Happy 1st of February! The month of love and romance and all that fluffy things that comes along with it. However, before I can begin the new month on a fresh note, I need to share with you the books I read during the month of January. It wasn’t a very good month as far as reading goes, but it was a really productive month nonetheless.
The thing about a new year (well, for me at least) is that I feel like the first book I pick up will set the tone for the rest of the year. So you can imagine the pressure that comes along with that sentiment, because a bad book will equate to a bad reading year for me (in my mind). The thing is though, after the shit storm that we called 2016, I was just so excited for the New Year and couldn’t be bothered to make a big fuss about my first read. I just wanted to READ! So I started off with:
WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE BY MARIA SEMPLE
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
This book was really interesting and fun to read. It isn’t structured like your normal book; but it is written as a compilation of emails, letters and memories from different people who form part of the whole story. It was confusing to get into at the beginning but it didn’t take long for me to fall into it and really enjoy this book for what it was – a light and entertaining read. Besides it being a lovely summer read to get lost in for a few hours, it does bring attention to some serious social issues. For instance we discover that Bee’s mum, Bernadette, suffers from social anxiety.
I gave this book 3/5 stars on Goodreads just because I wasn’t particularly happy about the ending. It left a lot of unanswered questions that I feel could’ve been dealt with better. I also got a bit irritated that grown women could act so petty and childish.
THE THING ABOUT JELLY FISH BY ALI BENJAMIN
After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.
I really loved the science in this book and appreciated the thorough research on jellyfish. But what made me adore this book so completely was that we get to read about a female narrator who is curious about the world she lives in and is a strong academic. The Thing About Jellyfish really surprised me. I didn’t expect to be affected so much by the story. There was a couple of scenes where my heart shattered for Suzy and I just wanted to reach out and hug this confused girl who saw the world in such a unique way.
I gave this book 4/5 stars and I highly recommend it.
COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE BY HARUKI MURAKAMI
The remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.
One of my resolutions this year is to read more books with elements of diversity. I’ve had my eye on Haruki Murakami’s books ever since I started bookstagram so when I found this book on sale a few weeks back I snatched it. I didn’t really plan to read it in January but for some reason I skimmed through it. Before I knew what was happening I was half way through, completely absorbed by the story of Tsukuru Tazaki. I only completed it last night, and it’s one of those books that you need to think about a bit before talking about it. I hope to talk about it more in depth soon though, because it was such a unique story and I’m beyond happy that I gave it a chance. It was beautifully written which was the first thing that struck me, because in my experience a lot of the beauty of the storytelling gets lost in translation with these kinds of books. I enjoyed that it was quite “out there” and I could never quite put my finger on where the book was heading.
I gave this book a 3.5/5 star rating on Goodreads.
Even though I didn’t get to read a lot of books in January, I’m quite happy with these three. I’m already behind with my Reading Challenge but I’m not really bothered. This year I’d like to read with the phrase “quality above quantity” in mind.
What books did you read during the month of January? Have you read any of these books?