January Monthly Recap
Time for our first recap of 2016! Find out which books were favorites, which were duds, and which ones we are most looking forward to in 2016. We’ll end our wrap up with a calendar of book-related events/facts coming up in February and a glimpse of our upcoming content.
One randomly selected follower (email or wordpress follower) will win a $10 amazon gift card. Scroll down to see if you are the winner. The prize is only awarded if you contact us with your email address so make sure to check these monthly recaps each month to see if you won! We also want to hear from you so let us know what you read in January and what you look forward to reading next month. Have you been living up to your new years reading resolutions?
Jen: After a REALLY slow start to the reading year (thanks to having to move my Shelfari content), I somehow managed to pull off completing 10 books. I am not sure how I did it because it felt like all my time was consumed with setting up groups and transferring data. I read a book I hated, a book a loved, and lots in between. I also had a higher ratio of fantasy/escapism books this month – a trend that generally coincides with stressful months.
Favorite book read in January: My favorite January read was Anthony Marra’s The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories (read that review here). It was my first book of 2016 and I LOVED it!! Honorable mentions to A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James (a book I didn’t particularly enjoy but that I appreciated and has stuck with me) and Who Fears Death by Okorafor. I picked this up three days before the end of the month for a reading challenge.
Least favorite book read in January: Leaving the Sea: Stories by Ben Marcus. This book left me feeling frustrated and annoyed. You can read my review here. Dishonorable mentions: Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson. I wanted to love this book but found it gimmicky and disappointing from a plot perspective. The artwork and the concept was cool but the storyline was lackluster for me. I will be writing up a mini review of this book for my Scavenger Hunt Challenge update.
New Year’s Resolution (& January goals): So below are my new year’s resolutions and here’s how I’ve done so far. They remain my goals for February.
- Slow down my reading pace. Nope. Thought I had done this but turns out I still read 10 books over the month with two weeks where I did zero reading. So 10 books in two weeks is NOT slowing it down.
- Read more books published in 2016: Nope. So far I have not read any published this year. I read one published Oct 2015 but none in 2016 yet. I did recently get a galley of Mr. Splitfoot so I plan to read that in early February.
- Clearing out my physical TBR before buying new books: Nope. I also failed on this one too. Out of the ten books I read this month, four were on my physical TBR shelf, 1 was a reread of a book I already owned, 1 was a galley, and I bought 4. So I did clear some off my shelf but broke my pledge about new books.
Favorite book read in January: My favorite January read was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (review coming soon) with honourable mention going to The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Dickens (short review coming as part of my scavenger hunt update)
Least favorite book read in January: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel. The very title told me I wasn’t going to enjoy this book and I don’t mean the assassination bit, I mean the “stories” bit, yep short stories. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that as a general rule I hate short story collections and this collection did absolutely nothing to change my opinion. The only reason this got 3 stars from me was that 2 stars would put it on the level of The Eye or Morvern Callar and it wasn’t as bad as those.
New Year’s Resolution (& January goals): Like Jen I have managed to read 10 books in January at the same time utterly failing to reduce the amount of physical TBR books. I guess this is something that is just not going to happen.
My main achievement in January was to finally read Life After Life this was good and bad. Good because I really enjoyed the book, but bad because I now need to read the companion book A God in Ruins. The TBR mountain keeps growing.
Goals for February: February is going to be a busy 1001 book month for me I will be attempting to read Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz, Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks , Saturday by Ian McEwan and The Crab Flower Club by Cao Xueqin. I think that is quite enough to keep me out of trouble.
There are a few literary events occurring in the UK during February that I feel deserve a mention these are:
National Libraries Day – Saturday 6th February. I for one will be out to support my local library. Without my library I would not read half as many books as I do and even though their selection of non English writers and books is appalling, I blame lack of funding rather than the dedicated staff who must love books as much as we do.
Bare Lit in London – Friday 26th – Sunday 28th February the UK’s first book festival dedicated entirely to writers of colour. I think its sad that there is a need for this event as I am a colour and sex blind reader. Really I couldn’t care less what an author looks like, if they are male or female or what religion or not they choose to follow. What I care about is the story itself. I think it’s a good thing in that it will allow readers to connect with authors they might never have heard of and any festival that celebrates reading gets my vote.
What can you look forward to on our blog in February? First off, we will be continuing with the winter reading challenge. All items have been posted so it’s time to read! You can join it at any time this year. The first round of prizes will be given out at the end of March but anyone who completes all items by end of year will be eligible for one final prize. We hope you join in because it will be a fun scavenger hunt. You can read more about it here. We also will feature our recurring posts: Love it or Hate it, Read Around the World, Featured Author Ian McEwan, Kid’s Corner, and Terrible Reviews of Great Books. Finally, we’ll feature regular reviews of both non-list and 1001 list books.
For more on upcoming content you can always check out our event calendar — featured on our sidebar.
February 2016 book releases:
The High Mountains of Portugal: A Novel: Release date: Feb 2
The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Release date: Feb 2. This book is getting some buzz. I’m type of book but I’m intrigued by one review that compared the beginning to a Murakami book.
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri. Release Date: Feb 9
Midnight Sun by Jo Nesbo. Release date: Feb 16.
We want to hear from you. So what are your plans for February? Which books were your favorites and least favorites in January? Are you sticking to your New Year’s reading resolutions?
The winner of our follower appreciation is a wordpress follower: Elizabeth from The Stonehenge Stacks blog. In order to claim the prize you need to reply to this post or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) saying that you want to claim the prize! You must claim your prize before the end of the February otherwise it will go back into the pool for the next winner. Congrats, you win a $10 gift card to Amazon!
NOTE: winners are randomly selected from pool of either wordpress or email followers of this blog.
Stay tuned for the announcement of our reader-book match. If you want to be matched to a book speak up!! We are creating a list of people who want to do this. If we select you, we’ll email you a survey and when you send it back to us we (along with help from our followers) will create a personalized reading list for you.