As you know, thanks to a slight miscalculation in which I thought there were 24 months in 2013, I’d made a pledge to read 50 books this year. So I thought that, at the end of each month, I’d sum up my month of reading and share it with you.
So in January (drumroll please…), I finished 6 books (!). It’s a record for me, though I do need to add a disclaimer, which is that 2 of the books were books I’d started in December.
Here, in descending order of my personal enjoyment, are my books from January:
1. The Light Between Oceans (M.L. Stedman)
This is How You Lose Her (Junot Diaz)
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple)
2. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
3. A Thousand Pardons (Jonathan Dee)
4. The Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)
I loved my top 3, and consider myself lucky to have read 3 (4) winners in one month. And each was so radically different in terms of reading experience. The Light Between Oceans, about a young mother who nearly lost herself after losing several children through miscarriage and a stillbirth and then decides to keep a baby that doesn’t belong to her, was gut wrenching. Parts of the ending felt a bit rushed for me, but I am hard pressed to find another story that can pull me any more deeply into the complex and raw emotions of (as one reviewer so aptly put it) good people making tragic decisions. With few exceptions I am usually not afraid to plunge into the emotional deep end when it comes to a good story, and it did take me some time to “get over” this book…
This is How You Lose Her: I fell in love with Junot Diaz’s voice. He is real and street and brutal and poignant. By telling the “love” stories of recent immigrants (both legal and illegal) he gave a Pulitzer Prize winning voice to individuals whom much of the reading world would never otherwise hear. On varying levels, as a first generation immigrant myself, I could relate to or see or understand the world that he painted, and for that reason I found my new literary hero in Junot Diaz. Someone like me, only much more talented and courageous, has made it.
I read Where’d You Go, Bernadette right after The Light Between Oceans and it was perfect timing. Bernadette, about a woman/wife/mother who has a nervous breakdown and then disappears, is light and funny and suspenseful and all substance.
The Fault in Our Stars, about two dying teenagers who don’t hesitate to fall in love, made me cry for about 15 pages non-stop. In my last post I’d written about my fear of losing my spouse, and this 16 year-old protagonist captured perfectly the feelings of love that I’ve experienced but have not been able to articulate.
A Thousand Pardons, The Rules of Civility…they are both critically acclaimed but somehow just didn’t quite do it for me. Pardons was enjoyable but not compelling to me and I just didn’t feel drawn to nor did I particularly like the main character in Civility.
My brother thought I was mad to undertake this, but it was actually a fun month. The more I read, the more I had to look forward to. Of course, I could have been on a start-of-a-reading-challenge-high (because today on February 1 I would really like nothing more than to veg out in front of the t.v.). And the only pressure I did feel was in trying to finish books to avoid the 25 cent/day late fee at the library. I was fairly busy in January, as work had picked up, I actually did slightly more housework than usual (we had guests from Korea), and Fred was preparing for a martial arts competition (though his increased practice time = more time for me to sit in a café and read). Max also started watching DVDs again and it has been a ritual for us to do this together. Where I did sacrifice my time was in reading blogs, writing and, most of all, sleep.
And exercise. Is it considered a sacrifice if I never really did much of it to begin with?
My goals for February: fewer books, fewer potato chips (a bad habit I’ve picked up recently), more sleep, more blog reading, more writing, and more exercise (I got a trampoline for my birthday).
How was your January? Did you have any new year resolutions or goals that you were working on?