January Reads

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

And so my 2018 reading journey begins. I upped my goal this year to 36 books, about one book every ten days. I'm ahead of schedule by one, which is good because I started "Alias Grace" by Margaret Atwood and have a feeling it'll take me a bit to get through.

If you're aiming to read more this year, Goodreads is a great place to start, to find and review books, and track your progress. I also log all of the books I've read here, and recently put up a post of book recommendations for every mood.

Book 1:
"What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty
Plot: After a fall at the gym, Alice wakes up confused and disoriented. But it isn't just because of the pain in her head; it's because in her mind, she's still 29, happily married, and pregnant with her first child, yet everyone else is telling her she's 39, a mother of three, and in the midst of a divorce. Now she has to try to put the pieces together and figure out what happened over the past ten years to get her here.

Thoughts: Slightly predictable but still so sweet that I didn't care. I love Moriarty's characters. This book actually made me think about what it'd be like if I woke up with the past 10 years erased, and it made me feel more appreciative of my life, which is so corny but I love when books can impact me like that. When it's a fiction book especially, it's more unexpected and therefore feels more genuine.

Rating: 4/5

Book 2:
"Wonder" by R.J. Palacio
Plot: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial abnormality. He doesn't look like other ten-year-olds and he knows it. People stare. Some have even screamed. But all Auggie wants is to be "ordinary," just like everybody else. After being home-schooled for his whole life, his parents are ready to send him to a real school. Narrated by Auggie and some of the people around him, this book tells the story of Auggie's fifth grade year, one of facing your fears, making friends, and being brave.
I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives."
Thoughts: This was wonderful (no pun intended). I love books that not only have a good storyline but good characters too, and Auggie is such a sweet character. I picked this up after seeing (and loving) the movie, but I kinda wish I read the book first because the movie follows it so closely. Still, a great read; one I'd recommend to everyone.

Rating: 5/5

Book 3:
"My Not So Perfect Life" by Sophie Kinsella
Plot: Despite how her carefully curated Instagram feed makes it seem, Katie Brenner's life is less than perfect. She's a country girl at heart who wants so badly to be a city girl. But she's just been fired from her job, by her boss who does have the perfect life. Left with no income, Katie has to move back to her dad's farm. For months, she struggles to find another job while helping her dad with his new "glamping" business. Then her former boss, Demeter, shows up. She's booked a trip with her family, not knowing that this is where Katie lives and works. The two come face-to-face and learn more about each other than they expected.

Thoughts: I didn't know anything about this book before I checked it out, but it's Sophie Kinsella, and that's all I needed to know. I'll admit, it's pretty predictable, but I love the humor in Kinsella's first-person writing. Katie feels like a real person that a lot of us can probably relate to. Plus, the "people's lives are not as they seem on social media" theme is a good reminder for all of us. Plots that involve social media are often a hit-or-miss to me, but this one felt modern without being obnoxious.

Rating: 3/5

Book 4:
"Moxie" by Jennifer Mathieu
Plot: "Moxie" means determination or courage, and this book is about the moxie Vivian Carter shows in her high school. The determination to do something about the harassment and sexist dress codes. The courage to start an anonymous zine speaking out and supporting other girls. The zines catch the attention of her fellow classmates, and soon a feminist revolution is in full effect.
A feminist. It's not a bad word. After today it might be my favorite word. Because really all it is is girls supporting each other and wanting to be treated like human beings in a world that's always finding ways to tell them they're not.
Thoughts: I loved this book from start to finish. I love that it addresses the various angles of feminism, like people's hesitance to actually use the word "feminist," and the annoying "but not all guys are bad!" remarks that come with it. While it's rare for me to physically react to a book in any way, the ending actually gave me goosebumps. Bravo, Mathieu.

Rating: 5/5

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