January in Books

I read eight books in January, not a bad start into the new year. What I apparently suck at is writing up reviews! Here’s the complete list:

Singled Out (Virginia Nicholson)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer) -reread

Les Aventures Extraordinares d’Adèle Blanc-Sec: Momies en Folie (Jaques Tardi)

Ripley’s Game (Patricia Highsmith)

Skulduggery Pleasant (Derek Landy)

One Good Turn (Kate Atkinson)

The Magic Toyshop (Angela Carter)

Saturday (Ian McEwan)


I think the comic thing might actually stick, I’m getting better at reading them and that makes me enjoy them more of course. Have I told you all how fantastic Tardi’s Adèle comics are? If you enjoy adventure stories, don’t have a problem with mummies and dinosaurs returning to life, want a witty and kick-ass heroine and Paris pre-WI, then please try them!

I’ve also been considering reading more (or, let’s face it, any) YA fiction, and decided to try the first Skulduggery Pleasant book. I thought a sarcastic skeleton would fit my sense of humor very well, and I did enjoy Skulduggery and Stephanie’s banter.The story was fun and moved quickly and I think I’ll read the rest of the series as well. But why does fantasy (it is fantasy, right?) nearly always have some kind of epic war looming? Please recommend some YA books to me where that is not the case (and which also skip the swoony love story plot).

Then I also read one non-fiction, Singled Out, which was great and made me want to read up on all the novels about spinsters. I basically added the bibliography to my tbr list. Of course I didn’t neglect my crime reading, One Good Turn is the second Brodie book and as good (or perhaps even better) that Case Histories. Also, it’s subtitled A Jolly Murder Mystery, how great is that? Atkinson’s observations of people and their interactions is just so caustic, but apt. Then I really had to read Highsmith’s Ripley’s Game for uni, and Ripley is really one of the greatest anti-heroes around. I’ll definitely read the other Ripley books. It was also weird to read about the mafia hanging out in my city! 😀

January also meant Virago Reading Week which was really great though I couldn’t keep up with everyone’s posts and mostly lurked. But it did introduce me to Angela Carter, who might just become one of my favorite writers! I’m still lugging Mad, Bad and Sad (a 500 page hardback, that already killed one bag) around with me and yes, it’s a must-read!

Saturday and Extremely Loud were both for uni. I’ve suffered through Extremely Loud twice now, both times assigned reading, if you can believe it; one more time and I’m going to scream. But Saturday was good, so now I’ve read three McEwan books and loved one, enjoyed one, and the other exasperated me. Either McEwan’s versatile writer or I’m just weird.


What was your reading month like? Doing good on your resolutions?



29 thoughts on “January in Books

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed Virago week, I had to read Diary of a Provincial Lady in bed today to recover! I’d like to read Singled Out at some point, also Patricia Highsmith is great (why wouldn’t the university course start with the first Ripley book though?) and I’m glad you don’t like Extremely Loud, that must be extremely trying to have to keep reading it! I liked Saturday also, as well as On Chesil Beach, but for some reason, have never got on with Atonement.

    1. That sounds like a fun way to recover! 🙂 I have no idea, my teacher is possibly a bit odd! Perhaps it’s his favorite of the series 😉 Oh wow, someone else you didn’t like Extremely Loud, makes me quite happy, since apparently everyone else in my class loved it. I was actually exasperated by Chesil Beach, not McEwan’s writing, but I couldn’t relate at all and tired of the characters so quickly. But I absolutely adored Atonement (perhaps you prefer the film?).

  2. Well done! I read your review of Magic Toyshop yesterday and will definitely read it, it sounds really good. Skulduggery Pleasant sounds cool, I will have to have a look at that one!

    1. Hope you’re going to love The Magic Toyshop,Willa, it’s such an amazing book! Skulduggery is a great one to enjoy on a rainy afternoon, lots of advenutre and mystery but with sarcastic banter 😀

  3. Haha “I’ve suffered through Extremely Loud twice now, both times assigned reading, if you can believe it; one more time and I’m going to scream.” – I couldn’t stop laughing at this! 😀 I can empathize well remembering my uni days 😀

    I have read Atonement by Ian McEwan and that is one of my favorite books of all time. I haven’t read any others by him yet. Have been meaning to read Amsterdam. Singled Out sounds great, do post a review! 🙂

    1. Haha, happy to make you laugh! I thought I’d lost my contacts when I saw the book on the reading list, again! 😉
      I love Atonement, too! What’s Amsterdam about? Will have to take a peak. I’ll work on reviewing Singled Out, but bottom line, it’s awesome! 🙂

  4. That’s a great variety and you read “Saturday” already. I thought that is great. I have it on my pile, hope I get to it soon. Well Done! (Now, please write more reviews lol) 🙂

    1. Now you have to read Saturday soon, I want to know what you make of it! (and then I can bore you with the academic interpretations I learned:))

  5. Singled Out! The very same happened to me re: adding books to my wishlist like mad. As for non-epic fantasy, Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching would fit the bill perfectly. The first book is The Wee Free Men. Also, Jo Walton’s Among Others (which I recently read and loved) is as far from epic as it gets.

    1. And it’s all your fault as usual, since you recommended the book so highly ;D Thanks for telling me about those epic-free YAs, I’ll have to see f my library has them. And I have been wanting to try Pratchett for a while!

  6. Congratulations on a wonderful reading month, Bina! Glad to know that you liked your first YA novel 🙂 If you like, I will recommend a few of my favourite YA novels – ‘The Wish List’ by Eoin Colfer (he is more famous for his ‘Artemis Fowl’ series, but this is probably his best book. It has an interesting heroine), ‘The Amulet of Samarkand’ by Jonathan Stroud (it is a fantasy YA novel and it is told by a Djinn. The Djinn has a sarcastic sense of humour and this book is hilarious and rip-roaring), ‘If I Stay’ by Gayle Forman (beautiful story about life and death and music).

    I read ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ for book club a few years back and I remember liking it but not loving it. I haven’t been near any of Jonathan Safran Foer’s books since 🙂 I think his wife Nicole Krauss is a more talented writer.

    1. Thanks, Vishy! 🙂 I’ve read some of the Artemis books, I liked the first one (anti-hero!) but the fairy gnome thing, forgot what she was, was a bit too weird for me 🙂 Will have to try the other ones.

      I too, prefer Krauss, they have the same kind of style, but she is so much better and less sentimental.

      1. Glad to know that you liked the Artemis books – yes, the first Artemis book is the best! The fairy gnome is Holly Short 🙂 I can send you the first page of ‘The Amulet of Samarkhand’ if you like. If you like the sample, you can give the book a try.

        1. That’s so nice of you Vishy, thank you! But my library has the Stroud book, so I’ll try these books when I’m done with my papers 🙂

  7. Looks like an interesting reading month! Re McEwan, which were the ones you loved and were exasperated by? I’m assuming Saturday was the one you enjoyed?

  8. I’ve been meaning to read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for a long time now. After reading your thoughts, I guess it makes sense that I have been putting it off. Don’t you hate required reading?! I enjoyed Saturday, and Chesil Beach, but I think Atonement is my favorite McEwan novel. Hope to get to The Magic Toyshop, or actually anything by Angela Carter, sometime in 2011. Great job for January, Bina!

    1. I found Foer’s work to be overly sentimental and his playing with the form annoying. But basically everyone else in my class seemed to love it, so don’t let me keep you from reading it 🙂

  9. You did not like Extremely Loud? Safran Foer is one of my favourite authors, even if I still have to read Extremely Loud. Funny how sometimes people can differ so much in their opinions.

    I’d love to read Singled Out. I think Ana reviewed it and made a very convincing case for putting it on my wishlist.

    I’m very bad at writing up reviews too, lately.

    1. I enjoyed Everything is Illuminated, but Extremely Loud is overly sentimental, I’m quite allergic to that. I much prefer Krauss’ works.

      Ana is responsible for 3/4 of my tbr list, I think 😉 Including Singled Out.

      Maybe we really should try to do mini-reviews.

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