7 Quick Takes: February Mini Book Reviews

Notes by teenage me and my teenage sister in my copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Eventually I will stop reading so voraciously for escape and start living my life again, but for now, here are NOT EVEN ALL of the books I read in this stupid, never-ending February:

  1. A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy by Stephen W. Mosher. A loaner from a friend — I only read it because I’d worked my way through most of the unread mindless fiction in the house and needed another escape, but I wasn’t expecting to completely dive into this one and devour it in 48 hours. The narrator’s bravery and cleverness and awful, awful compromises! The beautiful, completely unfamiliar world she depicts! I kept talking about it to J and now we want to watch this documentary. Why have I never learned anything about the one-child policy before?
  2. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I saw this recommended on Modern Mrs. Darcy and found it on Scribd so I gave it a try. In addition to being a bit more open-door romance than I was looking for, I just found the love interests a bit…mean? Crude? I was all for the ridiculous plot devices to force them together, but in the end, they didn’t seem to have become kind enough to really deserve their happiness.
  3. Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr had been recommended to me by my friend Abbey and I’ve read and re-read his beautiful All the Light We Cannot SeeThis I enjoyed as much as I could have hoped: a rambling meditation on the dual overwhelming impacts of life abroad and new parenthood, as well as a meditation on the layers of history and meaning on everything we encounter. I love meandering books like this.
  4. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. YA dark fantasy about a girl tailed by fairy-tale-like menaces. Just something I happened upon on Scribd, better in the early chapters brimming with dread than in its actual denouement, as I often find to be the case.
  5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, which I read for Well-Read Mom and which I hadn’t revisited since I was about 15. It was lovely to spend a little time in rural Florida with Janie and strange and beautiful to dive into a novel about black culture that didn’t emphasize racial conflict* — just the life and choices of one woman trying to make a life for herself.
  6. Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace and Learning the Hard Way by Shauna Niequist was a spontaneous re-read after I suddenly remembered while washing dishes one night that Niequist had suffered a miscarriage, too. Warm and encouraging and exactly what I needed.
  7. The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson is a book I avoided for a long time because I didn’t particularly care for her Major Pettigrew’s Last Standbut then I found a copy for cheap at the library book sale last spring and decided to tackle it during my Escape-Miscarriage-Through-Novels Era. And I’m so glad I did. It was like a BBC costume miniseries in the best possible ways, with highly detailed scene-setting, lively plotting, and vivid characters, but the same sort of wistful melancholy that to my way of thinking made the first season of Downton Abbey so superior to subsequent seasons.


*(which also has a place of course!!)

2 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes: February Mini Book Reviews

  1. I really enjoyed Doerr’s memoir when I read it a few years ago. (Also it totally makes sense that All the Light took him ten years to write if he was working on it when his twins were born …! I need to give that book a reread.)


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