Looking Back: January

January wasn't as big of a reading month for me as I had wanted it to be, but despite the fact that I spent several full days painting, packing, moving, and unpacking, I managed to squeeze in a collection of some very excellent reading. I'm excited to have kicked the year off with such great books, and already can't wait until February rolls in with all new stacks (because what I was lacking before was enough to read...):

entomology of a bookworm books read in january: chasing the scream, the magician's lie, broken harbour, in the woods, getting things done, teach a woman to fish, tell the wolves i'm home

Chasing the Scream, by Johann Hari: Technically I read this one in December, but it just came out this week, and I can't stand on enough rooftops to tell enough people to read this book quickly enough for my satisfaction. Hari's in-depth exploration of the history of the war on drugs and how we got to where we are today is mind-boggling, eye-opening, occasionally sickening, and downright important. He sheds light on the myriad ways that race and racism have shaped our thoughts on drugs, the surprising ways scientific studies do--and do not--support the common theories of addiction, and so. much. more. Read my full review.

The Magician's Lie, by Greer Macallister: One-sitting historical fiction, where readers are left to guess what is truth, what a lie, what is real and what is nothing more than sleight of hand. Bound to interest anyone with a passing interest in the traveling magic shows of the early 20th century, to boot. Read my full review at Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Teach a Woman to Fish, by Ritu Sharma: The indie bookstore in my new town (which is downright awesome, by the way), has a book club called "Our World: Women and Their Extraordinary Stories." You bet I signed up for that one without missing a beat, and the inaugural book pick, Teach a Woman to Fish, was not only interesting to read, but interesting to discuss with a group of smart women who know how to pick at the social issues in our country and globally.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen: This has been on my shelf for at least three years, and on my amorphous TBR list for at least twice as long as that, and I finally read it! Allen's approach to organizing your life is based on my favorite thing of all time: common sense. The book's a little outdated (Palm Pilots and Lotus Notes, anyone?), but still relevant. More thoughts on this to come, and you know I'll be rushing out to get the new edition scheduled for publication later this year.

In the Woods, by Tana French and Broken Harbour, by Tana French: I accidentally read French's Dublin Murder Squad series slightly out of order, but that hasn't diminished the intense psychological suspense in every volume. Thoughts on the full series to come later next month (as soon as I finish The Secret Place, and have nothing to do but pine for another book...), but I will say that if you're considering any of these books, they are well worth exploring on audio.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, by Carol Rifka Burnt: A different book club in my new town had this as their January pick, and I am so grateful to have had the kick in the pants to get it read. Adored it. Loved it. Devoured it in two days. Can't say enough about it, but also can't seem the words to say anything at all about it, either.

Everything else I read this month pubs in February, March, or beyond... so stay tuned for more thoughts on Find Me, by Laura Van Den Berg (spoiler: loved it); The Bullet, by Mary Louise Kelly (talk about unexpected); I am Not a Slut, by Leora Tanenbaum (didn't love this as much as the rest of the internet did, but still thoughtful and thought-provoking); and Dorothy Parker Drank Here, by Ellen Meister.


So far this year, I've finished:

Of the 13 books I've picked up so far this year:
  • 1 was a DNF
  • 10 were by female authors (10!)
  • 2 were by non-white authors (a mere 15%)

Other January activity (here and elsewhere):

What was the best stuff you read in January? What are you looking forward to next month?


  1. Coffee & a BookChickJanuary 30, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    I have got to get back to Tana French! I'm *thisclose* to finishing Book four in the George RR Martin Song of Ice and Fire series and I can't wait to get onto something really creepy.

  2. Which one(s) have you read? I love how they sneak up on me... like I think it's not so creepy after all, and then I realize how under my skin the suspense has gotten. Like the frog in boiling water metaphor, if that makes any sense. They are SO good on audio, too.

  3. I love Tana French's novels. I think The Likeness is probably my favorite, but I haven't read The Secret Place yet. I thought Tell the Wolves was wonderful too.

  4. It's a pretty awesome concept for a book club, no? This was the first meeting (for me and for the group as a whole), and I think it's going to be good. Up next is Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China. I love that it's got me picking up books I never would have noticed otherwise.

  5. I loved The Likeness (it reminded me a lot of The Secret History, actually, if you've read that?), and Broken Harbour. Oh heck, I like all of them. Trying to find my copy of The Secret Place in my current mess of unpacked book boxes and I may just cave and use another Audible credit for it on audio, since the others have been narrated so well.

  6. Bahaha, yes! I unintentionally read them back-to-back! http://avidreader25.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-likeness-and-secret-history.html

  7. You're not alone with I Am Not a Slut. I really liked it in the beginning, but it didn't end up going where I thought it would and ended up being a bit of a let down. Glad to hear most of your other January reads were good ones!

  8. This sounds really fascinating and thought-provoking!

  9. (I didn't do as well as I had intended with Jazz Age January, either.) Eve in Hollywood can totally count :)

  10. The only thing I was participating in was Jazz Age Jan and I did not do well. One book read for it, but i had great intentions. I know Feb is going to be a better month for me. Or at least it better be!

  11. I'm really trying to not get distracted by too many reading challenges this year but it's not going so well. I'm doing the Popsugar reading challenge and the TBR challenge. I also did your clean your reader challenge (and read 5 books for it).

  12. I read loads of comics in January, which was a nice treat. So pleased you liked Tell the Wolves I'm Home -- I loved it also. Did your book club enjoy it too, or have y'all not met to talk about it yet?

  13. Emma @ Words And PeaceFebruary 2, 2015 at 1:18 AM

    can't make up my mind to read ro not your #6. Jan was fabulous, loved Rodin's Lover and The Martian: http://wordsandpeace.com/2015/02/01/2015-january-wrap-up/


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