Reading Roundup: February 2023

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

Dr Seuss

Where oh where did February go and how is it already March?

As with all of the grandest of ambitions, I hit a snag with my writing goals last month when we were hit with not one, not two but 3 different illnesses one after the other (I know, I know, perfectly normal when your kid starts preschool but STILL). Couple that with my 4 month old going through an also-perfectly-normal-developmentally sleep regression and, well, we were definitely in survival mode.

As I’m still recovering from the latest cold, I’m going to go easy on myself this week and publish my reading roundup and I’ll get back to the other content next week (hopefully).

Send all the healthy vibes our way – we need them!

One thing I did manage to do despite being sick was read. And boy did I ever read. In fact, according to Goodreads I’m 3 books ahead of schedule for my 2023 reading goal! Considering I read the bulk of my books in November and December last year…it’s safe to say I’m currently pleased as punch at this development.

So, without further ado, here are some fantastic things I read this month. Enjoy!


Photo by Markus Winkler on

Experience: I reunite families with their long-lost photos. By David Gutenmacher

This was just such a feelgood story to read. As someone who adores history, especially learning about how people experienced everyday life in a time unfamiliar to myself, the idea that one can find snippets of personal histories at garage and estate sales and even in secondhand stores is a fascinating one. This man took these marvelous discoveries one heartwarming step further and set up a social media account to find the families to whom the memories belong and reunite them with these records of moments long gone. I can’t imagine how special it would be to find out that a treasure trove of pictures or even videos of your ancestors has been found by a random stranger and that they would like to return them to you. It would be like rediscovering your own history! Kudos to Gutenmacher for the work he has done – a truly selfless act that makes people so happy. We should all strive for such goodness.

With vintage photos, each moment someone has chosen to capture is special, as it was so expensive to shoot film. Nowadays, we don’t think before we take pictures with camera phones, but back then someone had made a conscious effort to preserve that memory.

David Gutenmacher

A new start after 60: I survived cancer – and learned to respect my amazing body. By Paula Cocozza

Who among us has not been hard on their body at one time or another? I’d start the next sentence with the words “in this day and age” but, lets be real: the human body, especially of the female variety, has long been under weirdly intense scrutiny – constantly poked and prodded, starved or overfed and critiqued by friends and strangers alike. Perhaps most damagingly, our bodies have been underappreciated by many of us as simply a superficial vessel that needs to be forced to adhere to whatever standards of beauty have been currently arbitrarily selected by society rather than the incredibly complex and resilient miracle that it is. Hopefully it will not take a major illness for me to come around to truly loving and respecting my body but reading Boulay’s story was an inspiration to start shifting my perspective. I’d rather learn to take care of, and appreciate, my body now than wait until I’m older and health issues have forced me to make this change. A beautiful call to action if I’ve ever read one.

Instead of feeling vulnerable, I now feel my body is strong and resilient – and something to be admired…My body is doing a grand job.

Sylvie Boulay

‘I knew I wanted to stay here for the rest of my life’: how London got its first LGBTQ+ retirement community. By Michael Segalov

As you can tell, I love reading. But reading actually makes up only one part of one of the greatest loves of my life: Learning. As far as I’m concerned, as long as I can spend the rest of my life learning I’ll be a happy woman until the end of my days. As one of the many informational avenues I take on a daily basis, reading often opens my eyes to new perspectives, opinions, and human experiences. This article was certainly one of those glorious experiences where I stopped mid-read and thought how incredible it was that this topic was entirely new to me. Of course different individuals have different needs when it comes to a retirement facility. That makes perfect sense. And it is upsetting to read that LGBTQ+ people in England (though I imagine elsewhere as well) have so few services available to them. While I do not belong to this particular community, I do hope I am a decent ally and as such this saddens me. This is definitely something I will be looking into further, though I’m happy to read in this article that Canada does have some, and learning about to see if I can do any small thing to help ensure that my LGBTQ+ friends and family do not face this same dilemma when it comes time for them to decide what retirement options they prefer. Eye-opening indeed.

I don’t need to come out again and again; no explaining repeatedly that no, I’m not a widow or a spinster. Instead, among other LGBTQ+ people, there’s mutual respect and appreciation.

Lydia Arnold

Mobilising Assam’s ‘hargila army’: how 10,000 women saved India’s rarest stork. By Anne Pinto-Rodrigues

Communities are powerful, incredibly so. They can be a force for such good in this world and I truly believe they are thus far more often than they are a destructive one (the narrative we see overwhelmingly in today’s media). It was wonderful to read this story about a community in India banding together to save an endangered species once vilified and murdered in droves by the same people now urgently working to protect them. Such an inspiring story of humans appreciating and respecting other life on earth and deciding to share this home of ours rather than run roughshod over every other living thing in an unending and destructive quest for dominance. More stories like these, please.

Conservation is all about uniting people and building ownership…I’ve always believed that, if given a chance, women can make a big difference in conservation.

Dr Purnima Devi Barman

Life on the edge: meet the man who walked around the UK. By Elle Braidwood

I know I use the word ‘inspiring’ a lot in these reading roundups but, well, perhaps their inspirational merit is why many of these articles and blogs end up in these posts in the first place! This was another, yes, inspiring article. In short, a man facing rock bottom makes a knee-jerk decision to attempt something challenging that will inexorably change his life…and it does, much for the better. If the darkness of February left you bereft of inspiration or motivation, give this a read. And then…get outside and get moving, in whatever way you can! You’ll only benefit. I promise.

When you feel much smaller, it makes you realise how lucky you are. We have a very small possibility of living a life on this planet and you’ve just got to bloody make the most of it.

Christian Lewis

Lindsay Ruck on the power of words and storytelling. CBC News

Gaining a window into how a writer’s mind works is an extraordinary gift. In fact, learning a bit of how anyone’s mind works is a gift…but I digress. As a budding writer, I love reading perspectives on the power of words and why storytelling is so crucial to humanity’s success. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to harness such power and craft part of humankind’s literary legacy? Reading this article in particular certainly helped to remind me why I started writing in the first place: Writing is both my therapy and my best way of expression all the thoughts and feelings swirling around in my head. If what I write touches someone, even just one person, and has a positive impact on their life, what an extraordinary thing to have accomplished. Thank you, Lindsay Ruck, for reminding me of the power of words. I needed that reminder.

As a mom of two young children, I now have the amazing privilege of teaching them the power of words and of storytelling. What a gift it is to see their eyes light up when they discover a new book that draws them in and they ask me to read it on repeat.

Lindsay Ruck


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Shockingly, I didn’t set aside any blog posts to highlight this month…chalk that up to being exhausted. However, this does not mean I didn’t read some amazing blogs! I’ll try to do better in March…


My Rating: 5 Quills
My Rating: 4 Quills

Thanks to all the headaches and exhaustion that came with the multiple colds I had over the course of February…I only managed 2 books, both of which were consumed in audiobook form (reading physical books just did not jive with my symptoms unfortunately). No matter, I’m still ahead of schedule so…read on, I say!

I only included the rating here, not reviews as I haven’t written them yet…but suffice it to say I enjoyed both books.

Well, that’s that then! Even with cold after gastro after cold after cold…I managed to read (and love reading) quite a bit. I plan on continuing this trend in March. Here’s to knowing more things, learning more things, and going more places…if only in my mind for now.

I’ll be back again soon but until then, I’ll keep reminding myself that even in the throws of my 3rd head cold of the year…

Life is beautiful

xo Erin

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