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My January Reading Wrap-up

January was a tough month for a lot of us!  I want to keep this blog somewhat politics-free, but I will say this month was scary and emotionally exhausting.  The Women’s March in DC was amazing and I want to stay somewhat positive, although I keep feeling like we’re living in a Stephen King novel (The Dead Zone comes to mind).  Here are two resources for those of you out there who agree. This is an article on how to keep your sanity, maintain balance in your life, and still make a difference (thanks to the husband for sharing this and for trying to keep me sane).  And this is a list of five email lists you can join if you need some specific ideas about what to do.

January was a good reading and blogging month, and I feel good about choosing to focus on my blog for a while (that’s me keeping my sanity).  Thanks to Roof Beam Reader for a fun group read of Little Women!  I’ll say this pending my review: I read an abridged version as a child and it really skewed my perspective on this book.  I’ve decided abridged versions are horrible and should be done away with – you grow up thinking you read something, when instead you read a gross oversimplification and missed all the good stuff.

I also followed through on some resolutions, going to a local bookstore event, signing up for a book club (which may or may not pan out), and starting a reduced-sugar diet.

Here’s what I read:

  • What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
  • The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  • Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey
  • Today Will be Different by Maria Semple
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
  • The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner

My favorite read? Always tough, but I’d say Commonwealth was my favorite, and then The Wonder and Today Will Be DifferentCommonwealth just felt so layered and complex, it’s exactly the sort of long family saga I enjoy, and I really liked the characters.

Most disappointing read?  I had heard amazing things about Helen Oyeyemi, but her book just didn’t work for me.  The stories had odd, abrupt endings, and when characters crossed stories it wasn’t clear to me why.

Books for challenges:

  • Reading All Around the World: The Wonder (Ireland) (not so diverse this month)
  • Back to the Classics/The Classics Club/Classic Book a Month Club: Little Women

ARCs/Review Requests:

  • All Our Wrong Todays

Right now I’m starting The Wangs Vs. the World by Jade Chang (library book) and I have two ARCs I need to start.

I’m trying to be more thoughtful about what I read each month, given the number of challenges and other activities I’ve signed up for.  I still want to leave room for reading just for fun.  Here’s what I’m committing to in February:

  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley (for a bookstore event)
  • Strangers in Their Own Land (read-along)
  • 1984 (Back to the Classics, Classics Club)
  • Illuminae (science fiction book club)

How was your January, and what are you reading?

14 thoughts on “My January Reading Wrap-up

  1. You’ve had a great reading month! I feel like I’m still looking for my reading mojo, but I’m hopeful that it will be back soon. I’m about to start listening to Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox, and I’m curious if I will like it better than Boy, Snow Bird, which is the only other one I’ve read by her. I’ve heard good things about The Wangs Vs. the World, so I hope you enjoy it.

  2. Looks like you had a great month of reading, even with all the strangeness going on. I wonder what you’ll think of 1984, given all the “fake news” and “alternative facts” stuff going on at the moment… hope you enjoy it!

    • I think getting lost in a book will have to be what keeps me sane for a while! Although I suspect 1984 will do just the opposite. It was sort of an impulse buy since everyone else seems to be reading it. But it seems more helpful to read political fiction right now than to read the “why trump won” books. Not sure…

  3. January was a drag for me read-wise, blog-wise, and in regular life. I’m not a fan of politics and I don’t like to discuss it much but gosh! This new administration sure is pushing a lot of buttons. Those executive orders…gah!
    Anyway, I tried to make the Women’s March but missed it, unfortunately. I heard the trains were packed though.
    As for reading and blogging, I’m just getting back in the mood for those and am a bit too enthusiastic because I have about 5 or so books going at once. Gone Girl has really captured my attention. I saw half the movie and now I’m curious about the story.

  4. I read an abridged version of Little Women as a child as well (two different ones actually). I agree, abridgements are no good!

    I really appreciated the perspective I got from my first “Why Trump Won” book, The Unwinding, but I am craving some good fiction too. Not sure I’m up for 1984 right now. I actually keep thinking of American Gods … it seems more and more relevant to me.

    • I have Strangers in Our Own Land and Hillbilly Elegy, so I do plan to read those… just not sure I’m feeling very interested in understanding right now! American Gods sounds great. I’ve got Good Omens which I hope to read soon.

  5. Are you looking for more classics to read?

    I find nonfiction classics are full of useful information, and that is why I have already posted two book reviews over classics. I am posting a third review over a classic this sunday.

    If you are interested in the nonfiction I have been reading, or if you want to know what the benefits are from reading this genre in specific, please stop by my page. I post book reviews over biographies, classics, and inspiring nonfiction.

    https://thewrightread.com/

  6. Excellent reading month. I can’t wait to read what you thought of Illuminae–I plan on reading this book this year.

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