What I Read in February 2018

I’ve settled into my new assistant professor position at a university near my home. This means I commute less and read more! February was a productive month in terms of reading.

Here’s what I read.


My favorite read from February was The Star Side of Bird Hill (2015) by Naomi Jackson. It is a gorgeous story of two girls who visit their grandmother in Barbados for the summer. The visit turns into something more, and I loved every minute of it.

I also really enjoyed Middlesex (2002) by Jeffrey Eugenides. It was a book I had tried to read when it first came out over a decade ago and just couldn’t get into. This time around, I couldn’t put it down.

The Immortalists (2018) by Chloe Benjamin also captured my attention. There were some explicit scenes that may not be for the faint of heart, but overall, the narrative spoke to me. It is about four siblings who think they know the dates of their deaths, based on a visit to a fortune teller as children. Their fates provoke thinking about whether or not we can control our destinies and whether or not we allow outside forces to dictate our lives.

And I had no idea that My Name Is Asher Lev (1972) by Chaim Potok was about the conflict between art and religion. What a fantastic and heartbreaking read! I highly recommend it.

I’m mostly writing about books on Instagram these days. If you’d like to follow me there, search for thebookshelfofemilyjanuary. I’d love to connect. Bookstagramming is so much fun!

19 thoughts on “What I Read in February 2018

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  1. Your experience with Middlesex was similar to mine with The Shack. I could not get past the 2nd chapter the first time I tried and a few years later I loved it. Its experiences like this that make it hard to declutter my books.

  2. What an amazing stack of books. I have not read any of them. I’ve heard that Hillbilly Elegy is really terrific. Your descriptions make me want to go and get them! Thank you!

    1. Enjoy! I did like Hillbilly Elegy. It was interesting to read about somebody who had been through so much and had made it out. I liked seeing how he viewed his upbringing and culture.

  3. Congrats on your Asst. Prof. position Emily. I hope your students enjoy and appreciate the breath of literary experience you bring. You’ve read everything under the sun! And your soc. media contributions to various platforms speaks to your dedication of “the word”. Much Success to you.

  4. Your enthusiasm is infectious. Not even heard of these books, except the Sebald which I’ve read, recommended by Stephen Foster a professor at UEA – but intend to amend that. Congratulations on your new position I hope you enjoy it too.

    1. I hope you enjoy some of these! I think Sebald was the one I enjoyed least, but I suspect that was because of the density of it and my need to pay more attention. I think I need to reread it to understand its beauty and importance.

  5. Congratulations on your new job, Emily. It’s great that you have more time to read, too. I have a lengthy commute so I know just how tiring and time-sucking it is.

    I read The Immortalists recently and enjoyed it, although I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it. I guess that shows it wasn’t very memorable for me! The Star Side of Bird Hill sounds great — one to add to my wish list!

    My current read is Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, a story of a young couple in a war-torn city. The city isn’t specified but it brings to mind current events in Syria. Hamid has an interesting, sparse style of writing which I find very effective.

    I don’t use Instagram so I hope you’ll still blog here occasionally. 🙂

    1. Interesting! I have not heard of Exit West until now. Thanks for telling me about it! I will still blog here occasionally. I’ve found that I don’t have as much time to write for pleasure, since most of my writing is academic research for publication. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. I agree with Grace on Instagram. I hope you will sometimes keep up your blog. It’s been a long time since I read Asher Lev, but Potok is always worth reading.

  7. Hi Emily! It’s nice to get a quick update on what you’ve been reading! I’m not on Instagram, either, but maybe I should join just for the few bloggers I know who like to use it.
    Definitely adding The Star Side of Bird Hill and Asher Lev to my list. I’ve never read anything by Potok before.

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