It’s been an amazing reading month to kick off the year, and I have torn my way through two readathons reasonably successfully. The total book count for January is a staggering thirteen, and I’ve been able to read some fantastic books. So let’s take a look at them…
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This was a re-read to kick off the year with love, affection and creativity. I was feeling a bit chewed up at the end of 2016, so it was great to get back to such an inspiring book that explores how to live creatively. No matter who you are, what you want to do with your life, your background or your circumstance, Liz Gilbert encourages a life of courageous creativity that I will always turn back to when I think I’m losing my way.
Moranthology by Caitlin Moran
I listened to Moran’s How to be a Woman last year, and wanted some of that powerful and hilarious attitude back in my life. Again, I listened to this audiobook rather than purchasing the paper copy. Having Moran give voice to her words with joyful irreverence and poignant clarity is the perfect way to enjoy this gem.
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
It took me a while to get through this book, I’m not going to lie. As part of a university project I pushed through and I’m really glad that I did. The first half of the book dragged for me, and I was having to claw my way through despite some of the really interesting subject matter. It was only during the second half, when the protagonist actually gets to tell their story, that it becomes alive and vibrant.
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
The first of my bibliothon reads and a fantastic retelling of Hamlet. I tore through this in one day and scenes from it have stuck with me. McEwan has a wonderful way of carving tension out of a story and this is no exception.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
I simply adore Schwab’s storytelling; her moral ambiguity with characters is told with such simplicity it is gorgeous. I hope we get the sequel to this very bad boy soon.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
Elegant and poignant, I have a love of Japanese writing and Kitchen was no different. A short volume that really packs a punch.
Fen by Daisy Johnson
An unusual collection of short stories with dark magical realism woven throughout, I’m still not sure what to make of it. One of those books I may have to go back to in the future to gain a truer impression.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
The reading pick for the bibliothon, this wasn’t my usual fair. A YA historical, it’s the first in James Patterson’s new YA imprint and it certainly had its moments. I listened to this one (easier to cram in those extra books for a readathon!) and the narration was pretty good, but I became fed up pretty quickly with the YA tropes, the attempt at Victorian feminism and the endless descriptions and analogies of dead bodies…
Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson
Another Shakespeare retelling – this time The Merchant of Venice – and a thought-provoking book that is going to continue to colour my view of the world. Not the best representation of women, but powerful nonetheless.
Alone on the Beach at Night by Walt Whitman
Tiny poetry collection from Penguin and easy to round off a readathon with. Simple poetry exploring the sea, love and what it means to be American – perhaps a very timely read right now.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Onto my next readthon – this time DiverseAThon – and first up was Orlando. I absolutely adored this classic and cannot wait to get my hands on more of Woolf’s writing.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A completely unexpected read that was both powerful and surprisingly funny. I’d highly recommend for anyone interested in reading such a richly diverse novel with an interesting approach to style.
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
And last up is the sweetest slice of YA contemporary! Again, not my usual read, but soon it swept me up in the San Francisco magic of it. The characters are so endearing you can’t help but fall in love with them. I was more drawn to Mark’s storyline over Kate’s, but still wonderful.
That’s a wrap! If you’d like to see any full-length reviews of the books I’ve read, leave a comment in the description below and I’ll get to it.