January, the month for me that is always the peak of the reading curve. I’ll read and feel good about what I’m reading and then ultimately crash in the following months. It is just the way it goes.
I read a total of 8 books, or 8.5 if I include the book I put down and didn’t finish.
The Foundling by Stacey Halls
This is a book I put down out of necessity. I got half way through before the emotions got the better of me and I recognised that it might not be the best book to read when I’m feeling low. Saying that I was liking it. I don’t like it as much as The Familiars, which I did personally anticipate, but it is an interesting story about motherhood and nature vs nurture. It also portrays anxiety in a very profound way which I appreciate and think is done well. When I get back in the right mood and frame of mind to read this I know I’ll finish it and enjoy what the rest of the story has to say.
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix
I talked about this in my December wrap up as it was my current read at the time and I didn’t quite finish it before the post went live, but I did finish it within the first couple of days of January so I’m talking about it again. This book was fun. It was pure escapist action that carried me away. I didn’t think it was anything extraordinary and mind-blowing, but the merging between reality and fantasy felt well-done, the pacing never stagnated, there was always something happening and it didn’t take much mental energy to inhabit. It was the perfect read for that Christmas-New Year limbo.
The Island by Victoria Hislop
I’ve gone from fun and light to emotional and heavy. The Island is a re-read for me, and a necessary one so I could read One August Night (the sequel/companion) and know how it fitted into the timeline and story of The Island. I’ve always liked this book and seven years on since I last read it, I still do. Centred around the island of Spinalonga, it is a story of family, of love, of ignorance, and making the best out of a difficult situation, and I feel that, the latter aspect especially, to be even more poignant and meaningful given our current circumstances.
A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
As soon as series 2 of the show aired on TV and I started watching it, I was stubbornly trying not to pick the books up again. I wanted to watch, not read it, especially as I already had a book on the go I was enjoying and I deemed it far too early in the year to give it a re-read. As we can clearly figure out, I failed and gave in to the stubbornness. However, I can’t kick myself for it because it was the series I needed to tackle the lockdown struggles I had again.
The Girl Who Reads on the Métro by Christine Féret-Fleury, translated by Ros Schwartz
I talked about this book a little in my Adult Fiction 2021 Radar Books post at the beginning of January, highlighting the relaxation it exudes just by looking at the cover and reading the synopsis. For me, it was all that and more. I read the first page on a whim as I sometimes do just to get a small insight and before long I found myself on my bedroom floor, my back against the bed, and reading page after page of personality and detail, swept away by the envelopedness of books. It was the warm, comforting hug I needed because not only did it remind me why I love books and reading, it gave me the words and advice I’ve been struggling to find.
Also, it is one French to English translation where I didn’t stumble over every word, or think “hmm, I wouldn’t have worded it like that. It read like a dream and now as usual, I want to track down the original French book.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
I wish I had the physical copy of this book because whilst I very much enjoyed listening to this rather short and honest read with the additional music and sound effects, the book in all its simplicity would be truly beautiful to look at. What I love most about this are the messages of friendship, togetherness and strength. They might sound like a lot of inspirational quotes we can find ourselves online, and therefore come across as repetitive, but for me it strikes a different chord coming from the mouths of a mole, fox, and a horse.
I also want to note an Audible Original Podcast I listened to which is…
The Secret Diaries of Detective William Murdoch
Murdoch Mysteries has always been one of my favourite TV programmes. Set in Turn of the Century and now early 1900s Toronto, it follows Detective William Murdoch of Station House 4 as he investigates and solves serious crimes, notably alongside Inspector Brackenreid, Constable George Crabtree, and Doctor Julia Ogden. It is an eclectic mix of history, science, crime, steampunk, comedy, and culture which works brilliantly. As a character the detective is very logical and scientific, he sees things that a lot of people around him miss, and he very much keeps his deepest thoughts and emotions to himself. In these diaries, we see to a greater extent how he has grown over the course of 13 full series (we’re now on series 14) and how certain cases and people have altered his mindset.
I knew going into it that I’d get a better understanding of William Murdoch’s mind, and how well the show writers have explored his character, but what I didn’t anticipate was the depth and emotional pull it would have. It had me questioning my own ideals and my view of society. That aside, I liked how it was all put together. It was narrated by Murdoch himself (Yannick Bisson) and as he talked about certain events, corresponding clips from episodes were pulled into the narrative so you also heard the voices of the other main characters and it was incredibly well done. Nine episodes are not enough and I need more.
And that is everything I have read and listened to in January. Like I said before, I feel hyped for all the books I’m reading so I really hope that motivation and desire will continue in the following months.
What books did you read in January?
Are there some upcoming books you are excited to read?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!