Recent Reads – January

I LOVE to read. I’ve been on Goodreads for 4 years (be my friend!!), and I only wish I had had it as a kid so I could see what kinds of things I liked to read back in the day. Since 2012, I’ve set a goal for how many books I want to read in a year.

This year, my goal is 80 books. My plan is to do a recap of all the books I’ve read at the end of every month. Some reviews will be short, some longer, and sometimes I might love a book so much that I have to post about it before the end of the month. But for now, that’s the plan.

I’m a very eclectic reader. I love YA fiction (the Sloppy Firsts series by Meg McCafferty will always be my favorite), but I also really enjoy reading nonfiction, memoirs, and books about education.

Here are the first books I read in 2014:

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

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I had high hopes for this one. It was told from the perspective of an imaginary friend, who are real and alive as long as their child friend still believes in them. The narrator was an “old” imaginary friend. His child friend is on the autism spectrum, so he had trouble making human friends. The premise was so adorable, but I think the plot line got a little too weird at the end. I think it would have been better done as a simple, poignant narrative. I think the author tried too hard to make it like Room by Emma Donahue (great book). So not my favorite, but not bad.

Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

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Ugh, I HATED this book. I don’t know why I made myself finish it. It was super on sale as a nook book, and it sounded like a typical YA book, so I decided to check it out. My $2.99 would have been better spent elsewhere. Not only was the story totally absurd (it involved the weirdest love triangle), but there were typos. Like, comma splice typos. Yuck.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

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I think almost everyone has heard of this book. I felt like I needed to read it as a feminist and a working woman (even though I work in a female-dominated field). I thought it was OK. I think it would have probably been eye-opening for someone who hadn’t done a lot of research or work with feminism. I also think I might relate to it more later on in my career, especially when/if I try to balance a family with work.

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan

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LOVED this one. It’s written in poem/vignette form, and oh my god was it beautiful. It’s told from a bunch of different perspectives, which makes the plot kind of confusing. But honestly, the plot is totally irrelevant. I just love reading about high schoolers falling in love. It reminds me of being 17; emotional, confused, optimistic, and hopeful. And David Levithan is just one of the best writers out there. This is one I’ll definitely be going back to. I bought it as an eBook, but I wish I had it in hard copy. I would do some serious underlining.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

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Jennifer E. Smith wrote one of my favorite YA books of recent memory (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight), so I was pumped to read her new book. While it wasn’t as good as Statistical Probability, it was still a cute, lovely, easy read. I liked the two main characters a lot, and I was really invested in their relationship. She’s another one with a knack for writing teenagers super realistically.

Tangled by Emma Chase

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Blech. Another one on sale for Nooks (note to self: when nook books are seriously discounted, there’s probably a reason). Also, I guess I should have known from the cover. I had never really read any adult romance books, so I thought I’d give one a try. Can’t say I’ll be heading back to that genre any time soon. This one was told from the perspective of the guy, and it just felt really stereotypical and forced. Not my thing.

Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch

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This book was great. If you are at all interested in public education or education reform, you have to check this out. Ravitch does a great job of summarizing all of the arguments for and against different reform efforts. While some of it was hard for me to read (Ravitch slams most charter schools, and I happen to work for a charter), I think she did a great job of being balanced, honest, and fact-based. This is one I will go back to again and again, for sure.

Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin

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I read Rubin’s The Happiness Project for book club in January. I enjoyed the suggestions for resolutions, and I really loved the idea that we are in control of our own happiness (outside of things like depression). Happier at Home had some more great suggestions. I feel motivated to come up with different resolutions every month. Resolutions are fun! There’s no reason they should only be made or used in January.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simon

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Super cute. The plot line of this book was only so-so, but the narrator was awesome. He has Asperger’s or some form of autism which is never directly alluded to, but it was so cool to read through the eyes of someone who thinks so differently than I do. I would definitely recommend this one to people.

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

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I started this one on Monday, so I probably won’t actually finish it by the end of January. One of my professors gave me McCourt’s Teacher Man as a graduation gift, so I’ve been looking to read more of him ever since. This is his memoir, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and I can see why so far. It’s beautifully written, so so sad, but also very thoughtful.

What have you been reading? Any recommendations?

 

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9 thoughts on “Recent Reads – January

  1. Quite a few of these are on my “to read’ list. I keep seeing the imaginary friend one.. disappointed to hear it wasn’t so great. I’ll probably still read it though. Love that you read so much YA! Those are still my favorite books.. and probably make up 80% of the books I read. I haven’t read the ones you mentioned though, so I’m adding them to my list! I’m not sure how to find you on Goodreads, but if you want to add me, here’s my profile link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3715648-taryn

    • OK, I won’t COMPLETELY shut myself off from adult romance. I mean, I love teen romance so much, so you’d think I’d grow up a little bit. That’ll be the next one I try!

      And thanks so much for the blogging tips! I’m totally just trying to figure this out, but it’s been cool so far. Glad to have a friend checking it out 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing and for your review! I am in the middle of Sole Sisters: Stories of Women and Running by Jennifer Lin (short stories of different women and how they got into running etc). I will def add Happier at Home to my list.

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