Tuesday, February 2, 2021

What We Read in January

My January reading was BANANAS. I read 16 books. That is NOT normal for me and would typically represent 3-4 months of reading. But most of my reading happened between the hours of 10pm and 6am. So I am hoping February features less reading and more sleep (are you listening, Will? Ha). Reading during middle of the night feeds makes them a bit more enjoyable, though! And I have no trouble going from reading on my phone to going back to sleep once I get Will settled - I'm grateful for that as I know it would be a problem for some who are more sensitive to blue light. I think I am just so exhausted, though, that blue light has nothing on that level of exhaustion!

Of my 16 books, these were my favorites:

The House in the Cerulean Sea has an element of magical realism, which I'm typically not a fan of - but I loved this book. It's a sweet story about an island of misfit orphans who have magical powers. Such a delightful and heart-warming read.

The Giver of Stars is based on the true story of the pack-horse librarian who served rural areas of Kentucky. I loved the characters so much and was so sad when the book was over.

All the Devils are Here is the latest installment in Louise Penny's inspector Gamache series. This might be my favorite of the series. It was so good. I missed the Three Pines (the town most books are set in) characters but I love that this book was set in Paris. 

Nothing to See Here surprised me. It got a lot of praise last year but I didn't think it was for me as the concept (a politicians kids spontaneously combust) seemed too weird/over-the-top. But when my best friend said it was one of her best reads of 2020, I had to check it out and am so glad I did. The writing is so great and the story grabs you from the start! 

I Am I Am I Am is about Maggie O'Farrell's essays on her 17 brushes with death. Dang this woman has 9 lives as she has been through some harrowing experiences. I especially was touched by her reflection on her miscarriage. 

This group of books were my next favorite ones - you can't go wrong with reading any of these!

And this set was the ones I liked next best. There are only 2 books on this list that really didn't work for me. 

60 Million Frenchman Can't Be Wrong was just a bit dry and read like a collection of facts. This is the "France book" I read with my friend Kyria for our 2-person France-themed book club. There was a lot of interesting information in this book. I read a lot of passages outloud to Phil (I read this book during the daytime hours because it was too dense/dry for night feeds). But it was not told in the most engaging way. 

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune was another miss for me. There was magical realism and it just didn't work for me and I had trouble feeling sympathy for the protagonist. She just felt selfish to me. 

Paul and Will's Reads:

I am working on reading more to Will but it tends to happen during the day when Paul is at school. Paul gets a little jealous if I read to Will. :( In the picture below, I'm reading "The Feelings Book" by Todd Parr. I love that author! Will also gets to hear a lot of books secondhand when we are reading to Paul so he's getting plenty of reading time, I think.

Paul continued to get more books from friends as big brother gifts. Books are really the best gift you can give a child! I don't have a picture of him reading his favorite books, though, but they are 2 books by Chris Van Dusen. This is a new author to me and we love his books! We received "If I Built a School" and "Circus Ship." Both are so good, but Circus Ship is particularly loved. I requested more books by this author from the library. They are super fun to read as they rhyme!

Paul also started to get the "High Five" Highlights magazine - my parents gifted this for Christmas. I got Highlights as a child and have such good memories of reading it! It's such a great magazine and nice to get some fun mail!

How was your month of reading? Did you read anything great that you would recommend?


The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Isla got high five and ranger rick and didn't give two hoots about it. I was so sad. If I Built a Car was always a preschool hit! I can't make myself want to read the politician kids combusting book either. I've heard all good things but to get me to read it, I'm like uhhh got a few others first!

dailycandy said...

My son was not into his Highlights magazines and it bummed me out so much because I LOVED them. I know the library has them so maybe I will try again there and hope for the best.

I am reading The Giver of Stars now. So far I like it a lot!

Jeanie said...

I gave the toddlers High Five and they both like it -- I think Carson a little more because he's a titch older. They like the hidden object pages. You have some good books there -- a nice group of selections (I've only read a couple of them!)

Gracie said...

Lots of reading for ya but yes, hoping it dies down!! I think The Splendid and the Vile was my favorite January book - a historical read about Churchill and the RAF. I've been a bit heavy on the non-fiction of late! Nico is SO into books right now, and he "reads" out loud by mimicking our voices, cadence, and inflection when we read. He's pretty good - if I'm not in the room, I can tell what book he's reading by his voice!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I have read 3 of your top 5 and liked all three of them. I have not read I Am, I Am yet, but have had it on my TBR list for a while. It's one of those ones I heard was good but I had not heard rave reviews so I haven't yet put it on hold, but with your recommendation, I will move it up the list! The other one I have not read is the Louise Penny. There are so many of them and I feel like they are like a good TV show where you don't want to binge too much because you want to make them last! So I have been reading a couple a year.

I also read a lot; I think it was just over 20 books! I attribute it to (1) running alone and driving to work, so I read more audiobooks (at least one per week) (2) not being a TV watcher -- I am spending all those hours that other people are using to watch Schitts Creek reading. (3) this quarantine has meant that I don't go out on the weekends, which probably adds another 3 - 6 hours per week. It's amazing how the hours can add up! My favorite for January was The Book of Lost Things.

Grateful Kae said...

I want to read Giver of Stars! I actually threw it in the mix for the person organizing the list for my virtual book club. Maybe it will get picked one of these months soon! Sounds good.

I've been happy with the amount of time I'm reading! The only "negative", if you can call it that, is that I find myself just wanting to do it all the time...so maybe time that I "should" be doing something else, I spend reading. (For example, while waiting outside of my son's swim practice, I normally might research something we need for the house on my phone, or use the time to look up info about trees (we need to replace a couple this summer...), but instead, I just sit and read! haha! And then I feel like I don't really make time for some of those other misc. items.

Stephany said...

I had an average month of reading - 11 books for me. 16 is amazing, but yes, I hope February = less books and more sleep!

I'm glad you loved The Giver of Stars. That was such a great reading experience for me, too.

I think my favorite book from January was Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. So good!

Anonymous said...

I love how Will is looking at the book you’re reading or maybe he’s looking at you? I’m sure he’ll copy his big brother and love books, too! I’m reading Hope to Die by Scott Hahn, which is very enlightening, and snippets of other books every day, but nothing like you do. I’ll have to download some before we leave for AZ. I’ve been working on quilting quite a bit and dug out my knitting needles to get reacquainted with that task, so January flew by.

katielookingforward said...

I'm reading a WWII biography on Nancy Wake, a woman resistance leader, and am pretty pumped because i just found a movie on amazon about her. I can't wait to see how the two mediums compare!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

My goodness! 16 books!?!?!? Wow! So awesome that you got in that much reading (not so awesome that it meant a loss of sleep). I read 5 books in January, and am currently reading "Staying Sharp: 9 Keys for a Youthful Brain through Modern Science and Ageless Wisdom" which I am really enjoying so far.

Abby said...

Your January reads were my 2021 goal :D lol. I wish I wasn't such a slow reader! I stop or get side-tracked and have to re-read things etc... I know that your stats for January is due to nursing a baby many many hours!

They still have Highlights magazine??!! I had no idea! That's so cool. I remember loving that as a kid.

I'm so excited to read to little Maddy :) We already have quite the book collection thanks to you and Ryan's Mom got us like 15 books of many of the "classics".

Anne said...

I hope you are getting more sleep, too. But wow, such an amazing book month! I love how you make time for reading with both of your boys. What a wonderful habit to have for life. And, I must read the House on the Cerulean Sea asap... so many people have raved about it!

Shoshanah said...

We don’t have those two Chris Van Dursen books, but do love his Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit. It’s about a boy who loves baseball but isn’t very good. But he is good at science so he build a baseball playing robot who then saves the world from an asteroid. It’s a lot of fun!

San said...

I am glad you loved the Giver of Stars. It was one of my favorite books last year!

Amber said...

So many books! I definitely remember reading on my phone during those middle of the night nursing sessions and I too never had trouble going back to sleep because I was so dang exhausted. Hope February brings you more sleep and less reading though ;)

That book about the kids combusting sounds SO strange, but since you are raving about it I will have to add it to my list and check it out. I love sneaky hits like that!