January came and went, and I’m happy to say I actually got some decent reading done!
This month, I read 2 books that I really enjoyed. One was a re-read and the other was one I’d never read before. But we’ll get into that in a moment.
I’m also going to go over my TBR for February too, so let’s dive in!
January Reading Wrap Up
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This was a re-read for me and is a book I try to re-read every year around the new year. Big Magic is a personal development book on creativity that I highly recommend for every writer or just any person too.
It’s inspiring and motivating and gets me in the right mindset for the year with my own writing and work.
About Big Magic
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Gilbert offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
The Guest List by Lucy Folley
I am a sucker for mysteries and The Guest List is a classic, so I used one of my Christmas gift cards to finally get it. It started off slow and took almost 200 full pages to finally get to the reveals and the action. However, I did enjoy the build-up because the character dynamics are really interesting.
When I finally got into the action, I almost finished the last 150 pages in one sitting. Every time I flipped the page, something else was revealed and there was another twist that I would audibly gasp at.
I highly recommend The Guest List if you love an engaging thriller, and make sure to give me some recommendations of your favourite thrillers!
About The Guest List
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
Since I easily read 2 books in January, I’m hoping to keep up that same momentum of reading one non-fiction and one fiction.
However, just in case I finish one more quickly than anticipated, I’m going to add a third book to my TBR.
Here’s what I plan to read in February:
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This book is blowing up all over TikTok and I just can’t escape it! Not that I want to. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while, so I am determined to read it in February. Finally!
About The Song of Achilles
Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.
They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
How I Built This by Guy Raz
If you’re familiar with the podcast, How I Built This, I’m pretty sure this book is similar to what the podcast’s like because it wraps up a bunch of short talks with entrepreneurs.
I have loved reading non-fiction in the morning that is centred around entrepreneurship, self-help, creativity, etc., so I can see this being a great morning read for me.
About How I Built This
Great ideas often come from a simple spark: A soccer player on the New Zealand national team notices all the unused wool his country produces and figures out a way to turn them into shoes (Allbirds). A former Buddhist monk decides the very best way to spread his mindfulness teachings is by launching an app (Headspace). A sandwich cart vendor finds a way to reuse leftover pita bread and turns it into a multimillion-dollar business (Stacy’s Pita Chips).
Award-winning journalist and NPR host Guy Raz has interviewed more than 200 highly successful entrepreneurs to uncover amazing true stories like these. In How I Built This, he shares tips for every entrepreneur’s journey: from the early days of formulating your idea, to raising money and recruiting employees, to fending off competitors, to finally paying yourself a real salary. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting their own business or wondered how trailblazing entrepreneurs made their own dreams a reality.
Inanna’s Bargain by Clarie Sulos
Inanna’s Bargain has been on my TBR for a while now, but I haven’t been in the fantasy mood as much as I usually am, so I’ve put off reading. However, I was kindly given this book for review a while ago, and really want to get to it, especially since I am in the mood for a good mythical fantasy.
This book is based on Mesopotamian mythology, which right off the bat, sounds super interesting to me. It also includes a high-stakes quest and I’m a huge fan of the quest trope! So, I have high hopes that I’ll enjoy this.
About Inanna’s Bargain
The Inanna’s Bargain Trilogy is a work of historical fantasy fiction set in the Akkadian Empire of ancient Mesopotamia during the reign of Sargon the Great, circa 2,284 BCE. The two protagonists are completely fictional: Samri is a priestess of Inanna, and Kianu is a gala priest and an acclaimed dancer. However, some of the other characters are based on historical and mythological figures. Sumerian and Akkadian deities play major roles, especially Inanna, goddess of love and war, who has made a special bargain with King Sharrukin (a.k.a. Sargon) to support his reign.
The story begins when the goddess Inanna sends Samri and Kianu on a mission to help King Sharrukin meet a dire threat from the north. The trilogy chronicles the journey of the half-siblings through alternating first-person accounts, as they leave their home city of Uruk and travel upriver with a small group of companions. In the first book of the series, Inanna’s Bargain, they journey to Nippur, the holy city of Enlil. In Akkadian Nights, they continue north to Kish, then travel overland to the capital city of Akkad. Finally, in Waters of Enki, they journey with an elite military unit to Mari and Ebla, in advance of the king’s army.
Over the course of their mission, the protagonists confront thieves and kidnappers, foil attacks by hybrid beasts and human assailants, and tackle a winged demon sent by evil gods trying to stop them. They come to know and understand one another better, and they meet others who spur conversations about life, death, and the making of legends. While Samri and Kianu develop close friendships with others during their journey, the story highlights their abiding love for one another, and the strength of family bonds.
Those are the books I read in January and the ones I plan to read in February!
Let me know how your January went reading-wise, as well as what you have on your TBR in the comments below. I’d love to know 🙂
Check out my latest blog post: My Reading & Writing Goals for 2022