01 February 2012

Last Month in Review: January 2012

Well, I started a helluva lot more books in January than I ended up finishing, that's for sure! According to Goodreads at one point during the month I had 9 books going simultaneously, but overall it's not too poor a showing, despite the lack of reviews:

1. Gold by Chris Cleave.  Really, really liked this book, and the writing is several notches above Little Bee, in my opinion. This one's coming out in July.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Unbelievably, I'd never read this classic before. I liked it better than I expected to.  Thanks, Mom, for keeping at me and giving me your own copy to read!

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Yes, I'd read this book many times before this, but this was my first eBook to read on my iPhone, and I started it it about a year prior to completing it.

4. Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin.  This YA book was a lot of fun to read.

5. New Orleans Day by Day by Frommer's.  This might seem like it's cheating, but I really do think I read the book cover to cover prior to my trip to Winter Institute because I wanted to revel both in my own memories of New Orleans and in the planning of any free time I might have.

6. The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus.  Okay, admittedly I didn't quite finish this one, but I put in some hard time on it and I read most of it, so I'm counting it. Mostly I just kept reading 'cause I thought it would get better, but I was bored to tears despite the excellent writing and the intriguing premise.  I have no idea how this book turned out bad, but it did.

7. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.  I read this for Reading Rambo's readalong, and I don't think I was the only participant left feel underwhelmed by the experience.  (I have a few musings on it; if you do a search for "Norwegian Wood" you should find them all if you wish to read them.)

8. The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall.  The only non-fiction I was able to finish this month.  It was good and mini-review coming soon.

9. The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. Really excellent storytelling.  The writing was occasionally uneven but more often than not, I was truly moved by the pathos in the story.

10. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. Review forthcoming.


  1. Well, this makes two of us who can't sleep. I am looking forward to your reviews, especially for The Storytelling Animal.

    Little Bee was good, but not great, so I am looking forward to Gold.

    Go to bed now. I am. I was just reading the first pages of my new book. YIKES. So much work...writers and illustrators must be gluttons for every kind of punishment.




  2. Hm, I'm looking forward to your review on the Flame Alphabet; I read an interview posted on The Millions and the guy just rubbed me the wrong way. Still want to take a look at the book, though...

  3. I'm kind of way into the cover of Masque of the Red Death, but ashamed of being that way.

    Ugh Norwegian Wood. But now we have more of an insight into Japan! Into depressing, depressing Japan.

  4. Jennifer, I don't think I'll write a review of Flame Alphabet. But there are some interesting reviews of it up at Goodreads.

    Rambo, anyone who says they don't judge books by their covers is a big, fat, stinkin' liar. And also, I can send you my copy to read if you want me to.

  5. I really liked Little Bee, so I'll be excited to read the new Chris Cleave. I was pretty excited about The Flame Alphabet, so it is too bad that you were so bored. I do love Norwegian Wood though. it's my favorite Murakami...I guess I like depressing things.

  6. Glad to hear your opinions on Flame Alphabet and Norwegian Wood. I didn't read your updates on the latter because I plan on reading it this year and want to go into it with a blank slate. I have read others of Murakami's (Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, After the Quake) so it'll be interesting to see how it compares. Flame Alphabet got so much attention so quickly that I was a bit skeptical. Maybe I'll continue on with that skepticism. ;)

  7. That's an impressive list! I really liked Little Bee but for some reason I haven't jumped at getting any of his other books. Most of these I haven't heard of before.

  8. LBC and Melody, if y'all do read The Flame Alphabet, I'd really love to know your thoughts about it.

    Shannon, half of these books haven't been published yet, so I'm not surprised that you've not heard of them yet, but I'm sure you will soon, the interwebs being what they are. :)

  9. Nice work to start the year! I'm hoping I can squeeze a reread of The Great Gatsby in before the movie comes out. LIttle Bee is also one I'm planning to try this year.


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