February was not only a short month but a light reading month for me. My Goodreads yearly challenge “on schedule” number is very disappointed in me. I’ll pick up in the coming month. But here are the things I read in February.

  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley: I mentioned this last month, but now I’ve just about wrapped it up so I have actual thoughts to share. This was my first time reading this book, and there are so many layers wrapped around its central story by this point that reading the original text feels a little bit like removing each layer to see what’s actually underneath. And what’s underneath is a nuanced morality tale about individuals’ responsibilities to each other that I’m not sure has ever been interpreted as intended. Maybe a woman should direct the next film adaptation.
  • American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee, Karen Abbott: Karen Abbott’s Sin in the Second City is a delightful romp through Chicago’s red light district at the dawn of the twentieth century, so she’s pretty well posed to tell the story of Gypsy Rose Lee. Her style is breezy, empathetic and entertaining, and Gypsy emerges as a complex woman in an unique time. (Although, really, aren’t we all.)
  • Marlena, Julie Buntin: There is a mini-genre of women writing about complicated teenage girl friendships and how they reverberate through the years, and I am a fan of it. Marlena is a worthy entry in the genre.
  • Screenplays: Jaws (Carl Gottlieb and Peter Benchley), Ed Wood (Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski), Hail, Caesar! (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen), Brick (Rian Johnson). Here’s a great thing about screenplays: you can download PDFs of a lot of them online. It might not be everyone’s thing, but if you want to explore an aspect of a film you don’t get by watching it and/or you want to write a film, reading screenplays is essential. Daily Script is a good place to start. Writer/director Rian Johnson makes it easy for you by providing all of his screenplays (with notes) on his website.

To keep up on my running list of books read, you can follow my Goodreads profile.