February Summary and Plans for March

This month’s reading has been dominated by the amazing book, Far from the Tree. Its slow pace and the density of new knowledge lead me to crave lighter, faster paced books to read alongside it. This contributed to an increased number of average reads this month, but I don’t regret that – there is only so much brilliance you can take in one month!

Book of the Month

Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love

Books Reviewed in February:

Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon 

The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke 

Moffie by André Carl Van Der Merwe 

The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence 

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Mercy by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Blooms of Darkness by Aharon Appelfeld 

The Good Father by Noah Hawley 

BBC Good Food Cookery Book Set 

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Abandoned Books: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, Herzog by Saul Bellow

Plans for March

Tomorrow I’m going to a new book club for the first time. I’m very excited about the prospect of meeting a new group of book loving people and really hope that it works out. For our first meeting we’ve read The Hare With Amber Eyes. I’ll let you know my thoughts (and hopefully theirs) next week. Our second book is Cloud Atlas, so I’m looking forward to re-reading that and seeing if I still love it as much as I did on its release.

I also hope to read most of these:

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Mr Mee by Andrew Crumey

Magda by Meike Zervogel

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight by Gina Ochsner

John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Have you read any of these books?

I hope you have a wonderful March!

19 replies on “February Summary and Plans for March”

I read ‘Flight Behaviour’ last week so I shall look forward to seeing what you make of that. I’d not read Kingsolver for a few years so it was great to be reminded just how good she is. Wonderful characters and as ever she weaves in a compelling message whilst (mostly) avoiding being heavy-handed. I always come away from her work feeling I’ve learned something necessary. If I had a slight quibble it is that the book is a bit too similar to ‘Prodigal Summer’.

I think I might give ‘Moffie’ a go based on your review.

February has been a pretty decent month for me with only one book I didn’t rate: Amy Sackville’s ‘Orkney’ which I thought was incredibly overwritten and in the end rather pointless, though most reviews I’ve seen are falling over themselves to praise her writing, so I seem to be in the minority!

The stand-out book of the month for me was Christopher Koch’s ‘Lost Voices’, a brilliant and compelling dual narrative set in Tasmania in both the 1850s and 1950s, with the two strands echoing one another. I’d be very surprised if it isn’t on the Miles Franklin shortlist this year.

Others novels I enjoyed in February were Susan Swan’s 1993 book ‘The Wives of Bath’ (set in a Toronto boarding school, it has one of the most endearing narrators I’ve read in ages), Bonnie Nazdam’s ‘Lamb’, and Juliann Garey’s ‘Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See’ (which starts out quite funny but becomes a terrifying and affecting portrait of mental illness).

And I’m currently halfway through Mollie Panter-Downes’ 1947 novel ‘One Fine Day’ which is elegant, incisive and witty – I have a feeling it may end up being one of my books of the year.

David, It is good to hear that you enjoyed the Kingsolver. I haven’t read ‘Prodigal Summer’ so that might make me enjoy it more?

I haven’t heard of ‘Lost Voices’ before but that does sound like a good book. I’ll keep an eye out for a copy.

I haven’t read any of the other books you mention (apart from Lamb) but it sounds as though you read an interesting mix of books. Hopefully I’ll be able to read a few more complex books this month. Have a great March!

Good luck with the new book group! I have a Gina Ochsner book on my TBR pile but haven’t yet tried any of her work so I look forward to your thoughts, Watership Down though was a book I enjoyed greatly in my teens though I don’t think I ever saw the film. 🙂

Alex, I haven’t read Watership Down before. I was told that it was heartbreaking and so avoided reading it and watching the film. Hopefully I’m not too old to enjoy it now.

Hope the book club goes well. I want to read The Age of Miracles and The Death of Bees, both have had good recommendations. Looking forward to reading about all the different opinions from your group!

I hated Prodigal Summer, because the ending made it more like non-fiction than a novel. But I loved Flight Behavior. In my review, I said it walked the line between having a message and staying fictional.

Jeanne, I’m intrigued by your comment as I like fiction books that feel like non-fiction. I hope I enjoy Flight Behaviour as much as you did.

I’m excited about the book club for you! Book clubs are tricky…I’ve had good and bad experiences. One of mine has a light-hearted attitude and just as much enjoys the wine and food as the books. The other one is really serious about their reads but the guy in charge is a real pompous asshole. It sounds like you are off to a great start with some worthy books, so I will cross my fingers that it is rewarding for you.

Sandy, Hopefully I can avoid pompous people 🙂 I agree that book clubs can be really tricky, but I think I’ve struck lucky with mine. I’ll fill you in next week.

You had a good month. The discovery of Far From the Tree made your month, I bet! I liked Mercy better than you and The Age of Miracles about the same.

I’ve read four of your books for March – yes, we’re overlapping again, it’s great! Watership Down was great (when I was 20!), Flight Behavior I loved, although you might have some reservations (we’ll see), The Death of Bees, well you know I think it’s the bee’s knees. John Saturnall was no feast for me, I didn’t finish it. I hope you fare better!

Judith, It is interesting to know you abandoned John Saturnall – I abandoned it this afternoon! I hope I enjoy the others as much as you did. Have a wonderful March!

I haven’t read any of the books you’ve listed but many of them are on my reading list. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on Watership Down, The Hare with Amber Eyes, and The Death of Bees. I hope you have a great March.

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