January and February Reads

January and February Reads Collage 1

Did I tell you guys that I kicked up my reading goal this year? I’m trying to read 30 books this year and so far I’m on track! I’m playing a little bit of catch-up, but here’s what I read in January and February (after this, I’m going to try to do these posts monthly).

January and February Reads Collage 1

1 // 2 // 3

1. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain- This is the love story of Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley, told from Hadley’s point of view. Before I started the book, I knew nothing of this history of their relationship, but that didn’t get stop me from quickly getting wrapped up in their story. Ernest Hemingway has been written about many, many times over the years, but as far as I know, there are very few books that focus on Hadley, which I why I found it interesting that it was written from her perspective. Even though it’s a work of fiction, the author worked to keep the plot historically accurate. Hadley is a rather likable character, which makes you really feel for her during the highs and lows of her relationship with Ernest. I would definitely recommend this book!

2. Serena by Ron Rash- First of all, I have to say that I didn’t really like this book. I couldn’t give it one star on Goodreads because it wasn’t badly written or anything like that, but I didn’t enjoy the story at all. Set in the mountains of North Carolina, it’s about George and Serena Pemberton and their timber business. They’re both ambitious and formidable and will go to great lengths to make their business succeed. It’s a dark and twisted tale, but not in a way that I appreciated.

3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan- After the previous book, I needed a palette cleanser. I’d heard nothing but good things about this book, which made it the perfect follow-up choice. And I’m glad I chose this book because it was an absolutely delightful read! The main character, Clay, is a young twenty-something living in San Francisco trying to find his purpose in life. One night, he stumbles into a job opportunity at a local bookstore, but this bookstore is anything but typical. I don’t want to give anything more away, because it’s really fun to follow this story as it unfolds, but if you love books or tech or quirky adventures, then this is the book for you.

January and February Reads Collage 2

4 // 5 // 6

4. Rules of Civility by Amor Towles- Set in 1930s New York, this is the story of Katey Kontent, a sophisticated, intelligent and witty young woman. In the span of one year, Katey’s life changes dramatically, starting on New Year’s Eve when she and her friend Eve have a chance meeting with a dashing young gentleman named Tinker. The fact that it’s set in New York gave me a little thrill as I recognized many of the locations that the characters mentioned. In addition, the glamour of that era really comes across the page. When I read about Katey and Eve’s adventures out on the town, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to be there with them.

5. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn- Since I loved Gone Girl so much, I thought it would be fun to go back and read some of the author’s earlier works. Sharp Objects focuses on a character named Camille Preaker, a reporter from Chicago with a troubled past. When two little girls are killed within the span of one year in the small town of Wind Gap, Missouri, Camille returns to her hometown to get the scoop on the story and is forced to confront her past as well. Gillian Flynn really knows how to write a write a psychological thriller and even though you may see the ending coming a little bit before it does, it doesn’t make it any less twisted.

6. Where’d you Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple- This book is quirky, fun, and told in a series of emails, letters, and other reports, interspersed with the voice of Bee, Bernadette’s daughter. Bernadette and her husband Elgin live with their daughter Bee in Seattle. Elgin is at the top of his field in Microsoft and Bernadette used to be a famous architect, until an incident that occurred twenty years ago. Through the correspondence and Bee’s narration, we learn about what happened to Bernadette in the past and why she has so many anxiety issues. Then, mid-way through the novel Bernadette disappears and Bee is really the only one who holds on to the hope that one day they’ll find her. The characters are so lively in this book and Bee is so innocent, yet intelligent that you just can’t help but hope along with her that everything will work out in the end.

Yep, so that’s what I’ve read in the last two months! I’d love to hear any of your book recommendations in the comments below!


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  1. says

    I really liked The Paris Wife as well! I’m a big Hemingway fan…I seemed to write all my papers in college about him, and my favorite book of all time is The Sun Also Rises. It was fun to see this interpretation of the events that inspired one of his most famous novels.

    I have a goal this year too: 45 books! Goodreads says I’m on track, haha. Right now I’m reading Lauren Conrad’s L.A. Candy. I don’t love it, but now I feel like I have to finish it at least. I just read The Death of Bees and didn’t really like that one either. Up next for me: The Silver Linings Playbook.

      • says

        Silver Linings Playbook is a fun read- I have a copy so let me know if you want to borrow it! I haven’t heard of The Middlesteins- googling now.

    • says

      I used to feel like that too- that I had to finish a book once I started. Sometimes I still do, but then I remind myself that there are so many better books that I want to read, that I shouldn’t feel bad not spending more time on a crappy one!

  2. says

    You’re doing soooo good!! Keep it up :)

    I’m currently knee deep in Harry Potter for the first time, and they’re just so damn long! I have 2 more to go. And when I’m not reading those I’m reading my Sookie Stackhouse or Lemony Snicket series book! I’m all about the series’ right now!

    • says

      Thanks Eli- you were partly my inspiration to get back into reading last year! :)

      I’ve never read the entire Harry Potter series either, which so many people are dumbfounded by. I did read the 1st on my own and the 3rd one for a class in college and I keep meaning to go back and read the entire series but I haven’t done it yet. I love A Series of Unfortunate Events! I think I only read the first six or so, so at some point and I need to go back and finish the series.

  3. says

    Once I tried to do the 100+ book challenge… except I kept forgetting to write down the books and lost count. I think I nearly made it though, was somewhere around the 70s. I want to try again, but books are so expensive! Bah!

    I own The Paris Wife so I really should read it. It’s one of the few I have that is made of actual paper though… and I don’t know where it is. It’s probably better to keep them all on my phone then!

    • says

      Wow, 70 books, that’s amazing! It’s true, books can be expensive, but I’d rather pay $10 for a physical book than $10 for an e-book. The Paris Wife is good- you should definitely read it! And I have a copy too, so let me know if you want to borrow it.

  4. Maria D.Dials says

    I used to feel like that too that I had to finish a book once I started and loved that one.I’m deep in Harry Potter for the first time. And when I’m not reading those
    I’m reading my Sookie Stackhouse or Lemony Snicket series book! I’m all
    about the series.

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