How are you all? I honestly just am so thankful for all of your support! Your comments and likes – thank you so much! If I haven’t responded to your comment yet, I will! Thank you also for being really nice in the comments of my most recent post as I was so nervous! Books are so subjective and books that I love, other people may hate and those that I didn’t enjoy, people may absolutely consider it their favourite. So again, thank you for being kind. I love hearing about your opinions about various books!
Now it is finally time to talk about the books I read in January. I read a total of 12 books which was much more than I anticipated. I believe I read around 3800-4000 pages and I rated five books 5 stars! See, an incredible reading month if I do say so myself. In terms of genres, I read three classics (two were short stories), one sci-fi, two fantasy, three literary and two non-fiction (one poetry and one a collection of essays) and one paranormal romance. I read one young adult novel and the others were adult, although I don’t know how to categorise poetry since I feel that poetry doesn’t necessarily have an age audience? Maybe above 16? Depending on the content? I don’t know.
So all up, a really great reading month! I’m going to categorise the books in their star rating for this wrap up, only because that’s how I organised them for my instagram wrap up 🙂 We’ll start with the best books I read this month!
𝓯𝓲𝓿𝓮 𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓼
𝑮𝒊𝒓𝒍, 𝑾𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏, 𝑶𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒃𝒚 𝑩𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝑬𝒗𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐 was a book that had been on my tbr ever since it came out. I have no idea why it took me so long to read it but I am so happy I finally did! The hype surrounding this book is so well deserved. I don’t know how 𝑩𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝑬𝒗𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐 did it because every story, every character in this novel was intense. Not emotionally intense, although some were, but it just had an overall intensity that was maintained throughout. It compelled me to continue reading. I wanted to know what was happening with these different characters and how their lives linked. And don’t get me started on the writing! The writing was where this story shined. If you haven’t yet, please pick this up. And the way it ended?! I sobbed.
𝑵𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕𝒃𝒊𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒍 𝒀𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒓 is one of my favourite literary novels, ever. I don’t actually know how to talk about this book because I don’t know if I would necessarily recommend it to people as this book would have quite a niche audience, I was just lucky to be one of them. In my reading journal, I described it as an absolutely unhinged and feral novel that was ultimately brilliant in what it did. 𝑹𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒍 𝒀𝒐𝒅𝒆𝒓 stripped back the layers of ‘civility’ and all that which supposedly makes us human, of societal expectations and the pressures of having to conform to normative gender roles and normative ways of ‘behaving’ to appear acceptable. I won’t continue because I could go on about this book, but look out for my mini review that will be going live on my instagram soon and I might, I might, write a review on my blog. Let me know if you would be interested in that?!
𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑱𝒂𝒔𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝑻𝒉𝒓𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝑻𝒂𝒔𝒉𝒂 𝑺𝒖𝒓𝒊 was absolutely fantastic and will be one of my favourite fantasy novels of 2022 that I read. I am hoping that the sequel will come out later this year because it was so fast-paced, so compelling, with an awesome world and magic system and equally awesome complex characters. Finally, we have women who are flawed! who are strong! who stick to their guns but don’t consider it a weakness to also have a heart! And it was sapphic! Do we need anything else? No.
𝑫𝒖𝒏𝒆 𝑴𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒌 𝑯𝒆𝒓𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 was phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. 𝑫𝒖𝒏𝒆 𝑴𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒉 is the ‘sequel’ to 𝑫𝒖𝒏𝒆 which I read in December of 2021 which completely blew me away so I knew that come January, I wanted to continue the series. I honestly considered this book an extended epilogue to 𝑫𝒖𝒏𝒆 because this book was essentially the aftermath of the first novel. I won’t talk about it much because all of my feelings are connected to what I think might be spoilers, so just know that after I finished it, I threw it across the hotel room in SHOCK but also not shock, because I lowkey predicted it but I didn’t think I WAS ACTUALLY RIGHT.
And this last book. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑬𝒚𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏 is book one of the mammoth 𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓦𝓱𝓮𝓮𝓵 𝓸𝓯 𝓣𝓲𝓶𝓮 series and I fell in love. This book was just so goddamn fun to read! Yes, you can definitely tell that 𝑹𝒐𝒃𝒆𝒓𝒕 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏 was heavily influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien which is completely understandable, but it is so wholly 𝑱𝒐𝒓𝒅𝒂𝒏’s own that I couldn’t put it down. The world is so lush, the characters are so fascinating, the magic system, the Aes Sedai, the politics but also the secrets and the prophecies; all that meshed together to make something so outstanding that I can’t wait to continue this series and see how everything all weaves together. I’m actually already reading The Great Hunt as I’m writing this!
𝓯𝓸𝓾𝓻 𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓼
𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒊𝒏 𝑯𝒆𝒓 𝑯𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑶𝒕𝒕𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒂 𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒉𝒇𝒆𝒈𝒉 was my second 𝑴𝒐𝒔𝒉𝒇𝒆𝒈𝒉 novel and though I really enjoyed it, I kind of felt like it was a step back from the writing of 𝑴𝒚 𝒀𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒐𝒇 𝑹𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑹𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒙𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏. I think it was still a compelling read and a genre-flipping of ‘the mystery novel’.
𝑩𝒍𝒂𝒌𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌 𝒃𝒚 𝑨𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝑾𝒉𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒓 was my first poetry collection of the year, and I am so happy for that. I have been meaning to read this collection since it came out, but just never seemed to pick it up. How dare I?! 𝑩𝒍𝒂𝒌𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌 is a collection that explores colonialism, racism and Australian Aboriginal identity. 𝑨𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒐𝒏 𝑾𝒉𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒓’s writing is masterful and I would highly recommend Aussie readers to pick this collection up.
Some of my favourite poems were:
✨ factor factory
✨the feral girls
✨the history of sexuality volume iii
𝑭𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑺𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑰𝒗𝒂𝒏 𝑻𝒖𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒗 was my first book by this author and the first novel for the Classics Bookclub! I enjoyed this novel, I think. It was an intense character study that explores generational change, and the relationships between children and their parents. At times, it was beautiful and heartbreaking, other times it was infuriating. But 𝑻𝒖𝒓𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒗 truly is a wonderful writer who depicted the tensions and the love that exist between famiily members so compellingly. I will be picking up more from this author!
One of my first short story collections of the month was 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒂𝒊𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒆𝒐 𝑻𝒐𝒍𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒚. I read it not knowing (or forgetting, more like) that technically, this story was written before Tolstoy published War and Peace. Which makes complete sense! The narrator of the story is unnamed (unless I missed it), and for some reason, he is wanting to observe military action. He follows, with his permission, Captain Khlopov on his and his regiment (?) as they embark on invading an enemy village. We see young and naïve soldiers, with a desire for bravery and heroism, ultimately confronted with the reality of war. War is brutal and cruel and not a fun getaway with the boys. And this story emphasises that, it emphasises the closeness of death, the fact that many of these young soldiers will not return home. The central themes of The Raid are further explored in War and Peace and it was fascinating to see those threads being woven here in this story!
𝓽𝓱𝓻𝓮𝓮 𝓪𝓷𝓭 𝓪 𝓱𝓪𝓵𝓯 𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓼
I have a lot of mixed feelings about 𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒂𝒃𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒚 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒔. On one hand, I enjoyed reading about 𝒃𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒔’ experiences and feelings but it also felt incredibly dated. Her reflections on the position of ‘love’ is our society were fantastic, and I do think that it should be considered a fundamental book in feminist theory. When it was published in 2001, it would have been ground-breaking.
Although I didn’t agree with some of her assertions which seemed to lack any sort of discussions of their nuance and complexity and just felt like generalisations. In some cases, it felt as though she was continuing to perpetuate a schism between the nature of the ‘sexes’. It just felt dated.
But I especially loved the brief sections I read pertaining to the importance of love between friends. I feel like platonic love isn’t emphasised as much when we’re growing up in pop culture so it was fabulous to read about it.
𝓽𝓱𝓻𝓮𝓮 𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓼
My last short story collection of the month was 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑺𝒆𝒗𝒂𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒑𝒐𝒍 𝑺𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒆𝒐 𝑻𝒐𝒍𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒚. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t love this. I think it started off strong but then by the end, I was getting restless because I wanted it to end. It’s fascinating reading these short stories that have the little ideas that will eventually become the main themes in War and Peace. So reading this in the aftermath of finishing War and Peace, it all feels repetitive. But I did enjoy seeing the beginnings of those themes in this short story. It also felt like Tolstoy himself was using the writing of this as a way to process his own feelings and experiences of the Crimean War that he fought in. It felt personal at times, and those times were the most powerful.
𝓽𝔀𝓸 𝓼𝓽𝓪𝓻 𝓫𝓸𝓸𝓴𝓼
Ugh. So. 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒐𝒍𝒅𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝑻𝒐𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑰𝒔𝒂𝒃𝒆𝒍 𝑺𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 was a flop. It sounded so fun! Vampires! Death magic! Paranormal romance! Sapphic! But the writing was clunky and weird, no world-building, characters were so incredibly dull. It just was so so flat. So mediocre. Just. Not. Good. I wrote in my reading journal that it should be considered a gift, to somehow make vampires the most boring aspect of the novel, ever.
And I’m done!
Thank you for reading! What were some of your favourite books of January? Please let me know!
Until next time, happy reading.
All the love,