January was a good reading month! Both as in quality of the books, my Goodreads challenge and the #StartOnYourShelfathon. I also finally got me a library subscription again. Yay!
According to Goodreads, I need to read 1,5 book a week to get to my goal of reading 70 books this year. And as I wrote above, it was a good month. I apparently am “1 book ahead” as I have completed 7 already. But they were good, so good. It was impossible not to read this fast. I enjoyed them thoroughly!
6 out of these 7 were from the #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge. A little recaps about that:
#StartOnYourShelfathon is a 2020 star-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of #StartOnYourShelfathon is to read as many unread books on your bookshelf as you can between December 13th 2019 and December 31st 2020.
If you want to read up on that you can go to “My reading goals and first readathon for 2020”.
As I am preparing to read even more than anticipated from my shelves I have finally worked through all of my ebooks, listed them, deleted the doubles and ones that I most certainly won’t ever read at all and found out that I have 495 of them in my library. That’s a good amount of books to keep me reading for, ehm, 7 years! A lot of them are series, some of them not even complete yet. And there are also a couple that I have both as ebook as physical or both in English as Dutch. I am glad though they aren’t all covering an entire wall of my home, although it would look amazing… the amount of dust sadly won’t agree with my lungs. 🙁
So what did I read this January?
1. The traveling cat chronicles by Hiro Arikawa 5/5 (purple star)
I started the year with one of my Christmas presents, a definite feelgood story. I love books about the friendship between a human and their pet, cats especially and this one is top of the list. I cried a lot, the entire last two chapters. This book is just amazing and I will re-read it again!
2. Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees 3/5 (purple star)
I bought this one during our trip to Sweden at the Science Fiction Bokhandeln (my absolute favorite bookstore) and saved it from September till Christmas to be in a fairy tale mood. I fear the fact that I am not a native English speaker nor a frequent fantasy reader, this book didn’t have the effect on me it could have. I can tell it’s written good, like really good, and for something written in the 1920’s it still feels like it could have been written last month, this also shows how good it has been written. Sadly the story itself didn’t fully land with me, but I will read it again. Maybe even this year.
3. The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova 4/5 (blue star)
Elizabeth Kostova does it again! Although this book is a work of fiction it feels very real and in the current world also very on-topic. I didn’t actually know where the book would be about so this was a pleasant surprise. The growing friendship between the two main characters (in current time) was also interesting to explore and follow. But the main story of the mystery and the “book within the book” were absolutely thrilling! Even though I did like the subject of the Historian more, the Shadow Land is one I would advise to anyone who wants to read some Balkan history fiction.
4. The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3) by Agatha Christie 4/5 (blue star)
I don’t know how she does it, it marvels me every time. But reading a Miss Marple murder mystery is so comforting! This was another beauty, I liked it more than the last one as it was a complete story and not a collection of short stories. I am sad the ending always goes fast. It’s like you have to read the explanation twice and then read the whole story again to fully see what Miss Marple did. Splendid!
5. Roses of May (The Collector, #2) by Dot Hutchison 5/5 (blue star)
After reading the Butterfly story I could hardly wait to get on with this one. But as it is situated four months after, I had to get myself to wait at least a little while. And it didn’t disappoint. I just love this series! It’s so emotional, so full of suspense but also full of the power of love. The psychological part of being a victim feels so f*cking real… it’s almost unbelievable. And the way the Butterfly story is incorporated in these Flower-killings is amazing. I can (again!) hardly wait to read the next one, but that will also make me sad because it will be the last one…
6. The contract by Gerald Seymour 4/5 (green star)
My only new book this month, which I found at a local free library in a grocery store. I always forget how much I like to read the old books, where the cold war and/or the iron curtain are still a daily reality to people. It feels like fiction, even though I know it’s cold hard reality of a not so long ago history. Gerald Seymour has written this story from every possible angle, and has added a lot of historical details about happenings back then. The story itself is intriguing, full of suspense and hope that they will possibly make it till the other side of the iron curtain and at the same time dread about the possibility of failure. It feels realistic enough to me, even though I have (very luckily) never had to live that life.
7. Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2) by Stephen King 3/5 (silver star!)
My first library book in possibly 18 years, it ofcourse had to be a horror. Couple of funny things with this one. First of all, I thought it was just two years old, but it turns out it was actually written almost 7 years ago! So weird. The story has a slow start (as most of Stephen Kings’) but picks up quick after that. I was a bit annoyed by the fact that there is multiple time-skipping in the story, but since this is more about Abra than about Dan it does make sense. The storyline and how it came together with the Shining is nicely done, even though they somehow don’t feel “together”. I am actually thinking I might have liked Doctor Sleep better as a movie? Or is that because The Shining is only a movie to me?
So these were my January 2020 reads. Have you read any of these too? What did you think about them? Do you have a recommendation for something similar? Or is there anything you would like to know? Ask me in the comments!