So...one post in January, not great...maybe two posts in February? I'll try for more, I promise.
January was a good month for reading. The cold renders me useless for anything but reading. I can't take the dog for long walks, I can't gather up the strength to do laundry, I must read.
First of the month was A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny.
"Comfort, security, ease. None of that comes with money...you asked what I count each evening and each morning. What I counted each day in prison while better men withered and died? I count my blessings...we're all blessed and we're all blighted, Chief Inspector...Every day each of us does our sums. The question is, what do we count?"
I can't find mysteries that are better written than Louise Penny and Alan Bradley. Both have a knack for surprising me. I haven't started the next Penny yet, but I have it, so maybe in February...
Next up was The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. I had read this years ago and loved it. My book club was reading it as their January selection so I picked it up and flew through it. It is beautiful and devastating. I finished it at a Bagel Bin and wept profusely regardless of the countless grannies sipping their tea and staring at me. It was so good and timely.
"I'm overcome when I think about this place and about what it's given us...One day when we go back to Mexico and people ask me what it was like here, I will tell them those things. I will tell them all the ways I loved this county."
That book prompted some deep, difficult thoughts and I fell on the ice and hit my head. I needed something happy and silly. I picked up Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse.
It is so good and silly. If you like English humor (think Fawlty Towers) and you've never read Wodehouse then you have been missing out on life.
"I didn't like Spode and would have been glad at any tie to see a Peruvian matron spike him in the leg with her dagger, but there was denying that he was hot stuff, matrimonially."
This month I also picked up Infinite Jest--which I will not finish for many months--and I was surprised to see David Foster Wallace quoted on the back of Jeeves praising Wodehouse's craft. It felt serendipitous to read the two authors in the same month.
My book of the month box arrived and I had The Woman in the Window on my doorstep. I went against my better judgment about books that are titled something about a "woman" or "girl" and picked this one because it sounded exciting and very close to one of my all-time favorite movies: Rear Window.
"It isn't paranoia if it's really happening."
This is the quote on the dust jacket and the best one I could pull out. I was not a fan. I am getting really bored of the drunk-white lady-unreliable narrator. I don't mind a well done unreliable narrator, but in so much of pop fiction, ladies can't get their stories straight. It seems like an easy way out for an author in this case. Also, I guessed one of the major plot twists right away, so that was a bummer.
Finally, and brutally, I ended the month with Human Acts by Han Kang. This is my book club's February pick. I can't wait to go and see if everyone finished it. It's a slim novel about an uprising in South Korea in the '80's. I had no idea. Reading the about the violence and connecting it with all of the uprisings that happen all over the world was devastating. How can this happen? How can humans do these things to other humans? It was just over 200 pages and with 50 pages left I considered abandoning it. I was wrecked by this book.
"After you died I could not hold a funeral,
And so my life became a funeral."
I finished it and I'm glad I did. It was hard but beautifully done. Kang did an amazing job of telling a story that is brutal and stunning in the best and worst ways. She used a handful of narrators who were all connected by the thread of a young boy. The last chapter slayed me.
I hope I keep up my trend and read a ton in February, too.
What did you read in January? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!