In 2016 my goal was to read 60 books over the course of a year – I ended up reading 62. I didn’t set a goal for myself in 2017, but am way ahead of where I was last year. I can’t tell if it’s the caliber of books I’m reading or just a general love of throwing myself into the world of fiction, but I’ve been reading a lot lately. Hence, the monthly book review beginning now! In February, I ended up making it through a whopping 8 books. #proud
In reviewing my February reads, three of the books I read are written by women of color and one takes a deep look at a transgender child and her family. One of my goals for the year is reading outside of “comfort zone” (or rather books written by those who have had different experiences than me) and I’m proud of the progress I made this month.
February Book Review
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Wow. I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite realize that this entire book was written in verse. Part of me wishes that I listened to the audiobook, rather than reading it. Regardless, it was fantastic. As someone who typically shies away from anything that possibly resembles poetry, I was immediately drawn in to Brown Girl Dreaming. It was emotional and telling of Woodson’s life and provided me a perspective into a world of which I do not have much experience.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
This is book has been on my TBR list for quite some time, after hearing it raved about over the last year. When I saw it at my campus library, I grabbed it and devoured it in a few short days. It’s about family dynamics, and love, and race and prejudice. It’s beautifully told and the characters were well-developed and relatable. I smiled and cried and I questioned the world around me. It’s on the shorter side and a quick read – I’m glad I finally got to it!
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
I feel like you had to be living under a rock to not have heard about Behind Her Eyes and the SHOCKING, TWIST ENDING! Seriously, January hit and I felt like I couldn’t escape this book. It was featured on Book Riot, Book of the Month Club…everywhere! I’m not sure I would have picked it up so quickly, but my mom bought it so I immediately borrowed it.
Overall, it’s an engaging mystery/thriller. I enjoy an unreliable narrator, and I felt as if I couldn’t quite trust Louise and her actions or her perspective of the events unfolding around her. The book jumps from past to present and kept me engaged. I thought I figured out the ending, but the reviews are right – it shocked me at the end. Great thrill factor!
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
OMG. This is the first Ann Patchett book I’ve read and it’s made me want to read every other book she’s ever written. Commonwealth, by far, was the best book I read this month. And that is coming from someone who had very high expectations after how well it was reviewed last year. Basically, it’s a story about a family – but then it’s so much more. The story was engaging – it felt real yet not something that would happen in my world. I felt as if I knew the characters, and they could be people who are in my life. It was a beautifully written novel, with a story that was well-developed.
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
I read this book as part of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. First, the cover is beautiful – it’s bright orange and I love it. But I don’t think I would have picked this up unless it was recommended to me. I am not very knowledgeable about the transgender population. This book opened my eyes, not necessarily to knowing every single fact, but rather the need to be understanding and open to everyone you meet. The book opens upon a family, much like a family I’m sure you know in your life – they are loving and they fight and they fiercely support each other. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the world Frankel created and considered my own views along the way. I cannot recommend highly enough!
Version Control by Dexter Palmer
I wanted to like this book. I was so excited when it popped up in my library queue. The mixture of sci-fi and time travel and a family tragedy – it seemed like the perfect fix. But as much as I wanted to love it, I….liked it? Tolerated it? I felt like it was trying to be too much – sci fi and a novel. It dove into the science but also wanted to appeal on a lovey-dovey romantic tragedy level. I feel as if it would have committed to one genre, it could have been much better. Instead it was broad and gave me a little bit of everything, but not much of anything.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
I’ll be honest – this book has been on my TBR for quite some time, but I avoided it. For some reason, the premise of the book didn’t quite connect with me. I was wrong. This is the story of two sisters, born in Africa, who are forced into two different lives. The novel traces each sister’s family lines and provides a sweeping and emotional telling of their experiences. I devoured this book – I read it in just a day or so and was sad it ended so quickly. It’s short (just around or under 300 pages) and quickly read.
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Finally, the only audiobook I listened to in February. In my defense, this book is like 19 hours long!! That being said, it was worth the time I devoted to listening to it. First, Ari Fliakos is an amazing narrator and I’ve already begun listening to another book he narrates because he’s so amazing.
More thought, this is just a good book. It’s sweeping – it spans just over 40 years and is told through multiple perspectives. The story is told slowly, yet well, and pieces together a mystery of what happened to a family. There’s no shocking twist, but rather the slow unraveling of figuring out what happened in the past and why it’s important in the present. I loved it and recommend it.
4. 5/5 stars
February was an amazing reading month (as you can tell by my lengthy book review!) and March is already shaping up to be pretty great as well. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these books, below are their Amazon pages.
What did you read in February? Did you have a favorite (or not-so-favorite) read?
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