Books I Read in February

Shortest month and man, it sure went. In terms of books, I read a lot because I picked up some really good ones. This is probably the best month I've had in a long time when it comes to couldn't-put-it-down ones.

1 || Waiting: True Confessions of a Waitress - Debra Ginsberg

If you have ever been a server, you will cry laugh with all the ways this book resonates. Listen, there are so many assholes in the world and every single one of them wanders into a restaurant. Some of 'em even become regulars, and that's the real nightmare. I worked at Applebees when I was in college and experienced just about everything in this memoir. From walking into hook-ups in the freezer to someone chasing a bad tipper out the door -- it's a human experience. 

Debra Ginsberg is a lifer - she's been in the waitressing game since she was a teenager and even though she dipped out a few times to do "real jobs" like writing and working in an office, she always wound up back in a restaurant. It's a great read and I recommend it to anyone who has been in the restaurant world.  

2 || White Oleander - Janet Fitch

Here was the first book this month I couldn't put down. I couldn't stop - it was just outstanding. 

Astrid is a young girl who has a lunatic for a mother and winds up in the foster system. This book follows her from home to home and it is as heartbreaking as you would imagine. 

But it's not all sad and gloomy. It's really wonderfully written and the characterization is incredible. 

3 || I'll Take You There - Wally Lamb

Wally Lamb is a favorite of mine and while this book is a little woo-woo with ghosts and such, I was still into it for the same reason I'm into everything he writes: his prose.

If you have read Wishin' and Hopin', this is essentially a sister to that book. It follows the same characters, but at a different stage in their lives. If you haven't read Wishin' and Hopin', you should. It's a Christmas delight.

However, I have to say -- Wally Lamb writes about millennials in the frustrating way that boomers do. That part is eye-rolly. 

4 || 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz - Heather Dune Macadam

And this is the second book I couldn't put down. Seriously, one Saturday, I was already about a quarter of the way in, and I started reading around 8:30am and didn't stop until I was finished, around 2:30pm. Duke ran wild through my house, and I took breaks only to grab him lunch, and open popsicles. He got to play in the sink - his dream - and play with his toys completely undisturbed. 

This book is difficult to read, because the Holocaust is difficult to read about. I had no idea that the first official Jewish transport into Auschwitz was a group of 999 young girls and women between the ages 16-27. These women were lied to - they were told they were being called to work for their government for 3 months. They packed their suitcases and said goodbye to their families, as if they'd see them in 12 short weeks. Most of them didn't survive. 

Everyone should read this. Everyone. 

5 || The Paris Wife - Paula McLain

I listened to this one on audio, which was fun, because I have read the book a few years ago, and I notice that I get very different things from book vs. audio. I love this book, and it was a delight to revisit it. 

This is the fictionalized account of the Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, and their years in Paris. 

This is the kind of book that I would pass along to my mom, or my friends, or basically anyone who asked me for a recommendation. It's just a really nice read, rooted quite a bit in history. It is a work of fiction, but McLain doesn't deviate from known facts. 

6 || A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway

Finally, I read the natural accompaniment to The Paris Wife. A Moveable Feast is the book that Hemingway wrote about the Paris years. It's fragments and was published posthumously, but it's essentially the same stories told from his perspective. 

I didn't love it, but that's because I don't really love Hemingway's spartan writing style. That said, I'm glad I read it because it gives nice perspective to the preferable Paris Wife. 

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