Books I Read in February 2022
We spent February sailing through the Exumas Cays in The Bahamas. The islands are absolutely stunning - picture-perfect water in every imaginable shade of blue accented by gleaming white sand beaches and rustling silver thatch palms. We enjoyed plenty of lazy beach days, reading under the shade of our umbrella. We also got caught in a number of cold fronts that brought whipping wind, rain, and colder temperatures. On these stormy days, we cozied up on the boat and read, sometimes for hours on end.
I read an assortment of books last month from a variety of different genres. Here’s a look at what I read in February and what I loved.
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
My Rating: ☆☆☆
My Take: This book is fascinating yet it made me a little uneasy and sad. Although it felt like the author intended to comment on the current state of life for those in their late 20s / early 30s, the characters - a cast of young adults figuring out life in Ireland - felt unrecognizable to me. They felt too aimless, too self-sabotaging, too bland, and yet also too dramatic. Rooney's writing is solid, just don’t expect the story to leave you feeling particularly inspired.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
My Take: This is a seemingly simple story that is so honest and raw and artfully crafted that it may take you a moment to realize just how deep and devastating and moving it really is. It follows the story of Fonny and Tish, young lovers caught in the crosshairs of racism in 1970s New York. The book is full of gut-wrenching moments that remind us of the power of love, loyalty, and hope.
Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆
My Take: I already adored Trevor Noah but after reading the story of his life I admire him so much more. The book is written in his playful yet no-nonsense style and he brings to life his childhood in South Africa with vivid emotion and color. You’ll learn that he is no stranger to hardship and some of his stories will likely leave you stunned. I read the e-book version, however, a friend told me he reads the audiobook version himself. If you have the option, I’d suggest giving the audiobook a try!
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆
My Take: This is an adorable, feel-good story if there ever was one. The premise is charming - a grandmother and granddaughter switch homes for a period of time - and the characters are endearing. There is plenty of neighborhood drama, a love story or two, and the tender, painful process of a family grieving the death of a loved one.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
My Take: This is a book that feels alive. Through her vibrant and descriptive words, Diamant brings to life the world of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob from the Book of Genesis. Dinah’s world is one of powerful women. The book follows her from childhood through old age, exploring the complexities of love, power, greed, motherhood, sisterhood, identity, and forgiveness. The places and spaces that Dinah exists in are rich with smells, textures, sounds, and emotions thanks to Diamant’s artful language.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
My Rating: ☆☆
My Take: Perhaps this will be an unpopular opinion but I really disliked this book. Written in 1993, this post-apocalyptic science fiction novel is set in 2025. Recently, I'd heard people talking about how prescient Butler's was and figured I ought to read it. While the book comments on challenges we recognize today - wealth inequality, homelessness, environmental destruction - I couldn’t get past the incredibly graphic descriptions of violence and death. I felt these vivid scenes added little to the plot or narrative and were painful to read. The main character also spends much of the book explaining her philosophy of belief which I found to be confusing and empty. I stopped reading it altogether for a few days before deciding I might as well finish it. In the end, it proved to be a troubling, difficult read.