January & February Reads and Book Haul

Stack of books

I feel like I’ve been reading up a storm lately, but it’s nothing compared to what I see on booktube. Many of the booktubers I watch, like Marines, Jack, and Jesse, read about a book a day. I don’t know how they do it other than they must be extremely fast readers. My pace is much slower, and is helped by listening to audio books while doing other things.

So far, my January and February have started off strong. As of today, I’m 30% into my 2023 reading goal. I finished a total of eight books towards a goal of 27, including The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, which I started last year.

Although, I picked up new books not on my original plan, I’m still on track to read what I mapped out. So far, I’ve read five from that list.

Below is my ranking based on enjoyment.

Title & AuthorFormatTypeRating
The Cruelest Month by Louise PennyAudiblePlannedRecommend
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwoodebook/libraryUnplannedRecommend
The Dutch House by Ann Patchettebook/libraryPlannedRecommend
March by Geraldine BrooksHardback/libraryPlannedRecommend
The Business of Being a Writer by Jane FriedmanHardback/libraryUnplannedRecommend
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv ConstantinePaperbackPlannedJust Okay
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuireHardback/libraryUnplannedMeh
Big Sur by Jack KerouacAudiblePlannedHated
Books read as of February 15, 2023

All of the books on this list had merit, and I’m glad I finished them. The one I loved the most was The Cruelest Month, partly because of the narrator. Yes, there’s a trend here. Narrators play a huge role in audiobooks. For this one, I watched the show before I read the book. Something I prefer to do in reverse. I was worried the show would ruin the book for me. However, in this case, the show differed enough that the story was still a good mystery. And as always, the book had so much more detail.

My least favorite was Big Sur. It was hard to get through. The only reason I finished is because the audio book was narrated by Ethan Hawk. Even though it was lyrical and well written, and I can definitely see the literary merit, I am not the right audience for this book. If It’d read it in college I might have had a different take. It felt like a bunch of adults who never got over their young adult parting stage. They never matured into well-adapted, fully-functioning adults. Plus, one person was insinuated to be a pedophile, but no one did anything about it because you don’t know what’s real or in Jack’s imagination because he’s drinking so heavily and having a mental health episode. Despite not loving Big Sur, I can’t deny it’s worth as a classic.

Book Haul

My pledge to stop buying books this year didn’t last long. My first lapse was buying extra credits on Audible. (Plus, there was a 2 for 1 sale.) Below are my recent Audible buys.

Wooden heart on stand
My husband made this. It’s a gift card holder. A little smaller than a greeting card.

My second lapse was Valentine’s Day. My husband made me the beautiful gift card holder pictured on the left. It held a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, which I used towards the books below. And of course, I spent more the $25.

Current & future reads

This week, I started The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, the first in the Folk of the Air series. I took a risk and bought the rest of the trilogy before I finished the first one. I’m about three chapters in and crossing my fingers it’s as good as the reviews say.

I’m also currently listening to Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister. And I’ve checked out ebooks for Mind Your Mindset by Michael Hyatt and It happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey. This is the second time I’ve picked up It Happened One Summer. I’ll read at least two more chapters to see if I can get into it. If not, it’ll be a DNF. Next, I’ll start Fairy Tale later this month so I’ll have time to finish for April’s book club.

Right now, the reading bug’s got me, but at this pace, it limits my time for writing. Not that I’m overly in the mood to write. However, I am making myself edit one of my short stories. I work on it a little every day. This way I’m still being somewhat productive. It feels nice to be able to work two of my favorite things into my schedule.

As of now, I’m on track to meet my reading goals, plus some.

What about you? How are your goals coming along? Do you have any book recommendations?

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