What have I read in January 2022?

      Comments Off on What have I read in January 2022?

Unbelievable! I am in awe of myself and my reading stats this month. January always is the month I read the most books, as it is also about the most quietest month with lot’s of bad weather. But this… this I never expected!

I have read 15 books. FIF-TEEN! And not at all small less than 300 pages books. No. Nine of these were over 300 pages, and two of those was even over 500 pages long. And the best thing of it all? THEY WERE ALL AMAZING! Not a single book sucked. Only five weren’t worth 4 or more stars, but even those weren’t bad. They just were a bit slow, or out of my comfort zone too much, or… you know, overshadowed by the awesomeness of my other reads maybe?

Fifteen books. How did I do it? The answer to this is simple. I read every day. E-VE-RY day. Before starting work, in my lunchbreak, even while cooking dinner. Not just hours on end after work, in the tub or before bed, but also a lot of those moments inbetween. Why? I had joined theStorygraphs January pages challenge. To read at least one page every day. But ofcourse, for me this means at least one chapter every day. And one chapter soon asks for another.

To be honest, there were days that I struggled to read. Where I was too tired from work or life, or too busy with either of those to open a book and REALLY focus on reading. But I did anyway. And these 15 books are the result.

1. Thin Air by Michelle Paver (English, 4.5 stars)
I want to read more horror, as I always say this is one of my favorite genres (besides mystery) so I started my year with this one. It’s a ghost story about a group of men, climbing the Kangchenjunga mountain in pursuit of being the first to tackle the summit after a previous famous expedition failed. The story is set in 1935, which is interesting because you go back in time from your own time, but during that time the main characters go even further back in time. Everything is told from the perspective of one of the men, who is clearly telling his tale later in his life. So your brain is up to a lot of “time traveling”.

It’s a good psychological horror. You keep wondering if their brain is playing tricks on them, or if everything is real? Is this what happened on that expedition 29 years ago, or is it happening because of what happened? Very atmospheric.

2. The Gunslinger by Stephen King (English, 4.5 stars)
You might remember from last year, that I was planning on rereading this series. Lucky me, I didn’t because this year a couple of booktubers are organizing a yearlong readalong not JUST of this entire series, but also including a couple of related books. We’ve all come to agree that this first book of the Dark Tower series is not an easy one to start with. It actually only seems to make sense if you have read the entire series before. An interesting take don’t you think? Without this book, the series truly isn’t complete though. So you need to read it anyway.

I loved my first read of the series and was somehow afraid a reread wouldn’t be as I thought it would be after so many years, like maybe I remembered wrong? Or I wouldn’t like it this time round? Glad to say, I do love it just as much! It’s been 8 years since I first read it. Must say I am a bit surprised to find I remembered more than I thought I did.

3. The Murder Stone by Louise Penny (English, 4 stars)
Another series I am continuing this year. I recently found out the 17th one has been released in 2021 so I don’t have to hold myself back on enjoying these. There are plenty more to come! This is the fourth in which we follow Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his wife on a wedding anniversary to Manoir Bellechasse. A murder happens. And surprisingly a couple of their friends from Tree Pines are involved. The murder itself seems impossible again, and is so incredibly thought out. How does she do it again and again?

4. When noone is watching by Alyssa Cole (English, 4 stars)
This is a very well-written story. But, also a very subtle one. And one, that if you are white (like me) you COULD have trouble truly understanding. I only got the thrill of it after entering a bookish discussion with someone who got bored with it, while I pointed out all the subtle remarks of real life horror happening in this book. It put some things into perspective for me. After that, the last 100 pages came along… and totally sucked me in. Wow!

5. The Secret History by Donna Tart (Dutch, 3.75 stars)
Who hasn’t heard about this one? Apparently it also started the new genre of Dark Academia. I however had some trouble reading this and am not sure how to rate this. It’s slow, and many things happen, while it also feels nothing happens at all. It’s written well, and despite it’s slowness I read it in three days. Simply couldn’t put it down. I needed to continue even though parts of this book feel SO cluttered. The story itself is dark, which I normally love. And people die, which is always good in my books. But still, can’t truly say if I have enjoyed it as I was supposed to? Maybe this is better while rereading.

6. The Thruth by Terry Pratchett (English, 5 stars)
Absolutely brilliant! I had a lot of fun reading this, and the technical and moral details were very much accurate, brought to you in such a funny way you can’t stop laughing. Yes, out loud! You can just see it happening. The first ever investigative journalist. And his vampire photographer. And an investigation also asks for a bit of mystery of course, which was woven in perfectly. I loved reading about the Watch Commander Sam Vimes again, but from a different perspective this time. Seriously, another 5 star read from Discworld.

7. The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault (Dutch, 4 stars)
For a yearlong reading challenge I am participating in, I needed to read something with genre Poetry. Not really my cup of tea… It’s not that I dislike poetry, but I do dislike short stories. And most poetry is. My library however rescued my challenge with this read. Very poetic on it’s own, but also filled with many haiku’s. And a very lonely postman, who falls in love with the writer of the haiku’s. But not to him, because he has been stealing the mail.
It was a very beautiful, tragic, but also a bit creepy story when you think about it. And the haikus and tankas inbetween the story of the lonely obsessed postman were very nice!

8. The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King (English, 5 stars)
In this second novel of the Dark Tower series it feels the story is finally beginning. But don’t be fooled, this is still an introduction! After meeting (and probably disliking) Roland in the Gunslinger, you now get to know two of the other main characters and their history before joining Roland on his quest. Right from the start you get sucked into the dark, scifi, fantasy elements which forebode the rest of their tales. A nice mix of action, and worlds.

9. The Last Snow by Stina Jackson (English, 3.75 stars)
This is a very sad, dark tale. And I feel I might have appreciated it more if my other reads this month weren’t as good as they were. I love dark icy stories, difficult families in a secluded winter town, murder, mystery. But it didn’t deliver as I expected it to be. Even the ending wasn’t really satisfying. Still, it was written well and the idea of the story is good.

10. Wintering by Katherine May (English, 4 stars)
My first non-fiction this year, one that I have been saving a while to read during winter. My days weren’t as cold though, but these stories are still comforting and reflective. Giving you rest with it’s poetic subscribing of winters, both the seasonal ones as the metaphor it’s stands for. Even though this is mostly a memoir, there are some things to remember for when wintering yourself.

11. De Boekenmoordenaar by Maja Wolny (Dutch, 3.5 stars)
This book is only available in Dutch and Polish. The story is about an old Polish man living in Amsterdam, above his bookstore. He falls in love with one of his (very few) customers, who happened to start living across the street with a group of her friends. And then a murder happens.

This book was mostly interesting because of the used writing technique. Wolny wrote from the perspective of the bookstore owner, not the murderer or the detective or the victims. This is not the usual style for a crime detective and makes the mystery harder to unravel. The plot sadly wasn’t that interesting even though Wolny wrote a lot of beautiful sentences, and many interesting historical facts were intertwined with the murder mystery.

12. Once there were wolves by Charlotte McConaghy (English, 3.5 stars)
This story has been getting a slight buzz lately. Normally I don’t pick up on these, but I wanted to read about the wolves since the Netherlands are also been having wolves again. And as much as I liked the science and the story about the wolves, I didn’t feel very invested with the characters. Except Duncan, and his story saddens me.

13. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King (English, 3.5 stars)
Wooow, outside of my comfort zone! But I wanted to read this, as it has some references to the Dark Tower series. I was surprised about how enjoyable this read was. Even though it is very much a slow story. It felt to me like a writing experiment, but I understand it was written for King’s (back then) younger daughter and I can see how it was. It’s not gruesome, and it has all the elements of a classic fantasy story.

14. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (English, 4.5 stars)
Did I just read two of these in one month? Yes, yes I did! In this fifth one Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to Three Pines, because another murder happened. Meanwhile Clara is preparing for her first big art show. This book will rip your heart out though… Seriously. You’ve come to love and cherish this community over the course of the previous books. Even Ruth with her duck Rosa. The food is as always amazing, the town, the community and the crime investigative team so comfortable and loving. And then THIS happens? Brutal was the right word for the title… And it probably won’t be long until I pick up the next one. I need to know how to cope.

15. The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig (English, 3.75 stars)
A serial killer. School shootings. Domestic abuse. Human suffering. Possessed animals. Alternate worlds. Different timezones. A demon. Human sacrifice. It has everything. A very modern horror, which I am not really used to I must admit. It was weird for me to read all these popculture references. It was intriguing though, and I like how they took the family element and made it not tormented but a team against the weirdness. Because weird it was! Wow!

And these were my reads! I can’t believe it! I wonder what February will bring.
Have you read any of these? Or are they still on your TBR? Will you be adding them now? Let me know in the comments!