Great Books I’ve Been Reading: January Book Round Up!

Since discovering Goodreads and the yearly book challenge, I’ve been reading A LOT. For the past two years, I’ve kept track of what I’ve been reading and included the list in my goal reflection blog each January, but how does this help you find a new, awesome book to read? Or inspire you to start reading again if you’ve fallen to Netflix binging in your free time? This year I decided to remedy that by creating a monthly book round up! I want to give you my rating and a few things that struck me about each book. Also, I want to show you how much I read that’s owned or borrowed (from the library, usually), and what type of format I’m reading (I’ve become especially partial to audiobooks which help me stay awake for all the long drives I have!) So with no further ado, let’s jump into what I read in January!

January Books 1

Room by Emma Donoghue
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 4 – Pretty Good

You might recognize this title because of the Oscar buzz its film adaptation has been receiving as the lead actress, Brie Larson, has been nominated for Best Actress. I wanted to read the book before watching the movie because I knew it was supposed to have an interesting premise and storytelling mechanism. It’s told from the perspective of a precocious 5 year-old boy, Jack, and that narrative voice can be frustrating at times. A 5 year-old can only understand the world so much so I felt limited at times during the story. I wanted to scream at him sometimes! But that frustration translates well when taken in context with the overall narrative (which I won’t tell you anything about, because SPOILERS!) It makes every misunderstanding and question from innocent Jack all the more gut-wrenching. All-in-all, a worthy read of human endurance.

January Books 2

In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
Book Type: Audiobook
Source: Library
Rating: 4 – Pretty Good

This is supposed to be a YA book, but I can’t imagine too many teenagers having the patience to follow the somewhat plot-less romp that is In Zanesville. However, as an adult, I was very much able to connect with the angst and confusion of being a teenager that this book so wonderfully captures. It’s like a nostalgic time bomb with quirky characters and situations from the serious to the trivial. It felt like a more literary version of Nickelodeon’s As Told By Ginger.

January Books 3

The Golem and Jinni by Helene Wecker
Book Type: Hard Copy
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

The Golem and Jinni was a gift from my dearest boyfriend for Christmas. It’s a book I’ve had on my too-read list for a while if for nothing more than the beautiful cover. Something about it spoke to me, and the book itself didn’t disappoint. It was somewhat slow-moving at first. Mostly because I didn’t quite know what to expect. There was magic. And the late 1800s. And a lot of Jewish and Syrian mythology that I wasn’t aware of. Have you heard of a golem before? A creature made of clay and brought to life to do its master’s bidding? And apparently there are some Jewish rabbis who know some pretty dark stuff (like animating clay). But this isn’t really a magical story. I mean, magic sets it in motion, but the story is really about two “people” who don’t feel like they fit in. It’s a not-so-subtle metaphor for immigrants (as they actually are technically immigrants to America), but moreover, a metaphor for feeling detached from the world. I really connected with it because of my struggles with depression, and I imagine there might be something you’re struggling with as well that you’ll find in the pages of this magnificent novel.

January Books 4

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
Book Type: eBook
Source: Library
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Library of Souls is the third and final book in “Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children” series that began with the bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which found much of it’s uniqueness from the use of found vintage photographs. Like the first two books in the series, Library of Souls uses these haunting images (with very little digital manipulation) to build a unique world, and I’ve always been impressed with how each photograph is used.

I will say though, that it was a little hard to start because it had been so long since I’d read the previous book. But once I got back into the rhythm (and read a plot synopsis on Wikipedia) I found the characters to be just as vibrant and enjoyable as ever. I really enjoyed this journey with Jacob as he came into his own with his “peculiar” talent. He’s a true hero, in my opinion.

So if you’re considering reading this series, I’d say, “Do it!” It comes to a wonderful and satisfying conclusion so you won’t be wasting your time.

January Books 5

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Book Type: eBook
Source: Own
Rating: 5 – AWESOME!!!

Every Last Word felt like your average “discovering yourself” YA novel for three-quarters of the book. But I kept having these nagging questions in the back of my mind while reading (which I can’t tell you because SPOILERS!) Then suddenly ALL those questions got answered in a twist I really didn’t see coming but was set up perfectly.

I also really enjoyed the author’s note about how much research she did on OCD for this book and working closely with a friend’s child who was diagnosed with OCD. It felt very authentic in the way it deals with mental illness which as a girl who was diagnosed with OCD at 11 and depression in her 20s, this is really important to me.

Out of all the books, I read in January, I think Every Last Word was my favorite. It was an unexpected favorite at that! I’m used to stories about depression, but not so much OCD and the anxiety disorders that can come along with it. Despite the seemingly overused YA premise, it felt more authentic than many like it I’ve read in a while.


Well that’s January’s book round up for you! I hope you’ll consider reading something here or even giving me suggestions of books you’ve read this month that you’d think I’d love! I also really love to point out that 3 out of the 5 books here came from the library! Use your library people! I also use BookBub which is a great email service that sends you a daily round up of discounted books in your interests. This is why I have WAY too many eBooks! My brain’s like, “$0.99? Sure! Why not!? This sounds fun!” Anyway, however you get your books, I just hope you enjoy reading!

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