What I Read in January and February 2021

A little bit late in posting this, but I still want to do monthly wrap-ups on my blog. The first month of 2021 ended up being a great reading month, even thought I didn’t read a lot of books. I ended up reading almost 1,000 pages with 3 books completely read. I did read a little chunk of Anna Karenina this month as well, but I’m no where near being done. I’m trying to value quality over quaintly this year in terms of my reading. Although it’s never stated as such, reading goals can sometimes feel like a competition. Which, in turn, takes the fun out of the reading. February was about the same, with 4 books read. I really want to finish Anna Karenina for March, but I’m not going to beat myself up if that doesn’t happen. Here is what I read in the first two months of 2021:

1. How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa
How to Pronounce Knife is the first book I read this year, and it didn’t disappoint. I wrote a full review of the book, so I won’t get to specific here. However, I loved the emphasis on imperfection, and the variety each character brought to each short story. If you love characters with flaws, then you will love this short story collection.

2. The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
I first read this book during the first year on my Instagram. It was my first Christie novel, and surprisingly, I still haven’t read another one of her books. I read this book in part of my friend Kerry’s (@linesiunderline) book club #HyggeDunit. After rereading it, I remembered what I liked so much about Christie’s writing. She’s funny, blunt, and sarcastic. I loved Miss Marple, but I did wish she was the narrator instead of the Vicar. I don’t know if this is how the rest of the series is like, so if you know, let me know in the comments.

3. All Adults Here by Emma Straub
This book was an enjoyable generational story. The book starts off when Astrid, the matriarch of the family, sees a woman get run over by a bus. From there she is compelled to make amends with her children and grandchildren. It’s a very moving book, with lots of humour. I did enjoy the book, but some aspects of the novel fell flat for me. There were a lot of cliches that I wasn’t too impressed by. However, I did enjoy the parts of the novel that focused on her grandchild Cecila and her friend Robin. I will say there is some content warning of homophobia and transphobia, just so you know before picking up this book.

4. The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
On my quest to read every single Shakespeare work, I started off with The Comedy of Errors. This is a really short play revolving around two sets of twins. One set is of nobility, while the others are slaves to the other twins. The whole play revolves around mistaken identity and the comedy of all the mistakes happening because of this. It definitely wasn’t my favourite Shakespeare play, but it was an enjoyable short read.

5. Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
I never read any Baldwin before, but now I really want to read more of his work. Giovanni’s Room centres around David who travels to France with his fiancé Hella. There, he meets Jacques and Giovanni, a bartender. The story encapsulates the brief love affair of David and Giovanni, and the internal struggles both men have. Baldwin writes like he’s painting a picture, and every scene I read felt so lifelike! Giovanni’s Room is well worth your time, especially if you want to read more LGBTQ fiction.

6. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The Guest List is about a couple getting married on an island off the coast of Ireland. While there, someone is murdered, and everyone on the island is a suspect. I got to borrow this book, and it was an unexpectedly good read. I didn’t guess the twist in the end, so that always gets a few bonus points. Overall, the writing was just okay, and none of the characters were truly unique expect for Olivia and Aoife. I would recommend it if you enjoy mysteries and thrillers.

7. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vanishing Half centres around twin sisters growing up in a rural town in Lousiana that prides themselves for being light-skinned. When the twins decide to leave their hometown, they are eventually separated. One twin eventually returns to Mallard, while the other decides to live her life as a white woman. The novel shows the life both sisters have, and how differently each sister and their offspring’s lives turned out to be. This book by far was my favourite read from February. It was shocking, heart-breaking, but also informative in how colourism is still an issue today. I highly recommend reading this generational novel.

I’m hoping I read more in March. And by that I mean, I take more time in my day to read than to scroll through my phone, or waste time basically doing nothing. I always feel better when I’m reading more than when I’m aimlessly on my phone. So hopefully for my March wrap-up, I’ll have a lot of good reading done, and lots of things to say!

What did you read so far this year? Did you read more books than me?


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