Which books are worth the read and which should you skip? Find out what books I’ve been reading lately and whether I recommend them.
Some months my reading is on fire, and I literally go through a book a day.
January, however, was not like that for me. I got off to a slow start, and then things came to a crashing halt. At my weekly indoor soccer game, I took a soccer ball straight to the eye.
After an emergency room visit, I found out my eye was okay, but I had a concussion. No reading (and no blogging) for at least a week, possibly two.
I have to admit, audiobooks are what saved my sanity during those first few days. I had to slow them down to normal speed, so they easily filled up those long hours as I let my brain recover.
I’m happy to say that I seem to be fully recovered. I’ll hold off on sports and skiing for a while longer just in case, but I am able to read again. I’ve already polished off one book in a single sitting.
It’s not much (at least for me), but here is a look at my January 2021 reading list.
January Reading List
In December 1926, the mystery novelist Agatha Christie disappeared. After an 11 day manhunt, the infamous author suddenly reappears, claiming no memory of what happened. Marie Benedict’s new novel imagines Christie’s disappearance as a mind game against her cheating husband. Chapters alternate between Mrs. Christie recounting her life and marriage leading up to that fateful day and Mr. Christie dealing with the fall out of her disappearance, in which he is the prime suspect.
From what I’ve researched, the novel is decently accurate to Christie’s life, which I appreciated. I loved learning more about her life, though you really come to loathe her husband. However, the chapters from Mr. Christie’s point of view dragged, pulling the novel down with them. Overall, the story is interesting but falls short of being as compelling as I would have liked.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In a small Kansas town, a feud between two competing fried chicken restaurants has lasted generations. After marrying the son of the competing side, Amanda is tired of the family feud. Hoping to end things once and for all, she enters them as contestants on a reality food show. Amanda won’t have it easy when her sister Mae returns home to help their mother with the business. The Chicken Sisters is a comfort read about complicated relationships and understanding ourselves. Because it was Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick in December, I expected more from it, but it’s just your standard beach read – fun for an afternoon then quickly forgotten.
On New Year’s Eve in 1982, Oona Lockhart is faced with a life-changing decision: travel abroad to continue her studies in London or pursue fame as a member of her boyfriend’s rock band. As the clock strikes midnight and Oona turns 19, she faints and wakes up as a fifty-year-old. Thus begins the mixed-up time travel life of Oona, where every year she gets to randomly experience her life at different stages.
I have to say, Oona Out of Order has one of the most inventive premises I’ve read in a while. The time travel concept allowed Montimore to explore if we can change our destiny while having fun highlighting the differences between decades. The writing itself was above average, though not exceptional, making it worth a read if you are in the mood for something a little different.
With her love life in shatters, Maelyn Jones is devastated to find this will be her last Christmas spent at her family friend’s snowy Utah cabin. As she drives away, a car crash sends her into a time loop to relive the same Christmas vacation over and over again. Now, instead of a drunken make out with one brother, she can finally confess her feelings for the other. And maybe save the cabin along the way.
My blogging friends convinced me I needed to read In a Holidaze since it’s set in Utah. Overall, the story is cute with a good tempo and a dash of steam. I thought it was much better than The Honey-Don’t List, the only other Christina Lauren book I’ve read. If you are looking for an escapist holiday romance, this definitely fits the bill.
From the Backlist
When Fiver gets a premonition of danger, Hazel leads a group of bunnies to establish a new warren in the English countryside while facing predators, men, and neighboring rabbit tribes. Richard Adams’s modern classic has been on my to-read list for years, but I’ve honestly been avoiding it. I kept confusing it with Redwall, so I thought it was about rabbits fighting with swords.
Nope, it’s just a story about bunnies. An extremely compelling story about bunnies that hooked me from the first chapter. Actually, from the introduction. Watership Down is not an allegory but a simple adventure tale Adams told to his daughters on a long road trip. Fun for adults and children alike, Watership Down is the perfect audiobook to listen to at any age and was just the ticket when I had my concussion.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most popular personality test in the world, used at large corporations, universities, and even the military. However, not much is know about the creators – a mother-daughter team of amateur psychoanalysts inspired by Carl Jung’s teachings. Emre uses in-depth reporting to reveal the controversial lives of the two founders whose personality typing has little basis in science. Although Emre promises shocking reveals, what you get is a dull biography of the eccentric creators which was so boring I eventually gave up on it.
Quentin Jacobsen has spent his entire life with a crush on his next-door neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman. In the waning days of their senior year, Margo enlists Quentin’s help on one last night of adventure before Margo disappears, leaving behind clues for Quentin to find her.
Paper Towns felt like a wish of what the author wanted teenage life to be than an actual look at the high school experience. Margo is the unrealistic fantasy version of the “cool girl,” and, although I enjoyed Margo and Quentin’s epic night, once Margo disappears, Green tries to push a thought-provoking narrative and fails miserably. I’ve heard the story is basically a replica of his books Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, neither of which I’m sure I will read.
My To-Read List
What’s up next for me? Before I let you go, here are a few of the titles I’m hoping to get through this upcoming month.
Be sure to come back in February to see which ones I read.
What books did you read in January?