I know it’s a cliché but I can’t believe we’ve made it through a month of 2017 already. That said, it is at least an opportunity to take stock of what I’ve been reading. Throughout January, I finished a total of 10 books (4 novels, a novella, a short story collection, a non-fiction book, a poetry collection, a graphic novel and a fairy tale/art book).
I’ll quickly get the negative part out the way first, which is that I DNF’d one book as well, which is very rare for me. I won’t go into too much detail here as to why I disliked Being a Beast by Charles Foster so much, other than to say I thought it was exploitative, ludicrous and in very poor taste. I wrote quite the rant on Goodreads if you would like to know more, but needless to say I don’t recommend picking it up.
On a much more positive note, I had three 5* reads this month that stood out as real highlights. They were: Shaun Tan’s art book, The Singing Bones, in which he presents beautifully whimsical, atmospheric and eerie sculptures inspired by fairy tales; And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, a classic mystery novel about a group of people brought to an island and forced to confront their dark pasts as one by one they’re killed off by an unknown assailant; and The Dig by Cynan Jones, a stark yet quietly beautiful story that draws parallels between two very different men, focussing on grief and man’s capacity to be both tender and brutal. I loved all three.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Physical by Andrew McMillan, a collection of poetry that explores sexuality and masculinity in the modern world, and Revenge by Yoko Ogawa, a series of interconnected short stories tinged with melancholy and more than a hint of the macabre, as they explore the idea that we all harbour secrets.
Inspired by mythology and using the structure of stories within stories (with elements of gender, feminism and LGBT rights thrown in to boot), Isabel Greenberg’s graphic novel, The One Hundred Nights of Hero, was also a great read.
Overall, it’s safe to say that it was a strong start to my reading year (one unfortunate blip aside) and I look forward to seeing what February has in store for me in terms of books.
What was your favourite read in January?