January Reads


I kicked off 2013 with the ball drop and fireworks at Buffalo’s beautiful Electric Tower

January was an excellent reading month! I completed five books and partially read a few others. Most of the books I read were fairly short, but all of them were excellent! My first reads of the year definitely got 2013 off to a great start.

I also had a great time reading and discussing one of my favorite books, The Handmaid’s Tale, with Rebecca of Love at First Book! I always enjoy discussing books, and this book contains so much to talk about! It was great to hear her perspectives on things I hadn’t noticed before.

However, I hit a bit of a slump at the very end of the month. I’ve started four books during the last week, and I can’t seem to settle into any of them! I’ll read 20 or 30 pages, get restless, and pull something else from the shelf. Have any of you had this problem, where after you’ve read a few really great books in a row, you have trouble getting into a new book? If so, how did you overcome it?

Books read
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
Wanderers – Edward Belfar
Zazen – Vanessa Veselka
O Pioneers! – Willa Cather
A Train in Winter – Caroline Moorehead
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (re-read)

Books in progress
Cleopatra: A Life – Stacy Schiff
Portrait Inside My Head – Philip Lopate
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods – Matt Bell
Lunch with Buddha – Roland Merullo

Pages read
This month: 1,799
Year to date: 1,799

Books read YTD
Completed: 6
Progress toward 52 book goal: 12% completed, 2 books ahead of schedule

Books added to my collection
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
O Pioneers! – Willa Cather
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
Won from giveaway:
Lunch with Buddha – Roland Merullo
In the House upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods – Matt Bell

February plans
In February I plan to start reading Les Miserables! It’s on my Classics Club list, and after seeing the new film adaptation earlier in January, I decided to finally read it! I bought the Signet Classics edition, as recommended by Adam at Roof Beam Reader, and I’m excited (and also a bit nervous) about diving in. I made myself a reading schedule of roughly 100 pages per week; at that pace, it’s going to take me 15 weeks to read this book! I’m looking forward to the leisurely pace.

What did you read in January? Any plans for February?


18 thoughts on “January Reads

  1. I read A Farewell to Arms and about a third of David Copperfield. I’m also reading The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States 🙂

  2. I’m reading Les Mis right now and it’s SO GOOD. I’m reading it for an online book club, so I’m only able to read so much of it per week…but I just want to keep reading! It’s hard to put down.

  3. Yes, I know exactly what you mean about that, when you’ve read some amazing books and then struggle to get into books. It happens to me all the time, and I’m not entirely sure how I get past it. I think often I end up going for a wildly different book, or sometimes mix in a non-fiction book to break up the fiction for a while. (Actually I think I just realised that’s exactly what I need to do right now).
    Sounds like you read some great books. I think the two main and most memorable books I finished in January were Norwegian Wood (as you know), and The Prisoner of Heaven. Am very slowly plodding through Good Omens by Pratchett and Gaiman, and Neverwhere by Gaiman, and while I’m enjoying both I think I need something different to break it up a little. Maybe it’s time for a history or neurology book again, hmmm….

    • That seems like a really good approach, although I think my problem might actually have been too much variety! I had a non-fiction, an essay collection, and a novel all going the same time, and I think I couldn’t handle that many different forms. But if you’ve been reading a lot of fiction, tossing in a good non-fiction seems like a good way to go!

      Wooo Norwegian Wood! I really need to read Gaiman soon; I’ve heard so many good things about his work. Hmm, neurology sounds interesting 🙂

      • Ahhh yes, I find that sometimes that I am reading too many wildly different things and my brain just sort of deflates. 😛
        Yeah, Gaiman is pretty awesome, I’m definitely enjoying his stuff. Am planning to wade through all his novels and short stories this year.
        And neurology is always interesting! I’ve read through most of Oliver Sacks’ books on it, which are all brilliant, but I’m thinking of delving into a book called “The Tell-Tale Brain” by V. S. Ramachandran (who I more know because of his work on phantom limbs, something which totally fascinates me).

  4. I have so many of those reading slumps every year! I think it depends so much on what’s going on in my life, school, job etc. Don’t worry, it’ll go away before you think.
    Congrats on reading so much and, most importantly, enjoy it so much 🙂

  5. Just starting Quiet (finally!).

    When I get into a slump, I have a few options.

    If I feel like I really need to read a book, I’ll set a schedule for it just to get it finished or dedicate the day (or some hours) to reading it, and reward myself. Like, if I read to page x, I get to check Facebook or eat an apple or something like that.

    Another thing is that if you’re really that slumped, maybe you need to pause those books and read something short and light in order to just lighten the mood. For instance, you have 10 seconds to choose your next book: What is it? That’s the book you need to read to get out of your slump!

    And of course, I learned a lot from you about The Handmaid’s Tale, too! It’s amazing how much symbolism is in that book, ESPECIALLY the beginning section! It was great having someone else to discuss it with, someone who actually WANTS to talk symbolism in Atwood’s novel!

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