January Wrap Up

January has been a productive reading month for me! I have read 9 books and I am currently making my way through three more. This is a roll for the beginning of a New Year! I hope it lasts.

I’ve decided to read more diversely this year and I think it is obvious, at least to me, from my wrap-up that I am sticking to my guns. I have read a wide variety of Non-Fiction books, memoirs, YA and fantasy so far and I am currently making my way through three books which I’ll list now:

-      The Book of Lost Things by John Connelly a kind of fairy-tale retelling for Adults

-      Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig a non-fiction book about depression and Haig’s personal experiences with it.

-      Bridge to Terabithia by Katerine Paterson A children’s story set in America about a lost boy who is befriended by an extravagant young girl, the two of them create a world together before tragedy strikes.

So that is what I am reading currently. But here are the books that I have completed in the month of January:

1.   Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 3.5 stars

I have done a full review of this: click here to see, so I won’t prattle on too much. This is a YA Fantasy novel about dragons which I am glad I got to, as its been on my shelf for quite a while, but I won’t be rushing out to buy the sequel anytime soon.

2.   The Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith 4 stars

I finally got through an Ali Smith book! Yippe! Another New Year’s resolution done. I did like this collection, some of the stories have stuck with me, but I’ve been told, and I believe, that she has written much better fiction. Her work is very much open to interpretation to the reader I think, with characterisation taking the bulk of the story, but still a good read.

3.   Very Good Lives by J.K.Rowling 5 Stars

This book has been on my wish list for ages and I recently bought it and read it within 5 minutes of getting it out of the packaging. I am really glad I waited until my final year of Uni to read this, as it is a transcript of a speech that Rowling made to Harvard Graduates in 2008 and is all about hope and dreams after Uni life, so perfect really! Beautiful illustrations, great writing and really insightful and inspiring.

4.   The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan 4 Stars

I purchased this collection of short stories and non-fiction articles from a charity shop and it has had a profound effect on me. The author, Marina, was killed 5 days after graduating from Yale University a few years ago, her work has been published posthumously including a beautiful essay called ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’. There is a lot of mixed feelings about this book but I found it very well-written, poignant and interesting. Some of her quotes, stories and ideas have really glued themselves to me, which to me is a sign of a good writer.

5.   Spectacles by Sue Perkins 4.5 Stars

This memoir would have been 5 stars as it was hilarious! And superbly written but the last two chapters really let it down. The book was driven, moving, sad, wonderful, colourful and humorous throughout, and then it became a love-letter to her parents and a bit ‘road-trip’ clunky. I’m still smiling as I think of some of the antics in this book. A great gift and a great read nonetheless and I would certainly read anything else that Sue Perkins publishes be it a 2nd memoir or a story!

6.   Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue 3 stars.
This is a collection of fairy-tale retellings, with lesbian/female relations without, and it is a very interesting collection but I can’t help but compare this collection to her later work ‘Room’ which was so well-written and driven. I think she has really grown as a writer, but I much preferred Room to this collection which was a little simplistic and dull in places to enjoy fully.

7.  Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 4 stars

This was a re-read for me. I really love the movie adaption of this book and after watching it again I fancied reading the book for the 2nd time to see if my opinion of it had improved. It has been pretty static actually. I do enjoy the book I gave it 4 stars but I think the ending is a lot stronger than the beginning which I find a little too cheesy and ‘meh’. A boy who tells a girl he masturbates about her and she just smiles and says it okay, and so he cries? Really? But it is a really good story nonetheless and the characters are really well-done for a letter-written novel. I still prefer the movie though.

8.   The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell 2 stars

I have wanted to read this book for a while, and low and behold it was in my University Library all along. I took it out and read it in one sitting and it was such a disappointment. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is certainly fresh but it was also confusing, jumbled and fairly pedantic. Riddell’s illustrations are its only saving grace for me.

9.   Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 4 Stars.

I have had this book a while, as I really enjoyed ‘The Wizard of Oz’ by Frank L. Baum and was interested to read a sequel/re-telling of it. At first I thought it was going to be dreadful the first two chapters are set in modern Kansas with pregnant teenage prom queens, trailer parks and drunken mothers. Fairly stereotypically and poorly written. It was only when we got to Oz that the story really got gripping! This book does not hold back from shocks, twists or drama. I finished it on the train yesterday and needed to know what happened next so I ordered the book and it has literally just arrived and I as soon as this is posted I will be starting it!

This month has been a great reading month for me! Not only have I started a new series, and I am hooked, I’ve also read several non-fictions, collections, YA and fantasy which I’m pleased about. I’ve also kicked some books off my TBR which have been there for a while!  

I’m well on my way to reading 60 books this year if I continue like this!

What books have you read this month? Are they any you think I should check out?

Happy Reading!

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