February 2023

We packed a lot of Watching, Reading, and Listening into the shortest month of the year.


Africa Is Not a Country: Notes From a Bright Continent by Dipo Faloyin
Insightful, inspirational, and at times devastating, this book is worth reading for the overview of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 alone. It was during this meeting that European and American powers divvied up the African continent amongst themselves with no regard to language and ethnic boundaries, setting the stage for seemingly endless conflict and strife. (Janet)

Bailey’s Cafe by Gloria Naylor
So glad to have finally read a Gloria Naylor novel! Each chapter focuses on a different regular customer of Bailey’s Cafe, and opens with a monologue from Bailey about what he thinks about them. Most customers are down on their luck (to put it extremely lightly), and rooming at a place down the street that is impossible to find unless they’re meant to end up there. Recommend to those who like well-written literary fiction that is full of wisdom, humor (despite dark topics), and a dash of magical realism. (Cathy)

Black, Brave, First: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World by Cheryl Willis Hudson; illustrations by Erin K. Robinson
Perfect read for Black History Month AND Women’s History Month. (Kelly)

The Bodyguard by Katherine Center
Cute! Light & fluffy. (Deb)

Call and Response: The Story of Black Lives Matter by Jennifer Harlan and Veronica Chambers
A call to action. (Molly)

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Riveting. (Molly)

Dinner: The Playbook, A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal by Jenny Rosenstrach
Great ideas for dinners; short and simple! I love this book! (Kelly)

How To Spot a Best Friend by Bea Birdsong; illustrations by Lucy Fleming
Adorable and charming, short and sweet. (Kelly)

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
This memoir was captivating, with Jones’s lyrical writing style. (Ash)

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Good book. Interesting perspectives on both homelessness & domestic abuse (separately). (Deb)

Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson
I took this with me on vacation and it was the perfect travel companion. I genuinely enjoyed this. (Amber)

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
A short but powerful book about a quiet hero in a small town in 1980s Ireland. (Janet)

Social Justice Parenting: How To Raise Compassioniate, Anti-Racist, Justice-Minded Kids in an Unjust World by Dr. Traci Baxley
This is one of the few parenting books I’ve actually enjoyed reading! Baxley’s writing style is very approachable, and I loved her idea of parenting through a lens of radical love. (Dana)

This Way Out by Tufayel Ahmed
Painful and heartwarming. (Deb)

3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It by Sean Flynn
This book provides a detailed, fascinating, and heartbreaking look at the Worcester Cold Storage fire, where 6 firefighters lost their lives in 1999. Flynn’s writing makes the reader feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. I remember watching the event unfold on the news and watching the funeral at school, and reading this book has been a pretty emotional exercise. (Dana)

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
We’re huge fans of Penelope the T-rex and her school adventures. Excellent books! (Kelly)


The Chronicles of Narnia series (start with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe)
We’ve started reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my 6-year-old, and watching the accompanying movie after we finish each one. It’s hard to tell which format my son enjoys more…though the sword fights and battle scenes might give the movies the edge. (Dana)

Ginny & Georgia (Netflix)
My teen asked me to watch this with her, and although I was initially unsure about it I am now hooked. The show is set in the fictional New England town of Wellsbury, and clearly has a great fashion designer and music director. (TW: this show portrays self-harm and eating disorders.) (Amber)
Check out our Netflix Roku to watch.

How To Get Away With Murder, season one
A bit late to the party with this one. I wouldn’t call this show great, but it’s definitely fun. The young people in the cast do not interest me a whole lot, but I enjoy seeing how terrified they all are of the Viola Davis character, the unstoppable Annalise Keating! She’s great in this (obviously) and I’m so happy to have five more seasons to go. (Cathy)

The Last of Us (HBO)
Scary. Not sure I can formally recommend. (Kelly)

Limitless (Disney+)
Limitless is a docuseries featuring Chris Hemsworth, famous for starring in Marvel’s Thor Movies. The series puts Chris through various challenges to make him think about his own mortality and how he can maximize his health; thus living a longer and more fulfilling life. How examples of stress, temperature shock, fasting, strength, memory and acceptance can all shape the way we deal with aging and death. I found it eye opening, educational and entertaining all at once. My kids enjoyed it too!
Check out our Disney+ Roku to watch.

The 1619 Project (Hulu)
Phenomenal. (Molly)
Check out our Hulu Roku to watch.

The Woman King
Action-packed war epics are typically not my preferred genre for movies, but I found The Woman King to be compelling and enjoyable. The cast was great, especially Viola Davis! (I also have to give a shout out to Lashana Lynch, who played Miss Honey in Matilda the Musical which I watched a couple of weeks ago. So fun to see her knock it out of the park in two completely opposite roles.) (Cathy)


The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Almost as good as The Rose Code. Brilliant women, intrigue, romance, revenge! (Deb)

Blue Train by John Coltrane
A journey. (Molly)

Finding Me by Viola Davis
If I had known this audiobook’s very first chapter would make me tear up, I for sure wouldn’t have started it while waiting for the bus! I’ve read lots of celebrity memoirs, many of them great, and this is one of the best. I’m just in awe of Viola Davis, and this will definitely be one of my favorite books of the year. (Cathy)

The Girl in His Shadow (Nora Beady, #1) by Audrey Blake
Wonderful characters, wonderful history (albeit unfair). Looking forward to the next one! (Deb)

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Charming, empowering. Atlas seems too good to be true…to everyone: Ryle, Sutton, Josh…. (Deb)

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
What a great story! At first, I thought this was chick-lit meets Big Bang Theory but set in the 60’s. And it is a bit. And then I wondered if some of the meandering plot bits were really all necessary, but they all came together in the end! (Deb)

The Surgeon’s Daughter by Audrey Blake
Really great story! Glad we mostly don’t die from tetanus anymore. (Deb)

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
SUPER intriguing writing! This story reveals itself backwards, essentially. Only one of my guesses turned out to be true. I love a book that keeps me on my toes! (Deb)

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.