January wasn’t a great month for me. It’s cold and dreary and my seasonal congestion is making me miserable. I was supposed to have sinus surgery this month, so I spent the first part of the month stressing about the procedure, and then my doctor had to postpone it for six weeks.
I have friends who have gone through real family tragedies recently, so I realize this is a minor problem — one that at some point in the next six weeks will hopefully be taken care of. I’ll let you know. I basically hibernated this month and took a lot of decongestants. I didn’t exercise the way I should and I didn’t get out of the house much. I did read a lot – but maybe my mental state influenced my reading, as nothing really wowed me this month. I also wasn’t motivated to write about what I read (though I did write about last month’s trip to South America).
Sorry to be grumpy. Here’s what I read in January:
- The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
- The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
- There There by Tommy Orange
- In the Woods by Tana French
- The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham
- French Exit by Patrick DeWitt
- Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
My favorite read: The book I was most glued to this month was In the Woods, which I’ve been wanting to read a long time and still haven’t gotten out of my head. And for pure enjoyment, I was quite impressed by The Duke I Tempted, one of the most original romance novels I’ve read in a long time. French Exit was clever and thoughtful, as DeWitt always is, and There There was an impressive debut, but I can’t say I loved either book.
Most disappointing read: I wasn’t crazy about The Dreamers. And while I enjoyed The Greatest Love Story, I think it may be better as an audiobook than a print book since it’s basically written as a transcript. It felt clunky, compared to their live show which I absolutely loved.
Books for challenges:
- Nonfiction: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
- Read Harder Challenge: Spinning Silver (folklore), The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (humor)
What I’m reading now: I’m reading two ARCs; The Glass Diplomat by S.R. Wilsher, about the military coup in Chile, and The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer.
What’s coming up: From the library, I’ve got Ghostwritten by David Mitchell, Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan.
Added to my TBR: I spent some time generating book ideas for the 2019 Read Harder Challenge. Part of the fun is identifying books that meet every challenge. Here are some ideas for the easier categories – feel free to suggest others!
- An epistolary novel or collection of letters: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley or Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou (this one’s a stretch but it’s on my shelf)
- A book by a woman and/or Author of Color that won a literary award in 2018: The Friend by Sigrid Nunez or Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- A book by a journalist or about journalism: Dopesick by Beth Macy or The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- A book by an AOC set in or about space: The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
- A translated book written by and/or translated by a woman: Human Acts by Han Kang
- A book by or about someone that identifies as neurodiverse: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang or Animals in Translation by Temple Grandin
- A cozy mystery: The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie (is Maisie Dobbs cozy? I’ve never understood the category)
- A business book: Quiet by Susan Cain or Radical Candor by Kim Scott
Things that made me happy this month: as you can probably tell, not so much. My cats, sitting by the fire, wine. I enjoyed the movie RBG, I found myself fascinated by Marie Kondo based on two bloggers who found her method life changing (here and here), I explored book podcasts, and my husband and I burned through every last episode of The British Baking Show. I also picked up a few Great Courses on photography, cooking, and gardening.
That’s it for me! Hope you’re staying warm and reading something good.