January Reading Recap

January 2019 Reads

Up to 20 books for the year (22 less 2 DNF); eight fiction/twelve non-fiction. All but two of those satisfy my TBR challenge. The book that spent the longest on my TBR before reading was Bellevue (since January 2017).

Completed in January:

  1. Where the Crawdads Sing (hardcover, fiction). If I could give a book three stars and five stars at the same time, I’d do it here. I loved the backstory, of the marshes and her learning to read, and the books, etc. But the secondary plot (which I won’t name, because spoilers) felt completely superfluous; I think I’d have preferred a novella-length story about Kya, her family, Tate, and their relationship to the marsh. [TBR]
  2. Mr. Kiss and Tell (ebook, fiction). Similar to the first book in the series, in that it’s just like being back in Neptune. I’m excited for the new Hulu series. [TBR]
  3. Kitchen Confidential (audio, nonfiction). I had started this last year as I was writing my leadership term paper on Bourdain, but didn’t get to finish it until after the holidays. I’d read this years ago, but reading this at the same time as Medium Raw was a bit of a shock, to see how much he changed between the two. [TBR]
  4. The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America. (ebook, nonfiction). I was a theater kid who came of age in the 80s & 90s, and in fact the theater where I went to drama school did Angels very early on. If you have a similar background, you’ll love this book. If you don’t have the connections to the theater community, or the gay community, or if the AIDS crisis is a historical footnote for you rather than something that happened around you, I think you’ll find a lot of this surprising. See the show (or at least the excellent HBO production) first, though. [TBR]
  5. What the Dead Leave Behind (ebook, fiction). Snowy murder mystery in Gilded Age NYC. I enjoyed the plot, but overall found the book slow to start with a rushed ending. Very obviously setting up for a sequel. [TBR]
  6. Confessions of the Fox (ebook, fiction). Wow wow wow wow wow. A trans main character in a period heist novel. YES.  This was fantastic. At first I thought I might find the Professor’s footnotes a bit annoying, but I absolutely grew to love his rambles. Not as heist-y as I’d hoped, but still a great read. A++, would recommend. [TBR]
  7. The Best Bad Things (ebook, fiction). Pinkertons and espionage and sex, right?! Eh. I enjoyed the plot, but the writing style didn’t do it for me. [TBR]
  8. Microsoft Visio 2016 Step by Step (paperback, nonfiction). I have two classes this semester that required this book. Blargh. Visio is like every other Microsoft product, I can’t say I found a single thing worthwhile in this book, but I’m sure it will be handy if I need to prop something up while I’m googling how to do whatever thing in Visio I can’t find by just poking around. Also, thank the gods for textbook rentals, so that I only spent $15 on this instead of the $79 the bookstore wanted.
  9. Principles: Life and Work (ebook, nonfiction). This was recommended to me in a job interview, of all things, but it sounded interesting so I figured I’d give it a shot. The premise is that investor/philanthropist Ray Dalio (who I’d honestly never heard of before this book) shares the principles that he uses to make decisions. His life’s algorithms, if you will, with a smattering of Agile thrown in. Know what your values are, make sure your decisions uphold those values, be transparent about it all, treat people with respect. Solid 4 stars.
  10. Murder by Candlelight: The Gruesome Slayings Behind Our Romance with the Macabre (ebook, nonfiction, DNF). Murder? Macabre? Death? Bring it! Well, no. It’s not clear to me what the writer was trying to accomplish – to write nonfictional accounts of the time in the style of a Penny Dreadful, perhaps? Even that sounds more interesting than the book actually was, sadly. [TBR]
  11. Before We Were Yours (ebook, nonfiction). A beautifully written fictional account of children whose lives were impacted by the unfortunately very real child trafficking ring led by Georgia Tann in the 1920s-1950s.  This was not a book I’d have picked up on my own – it was recommended by someone at work – but I’m so glad I read it. [TBR]
  12. Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (audio, nonfiction). This book was incredible. I am saddened and more than a little horrified at all the history I don’t know, but glad to have found this book; it also makes a nice companion read to Midnight’s Furies, which I’m also reading right now, because they have some overlap. Highly recommended. [TBR]
  13. Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder (ebook, fiction, DNF). A collection of short mysteries, yes, but for me they were all trying too hard to be quirky or different. I noped out around a third of the way through. [TBR]
  14. What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America (ebook, nonfiction). I really enjoyed the way the author took this one event – a meeting 50 years ago – and tied it into modern political and popular culture. A powerful read, and a nice companion to Walking with the Wind. [TBR]
  15. How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job (ebook, nonfiction). A good mix, for me, of familiar tropes and new ideas. [TBR]
  16. Tikka Chance on Me (ebook, fiction). Snark, sex, laughter, and food. And geekery. This novella could be summarized as “waitress and biker bad boy have hot sex”, sure, but it’s hysterical hot sex and comic book references and more. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for something quick, steamy, and funny. [TBR]
  17. Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It (ebook, nonfiction). I wanted to love this, but…*shrug* It’s a book about the history of wit, told in various witty forms that fell flat for me. I enjoyed the puns though. [TBR]
  18. The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer’s Search for Meaning in the Great Depression (ebook, nonfiction). 100 years before there were YouTube stars, people were still doing crazy shit for the fun and fame of it, like pushing peanuts up mountains with their noises, sitting on flagpoles, and walking around the world backward. [TBR]
  19. Charms and Chocolate Chips (audio, fiction). Light and fun, just like the others in the series. If you’re in the mood for a cozy mystery with a witchy twist, I’d recommend any of these. [TBR]
  20. Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital (audio, nonfiction). Fascinating look at not just the history of Bellevue, but the history of medicine. [TBR]
  21. In An Absent Dream (hardcover, fiction). I love this author. I love this series. So I’m really, really biased. But this one broke me open in ways that none of the others have, probably because my door would have led to a logic world if I’d found it. A++, would recommend. [TBR]
  22. The Incomplete Book of Running (audio, nonfiction). I was excited about this book for a lot of reasons, and it didn’t disappoint. Of course, it also prompted me to sign up to run a mile in my underwear in the middle of a Buffalo winter, so I guess the true disappointment level is TBD. [TBR]
Print Friendly, PDF & Email