F79D4F35-0674-4F23-BF04-5AB431F4C170I began the month with a continued focus on my letter of the year, C, finishing the Costa First Novel Winner, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, a novel that proves that bestsellers sometimes are as good as the buzz! I kept the consumptive, Hans Castorp, company as we scaled to the half-way point of The Magic Mountain and I made the acquaintance of another, Amedeo Modigliani in Michael Dean’s historical novel about Marc Chagall, The White Crucifixion.

More colours and citrus fruits enjoyed in Simone Buchholz’s Blue Night and José Mauro de Vasconcelas’s My Sweet Orange Tree.

I also made a start with #readingmuriel2018 with Robinson, her update riff on Swift’s Robinson Crusoe,  Muriel’s centenary wasn’t the only date of significance this month.  The blog turned 11, and I celebrated with an updated template!

Other intentions included a month of cinema and theatre in Glasgow, but the weather put paid to that. It has been chaos on the motorways, and best avoided! In between snow storms I ventured forth once to attend a two-man version of Macbeth at the local theatre in Motherwell. Besides condensing the cast from 20 to 2, the action was also condensed from 2.5 hours to 90 minutes. Interesting – all the famous lines were included – but it didn’t quite grab me. Unlike Macbeth: A Novel by A J Hartley and David Hewson, which was so marvellous, I downloaded Hamlet: A Novel and read it immediately afterwards. Absolutely wondrous. Full reviews to follow.

Looking forward, I realised March will be busy, if not downright hectic. Italian Literature Month overlaps with Dutch Reading Week overlaps with Clink Street Publishing Spring Reading Week overlaps with Glasgow’s Literary Festival, Ayewrite! So I read forward, namely the 3 books on the right in the photo above. Perhaps I can fit it all in ….

Books Reviewed (in review sequence)
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman (5 stars) *** Book of the Month ***
The Explorer – Katherine Rundell / My Sweet Orange Tree – José Mauro de Vasconcelas (Both 4 stars)
Robinson – Muriel Spark (4 stars)
Climbing the Magic Mountain: At the Half-Way Point
The White Crucifixion – Michael Dean (3.5 stars)
Blue Night – Simone Buchholz (3 stars)

Six Degrees of Separation: From Lincoln in the Bardo to Tequila Mockingbird
Meet the Translator: Michele Hutchison

2018 Reading Statistics
February: 10 (8 physical TBR, 1 library loan, 1 ebook)
YTD: 19 (15 physical TBR, 2 library loans, 2 ebooks)

The Great Book Declutter Progress Report
There has been some cataloguing of the TBR on Librarything, but I have a way to go, so I am still unsure of how many books were in the TBR as of 31.12.2017. Call it X with the target reduction being X-60 for the year. Following a mini-cull in the library overflow area, progress is being made. Mustn’t be too complacent though, as I have yet to see the inside of a bookshop this year, and there is a literary festival with attendant temptations on the horizon.

TBR 31.01.2018 = (X+2)
TBR 28.02.2018 = (X+2) + 4 purchases + 5 review copies – 8 physical TBR read – 39 culled = X-36