This week, YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday asks the usual end-of-month question, What’s the best book you’ve read in February? I read (or finished) five books in February:
- Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher, started in January, finished in Feb)
- A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)
- Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (Lawrence Wright)
- If I Stay (Gayle Forman)
- Brothers in Arms (Lois McMaster Bujold)
I just started The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, The Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts, which as a horse nut I’m really loving, but I doubt I’ll finish it within the month. And yes, this is the first time I’ve read A Wrinkle in Time. My kids read it years ago (when they actually were kids). I was finally shamed into it when it came up at the SCBWI winter conference in NYC as a must-read book. And, um, yeah, it was. Must-read, that is.
So, some good and great books on this list. But as for my favorite for February, I’m going to give A Wrinkle in Time a pass just because, well, it’s a classic. Doesn’t seem fair for it to be in the running. Brothers in Arms was a fantastic read, but it’s one of a zillion Vorkosigan Saga books that The Goddess Who is Bujold has written, so in lieu of her being my favorite every month, I will let someone else win: Going Clear.
I am not much of a non-fiction reader. I like my fiction stories, particularly genre fiction. But once in a while I will hear about an intriguing non-fiction book, often when the author is interviewed on NPR. Sometimes I’ll check out a sample or even buy it and be disappointed. This was not one of those times.
Going Clear was a compelling page turner from start to finish. I felt the author was thorough and even-handed, for instance balancing descriptions of Scientology’s unconventional beliefs with discussions of odd aspects of other religions, from young ones such as Mormonism to more traditional belief systems such as Christianity. As someone whose belief system is off the beaten path, I appreciate that aspects of a faith that might seem bizarre to one person can make perfect sense to another. Going Clear did a good job making that case, while also being a fantastic, thought-provoking read.