I feel like this is the thought in everyone’s mind, but where is the year going?! I can’t believe it’s already almost May. That means that it’s almost June, which means the year is almost at the halfway point! Life moves pretty fast…(5 points to Ravenclaw is you can name the movie with that quote).
April was good. It was a good month. I appreciated this month. It’s finally warming up in Chicago (80 degrees in the forecast for tomorrow 🤞🏻), after a few randomly frigid, snowy days popped up this month. I got to go to NYC this past weekend, and we went to a family wedding earlier in the month. On the negative side of things, my beloved puppy dog woke up with a slipped disc in her neck one day last week, and so we’ve been nursing her back to health and comfort ever since. Hopefully she’ll feel better in time for the beautiful weather, but we’ve learned that slipped discs are no joke. Good vibes for Gravy Jones are appreciated. ❤️
This month included a few rereads, a return to some classic authors, and a fair few short story collections, all of which are pretty unusual for my reading lists. A 25inFive readathon helped me get through some of the more anticipated (and procrastinated) choices on my list. Several books were under 300 pages, which helped me gear up for the giant that is The Goblet of Fire. The classics on my list definitely helped to weigh my average rating in a super enjoyable direction; I reread some of my favorite books of all time, and it was amazing! Check out my full recap below. What did you read this month? What were your favorites and least favorites?
January Reading Recap:
Books Read: 13.5 / Pages Read: 4,157 / Average Rating: 4.3
Favorite Read: The Martian Chronicles
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This is my third experience with Ray Bradbury, and honestly, it’s only been an upward journey. Fahrenheit 451 was a book I read when I was around 13 or 14 (and reread again this month), and it’s long been one of my favorites, but The Martian Chronicles honestly topped it. The short story collection is completely imaginative and a perfect balance of science-fiction and thematic strength. The world-building was creative and vivid, even as some of the stories trended toward a more abstract core message. The book was simply fun to delve into, but it also gave strong ideas to take away.
Least Favorite Read: Dark Places
⭐️⭐️⭐️ / I have concluded that I am not a fan of Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl was a great read, but none of her other books have lived up to the hype. Her characters are usually dislikable to extremes, and while Dark Places was creepy and original enough to chart at three stars, the plot’s twists and turns were mildly outrageous. I couldn’t root for any of the characters, and while I was compelled to want to find out the truth within this edgy thriller, the answers honestly made my eyes roll harder than ever before. I think that my attitude toward Dark Places May have been tainted by my strong dislike of Sharp Objects, but in the end, her style just isn’t for me.
Dead Girls and Other Stories: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This short story collection was abstract, poetic, and had a totally unique, worldly point of view. I loved how separate the stories felt, but that there was a vague, emotional link between them all.
Jesus’s Son: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This short story volume is gritty in the perfect way. The stories of drug addiction are edgy and dark, but the author’s dark tone doesn’t use obscenity or shock tactics to get the bold points across, which is always impressive to me.
Circe : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This is one of the most anticipated books of 2018, and it definitely lived up to the hype for me. Circe almost reads as short stories, in that the narrator pieces together the legendary Greek tales like a matriarch reflecting on her long life. The novel is inventive, fun, and a totally thorough re-imagining of the famous Greek sorceress.
How to Stop Time : ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This book was a light, quick read. The story was unique, and the historical backstories were really emotionally compelling. Unfortunately, it never really seized my heart or lended any weight. The main character was mildly dreary, and there weren’t any strong secondary characters. The plot is slow-moving, relying on flashbacks, and the story trended in a more sci-fi thriller direction than I’d expected. This was a pleasant read, but I probably won’t be rereading it anytime soon.
Hunted : ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Thankfully, the House of Night novels seem to improve with each addition. The YA novels are mildly ridiculous: the Casts seem a bit out of touch with diversity, sexuality, and maturity, but Zoey, the protagonist has, at long last, started to grow up and act less like a whiny, judgmental, narrow-minded teenager. The plot has finally garnered some serious movement, which helps me forgive the whacky sentences and statements that the Casts seek to favor.
Animal Farm : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / I can’t believe I hadn’t gotten my hands on Animal Farm until now, but the anti-capitalist allegory had me roped in completely in a matter of pages. This book is larger than literature in its sociopolitical ideals, and George Orwell is a genius. Also, it’s better than 1984.
The Philosopher’s Flight : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This book is billed as “half science, half magic,” and boy, did it live up to that description. The story of an underdog magician was totally inspiring, lighthearted, and happy, and it’s been a long time since I read a book that fit those descriptions. The system and language of magic was really thorough and creative, even if it was a bit overwhelming. Tom Miller was an ER doctor, and you can tell. His technical details and descriptions of movement and action are beyond impressive.
Little Fires Everywhere: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / The hype was extraordinary for this book, but happily, I can agree with most of it. Ng’s book discusses huge themes of motherhood in a really original way. Her characters are alive and fleshed-out, but not at the expense of the plot. The story is compelling and moving, and it was easy to appreciate this book. I’m in love with Ng’s tone surrounding suburban life. As a lifetime-outsider who grew up in a suburb, I can confirm that Ng just gets it.
Fahrenheit 451 : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / C-L-A-S-S-I-C. This book was totally different than I remembered it. To be fair, I read it about ten years ago. But where I thought there would be a story about dystopian censorship, I found, instead, a story about the elective dumbing-down of society. We, the people, choose to erase offensive literature, dilute ourselves with technology, and turn our minds away from anything requiring thought or critique. In a way, these themes are more poignant and relatable than a simple story of a government gone awry. Society is self-damning, and in this world of book-burning and ignorance, we’ve done it to ourselves.
A Gathering of Shadows : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / Boy, oh boy, I will never regret taking a chance on these books. I am in serious love with V.E. Schwab’s magical world. This book felt less dramatic than the events of the first, but I might’ve liked it even more. I loved reading about the Element Games, and, my GOD, did I love the introduction of Alucard Emery. Give me an entire book on his story, please. I can’t wait to read A Conjuring of Light, but I already don’t want this series to end.
Slaughterhouse-Five : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / This was cemented as one of my favorite books of all-time when my ultra-cool AP English teacher handed it out on the syllabus in high school. I promised myself I’d get a “so it goes” tattoo, and I quickly bought six or seven more Kurt Vonnegut books to complete my fandom. Years later, the stories of his books have run together in my unreliable memory, but my love for the sci-fi, anti-war novel has been rekindled. And I’m definitely getting that tattoo soon.
The Goblet of Fire : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / You might notice that my total count for the month is 13.5. The .5 is because of this giant. After knocking out 200 pages in a day, I’m still only halfway through this mega-novel. At the time that I’m writing this, I’m literally 49% done, and I’d love to say that I can finish it tonight, but 400 pages in one night might earn me a session in therapy, because that sounds unhealthy. The #Harreadpotter movement is strong, and I’m loving how much is different in this particular installment when comparing it tothe movie. Also, it’s 2018, and Cedric Diggory is still bae.