January Reading Wrap-Up

The books I read in January were minimal to say the least. However I didn’t start reading anything properly really until the last couple of weeks of January, once module essay deadlines had passed. So, considering that, I’m fairly okay with how much I read in January, most of it was necessary reading for university though which… well… is good because it means I’m not putting off doing my required reading but it does mean I’m not reading recreationally as much as I’d like. I hope to improve that this month.

So without further ado, here are the books I completed in January.

  1. Utopia – Thomas More
  2. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  3. Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
  4. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  5. Richard III – William Shakespeare
  6. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
  7. Tamburlaine the Great – Christopher Marlowe
  8. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – JK Rowling

There were some pleasant surprises (Utopia, Oliver Twist) along with some much-needed re-reads (Northern Lights, Fangirl, Half Blood Prince) so it was a good reading month. Individual reviews can be found here, along with an excessively nerdy spreadsheet detailing how many pages I read, the genres I read etc. etc.

I also managed to tick off a 2015 Reading Challenge goal: book that became a movie, with Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights/The Golden Compass. It seems apropos to also watch the film but I’ve heard it’s terrible and really doesn’t do the book justice. I think I might steer clear! I also need to kick up my speed with these challenges, there are 50 tasks and, well, I may not be a mathematician, but even I can see that at this rate I will not get all these challenges completed through this way of doing things.

One of my books also fit the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge goal, namely a book published before 1850 – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens which was published in 1838.

With the Book Riot challenge I’ve organised it slightly different to the 2015 Reading Challenge – whereas the latter I’ve folded up paper slips and I pick one out whenever I’m stumped in choosing a book and then find one based on the parameters on the piece of paper, with the Read Harder challenge I’ve decided to choose ahead of time which book will be read in order to complete this goal rather than the other way round. If that makes any sense? I’ve primarily done this because the Book Riot challenge, to me, is all about being more aware about what you are reading, off the back of much of the Read Diversely discourse that happened in the Booktube community particularly in 2014. So I’ve already decided most of the books for those challenges but there are a few that I’m stumped on so if you have any suggestions to help me, I’d be really grateful! (Seriously can anyone explain ‘microhistory’ to me? I googled and got competing and, to be honest, contradictory definitions!

I also started (but have not yet finished):

  1. Scarlet – Marissa Meyer. (Book 2 of The Lunar Chronicles)
    I really enjoyed Cinder and I’m not quite sure what’s holding me back on this one .I am reading it via my Kindle app which could be part of the problem since I always forget to charge my Nexus tablet regularly, meaning I have to plan ahead that I might want to read some ebooks. I like this though, it’s a lot of fun, and I’m intrigued the direction it’s taking so I should pick this up again soon.
  2. My True Love Gave To Me – edited by Stephanie Perkins.
    I’ve read about a quarter of this. I’m not the biggest short story fan but I am enjoying this collection. Oddly, though, I seem to be favouring the stories that everyone else gives poor ratings… not quite sure what’s going on there but each to their own!
  3. Yes Please – Amy Poehler
    I’m listening to this one purely to fulfil the challenge to listen to an audiobook and to read a memoir. The audiobook medium, personally, isn’t my favourite format because I get distracted much too easily when my eyes are left to wander, or glaze over, or accidentally stare at Tumblr and I zone out of listening at all. However, it’s a well-known fact that if you want to hear a good audiobook you either need to track down authors that read their own fiction and are good at it (Neil Gaiman, so I’m led to believe) or ‘read’ a memoir by a comedian (hence, Amy Poehler). I’m only one chapter through this so I’m not quite sure what I make of it yet but we’ll see.

My plans for February include finishing off the in-progress books above, keeping up with my reading for university (whose rate will be slowing down with only a couple more texts for Early Modern to complete and Wuthering Heights to re-read for Victorian Lit), finishing the Harry Potter re-reading mission with Deathly Hallows, and maybe getting around to finally getting through the pile of books I got at Christmas. I’ve also since bought 2 more books (Station Eleven and Vicious) as well as a slew of ebooks (too many to name tbh) so I really need to get cracking on that TBR crate rather than keep adding to it! I’m also mildly surprised I managed to semi-coherently review the books I read so I want to keep up with that into February and the rest of the year of course.

What books did you read in the month of January? Were there any themes/genres you favoured? Which was your favourite? Which was your least favourite? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to talk books!

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13 thoughts on “January Reading Wrap-Up

  1. DAISY WRITES. 01/02/2015 / 22:00

    Wow – well done on getting through this lot, I couldn’t manage that so fast! I’ve always loved The Northern Lights – well worth reading the whole trilogy.

    Like

    • Emma 01/02/2015 / 22:16

      Haha thanks. It’s weird that I actually feel like I read so slowly and that this isn’t that many books, but I think that comes with watching so many Booktubers get through like 8 books a week and I’m just thinking HOW???

      It’s sort of a re-read for me, I read the trilogy when I was in secondary school but I abandoned the Amber Spyglass about a third of the way through because I just was not enjoying it whatsoever. I’m hoping that my opinion has changed in the intervening years, especially since I loved Northern Lights so much. :)

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • DAISY WRITES. 01/02/2015 / 22:20

        Haha I’m studying English with creative writing so I read a lot… But not that much!
        They’re interesting books, you read them differently as a kid than you do when you’re older – they’re worth sticking with!

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        • Emma 01/02/2015 / 22:24

          I hear you there, I’m an MA English Lit student so it’s kind of what I’m used to, but I still could never read more than a couple of books a week!

          Oh absolutely! I’ve found that even with Northern Lights, I appreciated it so much more on this re-read and I found it so much richer – probably because I understood a lot more of the subtleties of it this time round. :)

          Liked by 1 person

          • DAISY WRITES. 01/02/2015 / 22:26

            Haha yeah it does take some of the joy out of reading when you’re doing it to a deadline!
            Ah, then hopefully you’ll find that with the last book – totally blew my mind when I reread it at 18 haha!

            Like

            • Emma 01/02/2015 / 22:31

              Reading frantically for a deadline is a sure-fire way to make you hate books too. My case-in-point will always be George Eliot. Who knows, I might’ve loved her stuff if I didn’t have to read a 500 page novel in 3 days, but alas, sorry George, my memory of you is always going to be reading Adam Bede and just NOT CARING.

              Oo I hope so, I’m looking forward to it! :)

              Like

                • Emma 01/02/2015 / 22:36

                  I just don’t understand it. But as I say my one and only experience of George Eliot was more than a little coloured by deadlines so maybe I’ll give her another try, maybe… maybe in 5 years time. :P

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. The Other Watson 01/02/2015 / 20:08

    That Amy Poehler book is definitely on my list!
    My reading this last month was slow – I didn’t finish any books although I finished two of them in one go today. One was a novella by Patrick Rothfuss, focused on one of the more unusual characters from his fantasy trilogy and called The Slow Regard of Silent Things. It’s very unconventional, in that it lacks plot almost entirely and focuses fully on one character over a week, but there was something very poetic about it that I loved. The other was called Ayoade on Ayoade: A Cinematic Odyssey by Richard Ayoade (who is most famous from his role on The IT Crowd but who has also directed two films), and that was very funny actually. It was a parody of all those “director on director” interview/memoir books, poking fun at the pretentiousness of it all. So two wildly different books, I guess. Now I’m working towards finishing The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce next, I think! :)

    Like

    • Emma 01/02/2015 / 20:39

      I actually don’t know that much about Amy Poehler. I feel so terrible but she’s always just been on the fringe of my radar so I do wonder if I’d find it even more engrossing if I actually watched SNL or Parks and Rec (though with existing on Tumblr I feel as though I DO watch Parks and Rec!), but we’ll see about correcting that once I’ve finished the book I think! :P

      I need to read Patrick Rothfuss, all my favourite Booktubers convince my of this (I’m yet to hear a bad word said about his stuff), so that’s definitely on my list too. Likewise I’ve heard a couple of reviews on Ayoade on Ayoade and I must say it essentially poking fun at the pretension in those kinds of books is what appeals to me, ha. What are the chances, Unlikely Pilgrimage is also on my list! Bought it at Christmas and haven’t quite gotten around to it yet but it looked so… twee? I don’t know, but I’m sure it’ll be heartwarming and lovely.

      Thank you very much for commenting and indulging me in my curiosity/nosiness about what people are reading. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Other Watson 01/02/2015 / 20:54

        I must admit, I’m not as familiar with Poehler as I should be. I am much more familiar with Tina Fey (whom she is often compared to I guess) – 30 Rock is one of my favourite shows from the last decade.
        Patrick Rothfuss is amazing, definitely! A few people don’t like this new novella, but to be fair he warned everybody that they might not like it as its so unconventional. It depends how you go into reading it. But his main two novels that are part of his trilogy are both stunning, hands down some of the best fantasy I have ever read.
        There is something very sweet about Unlikely Pilgrimage so far, but on the same note it hasn’t hooked me quite like I thought it would. Not sure why. It does feel heartwarming but there is a very melancholy undertone too – I actually don’t know if it’s headed for a happy or sad ending yet. I guess I’ll find out soon! :P
        And no problems, always fun to talk about books with other bloggers! :D

        Like

        • Emma 01/02/2015 / 22:22

          Again, 30 Rock, another show I’ve ‘meant to get to’ for years now. I will get there eventually… probably about the time they go up on Netflix, IF they ever end up on Netflix. :P

          I think I’m hesitant with Patrick Rothfuss only because I have heard so many people rave about him and I’m not the biggest reader of fantasy. I suppose reading some Patrick Rothfuss would be a way to correct that and if he’s one of the best then I should get on that straight away.

          Like

          • The Other Watson 02/02/2015 / 20:04

            I think 30 Rock is one of many shows owned by a company who are avoiding Netflix for some reason, or something like that? There is some issue going on there. It’s one of the few shows I bought all the DVDs for. It took the first season for me to get properly into it, but I loved it after that. So, so clever and genuinely funny.

            You know, it’s funny. I have often considered myself a fantasy reader but I’m really not. I’ve shunned a lot of modern fantasy classics and their authors because I don’t get into them. Generally I only read fantasy if it has something else, something more than just elves and dwarfs and dragons and magic. Rothfuss spent years at uni, just jumping between lots of subjects learning a lot about a lot. Which is funny in itself, but it means he could draw from a lot of schools of thought when writing his story, so it’s really quite unique – I don’t think you have to enjoy fantasy to enjoy his writing, actually. :)

            Like

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