January has turned out to be a pretty good month in general. Everything seems to be moving up and onto good things. I feel like I’ve got into a swing(ish) of work, reading, blogging, and life in general and I’m off to a good start with all my resolutions for 2018, including the book-related ones!
I’ve also implemented a Bookish Savings Jar in an effort to read my own damn books and stop buying books so impulsively and it’s working quite well so far – if nothing else, at the end of the year I’ll have quite a tidy little sum of money, and it will also make me more conscious about when/why I buy books if I’m effectively fining myself an extra £1 on top of the purchase price every single time I buy something. Likewise, having to put £1 in a jar for each book I finish has also made me be more selective about what I am reading. As this month has shown, it does not stop me reading, it just makes me think more carefully about what I am reading and I often make sure a book I want to read also fits with the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge which I am participating in.
So far, so good, and I’m really pleased with how much I managed to get read in this past month. Let’s hope the rest of the year continues in a similar fashion, shall we?
In January, I read a total of 7 books – 7 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and 1 was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 2236 pages in total.
In terms of format: 1 was hardback, 3 were paperback, 1 was an ebook, 1 was an e-ARC, and 1 was an audiobook.
And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 3 books were YA fantasy; 1 was historical fiction; 1 was young-adult contemporary; 1 was contemporary/magical-realism, and 1 was a classic.
Onto the books themselves…
The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin
Genre: historical fiction; mystery
Read: 1st – 6th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #52: A book published in 2018
Review: “The Wicked Cometh marks a departure for me – it’s the first time in quite a while that I’ve chosen to read a book that has no hint of fantasy or magic, and is purely historical fiction, albeit with a generous helping of the Gothic. [It] is the kind of historical fiction I enjoy – it doesn’t sugarcoat or glorify the Victorian age, instead it presents a London that is more about the blood and excrement in the back alleys of the busy thoroughfares than the refined drawing rooms of the elite in society…” (full review here)
Princess Diaries: Take Two [audiobook] by Meg Cabot, read by Anne Hathaway *
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Read: 10th – 11th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #21: A book written in first person perspective
Review: “[Mia’s] narrative voice sounds reasonably accurate to a teenage girl which probably shouldn’t be (but is) somewhat refreshing. I have trouble “believing” some YA nowadays (mainly of the John Green ilk), because all its teenagers sound like philosophy professors – I’m not so old now that I don’t remember what the inner monologue of my teenage-self was concerned about, and suffice it to say, it probably wasn’t existentialism. So it’s refreshing to find that Mia actually seems like a relatively accurate portrayal of a teenager – as accurate a portrayal as it can be when said teenager also happens to be a European princess.” (full review here)
The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Read: 6th – 12th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #29: A book with a “Clue” weapon on the cover or title
Review: “Although there seems to be less potential for bloodshed, the intense scrutiny Kestrel is put under at court results in her walking a very thin line as she tries to affect change whilst also remaining true to her heart’s loyalties. It becomes a very dangerous game to play with much higher stakes and very real consequences. […] Previously established loyalties really are put under pressure in The Winner’s Crime and it makes for a very unsteady and unsettling reading experience because there really is absolutely no guarantee that any of your favourite characters will come out of this whole business unscathed.” (full review here)
The Fandom by Anna Day
Genre: young-adult; fantasy; dystopian
Read: 12th – 15th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #36: A book published in the last 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018) by an author you haven’t read before
Review: “… props must be given to Anna Day, because the actual reasoning for the gang’s falling into the world of the story was genius – I loved that plot revelation and I did not see that “big reveal” coming. It had an internal logic which I enjoyed, the reasoning held up, even if the rest of the world didn’t quite do so for me.” (full review here)
Sourdough by Robin Sloan
Genre: contemporary; magical realism
Read: 15th – 17th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #3: A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards
Review: “I cannot tell you why Sourdough was compelling, apart from my natural propensity towards bread. (Seriously, give me any bread product, I will wolf it down and yes that did cause cravings when I was reading this book late at night with no sour dough in sight.) There is something undeniably charming and infectious about Robin Sloan’s writing style…” (full review here)
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Genre: classic; French classic
Read: 20th – 27th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #48: A book related to one of the 7 deadly sins
Review: “Simple in its premise, complex in its characterisation, Gustave Flaubert’s debut does not shy away from presenting its characters in all their glory (flaws and all) in order to illustrate the lengths to which some people will go in an attempt to escape a banal, provincial existence in favour of a dramatic, glamorous life (involving opera and adultery) instead.” (full review here)
The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Read: 27th – 28th January
Challenges fulfilled: Around the Year #20: A book rated 5 stars by at least one of your friends
Review: “Bardugo weaves fairytales from Novyi Zem, Ravka, Kerch, and Fjerda, illustrating the different attitudes and cultural perspectives of each country’s peoples through these imaginative retellings of some familiar (and not so familiar) fairytale scenarios. What these stories share is a dark and sinister atmosphere, reminiscent of the Grimm brothers, and each tale shows that although the cultures and countries may be very different, each culture uses the medium of the fairytale in order to highlight morals and social mores which aren’t to be flouted, or bad things might very well befall you!” (full review here)
How did your January reading go?
What was your favourite book you read this month?
Please do share in the comments below and let’s chat books!