January 2016 ~ Books

I got out of the habit of rounding up my monthly reads last year. That was mainly because I had some really low monthly totals, and this made me so sad that I didn’t want to document it!

But I’m back on it, and in an attempt to get myself blogging properly again, I’m bringing back the monthly post.

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

I must have read about Barbara the Slut and Other People somewhere, though I can’t remember where. Wherever it was recommended, I must have thought it was a slightly different type of book, because it was not ultimately what I was expecting. It’s a collection of short stories, primarily about women, and I found my enjoyment of it a bit patchy. I was intrigued by the premise of the title story, which was the last one in the book, but I was ultimately disappointed by it; a teenager confronting the slut-shaming culture of high school didn’t actually explore the themes I was expecting it to. There were a few that I particularly liked, including one about a qualified lawyer working in a sex shop, and one written from the point of view of a dog, but in the end I was left a little disappointed.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I have read a few of Rainbow Rowell’s books before; my personal favourite Eleanor & Park, though I also loved Fangirl. I thought less of Attachments, but I do enjoy her writing and her characters very much. So when I spotted Landline in the library, I grabbed it, having been meaning to read it for a while.

I really liked it, though it’s becoming clear that I do prefer Rowell’s YA books to her adult books. It tells the story of Georgie McCool (her name is ridiculous but it’s lampshaded, so Rowell gets away with it), whose marriage to Neal has become stale and troubled. She finds a telephone that will allow her to communicate with Neal in the past; not time travel, as such, but a way to address all of the concerns that have built up in the years since they first got together. It’s a fun gimmick, and I enjoyed the exploration of a grown-up relationship, and all the troubles that come along with that.

Daisy Miller by Henry James

I picked up Daisy Miller from the library because I don’t read many classics anymore. I studied Henry James very briefly at university, and I’m interested in his position as an American writer who lived a lot of his life in England. I grabbed Daisy Miller because it was short, but I didn’t actually realise it was as short as it was – the story is only actually around half of the size of the book (it has a sizable introduction!). It was certainly a compelling story though, and I always love to read about female protagonists who don’t fit into the society of the time; Daisy Miller is a flirt and enjoys life the way a much more modern woman would, though she is certainly punished for it in the end.

Surfacing by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Surfacing was another library book; one I spotted in the YA section and picked up because I thought it would be a bit more mystical and supernatural than it was. The blurb advertised it as being about a teenager who has an ‘almost magical ability to draw out people’s deepest truths.’ Maybe the word ‘almost’ should have given it away, but it wasn’t really about this ability at all, and there was nothing supernatural about it really. It was a story about truth, but about this girl’s and her family’s struggle to deal with the truth of what had happened years earlier when her sister died. A perfectly enjoyable read, but not one I’d hurry to recommend to others.

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Another YA book, Not If I See You First caught my attention on Netgalley, possibly due to the primary colour filled cover. Telling the story of Parker, a blind teenager dealing with the recent loss of her father, I ended up loving this a lot more than I thought I was going to when I was halfway through. I found it really hard to like Parker at first; she’s hardfaced and defensive, and I just wanted to shake her and alert her to everything that was amazing in her life. But Eric Lindstrom is obviously a talented writer, because it became clear that this is exactly how I was supposed to be feeling about her; he took my hand and led me exactly where he wanted me to go with the story, and I ended up feeling entirely differently about Parker. Not If I See You First is a YA book I’d definitely recommend.

Everything You Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook by Lily Rothman

I am always on the lookout for textbooks and revision guides that will help to explain things to me in basic terms, before I then move on to reading more deeply into a subject. I’ve been after a US social studies textbook for ages; I studied American History and Politics at university, but I wanted to refresh my knowledge. When I spotted this on Netgalley, I was overjoyed; it’s aimed at middle school aged children, and refreshed all of the basics that I already knew but wanted to revise. I’m aware that this may seem like an odd type of book to read, but it’s entirely perfect for me, and I really liked it.


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  • Reply Kerri

    I think you should record your monthly reads, even if you don’t get to read too much 🙂 Saying that, I’d be damn pleased with myself if I read 6 books haha, I average one or two… and I’m please with that 🙂

    February 5, 2016 at 7:14 pm
  • Reply Susie -

    You read loads of books, I only read that many a month if they’re all children’s books! I felt the same as you about Landline, I think I just really enjoy the way Rainbow Rowell writes, but my favourites are her YA books. She has a new one out soon for World Book Day, set around queuing to see Star Wars, that I have my eye out for!

    February 20, 2016 at 7:23 pm
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