February by Lisa Moore


Other reviewers seemed to not like this book--it is grim and sad but I mean after all it is a book about woman grieving the tragic loss of her husband after he was lost at sea. I found it to be a compelling well written book. 

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Written In My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon

I have held off on reading this 8th book in the Outlander series as so far it is the last published. The author is hard at work on the 9th book and although she had hoped publish sometime in 2019--it is now 2021 with no publication date in sight. I can wait no longer--this is exactly the kind of immersive book reading experience that "my heart" is longing for right now--so I am giving into its solace and escaping once again into this fabulous world. It did not disappoint!

Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

This book is about the real-life experiences of a young midwife serving in a convent in London's East End during the 1950's during chaos of the post war London docklands. This book is also the basis for the award winning TV show of the same name. It served as a nice companion piece to The Midwife's Tale which mostly centered on birth in England prior to the Second World War and this book covers women's birthing experiences immediately following WWII. She wrote not just about her experiences as a midwife but about what life was like for all the inhabitants of East London. I hope my time expands to being able to read the rest of this series as well as to watch the TV show.


Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Love me some Maeve Binchy and I managed to squeeze in two of her books in 2020. I know that I read this back in the 90's but I didn't remember anything about it--so it was like reading it for the first time. Big and sprawling--a comfortable curl up in a blanket with a cat, a cuppa, and a snack.

All Clear by Connie Willis

The conclusion to Blackout which I had read earlier in this arc of reading. I love Connie Willis and I loved being right in the thick of the London Blitz. Some complain that her books are too long--I say the more time with these characters and Ms. Willis the better.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Look at me--I managed to sneak in another classic--one that I have always meant to read but never did. It is about a woman's infidelity. It was shocking for its time--especially that a woman wrote about infidelity in the late 19th century. Pretty readable for a classic--hate me if you must but I found the ending a bit of a cop out. I wanted the author to give her main character more strength of mind--but maybe that is just a side effect of looking back through 21st century goggles.

The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama by Richard Rosen

I read books about Pranayama throughout the whole of 2020 in an attempt to understand breath and breath work through multiple perspectives. This was my selection for mainstream yoga--much easier to understand the Light on Pranayama. It is chock full of useful information and I plan to incorporate a lot this into my teaching practice--especially once mandatory mask wearing is lifted.

I will need to read this again and take notes.

The Oxygen Advantage: Simple, Scientifically Proven Breathing Techniques to Help You by Patrick McKeown

Authorative reading on the Buteyeko method, which I read to gain more understanding about this method after coming across it in Restoring Prana. 2020 was an eye opening year when it came to my breath and while I have made much progress I still "suck" when it comes to holding my breath out of my body. But I am pleased that I have reversed the direction of my breath and have slowed it down a great bit.

Gravity & Grace: How to Awaken Your Subtle Body and the Healing Power of Yoga by Peter Sterios

From the man who founded Manduka--maker of my forever mat. Not a Pranayama book per se but instead about the subtle body and as breath work is one of the prime movers of subtle energy in the body--it fit in extremely well in this arc of reading. It is chocked full of useful information and is a book I will read again and take notes this time around.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

A novella composed of letters from Lady Susan to a variety of others--family members, friends, lovers, etc. She is a very repellent character and if you can get past that and simply enjoy the Jane Austen of it all then it makes for reading time well spent.

Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring

When I was in the sixth grade, much to my teacher's dismay, I wrote a book report on Vincent Bugliosi's "Helter Skelter" and the allegations that the lyrics of the Beatles inspired the Mason murders. So when my grown son asked if I would read this book so that he would have someone to discuss it with--I quickly said yes and dived right in. I read this during the summer of 2020 and while the title didn't quite fit into my reading arc--it certainly fit into the chaotic times. Absolutely fascinating read--I completely understand how the author became totally obsessed with his research.

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

I read and loved Ms. McLain's "The Paris Wife"-- in fact I think I may have read it twice by accident. So it was a no-brainer that I picked this book up out of $2 bargain bin as soon as it was spotted, and put on a TBR shelf. How delightful to find it nestled away just in time to perfectly fit into this category. It is without a doubt one the best books in this category--and this category is chocked full of must reads.

The Complete Novels: Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

I am slowly but surely making my way through the works of Jean Rhys. Dark tales about down on their luck women who are beholden to men for money and shelter, I used to "hope" that she was making this lifestyle up--but no it seems it was a standard and acceptable way for women to "make a living" in the early half of the 20th century.

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

This book laid around in one of my many TBR stacks for years, it is the first in a trilogy. Sometimes books have to wait for their appropriate moment. 2020 and this category made it a perfect choice. In fact all three of this trilogy made the cut. Excellent reading. Hope she circles back to these characters one day.

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Blackout by Connie Willis

Another dusty book found lying in one of my many TBR stacks. I have read many of Ms. Willis's books and I have loved every one of them...so glad this one (and it's sequel) stood up to counted as must reads for this category.

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Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel

I am a fan of Ms. Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and a copy of the last installment is waiting on a shelf #TBR. There is no denying that she is a fine author with excellent writing skills. I wanted to enjoy this book much more than I did. 

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The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

I picked this book up at Half-Priced Books warehouse sale (boy those were the days) and it sounded so fascinating. I had such high hopes and was delighted that it fit into this category of reading. Part of this book is indeed absolutely fascinating but then it shifts. About half way through he starts repeating himself, working the same material into chapter after chapter. Maybe I should have been forwarned since the author's name on the book cover is at least 3 times the size of the actual book title.

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Crossing To Safety by Wallace Stegner

I don't often read "classics" but when I do I hope to always find gems such as this one. Very readable for a "masterpiece". Wallace Stegner was a contemporary of Avis Devoto and was great friends with her husband. I mention this because I love when my categories and book choices serendipitously collide. At the beginning of 2020 as I finished my reads for the category "To the Letter" I read As Always, Julia which is a collection of letters between Julia Child and Avis Devoto. I highly recommend both of these books for separate reasons.

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

This is the 23rd Kate Scarpetta novel. I generally never read out of order but this sounds good and was already in one of my many TBR stacks. I haven't read any of her books since the 1990's and I can't remember why I stopped-nor can I remember why I bought this copy. While this proved a quick read--reading this far out of order gave me some issues. I had a hard time relating to and/or empathizing with the "good" guys and even though she gave an enormous amount of back story it was still hard to connect with the characters- with many seeming to be simply pasted in-they are in all the books so they need to be in this one as well. Reading this one-- did cause me to remember that her books had a tendency to be repetitive after awhile and maybe that is why I stopped reading them.

My Heart is my Own by John Guy

A long-overdue and dramatic reinterpretation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots by one of the leading historians at work today and a book I cannot wait to start. I do a lot of Royal reading--most recently the Tudors. I am understandably keen to read more on Elizabeth I's  biggest rival. Even though this was a book of door-stopping length it kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. A woman of whom it can be truly said "If it weren't for bad luck I would have no luck at all."


Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.