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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Swindler

January Reading Recap

Happy new year, friends! As my new year’s resolution was to unsubscribe from any marketing email that said anything along the lines of “new year, new me,” I am currently resisting the urge to say, “new year, new books!”

But, new year, and some newer books, some backlist, some audiobooks...

This year started with three 5-star reads in a row, so if that is a sign of how this year will go, I am here for it!

Without further are the books I read in January!

BookPeople in Austin!

Making a Scene – Essays | 5/5

Not only is this a beautifully written collection of essays, but I loved how Wu weaved pieces of her life to tell this vulnerable and personal story. I especially admired her telling of her experiences with FOTB. Each essay was a poetic window into her life—with topics ranging from love, bunnies, acting, and cars.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before – Non-fiction, Audiobook | 5/5

This book pairs perfectly with “What Happened to You?”. I loved that this book focused on practical tips for dealing with stress and anxiety instead of only focusing on past traumas. This was a great audiobook to kick off the new year!

The Swimmers – Literary Fiction | 5/5

“For a brief interlude, we are at home in the world.”

I do not know how to swim. Most of my memories at the community pool involve sitting on the edge in tears, panicked. Before reading this book, I never knew I would care so much about a pool. This book is heartbreaking and beautifully written. Highly recommend it!

Remarkably Bright Creatures – Fiction | 4.5/5

After reading this book, are octopuses now one of my favorite animals? Yes, 100%. This book took me about 100 pages to get into it, but from then on, it was hard to put down. I loved the PNW setting (yay, Washington!!) and loved seeing the world from the eyes of an octopus. I absolutely adored this book. I think if you are a fan of books with similar tones to Ask Again, Yes, I think you would love this book.

A Flicker in the Dark – Thriller | 4.5/5

This book took me until about halfway to get into—I had a hard time with the flashbacks, but after the halfway point, it was impossible to put down. It kept me on my toes while containing some well-loved tropes.

Everything Sad Is Untrue – Young Adult, Audiobook | 4/5

I loved this book. The storytelling was unique, and I loved watching how the whole picture came together. It took me a while to get used to the young narrator, but in the end, I do think this serves the story.

I wish I would have read it instead of listening to the audio—I think that is the only thing that keeps this from being a 5-star read for me.

Age of Vice – Fiction | 2.75/5

I am honestly not sure how to rate this book. The first half was gripping and hard to put down, but by the second half of the book, I was ready for it to be over. The story was much too long, filled with details that were hard to remember and not ever that important. In addition, I wish this book would have followed one or two of the characters closer instead of broadly following the family. Overall, good writing, but not the book for me.

To Sir, with Love – Fiction | 4/5

“You’ve Got Mail” is by far my favorite rom-com. I loved this modern-day retelling. Perfect if you need a lighthearted romcom that will pull tropes from the best of the golden age of rom-com. (This is also great if you are looking for a closed-door romance!)

Superfan: How Pop Culture Broke My Heart – Memoir, Audiobook | 4/5

Much like TASTE told Stanley Tucci’s life through food, this memoir follows Lee’s life through pop culture. I loved this reflexive lens. After reading this book, I really would like to read Lee’s fiction, as I think this would have added to my reading experience. Thanks to for my copy of this audiobook!

If I Survive You – Fiction, Short Stories | 3/5

I was intrigued by this book's premise, but I found it hard to get invested in the characters. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if it had been a more traditionally formatted novel or non-connected short stories. The writing was beautiful.

My Monticello – Fiction, Short Stories | 3.5/5

This short story collection is pulled together by the state of Virginia. Each story is compelling and complex, and timely. I was particularly moved by “Control Negro” and “Virginia is Not Your Home.” I think I would have enjoyed this more as an audiobook.

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