I’ve always been a reader, with a book or my Kindle in my bag ready to spend any delays contentedly reading. But now that we’re in pandemic isolation, and so many of our usual hobbies and pastimes aren’t available, 2020 was a record reading year for me, with over 200 books read on that year. January 2021 is already full of sitting indoors, reading and writing book reviews. Here are a few recommendations from my January reading list.
I’ve been reading a lot of thrillers and mysteries in pandemic isolation, and January continued that trend. Lisa Jewell’s The Family Upstairs was a twisty mystery, it’s a bit hard to review without spoilers, but I can say it was surprising up until the very end. I also loved The Obsession by Jesse Q. Sutanto, and I can’t wait for her new novel, Dial A for Aunties. The Obsession is a suspense novel about a dark, twisted, completely messed-up high school romance, told in alternating chapters by the two sweethearts, almost like the book is having a laugh at this typical YA romance style. I read a couple predictable thrillers too, unfortunately, but no need to discuss those.
The Mall, by Megan McCafferty, is another book with a vivid setting that almost pokes fun at YA fiction tropes. Not a thriller, not even really a coming-of-age story, more of a nostalgic romp through early-90s New Jersey malls.
In nonfiction, I read Unmasked: Discover the Hidden Power of Your True Self, by Catherine A Duca, all about ways we can tap into our inner selves for happiness and contentment, even in covid isolation. I also read F.I.T. Finance: Helping Millennials Save, Spend and Splurge by Salvatore Ponzio, a personal finance book on using small changes to create security and grow wealth.
Finally, I read Rosewater, the first book in the Wormwood Trilogy by Tade Thompson. Unlike the others on my January book recommendations list, Rosewater isn’t a recent release, it’s just new to me.
This scifi trilogy is an alien discovery story, set in future Nigeria, but it’s also a personal discovery story with an intriguing protagonist. Rosewater had narrative elements that I usually complain about in my book reviews, but this was such an intriguing story with so much to discover and question that I didn’t mind the time jumps at all. The setting pulls readers in immediately, and I can’t recommend this one enough.
What about you? What have you read this month that you would recommend to other readers?