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February Reading – Happy, Quiet, Norse Gods…

Do you go through reading patterns, lovely people? Like sticking with one author…

Do you go through reading patterns, lovely people? Like sticking with one author or series for ages, or only reading a certain sub-genre, or only books featuring talking ladybirds and green skunks? (For example. Although I would absolutely read a book about them…)

I definitely have phases in my reading. Sometimes I want things that challenge me, sometimes all I want are cuddly books, sometimes I want to learn and sometimes I want to switch off.

And this month I apparently decided I wanted to read wild adventures involving Norse gods, and also to LEARN ALL THE THINGS. Well, all the things in a psychology/philosophy kind of area. Um.

Okay, so I tried to read complex books, but mostly I read wonderful middle grade things. I was trying to sound all high-brow, okay?

But I know you come here for cake, dragons, and snarky cats, so it’s all good.

And with all that said, here’s what I read in Feb (minus a DNF and an in-progress, which makes it feel like a pretty sorry reading month, really…)

reading, books, book reviews, magnus chase, rick riordan, derren brown, happy, philosophy, stoicism

The Magnus Chase series, Rick Riordan. I could break this down into individual books, but you really want to read the whole series if you’re going to do it. Plus, I’m lazy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, and the Magus Chase books are even better, in my mind. They’re full of adventure, magic, danger, bad jokes, and seriously likeable characters. I love the emphasis on friendship (always a big win for me), and that the cast is a little more diverse than the Percy Jackson books. And that the characters embrace and respect each others’ beliefs and values (making time and space for prayers for a Muslim character was a lovely touch). There are some wonderful observations on society as a whole, and the fact that Magnus isn’t your average all-American hero allowed him some good perspective. Overall, these were a fantastic read, and just what the brain needs for a refresh (for me, anyway).

Also, the gods are hilarious. Especially Thor.

Five cookies, a large drinking horn of mead, and a good serving of Saehrimner.

“I figured something out. You can’t hold onto hate forever. It won’t do a thing to the person you hate, but it’ll poison you, sure enough.”
— Rick Riordan (The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3))

Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine, Derren Brown. Okay, I was only partway through reading this when I did the video, but I’m mostly finished now. And otherwise I really have no books to rate.

This is a really interesting read. I actually hadn’t realised it was about Stoic philosophy when I picked it up – I thought it would be more along the lines of psychology, but, as he says, those two disciplines were once a lot more entwined than they are now. I also thought it would be more a dismantling of the self-help, think-yourself-happy culture than a practical guide, but I have no complaints on either count (and there is some good dismantling). I studied philosophy briefly at university and have always wanted to go back to it, and since watching The Good Place I’ve been meaning to get hold of some books. So, serendipitous.

I am finding it really slow-going, but in a good way. The writing’s excellent, with nice touches of humour, and the subject matter’s fascinating, but I do need to re-read and look back a lot while I go. I borrowed this one from the library, but I kind of want to get my own copy so I can attack it with Post-Its. As far as my limited knowledge goes, I’d call it a good (and fairly in-depth) introduction into how to incorporate stoicism into everyday life. Nothing’s earth-shattering, as these are principles most of us will have encountered before, but they’re presented in a coherent and actionable manner. It’s certainly made me think a lot about how I approach life, and where I’m worrying about (and so reacting to) things that are out of my control. And I fully intend to get some more books on the subject once I’m done. Five cookies and large mug of self-examination.

“We are, each of us, a product of the stories we tell ourselves.”
― Derren Brown, Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine

And, also, because this made me giggle (and I relate strongly):

“I’d rather cut off my own balls with blunt bacon scissors than host a dinner party.”
― Derren Brown, Happy: Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine

Productivity for Authors, Joanna Penn. Yes, I did finally finish this as well. A practical, friendly little guide to just getting up and getting on. I always like Joanna Penn’s voice, and this book felt like less a chastisement (or a list of impossibilities) and more like some lovely encouragement that makes being organised seem quite possible. Even for me.

Four cookies and a mug of tea, although only if you’re not procrastinating…

On social media: “You need to embrace missing out if you want to claim back your time … you have to establish boundaries for yourself as well as others.”
― Joanna Penn, Productivity for Authors

And that is all from me this month, lovely people! What have you been reading? What reading patterns do you tend to go through?

Let me know below, and until next time  – read on!

book chat, book reviews, derren brown, fun reads, happy, magnus chase, middle grade books, philosophy, reading, rick riordan, stoicism

  1. Lynda Dietz says:

    I really need to read the Riordan books. I read the Percy Jackson series so, so long ago, but I do remember liking them quite a bit. And I’m a sucker for good YA. And if you say the gods are hilarious, then I’m going to trust that recommendation and get my own tankard of mead ready for the reading time.

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