Wednesday, February 01, 2023

January: What I Read

Welcome, friends, to a brand new reading year! I have one serious contender for BOOK OF THE YEAR and another 2023 book I really loved. The other 4 current-year books are just meh thrillers (although the Hendrix book is HILARIOUS).

I got 2 older (2022 LOL) feminist reads from Libby that I adored— Burnout, a self-help book that is both helpful and really, truly FEMINIST and The Change that asks the question what happens when post-menopausal women stop giving a shit about the patriarchy and answers SMASH WITH SUPER POWERS.

20 books this month, and here’s how they stacked up:

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: I am actually excited that this was a #1 of more. **Audio

Night Shift by Robin Cook: Terrible but also strangely addicting. 

You Have a Match by Emma Lord: Cute YA book with deeper characters than I expected and a twistier plot. **Audio 

Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan: I listened to this one, and it was a lovely little distraction. **Audio

The Personal Assistant by Kimberly Belle: This one was entertaining and quick but also very predictable.

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez: Another lovely little audio romance. I will say, I do not usually like this author, but this one was darling. **Audio

What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall: Bleh. This was … fine? It was my January Book of the Month pick, and really? I should have just skipped January. When nothing looks good, I default to the thriller, but I am rarely satisfied. **2023

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover: I ACTUALLY LIKED THIS ONE A LOT. **Audio

Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli: This book was excellent. It’s about grief after suicide, and it’s very sad and raw. I almost started to get impatient with the narrator for being so sad for so long, which is how the character accuses her family of acting right after I felt that way- very well done. **Audio

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes: Ok, this was SO CREEPY. **2023 **audio

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister: I FINALLY snagged this at the library, and I liked it, but it was very into its own technique, you know? 

The Family Game by Catherine Steadman: This was a BOTM that I neglected last year, and it was GREAT— very twisty and suspenseful. Loved it.

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore: I liked Oona Out of Order better, but I enjoyed this one. I really like the author's take on multiple universes (in both books), and I adore the way she plays with form. **Audio

All the Dangerous Things by Stacy Willingham: This one kept me guessing for quite a bit. **2023

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finley Boylan: Like, listen. I understand the impulse to look down your nose at these books, but if you do that? I think you might be missing a really good time. Or there’s like some kind of intellectual virtue signaling (kind of like what I do with Colleen Hoover) like oh I read this but I am not of this. But you know what? I AM OF THIS.

The Change by Kirsten Miller: When women go through menopause, develop superpowers, and smash the patriarchy. **Audio

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix: Ha! So funny! So creepy! Liked it a bunch. **2023

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins: YES, PLEASE, MORE LIKE THIS. Love love love this writer (and her romance persona) and this one was great and so fun. **Audio **2023

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski: A feminist self help book that has systemic causes but believable personal solutions? YES YES YES. Their discussion of evidence based way to use gratitude journaling effectively was the best part for me, but I also like the way they describe patriarchy for the newbie. **Audio

Sam by Allegra Goodman: What a delightfully sad coming of age story.The characters are so well drawn, and the narrator grows up on the page in a really charming way. **2023

This Month:

20 books

6 books published in 2023

 9 print and 11 audio


  1. Thanks for the Nagoski2 rec--I had not heard of it anywhere else!

    And I'm going to add the Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan to my TBR. JFB is an English Prof., so I'm a bit surprised people look down their noses at her! Or is that just Jodi P? Also, a very long time ago, I got to have dinner with Boylan!

    1. SO COOL!! I really did like this book

  2. 20 books! Amazing!! I'm so impressed! I have read some of these but there are many I haven't. I read Nagoski's first book, Come As You Are. I've heard those sisters on podcasts and have thought about reading it. I should bump this up the list!

    I really like Wrong Time, Wrong Place. It was unique with the time loop aspect but it worked for me and I could relate to the reflections on motherhood/parenting.

    1. Oooooh, I am going to request Come As You Are right away

  3. CoHo is just not for me - I feel like there's always a twist or trick that feels unearned in her writing. But, I will say that I'm incredibly impressed with the breadth of the topics she writes about - very versatile.

    I think Nora Goes Off Script is a top-tier romance novel!

    1. I think I am more fascinated by her as a phenomenon than I am by any of her books. But! I also read Robin Cook, and he is TERRIBLE. Like, a truly awful writer AND super patriarchal, etc. But he is WAY MORE RESPECTED as a writer than she is, makes more money (or used to), etc. So, I have thrown myself back into CoHo (who didn’t even used to have an editor— she was like a half a step up from self-pub). Even though her newest re-release is called Heart Bones. Gah.

  4. Well, crud. I was hoping you'd say that The Villa was meh, because I just turned it back into the library without cracking the cover ONCE. Boo. I guess I will have to put it back on the ol' holds list. And I just downloaded The Family Game to my kindle. Woo!

    1. I really like Rachel Hawkins. Also, I listened to this one, and as I was listening, I wondered to myself it it would be as good on the page.

  5. This is such a fantastic list of books!

    1. A great start to My reading year!

  6. Anonymous10:36 AM

    Which is the contender for book of the year?

  7. Ah, bummer. You got Burnout as an audio book - if you owned it I was going to offer to buy it from you. :) It sounds like the Book I Need Right Now, Thanks. Can't believe how much you read - truly impressive.