03 February 2018

Last Month in Review: January 2018

January was a very busy month for me.  My reading stats are really decent this month but that’s thanks in part to a couple of days of travel, ratcheting up my YA reading, and working on a good audio book. I  got to attend the fantastic indie bookseller Winter Institute in Memphis, which was exhausting and exhilarating in pretty equal measure, but which led to lots of great book acquisitions.  I’ve also been dealing with some existing and potential career stuff that has resulted in rather more sleepless nights than usual that have also contributed to rather more reading than usual. In chronological order, then, here is what I finished reading in January:

1. Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles. This was a rewarding novel with conflicted and complicated characters -- just the way I like my fiction.  Review here.  Qualifies for my Diversify Your Life challenge. This book will be published in March, and I’m keen to introduce readers to this one.

2. Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.  My first nonfiction of the year, and which I also happened to have reviewed already. This was an amazing, but non conventional, biography of the artist and scientist, and I happened to listen to the audio version of it.  Also qualifies for my Diversify Your Life challenge.

3. Love by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long.  Damn, but it is really possible that I’ve written three book reviews for the first three books I read this month?  IT IS.  Color me surprised.  This picture book still makes me cry when I go back to it, and it makes me very happy indeed.  Also qualifies for my Diversify Your Life challenge.

4. American Histories by John Edgar Wideman.  This is a short story collection, and as primed as I was to love it, it was more miss than hit.  I hasten to add that it’s simply because it doesn’t dovetail with my own reading preferences, not because it’s not a good collection. I think it’s simply because I prefer my stories a bit more concrete.  That being said, the first story, which is a sort of dialogue between John Brown and Frederick Douglass, is very interesting, but the one that resonated most for me is the one with an autobiographical narrator in conversation with his sister about the death of their father.

5. The Universe is Expanding and So Am I by Carolyn Mackler. This was a very quick airplane read for me, and while I found it engaging, I also found it problematic.  I hope to get around to reviewing this one soon.  It’s the sequel to the YA sensation, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things.

6. The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surveils. I picked this book up at Winter Institute and read it on the plane ride home.  This is another YA book that was a quick read, and while I warmed to it by the end, I also found a few problematic things about it.  I hope to review this one, too. Also qualifies for my Diversify Your Life challenge.

7. I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman. I’ve read and reviewed Gayle Forman here and here, but this was a bit different. Less emotionally hefty than If I Stay, but very engaging.  This book explores the way that having a friend who believes in us can help us discover, and be true to, the person that we are. It also qualifies for the Diversify Your Life challenge. Hope to review this one, too.


11 comments:

  1. I picked up Love from the library this week. I plan to read it to my classes during Valentine Day week. I bet there will be a few tears there, too.

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    1. It’s also going to be my store’s story time book for Valentine’s Day.

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  2. Oh, just the cover of Love makes me want to pick it up! I'll have to see if my bookstore has it so I can give it to my little nephew -- he's hitting a point where he's going to want some new books.

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    1. Ask them about signed copies, too! The publisher made them available to indie bookstores to order.

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  3. I got around to reading Love and wow, it's so good. The illustrations are so beautiful and touching.

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  4. If you're on the hunt for more extremely affecting children's books I highly recommend When We Were Alone / David Robertson, and I Am Not A Number / Jenny Kay Dupuis.

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    1. I didn’t know either of those; just looked them up and I want to make sure that we start carrying both of them. Thanks!

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  5. I got a copy of Anatomy of a Miracle cos your review was so good and I am excited for it!

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