My January Reading Wrap-Up

January was a great month for reading! Of course that’s because it was a lousy month for other things, between the wintry weather and getting sick.  But at least my reading year is off to a great start. 

Here’s what I read in January:

  • The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell (audio/ebook)
  • Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (audio)
  • Well Played by Jen DeLuca
  • The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (audio)
  • Exiles by Jane Harper
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  • This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke (audio)
  • Heartstopper, Volume 2 by Alice Oseman (graphic novel)
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers
  • The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak (audio)

My favorite reads: 

My favorite has to be Our Missing Hearts, which is haunting and very relevant — if you don’t think this could happen today, take a look at this article about Florida. Ng continues to wow me; each of her three books have been quite different and each was fantastic. 

Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portrait didn’t disappoint either — I keep hearing “it’s not Hamnet” and it’s not. But it’s very, very good. Readers who liked this one should check out Denise Mina’s Rizzio, a book that no one talked about.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is a different kind of read.  Bailey wrote this book while in the grips of an illness that kept her in bed for months. Once she sees that a snail was carried into her bedroom in a flowerpot, she begins to observe the snail’s daily activities. She creates a terrarium for the snail, watches it spawn other snails, and goes on to research many things you never knew about these tiny creatures. I loved how the snail is a source of comfort and wonder in a difficult time. It’s a perfect book for my nature reading and nonfiction challenges.

Heartstopper, of course. And I’ve already written about The Wolf Den.

Disappointing reads:

I didn’t expect too much from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, and that’s about where I ended up. I identified very much with Nina, who prefers reading and her daily planner to spending time with other people, and whose dream job is working in a bookstore. The writing is clever and funny. But there were things about this book I found annoying. I’d been wanting to read something by Abbi Waxman, but this book was too cute for me.

On the blog:

It was a good month for posting (cold weather, not much to do, etc.). I reviewed five books and wrote about my best reads in 2022, favorite new-to-me authors in 2022, and my bookish goals for 2023.

Books for challenges:

  • TBR Pile/Backlist Reader: The Wolf Den, The Galaxy and the Ground Within
  • Nonfiction: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
  • Nature/Environment: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, The Island of Missing Trees
  • Reading Around the World: The Island of Missing Trees, This Rebel Heart, The Exiles, The Wolf Den, The Marriage Portrait

The 52 Book Club:

  • Featuring an inheritance: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
  • Title starting with the letter “H”: Heartstoppers Volume 2
  • Title starting with the letter “I”: The Island of Missing Trees
  • Dystopian Fiction: Our Missing Hearts
  • A book with a dedication: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
  • Featuring one of the “seven deadly sins”: The Wolf Den
  • Has an epilogue: Well Played
  • Includes a funeral: This Rebel Heart
  • Published by Macmillan: The Exiles
  • Written in present tense: The Marriage Portrait
  • The final book in a series: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

What I’m reading now and what’s coming up:

I’m currently reading an ARC of Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez.  I’m listening to The Last Girl by Nadia Murad and South to America by Imani Perry. And I just received an ARC of Pod by Laline Paull, who wrote The Bees. It’s an absolutely gorgeous book and I’m excited to read it.

Things that made me happy this month:

The Last of Us – I was just telling one of my sisters that I don’t watch the kinds of sappy emotional dramas they do. No judgment, but in my house we’re watching a show about killing zombies! I had to eat my words this week when I spent a half hour bawling my eyes out over this show. So, so good.

I was sad about the 49ers not making it to the Superbowl and even sadder that Brock Purdy was left with such a severe injury after his amazing run. It’s a brutal sport and one I always feel conflicted about.

Happy Groundhog Day! For something fun, see the 52 Book Club’s February Groundhog Day mini-challenge – read a book about winter, a book with a time loop, and a book with a shadow on the cover. In February I’m looking forward to a work trip to Washington state, which Mr. CG and I will finish with a wine tasting weekend in Woodinville. Hope you’re staying warm and reading something good!

  9 comments for “My January Reading Wrap-Up

  1. February 2, 2023 at 10:45 pm

    Oh I can’t wait to hear more about Pod, I loved The Bees.

    I love all you say about The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, what a wonderful premise for a book. January was indeed a good month for reading, thanks for doing a wrap up post.

    • February 3, 2023 at 5:17 pm

      Yes, I’m very excited about Pod! The Bees was a great read, and I’m looking forward to reading that kind of story about dolphins. If you read Wild Snail, I hope you enjoy it!

  2. February 3, 2023 at 8:49 am

    I loved The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating! I read it while I was grieving my aunt, and it was the perfect read.

    • February 3, 2023 at 5:16 pm

      Erin, I’m sorry for your loss! But glad to hear you found some solace in this book.

  3. February 3, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    What a lovely set of books you read in January! I hope your February is equally good bookwise but better in health etc.

    • February 3, 2023 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Liz! I hope it’s a happy February for you too. I’m off to a very dark start, readingwise. The Last Girl is a tough read (good, but tough).

  4. February 3, 2023 at 1:53 pm

    Books about bookishness tend to disappoint me, I find. Somehow, except with exceptionally talented writers, reading about reading at a second degree removed takes all the fun out of it. So I wasn’t planning to read Nina Hill, and you’ve confirmed my decision.

    But ooh, another book by Laline Paull – that’s intriguing! The Bees was quite the unique read.

    • February 3, 2023 at 5:14 pm

      That makes sense to me! I think the same thing applies to books about bookstores, though I keep trying… Have you read Ruth Ozeki’s latest? It’s actually partly narrated by a book. I’d definitely call her exceptionally talented.

      • February 4, 2023 at 1:37 am

        I haven’t, but I loved A Tale for the TIme Being — I’d expect good things from her.

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