January Reading Wrap Up

Buckle up kids, it’s the first reading wrap up of 2018. I’ve set myself a target of 45 books on Goodreads, but I’m not planning to get so caught up in numbers this year – instead, I want to connect with the books I read more. I’ve already started writing my mini 2018 book journal to keep track of what I read and what I think as I’m reading it. So far, so good, and I’m looking forward to what this year will bring. For now, a summary of what January brought me.

First up was Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, the second book in her trilogy which I am thoroughly enjoying. Since finishing it, I’ve decided to save the third and final instalment for a little bit so that I don’t have the same problem I had last year when reading series in one go, and become bored. I think I enjoyed this sequel more than the first, or at least I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first half of book one. Laini Taylor is an incredible storyteller, and she somehow makes every book seem unique with new ideas and unthought of tales, which makes reading even more enjoyable. If you’re looking for something fantastical, this is the series for you.

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To make sure that I didn’t go from one fantasy to the next and have some variety in what I read, next I picked up Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake. I really enjoyed this collection of his poems, and it’s definitely made me want to keep discovering more poets and their different styles. A strange reading experience, as although I’ve never sat down and read any Blake before other than snippets, I wasn’t expecting to know a lot of his works. Yet so many of his poems triggered so many different memories, knowing that I’d heard snippets and refrains of his before now. As someone who feels like they don’t know that much about poetry, I truly enjoyed reading Blake.

Then, my guilty pleasure of the month, Brave by Jennifer L Armentrout. I adored her books as a teenager, which managed to blend fantasy with comedy with the pure fun that exists in teenage literature. Whilst her books are now classed as Young Adult, I’m so glad that they have that element of fun that make reading her books such a delight. It’s interesting to see the development not only of her writing but her ideas, as I’ve noticed the darker themes she has taken on over the years in her work – I, for one, think she does it fantastically well, especially as she still incorporates laughter and lightness in her stories.

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My fourth and final read of the month was my first piece of non-fiction of the year, and what a good one it was. Bitch Doctrine by Laurie Penny was utterly wonderful, and I’m so glad that I’ve made a pledge to read as much non-fiction as possible this year. Each chapter of Bitch Doctrine felt like a rallying cry, and I wanted to answer every one. I wanted to discuss this book with everyone, and I nearly did. Penny manages to tackle so many different ideas and themes, and not once do you feel like any point they make lacks substance or depth. What I especially appreciated was that this was by no means a ‘white feminist’ book, and instead made such an effort to look at intersectional feminism, and how race, gender, sexual orientation, and more comes into play – and why each of them have feminism in common. Strong arguments, persuasive points, and just brilliant writing – this is definitely a book that I’ll remember.

And those are my January 2018 reads! I’m currently reading my second ever Ali Smith novel, and also have such a huge tower of a TBR pile that I’ve given up being daunted by it. I’m so excited to start all of these wonderful books, and my only concern is that I won’t be able to get to them all this year.

A good problem to have, I think.

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Books I’m desperate to read

I’ve been terrible at keeping up to date on blog posts since starting full-time at work, which of course wasn’t helped by me going on holiday, but I’m back and hoping to post more than I have been. So, to get back into things, here’s a post about all the books I wish I had more time to read – because my problem is that I want to read all of these books now. (What a nice problem to have).

First up is a book that has been on my list for a long, long time, and that is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Ever since reading Neverwhere, I’ve wanted to read as much as I possibly can from Gaiman and instead I’ve read nothing more. American Gods sounds like a book that I’ll adore, but my problem at the moment is launching into another chunky read – which is clearly a trend I have, as another book I’m desperate to read is called Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. Another chunky read, this book has been recommended to me again and again by my colleagues and I so want to start it, but the size is making me nervous. This is a ridiculous thought, however, as some of my favourite books are huge – take A Little Life, one of my all-time top books, which is a monster. There’s just something about big books that gets me this way – before starting all I think is ‘oh man, this is going to take ages’, but as soon as I’ve finished the feeling of pride and sense of accomplishment is so high that I wish it was longer.

 

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A snap I took at work, because these books are just so pretty (and This is Going to Hurt is marvellous)

Whilst we’re talking about big books and Neil Gaiman, I am also desperate to read his Norse Mythology. I adore mythology, a love that has only been encouraged by a degree in Classics where my dissertation was all about myths and most of my modules were on ancient literature, which encapsulates stories and myths. Now that I’m out of uni, I’m not learning about new myths that are more ridiculous than the last, and I’ve always been interested in Norse mythology. When Gaiman released a book on the subject, I was so excited that I immediately bought a copy – but have not found the time to actually read the thing. You can be sure though that, as soon as I do read it, I’m not going to stop talking about norse myths for a good long while.

I’m normally pretty bad at reading non-fiction, which is why I want to read Norse Mythology so badly, but after asking around even more friends recommended Maggie Nelson’s Argonauts to me. This is an author I have heard so much about, and one friend of mine mentions Argonauts in most conversations I have with her, so I’m sure that it’s one that I need to pick up pretty damn soon.

 

I’ve spoken before about my sheer love of book covers, and I need to do another post about it pretty soon to show off all the new pretty books I’ve acquired which include, drum roll, a set of Virginia Woolf books. Mrs Dalloway, Orlando, A Room of One’s Own, and every other Virginia Woolf is something that I just need to read. I’ve read parts of them for uni, but never sat down and appreciated the whole text – which Woolf deserves.

 

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I bought the above edition of His Dark Materials towards the end of last year/beginning of this one, and read Northern Lights earlier this year – and loved it. Yet everyone has told me that the sequels are on a whole other level, which just makes me think that they’ll become my top top favourites, considering how much I loved the first one. Couple that with the fact that the new Philip Pullman is being released next month, these books are ones that I want to read as soon as physically possible. (Just as soon as I’ve convinced myself out of reading five others).

And so concludes the books that, at this moment in time, are at the top of my TBR pile. At this rate, I’ll have planned out everything I’m reading for the rest of this year (not that that’s a bad thing…). Let me know if you’ve read anything I’ve mentioned, or have recommendations because of course what I need is more books to add to the pile!