My only resolution for this year is to live life more creatively. So far this has included reading more. I started with a low goal of reading 12 books in 2016 then decided to up the ante to 52 books. Go big or go home, I say. I managed to read four (!!) books in January, even though I didn’t pick up my first book until almost two weeks into the year. That’s already four more books than I read in 2015 so I’d say I’m making pretty good progress on hitting my #Read52in16 goal.
You can follow my reading progress and bookish thoughts on Goodreads. (I’m erinwiggle there as well.) I have been really excited to utilize this social media site to discover new books and keep track of the ones I’ve read and want to read. I am trying to read through all the books that I currently own and have not read but I’ll admit that I’ve added a handful of new books to my collection.
I’ve also joined the “Around the Year in 52 Books” group on Goodreads which has a list of book prompts to guide you through the year. For example, this week’s prompt is “a book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name.” (Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is what I’ve chosen for this prompt.)
Also (also!), did you know there’s a whole community of book lovers on Instagram? Bookstagrammers take wonderfully creative photos of books and their shelves (also known as a #shelfie, get it?) and I can’t get enough of their feeds.
Without further ado, here are my January reads and my thoughts on each of them.
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks – ★★☆☆☆
Nicholas Sparks books are known for being predictable. Sparks has a standard writing formula but that’s probably why a lot of people continue to read his books. I’ll be honest: I only read this book because I plan on seeing the move with my BFF. (A tradition of ours.) And even though I sort of knew what to expect – boy meets girl, they fall in love, some sort of catastrophic tragedy happens, sometimes they live happily ever after and sometimes one of them dies – I have to say that this particular book was pretty… boring. I didn’t get the kind of feelings that I usually get from Nick Sparks. I was frankly glad the book was over and bummed that I kicked off the year with such a drab read. (I couldn’t even come up with a good quote to put in this review because nothing really stood out.)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – ★★★★☆
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” – Levi, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I tried reading Eleanor & Park, another Rainbow Rowell novel, last year after many people recommended it and I lost interest. I was apprehensive starting Fangirl but after reading some good reviews and ratings, I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did.
I really, really enjoyed Fangirl. As far as I’m concerned, this book really kicked off my reading year and was a good follow up to lackluster The Choice. I related so much to Cath and really enjoyed the development of her character. Levi reminds me of a friend I had in college so I had a really easy time imagining him in my head. I could have done with less Simon + Baz. I actually skipped over most of the fanfiction excerpts. But all in all, it was a quick, lighthearted-without-being-too-fluffy read.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes – ★★★★★
“Just live well. Just live.” – Will, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Grab your tissues, ladies and gents! This book was a tearjerker. After attempting to read this book in 2015, I gave it another go. (For the record, I didn’t have a hard time getting into the book the first try. I just put it down for too long and forgot what was going on, ha!) I had a handful of chapters left in this book and couldn’t put it down one night. Needless to say I finally finished at 1:30am and was left in a puddle of tears. I’d forgotten how it feels to read a really great novel. This book was wonderfully written with relatable characters and a different kind of love story without the cheesy romance. Well done, Jojo.
“To be honest, I’m hoping I can find a good girl with a bad side to marry me one day…” – Oz, Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
I have to admit that I was only interested in reading this book because it’s a teenage love story involving a motorcycle club. (Think West Side Story meets Sons of Anarchy.) As the “old lady” of a man in a motorcycle club, I was interested to see how factual the book would be. Come to find out McGarry actually spent time with a real MC as research for the book so for the most part, the motorcycle club information was factual. I thought the book was pretty good overall. A little bit cheesy and dramatic but a good read. I probably got into more than the normal person because I’m familiar with the lifestyle. Also, there’s a playlist in the back of the book for certain parts of the book. I wish I would have seen this before finishing the book because it would have been fun to listen and read. I’ll definitely check out the second book in the series – Walk The Edge – which is expected to publish in March.
I’m hoping to read at least four books in February, starting with Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and hopefully including Hey Sunshine by Tia Giacalone, who is actually the author behind the very first blog I ever read religiously.
What have you been reading lately?