Bookish Thoughts for February
I thought I would take some time this month to talk about my obsession with the sweet romantic comedy genre. I often give them 3 star ratings, so why do I keep binge reading them? So many reasons! A friend once said, “Don’t underestimate a 3 star book.” When she wrote those words, I wasn’t actively keeping track of star ratings and I didn’t quite understand. Now, I do. 3 star books are good books. I enjoy them. They are not life-changing (for me, personally), but they are good. Nothing wrong with a good book.
I’m a sucker for a series (which most of these books come in). Give me multiple books set in the same town with the same group of friends/family and I will read them all. I love getting to know a place and becoming deeper friends with characters over the course of multiple books. I also love binging by author. You’ll see certain names on repeat in my book list. Once I’ve read one book by an author, I’m curious about their others.
In the sweet romcom world, most of these authors are independently published. I’ve seen behind the curtain, through their Instagram feeds and email newsletters, how much work they do themselves to get their books published. It’s admirable. They also advocate for each other. They are always sharing new releases and recommendations of each other’s books. You sense they are a community and they have each other’s backs. I love that!
Another reason I love sweet romcoms is they are great escape fiction. I can walk a mile in some else’s shoes. I can explore a new city – fictional or not – doesn’t matter. I love getting swept away in a story, especially a love story. Happily ever afters make my heart happy. These stories are “sweet” which means they are closed door. I don’t want to read about spicy bedroom scenes. When it comes to romance, I want to keep things PG. When I see the words “sweet romcom” and “closed door” I know what kind of book I’m starting.
My standard 3 star rating also follows me into quite a few of my historical fiction reads – however, I am more apt to give 4 stars to historical fiction if I feel it does a moving job of illuminating history. I’m more likely to give 4 or 5 stars to non-fiction because of the author’s vulnerability or knowledge of the content.
When I first got Goodreads in 2012, I entered as many book as I could and gave them star ratings (and then I walked away from my account for almost a decade). I’m realizing I was much freer with 4 and 5 star ratings in the past. My reading has diversified and my volume of reading has increased with time. It’s changed how I feel about books. It’s harder for me to fall in love with a book, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the many books that cross my path. So, don’t look down on 3 star books. They are good books and I’m glad I’ve read them!
Top Picks for February
Non-Fiction: Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human. by John Mark Comer. This is the third book I’ve read by John Mark Comer. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry is still my favorite, but Garden City is second now! By focusing on Genesis 1-3 and Revelation 21-22, this book shares the goodness of work, the blessing of rest, and humanities purpose. While the content wasn’t new to me, this book was so encouraging! The scriptural truths shared in these pages were empowering and impactful, not only for day-to-day life, but also eternity. I highly recommend this read!
Fiction: My Phony Valentine by Courtney Walsh. I love seasonal books! The Valentine vibes added a fun and lighthearted touch to this story. I liked that this book didn’t have some great miscommunication or falling out of the main characters toward the end of the book. It kept the angst of the story minimal. Both main characters have difficult pasts they’ve overcome and have to decide to be vulnerable about. There is also the small-town girl and big-city boy tension. Every story needs some struggle or it would be dull. The struggle in this book was just enough to not overpower the plot. It was sweet, joyful, and a seasonal treat.
Book List for February
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.
- Find Your People: Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World by Jennie Allen – 4 stars
- Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human. by John Mark Comer – 5 stars
- Becoming Free Indeed: My Story of Disentangling Faith from Fear by Jinger Duggar Vuolo – 4 stars
- Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You Are by Lysa TerKeurst – 4 stars
- First to Fall by Jenny B. Jones – 3 stars
- Merritt and Her Childhood Crush by Emma St. Clair and Jenny Proctor – 3 stars
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare – 3 stars
- Censor(shipped) by Savannah Scott – 3 stars
- Doctor(shipped) by Savannah Scott – 3 stars
- My Phony Valentine by Courtney Walsh – 4 stars
- The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordan Taylor – 3 stars
- I’m Not Charlotte Lucas by Kasey Stockton – 3 stars
- Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio – 3 stars
- So Not My Thing by Melanie Jacobson – 3 stars
- Here For It by Melanie Jacobson – 3 stars
- Maybe I Will by Melanie Jacobson – 3 stars
- Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry – 3 stars
- Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan – 3 stars
- Jill Came Tumbling by Julie Christianson – 3 stars
- His Third Second Chance by Julie Christianson (short story) – 3 stars
- Court(shipped) by Savannah Scott – 4 stars
- Passion or Penalty by Leah Brunner – 3 stars
- Love Beginning by Jenny Proctor – 4 stars