Reading Wrap Up 01: What I read in January

Okay, so January was a bananas reading month for me. I read eight books total and enjoyed every single one of them. I'm going to chalk that number up to the fact that Dean was gone for the first half of the month so I had A LOT of alone time. Plus, winter is all about getting cozy and what better company than a good book?

I started the month with one of my most anticipated reads of 2019: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker.

If you haven't read Age of Miracles by her yet, I highly recommend that. I read The Dreamers over the course of one weekend, mostly while in bed under a pile of blankets on a Saturday morning with a huge mug of coffee. This was my first book of the year and I easily gave it five stars.

Next up was Educated by Tara Westover. Everyone was raving about this one and I finally decided I needed to read it when it was on Barack Obama's favorite books of the year list. I scooped this one up while on a post Christmas trip to Barnes & Noble with my husband and brother and started it a few days later. I loved the writing in this one; I'm not a big non-fiction reader but this one totally read like a fiction novel. Her writing was wonderful and the story was just absolutely crazy. I had to keep reminding myself that it was a non-fiction book!

January seemed to be gifting me so many good reads by favorite authors so I continued on with the month by reading Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman. I read The Inn at Lake Devine a few years ago and was instantly drawn to her stories. Set in New England, comedy, quirk...what more could you ask for? Good Riddance had her signature humor but I did feel a lack of connection with the characters. I think this one would make a great beach read.

I finally was interested in the book club pick for my work book club this month and so I read The Friend by Sigrid Nunez. It was a devastating novel dealing with the ways in which we deal with loneliness and grief. I found her writing really beautiful but felt...sad...the entire time I was reading it. If you appreciate beautiful writing and can stomach a story where the dog most likely dies at the end then this one may be for you.

After that, I picked myself up with How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry. I found this one tucked in the shelves at The Strand on a cold saturday morning with Sara (hi, @thereadingnixon!). This one immediately captivated and charmed me. With a big cast of characters, a cute English town, and love interests how could it not be delightful?

The sixth book I picked up this month was another anticipated release for the year. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh was SO GOOD. It's been compared to The Handmaid's Tale and The Virgin Suicides but I also got The Girls vibes from it. Mackintosh's writing is wonderful and she painted such a vivid image of these girls lives. I loved that she, not so subtly, addressed the issues of toxic masculinity through her dystopian tale.

Continuing on with my theme of 'seriously great writing' I dove in to Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel. This one has been sitting on my shelves since September and I was hooked on Ausubel's writing after reading Awayland earlier in 2018. She manages to be just dark enough, dreamy, weird, and yet totally relatable in her storytelling. This book hit home in dealing with family dynamics, how we define ourselves from our family, how our family defines us, motherhood, and womanhood. I made the comparison to Helen Oyeyemi and I stand by that author comparison.

Lastly, I read Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan. I was inspired to pick this up at the library after seeing Kim's review on her blog. I had been eyeing this author for a while but kept writing her off as too 'chick lit' for me (how could you not with that cover!?). But, I'm so glad I finally read her! Her books are seriously misrepresented with their cover art. Following four women as they go to college and venture in to life beyond college as the first generation of women with endless choices, her story had depth, the characters were wonderful, and I loved the themes of friendship and feminism through the whole novel.

What did you read this month? Leave a comment below!

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Additionally some of the books above were generously gifted to me by publishers. All opinions, however, are my own.

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© 2019 by Michelle Martin