Shelved: What I've Been Reading January 2017

I don't know what it is about January

but for the past several years I become a voracious reader around this time. It probably has something to do with the fact that my parents always made sure to include at least one book under the tree every year at Christmas. But this year I seem to be even more obsessed than normal. To put it in perspective, last year in January I read 3 books and this year I read 9. And yes, I had a job last year, but this year I have a crawling baby, so I feel like the stats are pretty comparable.

I've made some changes lately to the way I read. Over the summer I started listening to more audio books, and three of the books I finished in January were audio. When I'm running around with Pasha, cleaning, or driving I try to go for audiobooks before I turn on the tv or radio. I started reading more than only one physical book at a time. Our house has two floors, so I now have an upstairs book and a downstairs book. I'm also much more meticulous about tracking what I read. Instead of just putting them into Goodreads I am also logging my books in my planner every month and I'm tracking them here, at least for now.

Hag-Seed, Margaret Atwood

This was my one real holdover from 2016. I bought it on my birthday back in October, but it took me forever to finish reading. Not because I didn't enjoy the book, actually the opposite, it was so good. I love Margaret Atwood. I think she's a genius. Her original fiction is amazing, but her adaptations have always been among my favorites. In her latest novel Atwood adapted The Tempest into a story about a theater director who has left his prestigious position and found work in a prison education program. As always Atwood's writing is unique and powerful, which makes for excellent literature but less than stellar bedtime reading.

Troublemaker, Leah Remini

Memoirs narrated by the author are one of my favorite categories of audio books. My mom watched Leah Remini's show about Scientology, and since I don't have cable I decided to look into the next best thing. Actually, based on reviews I've seen of the show I think this might be better. Remini is in turns hilarious and sincere while telling her story. The book is technically a memoir, but it is also a detailed history of Scientology. And the stuff about Tom Cruise? I finished this one in only two days.

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

The majority of my reading time this month was spent on this one, which is my entry for a book over 600 pages for the Modern Mrs Darcy reading challenge. I still cannot decide how I feel about it. I didn't like it as much as I wanted, but I also did not hate it. The story was not hugely riveting, but the layers of story rang very true as someone who went to graduate school for history. Much of the book I found myself thinking that it was a little like Indiana Jones with quality scholarship. At the same time I found myself a little bogged down in the details of fabricated history, so I might have skimmed a few passages.

Before the Fall, Noah Hawley

This is a book I wish I had read instead of picked up on audio.  The story is specifically centered around a male protagonist and the majority of the other characters are also men. Hawley's writing style lends itself to a superior male tone when read aloud by a male narrator. The book itself is engaging enough to read to the end and kept me guessing as to what happened the whole way. Since finishing I've started watching Fargo (I know, I'm way behind), for which Hawley is the showrunner, and his tone comes across a lot less abrasively on the show.

Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty

This was my other audio novel for the month. I listened to Big Little Lies a few months ago and was absolutely riveted both by the writing and the narrator. I was not as in love with this one, but it was the same narrator and the story was still fascinating. I don't want to say too much about the plot because the story centers around an event that everyone hints around but is the mystery that moves the action forward. All I will say is that the subject matter was much harder for me to listen to than the previous novel.

I Want My Epidural Back, Karen Alpert

This was my nursery book. Pasha (aka Chris) gave it to me for my birthday and the short essay style made it perfect to keep next to the rocking chair in his room. This book is hilarious. More than once I took a photo of a page to email Chris during nap time. Which I then felt a little bad about because the language in this book is definitely NSFW. But overall? Highly entertaining.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

I don't know how I avoided spoilers on this one, but all I'll say on this one aside from the fact that it was a little long is #keepthesecrets

The Grownup, Gillian Flynn

January was my first month as a Book of the Month Club member, which is the only reason I even heard of this book though evidently the movie rights to it have been purchased. Which I found fascinating considering that the book is so short and does not really have an ending. When I was pregnant with Pasha I found myself reading a lot of dark literature, including Flynn's work. I wish this story had been a full novel because I have a feeling I would have liked it at least as much if not more than Gone Girl.

Girls in the Moon, Janet McNally

Girls in the Moon was my Book of the Month pick for January and the impetus behind my signing up. I was completely taken by the cover when I saw it online. The story is about a teenage girl who goes to visit her sister in New York City. The two also just happen to be the daughters of two members of a popular 90s band. The book alternates chapters between the daughters and flashbacks of their mother. I usually find YA books that take place in NYC to be a bit overdone, but despite the fact that a lot of the action takes place in Brooklyn, it felt like the New York I have seen on my visits to my Aunt's apartment rather than an episode of Gossip Girl. If you like Rainbow Rowell and Kate Raccula, give McNally a shot.

So that's what I read in January. What have you been reading lately?