January Books

January was a fantastic reading month! I read a total of 15 books, which included a healthy mix of genres, as well as fiction/nonfiction. Here are the books I read last month:

  1. You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. This is a mystery novel about the death of a young man who was heavily involved in an elite women’s gymnastics gym. It chronicles the rise of a young woman through the ranks of the gymnastics world and contains several twists and turns throughout. I rated it 4/5 stars.
  2. Anxious People by Frederik Backman. I know a lot of people love Backman’s work, and I like it, but after reading this one, I just don’t think I’ll be a huge fan of his future work. This book details an investigation into a (failed) bank robbery and hostage situation and the characters were very endearing. I also gave this one 4/5 stars.
  3. We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper. This nonfiction was different from what I was expecting, but still a decent read. It tells of the author’s obsession with an unsolved murder of a Harvard student in the 1970s. I thought it was pretty anticlimactic (though that wasn’t really the author’s fault; it’s just the way the story played out), and I rated it 3/5 stars.
  4. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. This suspense novel was very good. It’s been sitting on my shelf for about a year, so I finally decided to pull it out and read it and I’m glad I did. It was about a woman who is in a coma and the timelines flashed between the days leading up to her coma and the days that she spent in a coma. I rated it 4/5 stars.
  5. A Promised Land by Barack Obama. This memoir was phenomenal. It gave me goosebumps, and I am so looking forward to the second volume when it comes out. I listed to this on audio and it was narrated by the former president, which I think made it even better. It was hands-down a 5 star read.
  6. The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. This was another 5 star read. I love a lighthearted romance novel with a happy ending, and this book gave me all that. It’s about a man and woman who were childhood friends who later reconnect and, as they say, the rest is history.
  7. Outlawed by Anna North. Yet another 5 star read. I am not sure what genre this would be considered to be, but I would call it dystopian historical fiction/feminist western novel. It was definitely unique, but it was refreshing to read a historical fiction where a woman served as more than a romance interest.
  8. The Push by Ashley Audrain. I am in a Facebook group for other book lovers, and this book was SO hyped (more so than any other book I have ever seen) so I had extremely high hopes for this one (probably impossibly high hopes; definitely unfairly high hopes). It was a very, very good book that I read in less than a day, but I think I was expecting a life-altering read after seeing all the hype for this psychological thriller and it just didn’t live up to my expectations, so I gave it 4/5 stars.
  9. Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker. This was the second book I have read by Kolker and I liked this one a lot more than the first I read of his. This nonfiction book tells the story of a family with 12 children born between 1945 and 1965, six of whom later develop schizophrenia. It was heartbreaking and eye-opening all at the same time. It was another 5 star read.
  10. Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L. Trump. Once Trump was out of office, I decided I could probably finally read this one without getting too irate at how horrific he is and how undeserving he was of the presidency. I am definitely glad I waited, but I think this book is still so important and serves as a kind of cautionary tale of how much trouble rich people can get into without ever having consequences.
  11. The Survivors by Jane Harper. This book was so unexpectedly good! I hadn’t seen very much about it, but decided to give it a try and I am so glad I did! It’s a mystery book about two deaths — one of a young woman 12 years ago, and another of a young woman in the present — and takes place in a small Australian town. I actually loved this book so much that I ordered all of Harper’s back list and am anxiously awaiting those books’ arrival.
  12. The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Keeton. I picked this book up when I wanted a lighthearted read and, while it was definitely not lighthearted, I was still pleasantly surprised by how good it was! This is one of those books where I would read for what felt like 5 minutes, and then realize I had breezed through 100+ pages. It tells of three women whose paths inevitably cross throughout the book trying to survive a hurricane in 1930s Florida.
  13. The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman. This was yet another 5 star read that was super fun and lighthearted. It tells the story of a young woman living in New York who travels to Italy with her long-lost great aunt for her aunt’s 80th birthday.
  14. One Life by Megan Rapinoe. This book was phenomenal. I hadn’t realized that Rapinoe had written a memoir, but I saw this on my library’s Libby site and decided to borrow it. I am so glad I did. Rapinoe is such a great role model for young women and her confidence is so refreshing.
  15. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London. This final book of January 2021 was another good one that got 4/5 stars. It is a play on The Bachelor and, as a fan of that franchise, I thought this book was very well-done.

And so there are my January 2021 reads! I don’t often reflect on the books I’ve read unless they were true standouts, so this was a nice post to write. As you may have noticed, I can’t stand to give a book less than 3/5 stars unless it was truly terrible because I know how hard the authors worked on their books. I also generally believe that there are very few truly bad books; most books are just bad for some people, but they may be great books for others.

I’m hoping February will be another great reading month! I’ve finished three books already, but have several 400+ page books I’m hoping to read this month, so it may well be a smaller month in terms of quantity, but hopefully just as great in terms of quality.

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