitely have to check your recommendation out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Riddhi B. says:

        It was called the Polish corridor, but also the Danzig corridor (I remembered the name started with a D but that’s about it, lol)
        Yes, I hope so too, but Russia has already attacked Ukraine’s nuclear power plant, so who knows?

        Ah, thank God!

        Ooh, I see!

        Ooh, yes, can’t wait to hear more about your new teaching job! What grade do you teach, by the way?

        Oh, you don’t have to worry about that, it’s non-fiction! Like it’s the story of someone who made out of the concentration camp alive, so like yeah.

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Oh yeah, that makes sense, since Danzig was the city it led to – I’d just never heard that used as the corridor’s name before πŸ˜…

          And yeah, that really scares me as well… You should not mess around with destructive weapons near nuclear reactors! But actually deploying atomic missiles would require a whole other level of calculated evil, so I’m just hoping that even Putin won’t take it that far!

          Regarding school, though – I teach everything from 5th to 12th grade. They’re currently trying me out in a bunch of classes before they fix which ones I’ll keep until the end of the school year. So as long as it’s math or English, it could be anything, but I’m excited πŸ€—

          And yeah, now that I know The Tattooist of Auschwitz is autobiographical, I’m way more intrigued! When I’d heard people talk about it, I always assumed it was a novel πŸ™ˆ So that’s definitely good to know!

          Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      And of course, you were the highlight of that post πŸ’™ (It’s just that without Simran, we never would have seen all of your amazingness, so I think it’s only fair she gets some credit, you know? πŸ˜‰πŸ˜œπŸ€£)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Maria @ The Character Study says:

    You have read all of Hanya Yanagihara’s books and here I am still not having finished A Little Life, whoops πŸ˜… I somehow got my hands on an audiobook of To Paradise, so I’m glad to see you liked it. Also, my experience with Anna Karenina consisted of me borrowing the book from my aunt, having it sit at home for over a year, and returning it to her without having opened it. It was just too intimidating back then, but I’d like to give it a second chance someday. Hope that March is better for everyone…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, if me reading so much Yanagihara this month helps guilt you into finishing A Little Life, I’m definitely not complaining – I am always on the lookout for more people who can sob over that book with me! 😁😭😭 And I actually also listened to To Paradise as an audiobook (hence, the square cover featured in this wrap-up πŸ˜‰)! Apart from one of the narrators – whose voice did not immediately click with how I imagined a certain character – I thought it was really well done, so I would highly recommend experiencing the story that way!

      And lololol, I borrowed Anna Karenina from my mom and what gave me a big push to finally finish it was that I wanted to return it before moving πŸ˜… So I see where you’re coming from! All in all, it did end up being a very eye-opening read, though, so I hope you like it if you do ever get around to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Line @First Line Reader says:

    Is it weird that you almost convinced me to read The People in the Trees anyway with that review? πŸ˜…πŸ™ˆ Like, everything you said besides the thing about the many descriptions sounded just like something I would love.

    You have successfully deterred me from Mightnight in Everwood though πŸ˜‚ I think you know my opinion of a main character like that, and I guess I’m becoming distrustful of any book that has a Winternight comparison. Any book set in winter will get that stamp apparently, and surprisingly, I don’t actually love Winternight JUST because it’s set in winter πŸ˜…

    And thank you so much for sharing two (!) posts of mine, but more importantly, I see you found someone else who loves The Betrayals so thank you even more for sharing that! 😍 I’m gonna go read that right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I mean… I would be beyond curious to see what you think! πŸ˜„ I actually have no idea why it didn’t work for me – after all, I seem to be one of the very few people who loved reading from President Snow’s perspective in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and he didn’t exactly have the most pleasant mind, either… πŸ˜… But just something about how boringly the narrator described walking through the jungle while still managing to let his absolute assholeness shine through just did not do it for me πŸ™ˆ If you do decide to read it at some point, though, I wish you much better luck!

      And yeah, Midnight in Everwood was basically the definition of what you ranted about in your “strong female character” trope discussion, so I think I can pretty safely not recommend it πŸ˜‚πŸ™„ The only possible other Winternight similarity apart from it being set in winter was that there was a bit of Russian inspiration regarding the ballet scene, BUT THAT DOES NOT WARRANT A COMPARISON! (I still think the comparison of Spinning Silver to Winternight is warranted, though πŸ₯° Sorry 😁)

      And yes! Of course love for The Betrayals must be shared whenever it finds its way onto the blogosphere 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Yeah, I haven’t fully decided to read The People in the Trees because the reason I didn’t want to in the first place is that everyone seems to hate and I don’t want to “taint” my feelings about Yanagihara by reading it. But who knows, maybe if it takes her ten years to write her next book, I might cave πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I definitely get that! Honestly, if I had read this one first, I might never have picked up another book by her πŸ˜… But I do also admire her for having the guts to write a story like The People in the Trees and hold up such an unfavorable mirror to humanity, and thankfully, I don’t think my love has been tainted too much πŸ₯° Because she does tackle many of the same themes she does in her later work in a way that really gets you thinking, even if it is from a provocatively unlikeable perspective!


  7. Emily @frappesandfiction says:

    Thanks for linking my post!
    I had stopped watching the news a while ago because of the endless COVID stream, so I had heard murmurings of Russia-Ukraine but I was completely blindsided by them actually invading. Due to mutually assured destruction I *really* hope the conflict doesn’t end up directly involving NATO, but it’s very sad that we cannot do anything more…

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You’re welcome, I really enjoyed reading it! πŸ’™

      And I must confess, even though I had been watching/reading/listening to the news regularly, the invasion still completely blindsided me. I never would have dreamed Russia would actually follow through with this!! So yeah, I’m also really hoping there will somehow be a peaceful solution that won’t involve mutual destruction πŸ˜₯


  8. Suhani says:

    the war stuff is extremely scary indeed, I really hope it doesn’t escalate further than it already has at this point.
    And I’ve never read a book by Hanya Yanagihara before (I’m mainly too afraid to pick up a little life because I’ve seen videos of people absolutely breaking down while reading and I don’t need to experience that now hahaha) but I’m glad you enjoyed her latest release!!
    and I feel like March is a pretty bitter sweet month for me πŸ˜‚ on one hand I have the dooming threat of finals approaching very soon(like tomorrow *cough* I’m not prepared AT ALL) but my birthday is also coming up soon heheh SO CAKE SHALL SOLVE ALL MY PROBLEMS!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’m right with you there! πŸ˜₯

      And OMG, yes, Suhani, you have NO IDEA!! 😭😭😭 Seriously, no book has ever managed to destroy me quite like A Little Life has! I was pretty much sobbing my way through the entire thing, and I almost never cry while reading! It definitely hits you right in the gut, but at the same time, it’s so, so good… πŸ₯° So I would still highly recommend it – just maybe not right now πŸ˜…

      And ahhh, I wish you the best of luck with your finals! I’m sure you’re gonna do great! πŸ’ͺ And then you have cake and birthday fun to look forward to, which I agree sounds absolutely awesome πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ HERE’S TO AN AMAZING MARCH!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Marta the Monogamist Reader says:

    When the war started I was fricking out big time, I became super emotional. I had to slow down with news intake and I’m avoiding twitter… I don’t know what else to add on the topic which has not been already said… it’s just fxxxing scary and sometimes so hard to keep positive…

    … and that’s why I read books.

    Anyway, I fully support your opinion about Midnight in Everwood. I thought it had a good start by the pacing was so slow and the plot became a mess when she actually arrived in Everwood.

    I hope your March is better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Turning to books is probably a good idea… Thankfully, I don’t have Twitter, so I’m out of danger there, but I’ve been getting way too emotional over the countless news stories I somehow can’t stop myself from reading. I really hope things will somehow still work out and make people realize peace is the best option for everyone! πŸ˜₯

      And yes!! Midnight in Everwood actually had me intrigued during the first part, but once Marietta arrived in Everwood, I just couldn’t stop rolling my eyes. Everything was such a mess and somehow still extraordinarily convenient at the same time! πŸ™„

      But, yeah, let’s hope a better March is in store for all of us!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Diana @ Thoughts on Papyrus says:

    I just love how opposite our reactions to books are – I loved People in the Trees and hated To Paradise, and think 3/5 for Anna Karenina is a bit of a crime lol πŸ™‚ But, honestly, I loved your post, enjoyed reading it. There are so many bloggers out there who don’t really voice their opinions when they are a bit negative and your blog is so refreshing to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      That’s hilarious! 🀣 But yes, I also love how people’s reactions to books are so different and how there’s something out there for everyone! I’m glad you ended up loving People in the Trees, and you’re definitely not alone on hating to Paradise, either… I’ve seen so many negative reviews of that book by now! 😭 And as for Anna Karenina, maybe some of it got lost in translation – if my Russian ever gets good enough, I’ll have to try it in the original! I’m still very far removed from that, though…

      Also, thanks so much for the compliment! πŸ₯° Sometimes, I do feel a bit guilty for throwing books under the bus when authors poured so much work into them, but then again, I just find it completely unrealistic that someone would love everything they read. I also want to hear the negatives!

      Liked by 1 person

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