I’m kind of ridiculously proud of myself this month. It turns out that two of the books I said I would finish in December I actually finished in the very first days of January. But it didn’t end up mattering, because I remembered to add in a couple of books I finished earlier in the year that were pregnancy-related but I hadn’t wanted to add to Goodreads and advertise my condition/plans. So Anne of Avonlea and Bringing Up Bebe got shuffled to the 2018 total. But that means those two items, along with the five that I solidly started and finished in 2018 brings me to 7 books read so far. I am so, so excited. Especially since there will be a little person coming along soon to tank my numbers. Better to be a good chunk ahead now and have slightly less to catch up on later.
This month’s book club book. It was good, but it was also not as all-encompassingly awesome as I thought it was going to be, or supposed to be. And it was also not quite as fantastical as I had imagined based on the trailers for the movie that I’ve seen. It was still good and interesting, but we had a fascinating (though short) discussion during book club about how we were kind of disappointed by this book, and also didn’t really like Meg (the main character). So…eh? That’s going to be a seriously unpopular opinion, but whatevs. I didn’t dislike it – it was just after talking about it with other people I realized it was maybe not as awesome as all the hype?
This is a book that didn’t disappoint me. I had vague ideas about what it was supposed to be about – refugees from a war in the middle east and some kind of magic? – but it turned out to be more awesome, interesting and nuanced than I would possibly have imagined. And as I had hoped last month in my preview, it was very short, and so I was able to finish it very quickly. I also loved that the author read for the audiobook. There’s not much I can say about the story without spoiling it, but know that the short description above is just a starting point and makes the whole story FASCINATING.
I am frankly surprised that I got the audiobook of this as fast as I did. The book only came out in the fall, and I feel like it’s the kind of thing that more people would be clamoring to read – but maybe not? In any case, I enjoyed this quite a bit. I do like short story collections, which can be both frustrating and relieving. If a story is particularly good, you just want it to go on and on. If it’s bad, there will be an ending sooner than you think. Hanks did a pretty good job with a good mix – quite a few good stories, a couple less appealing, and a couple that were wonderful. Another quick-ish read, and the audiobook is nice too because Hanks’s voice is so familiar.
I don’t know where I got this book recommended to me, but I was searching for something to read in my queue after Uncommon Type, and this was available. It turned out to be really interesting, and also to have won the 2016 Printz award for excellence in YA literature from the ALA group that governs that area. There were times when it confused or annoyed me because I’m not the biggest fan of magical realism, but this book was so different in that area, that I’m not sure I minded too much. It did end somewhat abruptly in my opinion, but the story was good and different, and surprised me more than once.
Oh yeah – a book about unusual death rituals around the world, but which treats them respectfully. Not the kind of book I would expect to find myself reading, but very good nonetheless. I think I mentioned enjoying Doughty’s “Ask a Mortician” video series, but she has proven herself an excellent and humorous writer as well, which makes me want to read her other book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.
IN PROGRESS/IMMEDIATELY NEXT:
Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Another book where I’m not sure who or what list recommended it to me. It’s a long one though, and a fascinating look through the eyes of four women in three generations of a family about their lives and how it all relates to their summer home in Maine.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Book club book for February. This is one my sister has read and liked, which is a big deal since she’s not much of a reader. I’m interested to see whether all the hype surrounding this book is worth it!
So yeah. January. On a good start to the year.