Favorite January Reads

I didn’t set a goal for how many books I want to read in 2017, however I must say I got off to a great start this year. In 2017, I finished 9 books, which is way above average. I’m not sure how I managed to read so much, but I’m proud of the progress I made. Plus I read some amazing books. I’m not going to recap every book I read (you can find the full list here), but wanted to share my five favorite January reads.

The Circle

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I got this book through Book of the Month Club (which I adore) late last year. I held on to this book like an amazing piece of chocolate, waiting to read it until I could slowly read and enjoy it. It met every one of my expectations. The characters were well-developed, the plot was intriguing and complex, and I could not put it down. Plus, the writing is superb. I highly recommend this book. (And if you haven’t read Rules of Civility by the same author, do so. Now!).

Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance

After the events of the election in November, I bought this audiobook on the recommendation of everyone (well, NPR and the New York Times). I don’t think this book provides any sort of special insight into the mind of Americans. But, I still enjoyed it. The book, narrated by Vance, is a memoir, richly and intricately told, describing his life growing up in Kentucky and Ohio. The ending felt a bit rushed, but overall, I enjoyed this as an example of a life different from my own.

The Circle by David Eggers

I am on the Common Read Committee at the university I work at and this book is one of our contenders for 2018. I have not read any David Eggers prior to The Circle and had mixed expectations going in. It seems people either love or hate his work. I really enjoyed The Circle. It was an easily read, quick paced book that provided the reader a variety of questions to consider regarding the role technology plays in our lives. The ending was interesting – I think people will love or hate it – but I liked it for staying true to the narrative of the story overall.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein

This audiobook was phenomenal. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for most books written by a celebrity talking about their lives. Many of these books, often but not always written by white comedians (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chelsea Handler, Mindy Kaling to name a few) provide a comedic view to the happenings of life. I enjoyed Jessi Klein’s book because I felt like I could relate to her stories. Her writing is accessible and humorous. She provided insights that weren’t repeated in similar types of books.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

I also read this book as part of the Common Read Committee. Our focus is technology and this seemed like a clear contender. I enjoyed it and was honestly a bit horrified by it. The thought of having my life overturned by one bad decision is terrifying. One lapse in judgement, one joke that I think is funny but someone else doesn’t – well, there were too many examples in the book of people impacted by this. I think the point of the story is don’t be so quick to judge. Remember there is a person behind the tweet or the post, and they probably had a lapse in judgement. This was good and made me think about how I conduct myself online, consciously or unconsciously.

Looking for more recommendations? Head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy to see others participating in today’s Quick Lit!

What books are you reading that you’ve loved lately?

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    1. I would. I really did enjoy it. But I wouldn’t say it will answer any questions about the way the world is. I took it as one person’s perspective of growing up poor, with difficult family dynamics. I think Vance provided insight on his situation, but in the end he is only speaking of his own experience.

    1. I really liked it. To me, it was much more a book about sociology rather than technology. It focused just as much on the mistakes one person makes as it does on how groups of people react to those mistakes. It was a bit scary, but a good read!

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