February Reviews

Good riddance February! Please take your cold, your rain, your home repair issues, your bad moods, and your sickness and GET THE EFF OUT OF MY LIFE. 

But this is supposed to be about books. 

One bright spot was getting five books out off my TBR stack, two nonfiction, and three novels. The first was a total beast, The Overstory by Richard Powers. I have a definite thing for trees, but had been holding onto this one for the right time to start a 500 page book- apparently I decided for some reason February would be the month. I wrote about the book more here, but I will repeat the fact that I absolutely loved it. The whole package was there- amazing writing, a profound message, and a depth to the characters that many contemporary writers struggle with. 

The two nonfiction texts I read were Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and Alone onf the Wall by Alex Honnold (with David Roberts). Several of my students had read the Noah book for outside reading and I had been meaning to for a long time, so the timing was perfect. I loved his combination of South African/Apartheid history, family anecdotes, and emotion. Honnold's book was definitely my sort of thing- he chronicled his rock climbing feats all over the world, which led him to free solo (as in no ropes) El Capitan in my beloved Yosemite. Free Solo, the Oscar-winning documentary was awesome too. 

While maybe not completely autobiographical, Sheila Heti's Motherhood definitely felt more like a memoir than fiction. I really, really want to do a follow-up post on this book while it's still fresh in my mind, but we'll see. Basically the story is about her obsessing whether or not to have a child, constantly weighting the pros and cons, while battling her monthly reproductive cycle and dealing with her boyfriend. It's definitely not a book for everyone; I can see many being quite annoyed by her, while others struggling with the narrative structure. I definitely appreciate and respect this book, but I can't simply say if I like or dislike it (yup, I've talked myself into a post).

Finally, I ended the month with Ling Ma's Severance, which ended up being a slight disappointment, but I think that was more a problem with my expectations. I can definitely label it "good," but just not "great" (it's 100% perfect for beach reads or airplane terminal waiting). The novel takes place after the Shen Fever has basically wiped out everyone, although not Candace and her small group of travelers that are making their way from NYC to Chicago. The story tells of the present, the recent past, and also the very distant path. I think the narrative structure was definitely the most sophisticated aspect of the text, the depth of characters and the development of the plot had some issues that bothered me a tad. I did appreciate the books examination of materialism, as well as group dynamics. If you're a fan of dystopian literature you'll really enjoy it.

That's it!

1,653 pages

1 comment:

  1. I'd call your February reading a success! I'd like to invite you to join me in a reading challenge to read books you own. Check out the details here: 'My Own Books' Reading Challenge