Last year I read around 71 books and it was a real achievement for myself. I fell out of love with reading in late high school, not for any reason, and I only started to get that back in the pandemic but it was only a book here or there amidst the lockdowns.
2021 changed that, around mid year I decided on the goal of 70 and beat it. And this year I have a larger one of hopefully meeting 80. Which is, quite frankly, exciting!
In January I read around 10 books, though a lot of these were rereads for various different reasons.
We started off the year with ‘All Rhodes Lead Here’ by Mariana Zapata, this was a reread simply because I kept seeing excerpts from it that tugged a little bit at me. It was a great second experience, in fact I think it started off the year nicely to have something easy to fly through.
‘Second First Impressions’ by Sally Thorn took me by surprise. Thorn, the author of the recent book to film adaptation ‘The Haring Game’, has never really been it for me personally. ‘The Hating Game’ was fun, it was enjoyable and I liked it. ‘99 Percent Mine’ on the other hand was one of my lowest rated books of 2021. ‘Second First Impressions’ was a complete rotation, I didn’t just like it, I didn’t hate it even, in fact I adored it. Maybe it was more relatable, character wise, or maybe I just like how Thorn’s writing has grown, but it was everything I didn’t know I wanted.
By now most people have read the brown sisters trilogy by Talia Hibbert, but I never jumped on that train at the time. I am usually late to the party on trends. ‘Get A Life Chloe Brown’ was fun, I found myself liking it the further I went. I think part of the reason I stood off from reading it was the expectations set by everyone else, and while I really liked it I didn’t become obsessed. That’s okay though, that doesn’t dismiss everyone who is, I think it was lovely and enjoyed it all the same.
I have been going through some stuff recently, and a large part of that has to do with my identity. So, as one does, I picked up my childhood escapism, my favourite books of all time, though their not even remotely fantastic pieces of writing. Maggie Stiefvater’s ‘Shiver Trilogy’ isn’t by any means literary greatness or really great at all to be fair, but in my heart, the heart of my inner child, all three books are perfect. I followed this up with the companion novella ‘Sinner’ of course. If you’re wondering if returning to this deep comfort aided anything, it did.
Again a reread, but this time it was Emily Henry’s ‘Beach Read.’ This book was a stand out for me in 2021, I really, really loved it. Though I find that I relate more to Gus than January, it still is riddled with pure understanding of the human experience around grief and mourning, not just that brought from death either. My main reason for this reread was how deeply I wanted to annotate it.
From this I went into ‘House of Salt and Sorrows’ by Erin A. Craig. I went into this knowing nothing really about it other than ‘dead sibling mystery type beat’ and I was nicely surprised. I will say it started off stronger than it left off, and the middle got a bit drawn out which left the ending feeling quite fast paced. Still I really enjoyed it, and the world building of this sea side gothic setting.
Now if I thought Emily Henry’s ‘Beach Read’ took the themes of grief and did it justice I wasn’t ready for her ‘A Million Junes’. This one was written before the infamous ‘Beach Read’ and later novels and was YA so I was unsure what to expect. That being said I found my new favourite out of all her works I’ve read. Damn, wow, I am speechless. I think I have a picture of my tear stained pillows from when I finished this somewhere. As someone who mourns and lives with the weight of loss and death everyday I particularly find myself drawn to books who understand it and boy did this stand out. Not only that, diving into it through these ideas of generational trauma, expectations through fanatical afterlife magic and ghosts. I can’t wait to see if this will be in my favourites of the year.
There’s some books here which I have started or been slowly pacing through I want to mention here too. Firstly, as it is too a comfort book Awsten Knight’s ‘You’d Be Paranoid Too (If Everyone Was Out To Get You): A Collection Of Personal Stories And Advice’. As you can tell from the title this is a non-fiction and is broken into sections around Q&A’s or personal stories. This makes it easy to have as a continuous novel to pick up when you want to without getting lost. I have read it before – a few times – and this is my second time around annotating. I fear one day every line is going to be coloured pink. Secondly, I’ve been moving through ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara very pacedly. Content wise it’s very drastically heavy and a little too relatable for aspects of my life at times that it’s only something I pick up if I really feel like it and I don’t think I’d ever really recommend it. Lastly, I’ve started Taylor Jenkkins Reid’s ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ after having it on my TBR for, well for like ever. Again, I’m late to the party.
I think for the first month of the year I’ve started off on a pretty solid run towards that 80 books of 2022 but I’m curious if I can keep this momentum up.