If January was all about starting fresh and new, February will have to be about finishing a few things. I started a lot of books, and several of them are still in progress now. But, despite that, I had a great reading month in January because I loved so many of the books I read! Here are the books I read in January.
Archenemies // Marissa Meyer // I haven’t read/watched much in the superhero realm (I keep saying I want to watch all the Marvel movies but we’ve only seen a few sporadic ones), but I love most everything Marissa Meyer writes so I got sucked into this series. This was book 2 and I loved it and am impatiently waiting for book 3.
Save the Date // Morgan Matson // This was a really fun YA family comedy with a dash of romance set the weekend of the main character’s sibling’s birthday. It had very real feel to it, which I appreciated, and less angst than the typical YA. I have always loved Morgan Matson’s books and this one was also a win for me. Plus the cover is adorable, and the model on front looks like Keri Russell.
The Humans // Matt Haig // Our winter book club pick, this book completely took me by surprise. I procrastinated reading it because I was intrigued but not excited, but I ended up loving it. It was so poignant and insightful and tender, despite being ultimately about a body-snatching alien trying to prevent a monumental math problem getting solved by a human.
Warcross // Marie Lu // While not a gamer in the least bit (I’m basically the worst), I for some reason am drawn to dystopian/sci-fi books with a virtual/video-game setting. The only real reason why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was probably because I figured out the twist and felt a bit let-down by the ending. But I loved the characters and the world, once I got immersed in it. And of course, there is another book, so I will read that and probably love it as well.
American Panda // Gloria Chao // I loved this book! It’s hilarious and raw yet also tender and full of heart. And it’s YA so you get that great voice of a character trying to find her place and her way in the world. I fell in love with the main character Mei (and with Darren of course!), as she tries to balance her cultural (and primarily parental) expectations, with what she really wants, along with finding her place as both a Taiwanese and American girl.
In Other Words // Jhumpa Lahiri // I’ll share here what I wrote on Instagram about this beloved book: Lahiri wrote this book in Italian after spending years learning (and loving and obsessing the language), and then it was translated by someone else. The amazing thing is that the book is printed in both languages side-by-side. I love being able to glance over and attempt reading some sentences in Italian, and then checking my understanding. My background is primarily in Spanish and some French, but I did take one class of Italian as an undergrad, and I also studied Romance linguistics in grad school, so to read a memoir of language learning and language-loving is right up my alley. This book makes me want to dig back into my other languages, to not only master them but to enjoy the words more fully, and be immersed in their cultures.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen // Lucy Knisley // I now have a new illustrator to follow and adore, and I hope to eventually read all of Lucy Knisley’s books, because this one was so delightful. From my IG review: This book is honest, funny, and makes its reader’s mouth water with its delicious recounting of a foodie upbringing. I simply fell in love with Lucy’s style of artwork. One caveat that there is a definite coming-of-age chapter that’s not suitable for younger readers in my opinion.
What else is there to share about January?
Well, I worked on my blog overhaul that I mentioned in my last newsletter (if you didn’t get that, you can sign up here). I’m still in progress for this, but I’m hoping to get all of my old lifestyle-ish posts moved back over to my original blogging domain, Gidget Goes Home, and moving forward, this will blog will be all things literary (writing, reading, and a few snippets of life). I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop via newsletter or blog post emails (which I’m going to try out again here on this blog).
I set some goals and cast some vision for the year, focused in on an inspiring word, and starting getting up earlier to get out and walk the dog before David leaves for work a few days a week (this will resume when all this crazy rain ends).
I also did a bit of writing after taking an accidental month off (only 3,188 words, so hopefully that number will improve greatly in Feb). This is on my new YA project which is a retelling of an old favorite movie. I have decided, for now, to take a break from querying my other manuscript to focus on finishing this new draft. I’m also hoping to bring back the blog love this year.
I found some new favorite leggings.
My lovingly-gifted monstera plant that I thought I had killed sprouted a new leaf. Hope springs anew!
My kids got their team assignments for baseball and softball, and so begins my season of reading at the ball fields.
We started dreaming and planning some travel for 2019.
We finished our rewatch of The Office last night, and again, I could not have loved the final episode more. The characters’ final thoughts and reflections on their lives being documented brought tears to my eyes again, especially Pam’s.
“I thought it was weird when you picked us to make a documentary. But all in all…I think an ordinary paper company like Dunder Mifflin was a great subject for a documentary. There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?”
I hope January treated you well! xo