February Reviews

[insert standard ohmygod how is it March comments here]

Another month of solid reads. Here's February:

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
320 pages
I have a weakeness for short story collections that are linked together, as Strout's is. Their link is often Olive, the feisty older lady that isn't afraid to speak her mind. The stories are set in a small Eastern town where we see events, both mundane and catastrophic, change people's lives. 

Verdict: I really enjoyed this collection, but it's not necessarily for everyone. It really is about life, both the small moments and the bigger ones, so I can see how it might frustrate those who like more plot-driven texts. 

The Children Act by Ian McEwan
240 pages
I was really disappointed by McEwan's last novel, Sweet Tooth, so I was more cautious going into this one. The Children Act is about a judge who works in the family courts. This story centers around a seventeen-year-old boy who has leukemia and needs to have a blood transfusion as part of his treatment. The catch? His family is Jehovah Witness, meaning they are oppose to this option. The hospital takes the family to court and the judge must decide.

Verdict: I thought this was much better than McEwan's last few books, as it really hones in on some interesting ethical questions. It also has an interesting sort of twist that I definitely didn't anticipate.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
120 pages
I've read this book a few times before, but I'm teaching it again so a reread was necessary (I always, always reread books before teaching them, even if I've read something three, four, or five times before). This novella tells the story of Santiago Nassar's death, which was a result of Angela Vicario declaring that he had robbed her of her virginity out of wedlock. The horror! 

Verdict: I love magical realism and Latin American literature, so this is a win for me, every time.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
323 pages
Two short story collections in one month! I received this one for Christmas and am apparently reading everything I received over the holidays before finishing my older. These nine short stories center around the intimate relationships in our life, and how they change over time. The characters are flawed, but have a level of depth that only a skilled writer could develop in such a short amount of pages.

Verdict: As my first Munro book read, I'm kicking myself for never picking up her works in the past. What I loved most if that none of the stories were bad- a few took me three or four pages to get into, but each spoke to me on different levels. 

monthly total: 1003 pages 


  1. Nice reading month! I'm reading Olive Kitteridge with by IRL book club coming up, so nice to hear a few good words about it! My wrap-up, inf you're interested: https://bookishtendencieskatie.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/february-2015-end-of-month-wrap-up/. Happy reading!

  2. Glad you enjoyed Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage! I totally agree with you, it's one of those rare collections where you enjoy all of the stories in it at varying degree/not a dull moment, really. Have I recommended Runaway to you yet? Recently read it and absolutely loved it from start to finish...

    Glad to hear The Children Act was good! Been a little hesitant to pick it up in fear of it falling on the "miss" side for me...

  3. Ohh I loved Olive Kitteridge! Last month I mainly read British Modernism for class--yippee.

  4. I think I need to give Alice Munro another chance. I read her collection of short stories, Runaway, years ago and hated it. But I think that's because I didn't appreciate short stories back then. I've refused to pick up anything else by her, despite wanting to support Canadian authors, but everyone seems to rave about her writing. So perhaps it was me, not her! ;)