Jan was a great reading month for me as I read 9 books. I have never read that many books in a month, if I remember correctly. This was possible mostly because I read small books (200-400 pages long) and because I loved every single book I read this month. With books which are not that interesting, I find reasons to not read since I do not feel inclined to read them that quickly. But when the month is filled with 4 or 5 star reads, I tend to read more.
6 of these reads were from my physical TBR (yayy!) and 2 were ebooks and 1 physical book was borrowed from the library. I had borrowed 4 books from library this month. I only ended up reading one of the 4 and returned the rest of them unread since I just am not in the mood for non-fiction or graphical novels right now.
So these were my reads from Jan –
The Accusation by Bandi
5 stars – AMAZING BOOK. BEST READ OF THIS MONTH.
”How could the screams and cries of such a mass of people be transformed into ‘happy laughter’ without a cruel sorcery being at work?”
”… a man who had sacrificed everything he had, and been rewarded by having even hope taken away from him”
The stories in this book were smuggled out of North Korea and the author is still living in North Korea even today. The last section in the book says how the book was smuggled out. These heart wrenching stories give us a tiny glimpse of the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of people in that country. It is probably the worst place to live in right now. I was constantly reminded of 1984 and Animal Farm – works of Orwell while reading these stories. There is no fairness and at the drop of a hat, people are deported to labor camps for silly reasons. Some of the stories were gut wrenching. I think everyone should read this book just to feel lucky that they are not living in this hell. And I really feel bad for the people who are going through this hell. I found it difficult to put the book down. My first short story collection where I read from beginning to end in one go.
Simon vs the Homo sapiens agenda by Becky Albertalli
This was such an ADORABLE book! It is about this boy Simon who is gay and someone starts blackmailing him that he is going to expose Simon in front of the entire school. Simon also has been emailing another guy with whom he thinks he is in love but he has never met this person and has no idea who this person is. Simon is so sweet and the love story is one of the best I have ever read. Now very eagerly awaiting the movie. The only other LGBTQ romance I can think of is between Monty and Percy from The gentleman’s guide… book. Every single character in this book was great. I just had to know who Blue was and the suspense was killing me until I got to know his identity. The suspense made me eager to finish more than half of the book in a single day. Loved this book! Plenty of diverse characters too including two brown people who weren’t just sidekicks.
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
5 stars – Amazing. This is about a native American boy who decides to leave his reservation and starts attending a school with only white children. I am kicking myself for not having read this book earlier. This is my first book by a Native American author and it was funny and heartwarming. It was sad to read how miserable life is in reservations, which the author compares to death camps. This author is great and I am definitely going to read more of his works.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
5 stars – FAVORITE – Do you like post apocalyptic books or movies like The Road or I am Legend? If yes, you definitely have to read this book. It gave me the same chills and fear that those books gave along with a horror element in the form of creatures who kill people just by looking at them. Anyone who looks at these creatures ends up turning mad and killing him/herself. What are these creatures and why do they kill people? We don’t really get answers to these questions in the book sadly which was my only grouse with the book. But the struggle to survive in a world where even though you have eyes, you cannot use them to see was done brilliantly. One of the scariest books I have read, almost as good as Gillian Flynn’s books. The suspense build up and the way it is written was amazing. I am sure this will be a great horror movie. The movie is under production and I can’t wait for it to get released.
Highly recommend it if you love psychological thrillers.
Beneath the sugar sky by Seanan McGuire
3.5 stars – You can find my full review here. It was good but not as good as the first two books in the series.
Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle
5 stars – You can find my full review here. It was great and I highly recommend this travel graphical memoir about Burma.
Blankets by Craig Thompson
3 stars –
I was hesitant to pick this book since it is supposed to be a book about first love and I am not interested in any book that has romance. Just that I am a very unromantic and practical person, nothing against the genre. But then this book kept appearing in various lists – best graphic novels, best nonfiction, best memoirs etc so I got it from library to see if it was worth the hype. It was a good decision on my part to not buy the book since it wasn’t my cup of tea, just as expected. The artwork was great, the story was good but just did not make an impression on me. Also too many panels about bible, Jesus and Christian religion which were boring. What the author calls first love looked more like lust or teen crush to me. It did not feel like love to me at all since those who are in love cannot give up the person they love so easily. It was an okay one time read and there are definitely better graphic novels.
Carthick’s Unfairy Tales by T.F. Carthick
4 stars –
I have never read a fantasy book by an Indian author so when a friend said he was writing a book with fairy tale retellings, I was very eager to read it. Even though I love fairy tales, I have never read any retelling except Fables (which is not technically a retelling). I had nothing to compare this book to, except for the original tales. If I were to compare these with the original sexist tales, these were pretty good stories.
Through the woods by Emily Carroll
This is a horror graphical novel with short stories about getting lost in the woods and about ghosts etc. I did not like the artwork much. I could not understand the story clearly from the panels and most of the stories had little dialogue. Also I did not find the stories scary and they all ended very abruptly. I wish this book had one good story in detail, instead of multiple incomplete stories.
So what did you read in Jan?
Oooh, I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian for the first time in January also! I loved it and also found it really eye-opening!
And Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is on my TBR for February!
I definitely will read more from Sherman Alexie. Nice to hear you loved his book too. I am sure you will love Simon.
I read a lot, but all on-screen tutorials. Yeah, life ought to diversify!! I too want to read Carthik’s book someday, and the other books written by my facebook friends. That brings me to this question – why don’t you write a book? 🙂
I definitely want to write a book but don’t think I can spare time for that now, with a full time job and a small kid. But after some years, definitely want to write 😀
I am interesting in reading The Accusation by Bandi. Read so many good reviews.
It was great SG. You should definitely try that book.
Looks like you had a good reading month. I will be reading Simon book by the end of this month. Have heard great reviews about it. Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian and Bird Box have been on my TBR for so long now. Need to get to them. I am disappointed that you didnt like Blankets. I have such great reviews about it. Now this puts me in a dilemma.
Simon was very sweet. You will love it. You should read Bird Box soon since the movie is coming out. Same with Absolutely true diary. There is a movie adaptation already in production. Yeah, didn’t really like Blankets but you might like.
Sherman Alexie is great! He also writes a lot of poetry. His movie Smoke Signals is beloved by a lot of Natives. I live right by the Navajo Nation, so I’d be remiss not to mention a good YA novel about Navajos that you may like: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac. It’s about their role in World War II. It’s an easy, quick read.
I read his interview at the end of this book and he spoke about Smoke Signals in that. I need to watch that movie soon. I didn’t even know that movie existed. Code Talker sounds really interesting. Adding it to my TBR. Thanks Katie. 🙂