I actually read a ton of books last month, and although some are a bit ‘cheaty’ I’m still bloody proud. I’m having two different tallies, as my main goal is to read 50 books – but in my head, by 50 books I mean I want to read 50 proper books and not count the quick, easy-to-read, often-one-day kindle reads that I usually get for free or for until £2. So Goodreads is my ‘proper 50 book’ record and I have a little ‘what i read’ book (thanks to the beautiful December Owlcrate box) which I write down everything, warts and all.
In the month of January, I read 6 *ahem* proper books and another 2 kindle reads on top of that. Now I say 6, but really it’s more like 4 and a half – first of all because one of the 6 was very small and another I merely finished in January, whereas in reality I read the vast majority of it in December. Oh well, according to Goodreads it counts (and on that note, you can find me on Goodreads at http://goodreads.com/Stammydodger).
So the first book I finished in January was the beast that is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – a full review of this will either be popping up on this blog or on a friend’s website very soon! To sum up my thoughts: it was beautifully heartbreaking. If you follow me on Instagram @Stammydodger (so much plugging today, it’s not true), you will have seen the various photos when I finished the book and the note a friend wrote me whilst drunk to help me deal with finishing it. It was heartbreaking and it gutted me, yet I’m so glad that I stuck with it and managed to finish. A book has never felt so powerful to me before, and I completely understand the concept that characters are the ones who drive the plot. In all honesty, I couldn’t tell you the plot of this book outside the fact that it follows these four friends and their lives. Five stars, no doubt.
After that, I wanted something easy to read and decided on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, which ended up being kind of sad and bittersweet as well! Alas, a very sweet and lovely book to read, one that I’ve been meaning to read ever since my dad bought me a copy when I was a young teen. I awarded it four stars.
Now for the first Kindle book of the year, called The Score by Elle Kennedy, which was a light-hearted, easygoing romantic comedy which I gave a relieved-it’s-not-sad three stars.
Following that was Waterstone’s rediscovered classic of the month A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, which I also gave three stars – but a very different kind of three stars to The Score. See, I find it very very very difficult to rate books against each other, so in my head I rate them according to their category. If I were to talk about style and sophistication of writing, these kindle books I gobble up would be 1-2 stars with Hemingway at 5, but alas, that’s not how I work. Moveable Feast is very beautifully written, a non-fiction set in Paris after the war, but the man is just an arse. Never have I read something where there is name-dropping on what feels like every other page.
Then we get to another kindle read, Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre which I’m still not 100% sure about. There were a few isolated scenes that, on their own, were very good and fun to read, but the relationship between the two main characters just never seemed to work in my head. There’s a very good way to do the Frenemy trope, but it wasn’t within this book. In all honesty, there were a few times I wanted to give up with this book as it felt quite unnatural and uncomfortable, but still an ok read to wind down. And really, that’s the kind of book I download on my kindle – something that is easygoing, not difficult to read, and I can just relax.
Now for The Martian by Andy Weir – and I see what all the fuss is about. I was going to post a review for this, but I’ve decided I’d like to see the film first to see how they manage to transfer the brilliance of the book into film. What a fantastic read, five stars without a doubt, with a surprisingly hilarious narrator yet packed with scene after scene of action.
One of my university reads now, Turkish Embassy Letters by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and I am unashamed to say that I did indeed picture Lady Mary from Downton Abbey travelling with a husband around Turkey because, really, it made for a much more interesting read. I’ve never read any travel writing before, so don’t even ask me why I’m doing eighteenth century travel writing, but I still found it very interesting.
Finally we get to the last book of January, and what a book, Uprooted by Naomi Novik which I absolutely adored and will definitely be posting a full review for. I always forget how much I love fantasy, despite it being the genre I read the most, and this appealed to me to no end. I mean, one of the main characters is called ‘The Dragon’ – how could I not like it? I read it in three nights – literally, three nights, as I stupidly started it before I went to sleep and ended up reading until the early hours of the morning, only putting it down to get some kind of rest before work. There were a couple of elements that made me lean towards four stars, but I can’t help it, I just love it too much to not give it five stars.
That brings me to 6/50 for this challenge, and a total 8 books for this year. I highly doubt February will be as successful, considering the addition of university work and reading of articles that I can’t count as books along with essays (oh man), but I’m pretty chuffed with my 2016 reading so far. Not sure if any month can beat A Little Life, The Martian, AND Uprooted, but I’m willing to try.