January 2020 Reading Wrap-up

I cannot believe a new year is here and January is already over. It’s been kind of a crazy month with me starting my seven classes this semester and also trying to keep up with my blog. A lot of you who I follow may have noticed me taking like a week to actually read the blogs I follow. I’m just so busy.

Because I’m so busy this semester, I decided to not set myself any big reading goals this year, outside of my Goodreads challenge. I did a lot of challenges last year and I enjoyed them, but I find I prefer just reading what I feel like when I feel like it. However, I do plan to do a couple read-a-thons throughout the year, so stay tuned for those.

This month I read a total of 15 books, which is honestly pretty surprising to me just because I was so busy. But I am back to listening to a lot of audiobooks on my drives to school, so that helps. And most of the books I really enjoyed. Now, let’s get into my list.

1 Star

Dead Astronauts
  • Dead Astronauts (Borne #2) by Jess Vandermeer (published Dec. 3, 2019)

2 Stars

The Watchmaker's Daughter (Glass and Steele, #1)
  • The Watchmaker’s Daughter (Glass and Steele #1) by C.F. Archer (published June, 2016) (Indie)
    • There are so many things to like in this book, and yet it never really succeeded in completely captivating my attention. Was it any lack of actual historical context outside of the generic understanding of the Victorian Era? Maybe. Was it that every “plot twist” could be seen by any reader paying attention a mile away? Probably. Was it the awkwardly inserted romance which half the time felt forced and the other half not like a romance at all? Possibly. Was it the convenient way India got herself out of situations which were often due to her own stupidity? Yeah… I honestly don’t know exactly what turned me off to enjoying this book completely, because there were many elements I enjoyed. I liked the mix between mystery, steampunk, and fantasy. I liked the idea of a strong female protagonist caught in a strange world of Old West villains and humorous side characters. This book was just never good enough for me to really enjoy, but yet not bad enough for me to stop reading it. In the end, it was just okay to me.

3 Stars

  • Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson (published 2006)
  • My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier (published 1951)
  • Foundation (Foundation [Publication Order] #1, [Chronological Order] #3) by Isaac Asimov (published 1951)
    • This is the first published book of the Foundation series, but it is the second book I read, following Prelude to Foundation. On one hand, I really liked learning about the world, especially through advancing years as the planets and civilizations slowly devolved into anarchy and unrest. On the other hand, all the time jumps and location jumps made it difficult to feel invested in anything entirely. Just as I was becoming interested in the characters, the book would jump to a new place and follow new characters. Because of that, I never felt quite as interested in this book as I did the Prelude to Foundation. In many ways, this book felt like a collection of short stories that all had to do with each other. I still enjoyed it, but I really wanted the focus to be more confined.

4 Stars

  • A Bear Called Paddington (Paddington Bear #1) by Michael Bond (published 1958)
    • On one hand, this is an adorable story. On the other hand, I have a secret conspiracy that Paddington is secretly a villain, sneaking into the Brown’s household and literally tearing it apart. He causes massive water damage by overflowing the bathtub. He nearly gets arrested. He causes the family to nearly have heart attacks several times. Sounds like he is secretly trying to destroy their lives while they are blinded by his cuteness…just a theory.
  • The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan (published 2007)
    • I liked this book better than the second book, but not quite as well as the first one. I enjoyed the stakes being raised in this one, and the idea that when Percy or Thalia turn 16 something bad might happen…no spoilers. Anyway, the book was really fun and I enjoyed it.
  • The Skylark of Space (Skylark #1) by E.E. “Doc” Smith, Lee Hawkins Garby (published 1928)
    • This book was a surprise to me. I rarely like science fiction books, and I like space operas even less, but I thoroughly enjoyed this classic. It follows a group of four young people, two men and two women, as they find themselves caught in space in a vehicle designed to travel through the universe, known as the Skylark. On the way they must fight dangerous people who want to steal the invention and aliens. It’s just such a fun, light read, and one I wasn’t expecting to like as much as I did.
  • Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (published 1990)
  • The Fellowship of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (published 1954)
  • Prelude to Foundation (Foundation [Publication] #6, [Chronilogical] #1) by Isaac Asimov
    • This is the first book I’ve read of this series, simply because I believe it is the first chronologically. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, and I can see why most everyone I know either loves this series or hates it. It’s slow-moving, focusing on science and theory far more than action and plot progression. Most of the book just follows Hari Seldon, a mathematician, as he works out his psychohistory theory. We travel with him to several different areas of a planet, learning of the very different people living that. Although there is a slightly overarching story as well as high stakes in the background, in many ways this book feels more about the journey and less about the destination. Although I am not a massive fan of hard science, I really enjoyed this book and plan to continue on in the series.
  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (published 1921)
    • I can see why this book inspired George Orwell’s 1984, for they are similar in many ways. The world is dystopian, based on math where apartments have clear walls to see inside a neighbor’s house and everyone has names like D-503 or I-330. Like the protagonist of 1984, this protagonist is a man very much a product of his culture and it is through his desire for a woman that he learns of a rebellion against the authoritarian government. He then begins to slowly lose his mind. It’s a fascinating book, but one rather hard to follow because we are reading records he has written down in the future, and much of it feels as disjointed as his brain. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it is a rather serious read.
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (published 1924)
    • This book was not quite what I was expecting. The first half of the book is honestly pretty boring, even if the world was interesting. But then the second half happened…no spoilers. This book presents a fascinating view of India and much of the discrimination going on in the country. Not just between the English and Indians, but also Muslims and Hindus, men and women, older and younger. A lot of people make very stupid decisions throughout the book, and many of them must pay for it with their happiness. It was difficult to feel bad for anyone completely, even Aziz becomes cruel and resentful by the end. I suppose that is a bit of a spoiler. To be honest, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would, even if it started slow.

5 Stars

  • Apology by Plato (published 399 BC)
  • Crito by Plato (published 360 BC)
    • These were both rereads for me, the former the defense of Socrates at his trial and the latter his reasons are him staying to be executed instead of escaping. I read these for my Critical Thinking class this year and I really do enjoy both of them. Definitely gives you a deep understanding of logic.

So, there you have it. I’m actually surprised how many of these are classics. Next month I kind of want to focus more on modern books, because reading so many classics has gotten me a bit sick of them.

Have you read any of these books? Do you want to read any of them? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,

Best wishes in your life full of adventure,

Anne from Madame Writer

13 thoughts on “January 2020 Reading Wrap-up

  1. It looks like you’ve had a great reading month! I agree with your rating for A Passage to India. I remember reading it some years ago and I enjoyed it. I also liked the movie adaptation of 1984. You got me really intrigued with Asimov books and I really need to dig into them. I would like to choose some standalone book by him because I don’t think I will be able to invest in a series right now, and have been meaning to read his book Nightfall for awhile now. I am good to hear good things about Foundation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really enjoyed A Passage to India, though I haven’t watched the movie yet. I’ll have to check it out. And Asimov’s books are definitely great. I usually read stand-alones two, but the Foundation series only had six books and most of them are under 300 pages, so I decided it wouldn’t be that much of a challenge. I’m curious to see what you think of his other books if you read them.

      Like

  2. You did great to read so many. I took 7 classes in one semester, and I didn’t read anywhere close to the number that you did, and you read so hard reads. Your reviews did make me want to check out the Foundation series, it has been on my TBR for quite some time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am certainly enjoying the Foundation series, so I recommend it! And I wouldn’t get through as many books if I didn’t listen to audiobooks when I drive. That really helps me get through a lot. And taking 7 classes is absolutely crazy!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I listened to an audiobook of Paddington last year and it was so lovely to listen to ❤

    I also agree with your mini-review of A Passage To India; the first part was quite dull, in terms of plot, although I did think the descriptive writing was beautiful. I've linked my own review I wrote of the book years ago, if you're interested: https://readandreview2016.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/book-review-a-passage-to-india/ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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