Books I’ve Recently Read | February Edition

Posted 10 February, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 22 Comments

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Books I've Recently Read

Hi! I was able to knock three books out of the park last month–mostly thanks to being able to read on my phone as I nurse the babe in the wee hours of the night. Now that I have a little more energy than I did a month ago, my time is being split in different directions, but I’m still keeping a book close by at all times! Do you ever read on your phone? It’s not my favorite, but it definitely works in a pinch.

So what did I read last month? I started the year off great with three books that I’d recommend!

 

Salvage the Bones

Salvage the Bones book coverTitle: Salvage the BonesAuthor: Jesmyn Ward
Published: 2011 | Pages: 261 | Genre: Fiction
Rating: Raw–in every sense of the word

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads  | On Audible

In Short: In the days proceeding Hurricane Katrina, 14 year old Esch and her three brothers help their father prepare their coastal Mississippi home for the storm. More than storm preparations, though, Salvage the Bones is about the familial relationships as well as the community relationships and how each person fits into the whole. This is especially evident after the storm arrives and the characters fight to pick up the pieces of their lives.

“Suddenly there is a great split between now and then, and I wonder where the world where that day happened has gone, because we are not in it.”

Bottom Line and Recommendation: What a book! Salvage the Bones is told from Esch’s point of view and the writing is at the same time haunting and poetic–it’s been a long time since I’ve read such a beautifully written book. It wasn’t always an easy read–there are a lot of tough subjects and even some graphic descriptions of pit bull fighting, but at the same time it was impossible for me to put down.

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry book coverTitle: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryAuthor: Rachel Joyce
Published: 2012 | Pages: 320 | Genre: Fiction
Rating: Meandering but Touching

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads  | On Audible

In Short: When Harold learns that Queenie, his good friend from the past, is dying from cancer he accidentally sets off on a journey by foot to see her. His hope is that as long as he is walking, Queenie will continue to hang on in her fight. What he doesn’t realize is how his journey will touch the lives of so many others.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: After reading Salvage the Bones, I felt I needed something a little lighter to cleanse my palate. I’m not sure I got that with Harold Fry but it was a touching story and grew on me more and more as I turned the pages. Often Harold’s journey felt like a long one, but behind the journey were bits and pieces about Harold’s life and his relationship with his wife and son that compelled me to continue on. I’m glad I did! I laughed a few times and even shed some tears. While this won’t be my favorite book of the year, I do recommend it–it’s a nice read with a worthwhile message.

 

Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of MaladiesTitle: Interpreter of MaladiesAuthor: Jhumpa Lahiri
Published: 1999 | Pages: 198 | Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Rating: Made me rethink Short Stories (in a good way)

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads  | On Audible

In Short: In this slim collection of nine short stories, Lahiri explores the everyday lives, wishes, desires, fears, and emotions of everyday people both in America and in India. I loved the little snippets Lahiri provides of Indian history and some of the cultural aspect and it made me realize that I want and need to know more about South Asia.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: I’m not usually a fan of short stories (rather sink my teeth into a longer novel) but I really enjoyed reading Interpreter of Maladies and Lahiri has convinced me to give this written format another chance. Often I get to the end of a short story feeling unsatisfied but I rarely felt that way with this collection. Each story perfectly captured a certain feeling of want or belonging–whether the desire for another person or trying to find footing within a community and the final story “The Third and Final Continent” somehow brings together all of the different aspects of the collection into a satisfying finale. Also, it’s really tough to write about short stories. :)

 

Have you read any of these? What have you been reading lately? Anything noteworthy?

 

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22 Responses to “Books I’ve Recently Read | February Edition”

  1. I can’t read on my phone. Ok, I could, but I don’t like it. Guess it just bothers my eyes. Love my Oaoerwhite though!

    Harold are was enjoyable to me as was the follow up book about Queenie Hennessey. I like Rachel Joye. Haven’t read the others you highlighted though.

  2. I don’t read on my phone, but now that I have an Audible.com subscription, I use my phone instead of my Nano for audio books. So much easier to navigate!

    As far as the books, I’ve read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (on audio) and I thought it was decent but not one I loved. Salvage the Bones sounds like an interesting book, though. That reminds me that I need to get back to Zeitoun, which I started several years ago and set aside for something else. I haven’t read anything by Lahiri, but my current book (The Space Between Us) is set in Bombay and I’m loving the visual images. Wish I were reading it on my Nook instead of the print copy. I’d love to be able to just click on a word for a definition (or see an image of the mouth-watering food), as there’s a lot of Indian vocabulary and slang.

  3. I do occasionally read on my phone but use it more for audiobooks. I listened to Harold Frye and had the follow-up from Queenie’s point of view borrowed from the library, but I think it’s expired now before I listened to any of it! Shoot!
    P.S. Nice book photos but no baby photos? Maybe next post! ;)

  4. Yay – I’m so glad to hear that about Salvage the Bones! It’s on my TBR and is very high on my backlist TBR specifically. Hope to get to it this year.

    And – I used to prop my Kindle up on that Boppy pillow ALL the time when I was nursing! Never read much on my phone…too small. Just carry my Kindle everywhere with me.

    Glad things are settling down a bit for you!

  5. I feel the same way about short stories, and about this particular book. It takes real mastery for a story to feel like a whole, complete creation. When it does, though, it can be really, really good!

  6. Kay

    No, I don’t read on my phone either, but do the audiobook thing on it. And I also carry my Kindle around most of the time. I haven’t read any of these books, but I have heard huge praise for the Harold Fry book from some of my book club members.

  7. I haven’t read any of these either. I’ve been exploring short stories more lately, and I am beginning to appreciate the short form.

  8. I really enjoy Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories. Writing a good short story is difficult, I think, and so I appreciate even more the ones that are good.

    I resist reading on my phone, but you are right; it’s good in a pinch. I need to remember that when I only have my phone and am playing Threes. :-)

  9. Unsurprisingly, I feel the same way about short stories AND all three of your reviews! Well said, book twinner. :) I do read on my phone in a pinch, but prefer just about any other method, except audio. Phone still wins there!

  10. I still have Salvage the Bones to read but loved the other two. And, I didn’t read much on my phone until Shreya was born. Boy, I race through books now only because I read on my phone. I don’t get to actually hold a book much.

  11. I never read on my phone. I know some friends do but for some reason I just haven’t gotten into that. So glad you enjoyed Interpreter of Maladies. Like you, I often find that something is missing with a short story but not this collection!

  12. No phone reading for me, either, but I love listening to audiobooks on it! I sampled Salvage the Bones a few years ago, but didn’t get into it immediately and sent it back to the library. I did enjoy Harold Fry.. a sweet book. Loved Interpreter of Maladies and went on to read Unaccustomed Earth – you might want to give that one a try next.

  13. Wow, great reading month for you! Salvage the Bones sounds amazing! We used to live in New Orleans, so I always enjoy books set there.

    I loved Harold Fry – like you, I expected light and funny, and it did start out that way, but I loved the way its depth was revealed bit by bit and paralleled Harold’s walk – as his layers of defense pulled away and he began to allow himself to feel those old feelings, the novel itself became more introspective – I just loved it. One of my favorites that I read that year.

    I enjoyed Lahiri’s The Namesake. Like you, I usually prefer novels. I read Kelly Link’s short story collection Get in Trouble last year & loved it – vowed to read more short stories but haven’t yet! This one sounds good.

    Great mini reviews! Maybe I should try that to catch up :)

    Sue

    Book By Book

  14. Do you think Salvage the Bones would be good on audiobook? I have it on my queue there, but I don’t know if I could handle graphic descriptions of pit bull fighting on audio…

  15. Diane

    I loved anything Jhumpa L has written. You’ve read 3 very different books. I enjoyed Harold Fry but, haven’t read the first one.

  16. I have the Nook app on my phone and read one book on it when I couldn’t get to my actual nook and REALLY wanted to read a particular book I had on there. I didn’t hate the experience but still definitely prefer paper or my Nook. I thought Salvage the Bones was fantastic but the dog fighting scenes were very difficult for me to get through, and I really want to read her other book, a memoir about all the men in her family/friends circle who have died – it’s about racism and inequality and sounds really wonderful and important. I loved Interpreter of Maladies and I’ve read the rest of Lahiri’s books – they are all great except for The Lowland, which I thought was just good.

  17. Kayo

    I read on my phone when I am away from home. I really have learned to love it, and I don’t have to carry a book around with me. I have far to many books on it, I keep finding cheap ones to buy.

  18. I started Salvage the Bones, and I truly loved the narrative voice and the writing. But I couldn’t get through the dog cruelty. At some point, I might give it another try.

  19. Jennygirl

    This short format is great. Salvage the Bones sounds good except for the dog fighting. Fictional acts of animal cruelty freak me out. It’s irrational I know, but there it is.