january is twelve

screenshot of goodreads books read so far this year

hooray, twelve books read in january! even if i don’t read a single book the rest of the year - which would be frustrating to say the least - at least i have now read as many book as there are months in a year, and two more than last year. it is very easy to get caught in a numbers game with these goodread challenges - how many books did x read? how many pages is this book i want to read? will it take too long? is it cheating to count this novella? etc etc. so silly, all of it - and i know that logically of course but it’s easy nonetheless to fall into that kind of thinking.

anyhow, i read some great books this month. a fairly good mix too, i think. one classic (Austen’s Persuasion), two translated (Jansson’s Moominland in Midwinter - which also counts as a children’s book - and Belli’s Scroll of Seduction), one non-fiction (Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race), one poetry book (Red Bird by Mary Oliver), one fantasy (Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett), one romance (The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang), one novella (Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader), and three literary (Ali Smith’s Winter, Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, and Sarah Moss’ Ghost Wall). three of these books are by non-white writers, ten of the twelve were by women, but then i have always tended to read books mostly by women.

this year I have six specific reading goals (been watching a lot of booktube, hence the goals, ha):

  • 52 books read,
  • lots of DNF (did not finish) which would mean i took a lot of risks reading-wise,
  • at least 2 books of poetry (am thinking to bump that to 5),
  • at least 4 books in translation (thinking of bumping that to 12),
  • at least 20 books by non-white writers,
  • and one classic a month (literary, scifi, whatever - i get to define classic).

my favorite books read this month are Autumn, Ghost Wall, Red Bird, and Foundryside. it had been so long since i read a fantasy (probably 2017??), Foundryside really got me so excited for that genre again. solid writing + solid world-building = very good fantasy. i’d been meaning to read Sarah Moss for years and finally did and it was excellent - reminded me of other creepy English history stories, aka Susan Cooper’s Greenwitch, high compliment that. i’ve only read one other Ali Smith book (2014’s How to be Both) and loved it so much i immediately declared her one of my favorite writers of all time. as a result, i was shy about reading anything else by her, worried it would disappoint. also, if it was good, i knew it would be challenging to read, would take some emotional investment, so i waited. but now, yeah, Autumn was really good. not as great as How to be Both, but still really really good, and intend to read the rest of the quartet this year and next year. and lastly Mary Oliver - well, she died ;( and so i came across some poetry of hers on Twitter and then some more and then more and then I thought, oh c’mon and grabbed a book of hers i’ve been meaning to read for ages and read the whole collection over a week or so. reading her poetry makes me take a deep breath in and slowly let it out. i can’t think of a better or more true compliment than that.

will definitely look for more works by all four of these authors. and now this month, i want a bit more non-fiction, a memoir or two, maybe a short story collection as well. so glad reading is back in my life. <3

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