This month has been… a lot. I’m currently getting used to a new job (which isn’t officially mine yet, I just have to do it until they go through the whole interview process) and prepping for the biggest trip I’ve taken in thirteen years. Which I didn’t have to plan because I was seventeen and didn’t have to deal with all the grownup things yet. Anyway, it’s been an insanely busy month. I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, but I did manage eight books, which isn’t bad. And there were some serious ups and downs – look at those ratings. The ARCs let me down this month (reviews are linked below). But the books I picked up on my own redeemed my January reading. Fingers crossed February is better.
What I Read:
Hill Women by Cassie Chambers ★★★★☆. This is a memoir about a woman who grew up in a very poor town in Appalachia and and went on to become a lawyer. It reminded me a lot of Educated by Tara Westover. It wasn’t quite as good, but I still really enjoyed it.
The Majesties by Tiffany Tsao ★★☆☆☆. This is a family drama/mystery about a woman trying to figure out why her sister poisoned their entire family. You can check out my review to see why I didn’t love it. Basically, I was hoping for Crazy Rich Asians, but with murder, and it mostly just annoyed me.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson ★★★★★. This is the third Isaacson book I’ve read in the past three years, and I loved it. I’ve read a lot of biographies, but his are the most engaging I’ve experienced. I think I have one more, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I won’t have any more to read.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid ★★★★★. I picked this up totally on a whim and it ended up being one of my favorites this month. If you were skeptical about the Reese Witherspoon book club pick this month, don’t be. I thought this was such a great commentary on current racial issues, and I couldn’t put it down.
Things in Jars by Jess Kidd ★★☆☆☆. I had a hard time getting through this because I was just kind of bored. Which is saying something, because it’s a mystery, with a bit of romance, set in Victorian London. Which, on paper, sounds like my perfect book. I’m still disappointed.
Catch & Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow ★★★★★. After seeing Bombshell I immediately picked this up. And it was SO GOOD. I could not stop listening to the audiobook. It’s about the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, which is really difficult to read, but so worth it.
The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams ★★☆☆☆. Another disappointing ARC. The synopsis of this one kind of gave me The Grace Year vibes, and maybe those high expectations set me up for failure. But I didn’t love this one.
Kindred by Octavia Butler ★★★★★. I did love this one. I can’t believe it’s taken me THIS long to read Octavia Butler, but I’m so glad I finally did!
What I’m Currently Reading:
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo. I picked this up in anticipation of the new series on Netflix. I’ve been too busy to read much recently, but I am enjoying it so far. And I can’t wait to finish and watch the adaptation, because it looks fantastic.
Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I picked this up at the beginning of the month and it’s been kind of on hold. Not because I am not enjoying it – I honestly really am – but because it was kind of depressing me to read about amazing former presidents. Who actually cared about people. I will pick it back up soon, though!
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is a reread for my book club (they always picks books I’ve already read, but whatever). This time around, I went with the audiobook. And I have to say, full cast recordings typically aren’t my thing, but this one is fantastic.
The Golem by Gustav Meyrink. This recently made both my Prague Reading List and my post about Translated Classics. I’ve been reading it slowly before bed every night – which probably isn’t the best idea, given that this is essentially horror – and I’m really enjoying it so far. Definitely excited to see where it goes.
What I Watched:
I watched A LOT of things this month (which is probably why I didn’t read as much as I wanted to), so I’m just going to give some highlights.
Booksmart. This has been on my radar for a while. Obviously, because of the title, and because I love Olivia Wilde (who directed). But it wasn’t until Barack Obama put it on his 2019 favorites list that I knew I really needed to watch it. And I really enjoyed it. It was so much fun, and honestly one of the most relatable (for me) teen movies I’ve seen in a very long time.
The Hate U Give. I’d been meaning to watch this for so long (I don’t go to the movies a lot), but it was one of the first things I watched after biting the bullet and splurging on an HBO subscription. I thought they did a really great job adapting the book. I really enjoyed it. Even though it made me angry for days afterwards.
Bombshell. After I got over my Hate U Give anger, I went to see Bombshell. I really liked it. I thought it was a great overview of what so many of these women went through. And Margot Robie is FANASTIC in it. It’s worth seeing just for her.
The Good Place series finale. I’m writing this before I watch the finale (it aired on the 30th), but I am NOT READY for this show to end. It’s brought me so much joy over the past four years. Calling it now: I’m definitely going to cry.
What I Did
Attempted to go self-hosted. And I regretted every second of it. It was definitely a mistake – for multiple reasons. I don’t think my blog has fully recovered, and I’m kind of bummed about it, but it’s a lesson I probably had to learn the hard way.
Kara & Nate’s YouTube Channel. I’ve been watching a lot of travel videos on YouTube since I have a major trip coming up. Which is how I discovered Kara and Nate. They recently completed their goal of visiting 100 countries (I know!) and I absolutely loved watching their vlogs all about their journey. They seem like genuinely great people, so go check them out.
I decided to challenge myself to read more authors of color this year. And I wrote a post all about it. Every year, I come up with some new way to challenge myself in my reading, and I’m very excited about this year’s challenge (even though I’m already not doing that great).
The Top Five Translated Classics on My TBR. You all seemed to really like this post, which honestly surprised me. But I’m not complaining. I’m curious to see if you’ve read any of these, or if you have any additional recommendations. I’ve already started reading The Golem and am really enjoying it!
That’s it for this month! I hope you all had a great start to 2020! I’d love to hear what your favorite book of the month was, so let me know in the comments!