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For the Love of Reading: February 2021

It’s the first of March and sticking to my new schedule for sharing my reading, today I am sharing the books I read in February, 2021.

The Overstory

The Overstory by Richard Powers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“A tree is a wondrous thing that shelters, feeds, and protects all living things. It even offers shade to the axmen who destroy it.”
This book is dense, full of challenging prose, spectacular characters, and a story that unfolds so slowly you will lose sight of it if you don’t pay very close attention. Part short story collection, part literary fiction, part field guide, it’s not an easy read but it’s very worthwhile. And you’ll never look at trees in the same way again.


Memorial by Bryan Washington
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I always say it’s good to read stories that are not at all like your life. It’s good to study characters who are different than the people you encounter. This book is where the rubber meets the road for me and, while I can’t say that I loved it (because much of it is sad and focused on the sameness of life), I can say that it gave me an opportunity to consider the world from a much different perspective. I think it has given me insight into Japanese culture, queer culture, and Black culture, in a way that isn’t possible by reading a non-fiction book.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
If you’re looking for a delightful (and very light) Christmas romance, this is the book for you. The setting is charming, with lovely descriptions of nature and seasonal decorations and delicious food and drink. It’s predictable, sure, but that doesn’t take away from the fun. Recommended for fans of light romance novels.

The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
While this book is billed as a thriller for me it was a slog. The first surprise, which I suppose is the big one, wasn’t all that much of a surprise. I tried really hard not to figure it out but I did. After that it was just dull. Too many plot twists, too many stale storylines, it was just . . . tedious to finish. I know many people enjoyed it but I’m pretty sure I sprained my eyeballs from all the eye rolls I did.

The Book of Lost Names

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Another Holocaust story but this one is somewhat unique, focusing on a forgery ring operating as part of The Resistance. The story is compelling even if it is a bit predictable, plus I’m always a sucker for a story with a librarian as the main character. Recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction.


Summerwater by Sarah Moss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a wonderful, short book, told from the perspective of 12 individuals at a remote Scottish cabin park. Interspersed between each stream-of-consciousness chapter is a description of the natural world, the awakening of a fox, the flying of a bat. The vignettes are both independent and also connected, as these characters watch each other deal with depressing rain and weather, until they finally interact in the fast-paced, climactic ending. Highly recommended.

Five books this month, two with five star ratings. It was a great month of reading!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. I agree with you on The Overstory. It is a book that I think of so often… such excellent reading! (and The Sarah Moss book just came through for me at the library! Your review coupled with Bonny’s makes me want to ditch everything on my list today and just sit and read!)

  2. I think you can often get a good idea of what a book will be like just from the cover, and The Wife Between Us has “that look” to me. Sorry about the two two stars, but it looks like a pretty good month of reading!

  3. I adored The Overstory. At first I thought it was a series of short stories, and I was amazed by how the author brought them together. It truly changed the way I look at and think of trees.

  4. While you had some disappointments, you had 2 five star books in one month. That’s pretty spectacular to me. And as always, I appreciate your reviews and recommendations. Thanks, Carole!

  5. I loved The Overstory! Such a fabulous story told in such an effective (and unique) manner. 🙂 I also loved Summerwater. I think I’ll leave the other books you read right there on the shelf, though . . .

  6. I’ll be reading the two five star and maybe even the Christmas one. I enjoy a lite read with a hard listen!

  7. Another The Overstory agree from me. I read it last year and it has really stayed with me.

    Also I have to agree with Bonny about that cover,e ven though i know we aren’t supposed to judge the book by it 😉

  8. Overstory and Summerwater were excellent reads. Memorial was an interesting story, but outside my comfort zone. However, the writing was good. You read many of the same books I do, but you read many I don’t. You have a broader picture of literature and its many genres. I admire that! (I know it’s part of your job, but still…)

  9. …so much for breezing through without leaving comments 😉 Overstory and Summerwater are both on my TBR already. I hope I love them as much as you did. I’ve already read Memorial (and I think I enjoyed it little more than you did) … and now I know to leave the others “on the shelf” as Kym says!

  10. I’m a giant Bryan Washington fan. (His story from the One Story magazine sucked me in, and I’m just here now.) I both liked and hated Memorial because Mike and Ben are just so, so terrible at being together. But they’re interesting characters…! Except when they’re together! But Mr. Washington wrote them well because I can effectively hate them as a couple but like them as people so there’s that?

    I think it’s a sign of talent when I can hate the character and still like the book. (Mike’s parents though! What fun that was!)

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