Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Wrap-Up

Happy new year! So far, it doesn't look like 2017 is going to be a whole lot better than 2016. (Almost all of the reasons why apply mainly to the U.S., so if your country has been having a better year, that's great and also can I come sleep on your couch?) It's more important than ever to be aware of what's going on and to make your voice heard.

After the election, I made a post with a list of diverse books because we need these kinds of stories now more than ever. The events of the past week or so have only made me more determined to read diversely. If you have any recommendations, please send them my way.

It feels weird to give life updates after so much has happened, but that's what wrap-ups are for, right? So, I started my second semester in college, and I'm currently in a bit of a dilemma because I'm enrolled in five classes (with four being the recommended workload) and I love them all so much that I don't want to drop any of them! I have another week to make up my mind, so I guess we'll see what happens! Either way, I probably won't have as much time for fun reading as I'm used to (though I hopefully won't drop off the face of the bookish world like I kind of did last September), but I'm sure find a way to balance things! 

I was on break for most of the month, so I had time to read a lot. And binge-watching the A Series of Unfortunate Events show on Netflix (which was AMAZING) inspired me to reread the series! So far, the bookish year is off to a great start. 
 
THE BOOKS

GEMINA by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (The Illuminae Files #2): I'd heard so many amazing things about this one, and after unexpectedly loving ILLUMINAE last year, I was really excited to read this! It was pretty great, but I was confused enough that I couldn't completely love it. ½

THAT BURNING SUMMER by Lydia Syson: I love historical fiction, especially set in World War 2, and this included a couple of really interesting perspectives I hadn't seen before - the English countryside and a Polish pilot! That was really nice to see, but the ending felt rushed and the book was just missing something. You can read my full review here.


IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo: This was the monthly pick for the Literary Lions book club, which I've been following on Instagram for quite a while but only just got around to actually participating in. I'm so glad I read this! I haven't seen many #ownvoices books about trans characters, so this is a really valuable (if idealized) insight. 

WONDERFUL FEELS LIKE THIS by Sara Lövestam: This one definitely surprised me! For the first third of the book or so, I just couldn't get into it, but before I knew it, I was flying through the rest and I couldn't get enough. It's such a wonderful story. My full review won't be up until closer to the release date (March 7), but this is one to watch out for!

COMPUTATIONAL FAIRY TALES by Jeremy Kubica: I took a week-long class centered around this book, and it was definitely different than any class I've ever taken. This book introduces a lot of the concepts behind computer programming without actually involving computers at all, which is very creative. It was kind of weird learning these things entirely out of context, but I think it would help me if I ever decided to try my hand at programming.

ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell: I had a number of problems with this book. I didn't quite dislike it (except for the ending), but I didn't really enjoy it, either. I don't know whether it's because this is the first adult book I've read by Rainbow Rowell, but it really just wasn't for me.

RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1): I DEFINITELY get the hype surrounding this series now! I can't believe it took me this long to read it, but I'm really glad that I did. I understand why some people don't like it - the book doesn't feel that original - but it hooked me from the first chapter and didn't let me go.

GLASS SWORD by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2): This one didn't quite measure up to the first one for me, mostly because it just didn't feel like as much happened. I still really liked it, and with that ending, I know that I need to read KING'S CAGE as soon as I can get my hands on it!

LEGEND by Marie Lu: Another book that I really should have read by now. I really enjoyed it! I had a few problems, but overall, it was an engaging story with good characters and a really interesting world. Hopefully the rest of the series lives up to this one!

Reread this month:
  • THE BAD BEGINNING by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1): I'd been planning to reread this series for a while now, but then I watched the entire Netflix series the day it came out and knew that this had suddenly become my #1 reading priority. I absolutely love this world! Revisiting great series is always so nice.
  • THE REPTILE ROOM by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #2): I liked this more than I remembered! And without the show, I definitely wouldn't have remembered a lot of what happened. I liked that this got darker than the first one without being too scary, and I loved the little Snicket asides like the explanation of dramatic irony. Original rating , new rating
  • THE WIDE WINDOW by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #3): This used to be one of my favorites from the series! Unfortunately, it didn't stand out as much in my mind this time around, but I still really enjoyed reading it.
  • THE MISERABLE MILL by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #4): I definitely like the Netflix adaptation of this one better than the book. I thought it made a whole lot more sense. But really, it's impossible for me to dislike a Lemony Snicket book, so this one was still pretty good. Original rating ★, new rating ½
  • THE AUSTERE ACADEMY by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #5): I love this book! It's always been my favorite of the series, and it was wonderful to go back and revisit it. I'm really excited to see what Netflix does with this one!
  • THE ERSATZ ELEVATOR by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #6): My other favorite book in the series! I absolutely love how creative this book is.
  • THE VILE VILLAGE by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #7): I've never liked this one as much as the rest of the series, but I liked it a lot more than I remembered!
    Original rating , new rating ½
  • THE HOSTILE HOSPITAL by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #8): This one terrified me as a child, so I couldn't really focus on how good it was! It still terrified me, but this time, I could look past it. Original rating , new rating
  • THE CARNIVOROUS CARNIVAL by Lemony Snicket (ASOUE #9): I was really surprised by how little of this I remembered! And by how creepy it was. I was really sad at the end because I haven't been able to get book 10 from the library yet and now I have to wait!

READING STATS
  • Total books: 9 new, 9 rereads
  • Longest book: GEMINA, 608 pages
  • Shortest book: COMPUTATIONAL FAIRY TALES, 204 pages
  • Favorite book: RED QUEEN
  • Least favorite book: ATTACHMENTS
  • Diverse reads: 6 (all except THAT BURNING SUMMER, COMPUTATIONAL FAIRY TALES, and ATTACHMENTS)
CHALLENGE PROGRESS

Backlist Reader Challenge: 4/60 (Computational Fairy Tales, Attachments, Red Queen, Legend)

Read it Again, Sam challenge: I'm changing my goal to the next level up, "Living in the Past: 16+ books," so my progress is 9/16+ (all of the books in my reread list above)

2017 Debut Author Challenge: 0/12. I always read more 2017 releases later in the year, so I'm not worried about this one!

2017 Series Enders Challenge: 0/5-10. But CHAMPION is going to be one of my first reads of February, so I'll be back on track soon!

BLOG POSTS
BLOGGING CHALLENGE PROGRESS
2017 Discussion Challenge: 1/11-20 (Thoughts on Required Reading, Part 2)

How was your January? What was your favorite book you read? Are we doing any of the same challenges? Tell me in the comments!