What I Read in February 2024

Hi, friends! Almost a whole week into March, and I’m finally sharing my February reads! It was obviously a short month, and my new work has really picked up the last couple of weeks ago so I haven’t been reading as much but I read some great books last month:


I have been seeking out Palestinian voices the last few months as I’m sure many of you are as well. They Called Me A Lioness was on many recommended reading lists, so I had to wait a while for my Libby hold, understandably so! They Called Me A Lioness is a memoir by Ahed Tamini, a young Palestinian activist, written with Dena Takruri. Ahed shares about her experience growing up in the West Bank and what it feels like to be second-class citizens in your country. She became internationally known when a video footage of her slapping an Israeli solder at her house went viral on the Internet, and she was arrested and jailed at only sixteen years old. Listening to her story, shared by many other Palestinians, was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Some of the atrocities committed against Palestinians are so out-of-pocket, they are almost unbelievable.

BABEL by R. F. Kuang

Yes, I FINALLY read Babel and yes, it lived up to the hype! When I decided to prioritize reading books that have been on my TBR and books that I already physically own, Babel was at the top of my list. I might’ve shied away both because it’s on the longer side and because I didn’t want to be disappointed. Following my usual fashion, I didn’t really know about Babel though I have encountered so many glowing reviews in the past few years so I was surprised to learn Babel being a historical fiction intertwined with fantasy?!

The magical powers of translation is the core element of Babel’s storytelling and what sustains the British Empire. Along with three others in his cohort, Robin maters his translation skills and learns the art of silver-working at Oxford’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation to serve the crown loyally or that is the plan laid out for him when he is adopted by a benefactor who shows up in Canton, China where the rest of his family is dying. I loved reading about the world Kuang created for Babel and pondering about the beauty and intricacies of languages and translation. In the current climate, Babel felt like a poignant reminder of the ubiquitousness of colonialism. BRB borrowing my sister’s copy of Yellowface!!

MINOR DETAIL by Adania Shibli

This may be one of the shortest books I’ve ever read (either this or Tell Me How It Ends probably) but one of the most gut-punching ones too. Set in two different timelines Minor Detail begins in post-Nakba Palestine where the Israeli forces are taking over much of the territory. Israeli soldiers at this one camp capture a young Palestinian woman on one of their excursions and later rape and kill her. In the day, Rammallah, a young Palestinian woman, learns of the girl’s story, becomes obsessed, largely driven by a minor detail, and decides to take on an investigation herself. While there isn’t a lot that happens plot-wise (not a lot room for that in a little over 100 pages), it ends with so much impact. While Shbili writes beautifully and matter-of-factly about connection between then and now and the fleetingness and helplessness of life under occupation.

SEVEN DAYS IN JUNE by Tia Williams

Perhaps it’s the cover or because it was a Reese’s book club pick (no offense to Reese!!!) but I went into Seven Days in June fully thinking it was going to be a romance of teenage sweethearts reconnecting as full-grown adults. It IS that and so much more. Shane and Eva are both successful writers in their own merit but their paths somehow hadn’t crossed since they were high school kids 15 years ago… that is until one random day, Eva gets pulled into being a panelist for a book event last minute and Shane just shows up to that event unexpectedly. All of the history and chemistry lingers, and the seven days following the reunion are as transformative as the seven days the first time around. While the romance plot is great (both in heartbreaking AND cheesy ways), it touches on chronic illness, abuse, self-harm, complicated family dynamics, and more. It delivered more than I signed up for, and I loved it.

P.S. I’m currently reading Lonesome Dove & The Bride Test. Happy reading!

P.P.S. I somehow did not take a single photo of a book all of February so enjoy this random photo of me having lunch at Namu!

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