Happy New Year! I’m back with a list of what I read in the past month. But first, I want to remind you why I read so much.
- I read to escape – reading is my retreat. It’s pretty much impossible to multi-task when you’re reading. I enjoy watching TV (and spent way too much time this weekend binge-watching The Good Wife) but I don’t have to put in the same kind of effort to watch a TV show or movie. For example, while the TV was on this weekend, I wrote a short paper for class, cleaned the house, cooked dinner, and browsed the internet more than is healthy. I can’t do that when I’m reading. The political events of this month highlighted again how much we need that escape. When I am reading, I can only think about what I’m reading.
- I read to learn – this month alone I visited a magical world in England, spent time on the set of my favorite reality TV show, lived in Saigon during the Vietnam War, learned English in rural Alabama, became a migrant worker in 1930s Mexico, and spent a winter in Siberia in 1917. How else can you even do that?
- I read to grow – this month I spent 31 days meditating on a single passage of Scripture with the help of someone far wiser than I.
What’s your reason for reading?
And now, here are the nine books I read in January.
Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (And Everything In Between) by Lauren Graham – loved this memoir. I want to be Graham’s real life friend. This book won’t change your life but if you like Gilmore Girls or Parenthood, you’ll want to read this book.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling – I still don’t love Harry Potter but I will read the whole series this year.
It’s Not Ok: Turning Heartbreak into Happily Never After by Andi Dorfman – Fun read for fans of the Bachelor franchise. I really liked Andi as a contestant and as the Bachelorette so it was nice to hear things from her perspective. I could tell she refrained from sharing all that she could have out of respect for the men and I appreciate that about this memoir. If you didn’t watch her seasons of the show, I wouldn’t bother picking this up, unless you’re really curious.
I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends: Confessions of a Reality Show Villain by Courtney Robertson with Deb Baer – DO NOT waste your time. This was awful. I’m not sure why I even finished it. I didn’t watch the season Courtney was on so I couldn’t recall events that she alluded to. Also, it’s just poorly written trash. Not even a ghostwriter could fix this.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout – I think this was a well-written book and I picked it up because it was highly praised. It’s relatively short and I read it in an afternoon. It wasn’t really for me, but I can see why others liked it and it’s objectively a good book.
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai – this Newbery Honor book gives the free verse account of a ten year old Vietnamese girl witnessing the fall of Saigon. She and her family arrive in rural Alabama in the summer of 1975 and the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a refugee. This book is written for young adults and it is brilliant. Based on real events in the author’s life — I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan – another YA historical fiction, this one is a fictionalized account of the author’s grandmother’s story. After tragedy strikes their wealthy Mexican farm, Esperanza and her mother flee to the United States, where they find work on a labor camp in 1930s California. A sweet coming of age story that I highly recommend. I listened to the audiobook for this.
The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra by Helen Rappaport – this one took me a while to work through because it is a true non-fiction biography and every sense. It is meticulously researched and well written. I’ve always been fascinated by the Romanovs (the legend of Anastasia – which the author squelches quickly – and the hemophilia rampant in the royal families across Europe, which we studied in seventh grade science) so this was a fun read for me.
Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray – its 31 chapters make for a great month-long devotional. Murray takes a deep look at John 15 and I learned so much. I will be reading this again.