I seem to be kicking-off the new year with a pretty good amount of reading, which is a nice way to start things!
First, to wrap up a few books read at the end of last month…I mentioned The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North in my end of year round-up, with the fascinating premise of a main character everyone forgets within a minute of looking away. I think I might have liked this even more if it had focused more on how she lived her life with that circumstance, rather than turning into a heist (although…I guess she lives her life by becoming a jewel thief!) but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
I also read two nonfiction books near the end of the year – which is funny, because I read much less nonfiction in 2022 overall. I liked Who’s Raising the Kids? by Susan Linn, which unpacks the influence of marketing and consumerism targeting kids. Very insightful, very relevant when I have an almost two-year-old!
Tranquility by Tuesday by Laura Vanderkam was one I picked up after hearing her on a podcast. The goal is to lay out a multistep plan for making better use of your time for the things that matter most, while having less stress around your schedule. I appreciate what she was trying to do, but ironically, her book kind of stressed me out! A lot of her solutions seem to revolve around adding more activities into your life, which is not super helpful to me at least! It made me think some about the activities I want to do, but I didn’t find it very helpful in finding the time to actually do them. I feel like she assumed much more flexibility in work and childcare than many people actually have.
I began 2023 by finishing my reread of Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series with The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home. I think I only read this one once, and it was as good as I remembered – and I forgot a lot, so it was fun to come to it again relatively fresh. A very satisfying close to the series.
I followed with another reread, Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto. Some of my recent reincarnation reads reminded me of this one, though technically it’s about a character who’s immortal, not reincarnating. It held up better than most on a reread, both the present day story and the stories through history. I forgot just how many dead spouses are in it though! I don’t think I was married last time I read this, and I don’t like dead spouse stories as a rule – but since the main love interest is, as noted, immortal, I could ride along a little better here.
And my most recent read is another nonfiction, Meme Wars by Joan Donovan, Emily Dreyfuss and Brian Friedberg. It unpacks the influence of the extreme right fringe online and through memes on the politics of the past several years, particularly in connection with…you know, that guy who was in the White House for a while there. It was very interesting but a little unsatisfying – I think I was interested in the topics, but not necessarily the angles they took. Also, content warning for academic discussion of some very ugly things!
I have a big stack of new fiction from the library to start going through next, including some sequels to series I started last year, so I’m excited for those! How is your reading going so far in the first month of the year?