January Reading Wrap-Up

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G’morning, peeps. The end of January is here. How did that happen? Seriously, how? Time is flying by way too quickly and I have just two months until I’m hitting the road for my long holiday.

As for my reading, I think I did quite well this month with reading five books. That doesn’t sound like a lot but one of my reading goals this year is to read just one book a month so I’m already killing that.

I am, on the other hand, failing miserably at trying to read all the books on my physical TBR. Out of the five books I read in January, only two of them were from that pile. (Two were on my Kindle and one was from the library.) I have 9 weeks to get through 12 more books. Eek!

The good news is that I am currently reading something from my physical TBR again.

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I’ve been wanting to tackle this for the last year. It’s quite long so it’s going to take me a while but I’m enjoying it so far and learning a lot.

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I’m also reading Scar of the Bamboo Leaf on my Kindle which is a YA contemporary. (I know! Me reading YA? Shock! Horror!) I can already predict that this is going to be a ‘bad boy turns good for love’ kind of story and some of the chapters do drag a little but what’s keeping me reading is that it’s set in Samoa and features a lot of aspects of Samoan culture and language that are new to me and quite interesting. (And it’s making me want to go to Samoa.)

I think I’ll try and pick up an adult contemporary by a Samoan author next time.

Books I Read in January

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1) Mexico City Noir edited by Paco Ignacio Taibo II

I enjoyed this book. This is a collection of noir-themed stories, all touching on the corruption and underworld of D.F. One of my favourite things about this book was that each author’s story covered a different area of the city, displaying the different types of corruption (that are all, of course, connected) that affect everyday people.

As someone who’s lived in Mexico City, I really enjoyed that mapping out of where each story was happening. I knew that the stories in Roma would involve the police, the stories around El Centro would involve stupid gringo tourists, and the stories in Santa Fe and Polanco would involve society’s elite crowd, all involved in some twisted way with the gangs and cartels.

I also really enjoyed discovering new writers and will definitely be on the lookout for more from quite a few of them.

2) Dangerous Minds by LouAnne Johnson

I briefly mentioned this towards the end of my scathing review of Frank Chalk’s book earlier in the month. Unlike Chalk’s monstrosity, I was pleasantly surprised by this.

I went into it apprehensive. I’d seen the film adaptation with Michelle Pfeiffer a few years back and, as entertaining as it is, it stinks of the white saviour trope. I was afraid that this book would be just as bad.

I was wrong. In fact, the real LouAnne Johnson wasn’t sent into a classroom with a bunch of kids from the ‘hood’. A lot of them came from upper middle class families and had lost their way somewhere along the education road.

As a teacher myself, I found Johnson’s techniques to be inspiring (even if some were a little outdated and in the ‘You could never do that these days’ category). She doesn’t once patronise or belittle her students. She only wants the best for them and captures their attitudes and characters really well. (Mr. Chalk, take note.)

Loved it. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more from her.

3) Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

My first Star Wars novel! I really did like this one. I’m a big fan of Rogue One so it was really interesting to get the backstory of how Jyn’s father came to work for the Empire and help create the Death Star.

This was surprisingly well-written with a lot of detail that helped create good three-dimensional characters. The plot was a little slow-paced at times but this hasn’t deterred me. I would really love to read some more of the SW canon later this year.

4) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I read this in a few days and absolutely adored it. ❤ The 1995 film adaptation was something I would watch constantly as a child. It was the first film to ever make me cry.

A Little Princess is set about 20 years before the film version and in London instead of New York. But, apart from that, the film is a pretty close adaptation. The ending is very different but I still enjoyed it.

The one thing that irritated me a little was the character of Sara (our ‘princess’). Her hoity-toity-ness was a bit much for me at times. I’m all for self-confidence but, dear god, this child could be so patronising and arrogant.

Nevertheless, I did still enjoy the story.

I also had no idea A Little Princess and The Secret Garden were written by the same author. How did I not know that? Again, the 1993 film adaptation of TSG was one I’d constantly watch as a child so now, you know I’m going to have to read that too.

5) Anything Goes by John Barrowman

Ah, John Barrowman. The man every woman loves but can’t have.

I bought this book last year while I was watching Torchwood for the first time. I figured it would be a fun read and it was. I’m not going to really go into depth about anything – Think of your typical celebrity memoir and you’ve pretty much got what this is.

I like Barrowman though so it was fun to read about his childhood and his early experiences of performing on stage.

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And that’s it. That’s what I read this month. I think I’m going to join the #FeministLitFeb read-along in February. I have a few books on my TBR that could fit into the categories really easily so it might give me a good push to read more. If I do decide to go for it, I’ll put up a tentative TBR here.

That’s all for now. Tell me about what you’ve been reading in January.

4 thoughts on “January Reading Wrap-Up

  1. I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that about Dangerous Minds, which I also always associated with white savior tropes. Probably because of the movie.

    As for Somoan lit, I’d like to read some. I’ll wait to hear your thoughts on this particular book before I dive in – because no on that trope too – but I’d like to explore more. I’ve been particularly intent on reading more from other cultures lately, particularly if they have some speculative elements.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will definitely keep you updated (and will be blogging my thoughts). I also have a ton of other books from the Polynesian islands I want to jump into this year too. I totally understand where your interest in reading more from other cultures lies – Lately I’ve been so interested in Polynesian writers but also indigeneous writers (from Aus/NZ/all Americas).

      Like

  2. Alright, I really think I need to get ahold of A Little Princess – everyone says such good things about it! You had a great month! I hope your February is just as good. 🙂

    Like

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