I normally start these round ups by saying something along the lines of I can’t believe it’s the end of the month already blah blah blah where has the time gone blah blah blah but of course, this being January nothing can be further from the truth. Longest. Month. Ever. I can’t believe that it’s technically still January? I swear they must have added in a couple of extra weeks somewhere. Anyway, here we are at the end of January at last and here is what I have mostly been reading.
It looks like quite a big pile but I suppose one of the (only) good things about January is allowing yourself to wallow under a blanket with a book at every opportunity. The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell was a really good read. It is one of her older books I think but I’m still trying to work my way through her older stuff. It is about a long lost family who slowly find their way into each other’s lives and it really made me think about just how complicated modern families can be. I loved all of the characters, this book was written with real heart. Definitely one to look up if you haven’t read it already. Oh and please note the chewed corner! Argh! Reading with a Siamese kitten should be classed as an extreme sport. Basically anything that comes in between me giving her my complete and undivided attention gets eaten. Books included.
Next I read Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald which I have to admit I really struggled with. It was only in the last one hundred or so pages that I began to really enjoy it despite me wanting to love it. After reading Villa America by Liza Klaussmann last year I became fascinated by the whole Lost Generation thing and wanted to read more. This seemed the perfect place to start but I just didn’t warm to the characters at all. I know the book reflects on Fitzgerald’s own personal tragedy which made me feel even worse for not liking it but they really weren’t very likeable characters. That said, I’m glad I ploughed on and finished it.
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer was a great read and it has made me want to look up more of her books as I really enjoyed her style of writing. As you might have guessed from the title it is about a wife and is a very clever take on sexual politics and marriage. Behind all of the compromise, dedication and promise inherent in marriage there so often lies a secret and even though I part guessed what that secret was in this case, I still loved every last page of this book.
Then I read Chocolat by Joanne Harris which has been sat on my bookshelf for years. Ohmygodfathers I am ridiculously late to the party here (as always) but what an incredible book. I can’t tell you just how much I needed this bit of magic in my life I absolutely loved it. Definitely right up there as one of my favourite books of all time.
And last but by no means least was the small but mighty Women & Power by Mary Beard. I have seen this little book pop up on so many coffee table flatlays on Instagram over the last few months and I only hope that people actually read it and not just take pretty photos of it. I guess that in itself is a grumble for another day but hey ho. I am a big fan of Mary Beard and have been dying to read this new book. It looks at how history has treated powerful women (spoiler alert: pretty bloody terribly) and basically asks if women aren’t perceived to be within the structures of power, isn’t it power that we need to redefine? Completely fascinating and an absolute must read.
I feel like this month has been a really good mix of books and I want to make an effort to mix things up this year with old and new, fiction and non-fiction. I don’t normally set myself reading challenges but this year I want to really try to make my way through the books I have on my shelves before buying any more but most of all, I want to read all of those books that I should have read but haven’t quite got around to. With two such books under my belt this month, Tender is the Night and Chocolat, I feel like I’m off to a good start and it should be an achievable goal but watch this space as they say!
Do you have any reading goals for the year ahead? What have you been reading this January?