January was a pretty quiet month, with lots of time for reading. I spent a lot of time working on one of my blogging resolutions, which is to learn how to improve the look of my blog. I signed up for PicMonkey, changed my blog theme, learned a bit about code, and researched self-hosting. I also went to two book clubs and signed up for a third in February.
Here’s what I read in January:
- The Dream of the Iron Dragon by Robert Kroese
- Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn
- Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
- My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
- We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
- Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan
- Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
- Benediction by Kent Haruf
My favorite read this month: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was a fascinating read, and one I felt lived up to all the awards it received. Fowler combined an interesting subject (chimpanzee research) with thoughtful character development. But I quite liked everything else I read this month.
A book I didn’t finish: The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan had an interesting concept, but the characters and writing felt trite and the way it depicted a disabled young adult turned me off.
Books for challenges:
- TBR Pile: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
- Nonfiction: My Family and Other Animals, Tell Me More
- Read Harder Challenge: Future Home of the Living God, My Family and Other Animals
- Finish the Series: Benediction, Binti: The Night Masquerade
- SciFi/Fantasy Bingo & Swords and Stars: Future Home of the Living God, Binti: The Night Masquerade, Dream of the Iron Dragon, Paper Girls Vol. 1
- Reading All Around the World: My Family and Other Animals
- Back to the Classics: My Family and Other Animals
ARCs/Review Requests: Tell Me More, Dream of the Iron Dragon
What I’m reading now: CrossTalk by Connie Willis, a science fiction novel about a woman who gets a brain operation that makes you feel emotionally connected to your partner – only it all goes wrong. So far it’s science fiction written like a rom-com and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
What’s coming up: In February I have two ARCs to read: Gun Love by Jennifer Clement and The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg. For book club, I need to read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and for the Nonfiction Challenge, Hunger by Roxane Gay.
Things that made me happy this month: Zelda! I got this game for Christmas and I absolutely love it. I’m not a gamer, by the way – my hand-eye coordination is horrible and I can never quite learn which buttons to press when. But this new version of Zelda is beautiful and so complex, you can spend hours just exploring, and the detail is really impressive. The game has day and night, sun and thunderstorms, cold and heat. If you need to drop something (like an excess weapon) you can go back for it whenever you want. They’ve made this version really open-ended, so you can do as much or as little as you want. I’m someone who likes structure, so I wasn’t sure if that would work for me, but it does.
Lady Bird – I didn’t know if this movie would live up to expectations, but it did. I was nothing like Lady Bird as a teenager (she’s assertive and dramatic and brave), but nearly everything she goes through resonated with me. In some ways it was like reliving my senior year in high school. The story itself might seem like the usual teenage stuff, but maybe that’s because so many teenagers experience similar things. Often when I see a story like this, it reminds me that I’ve always wanted to write about that year in my life, though I’m afraid it would be dreadfully trite. Lady Bird never felt that way.
That’s my January wrap-up. How was your month?