January Book Review

I thought I’d start keeping track of the books I read this year – I foresee my reading tapering off a bit come June, but for now let’s see how it goes. I read in spurts – good books get me on a role, and slow books bring a halt to my reading. January was a good month, though. I’m trying to strike a better balance of work-time and personal-time (working from home, I find that any down time usually becomes work time), and am hoping to work less in the evenings and read for pleasure more (B’s in his last year of an Executive MBA program so when he’s in class or studying, I have lots of time to read – or work – or watch TV) after we get our champion sleeper in bed for the night.

Sense and Sensiblity by Jane Austen –

We read this for book club and the English Lit major in me liked it and dissected it page by page – it drags on at points, but it’s a solid classic. I didn’t find myself particularly invested in the outcomes of the characters, though – so while it was an enjoyable read, it’s not on my favorites list.

Angelina’s Bachelors by Brian O’Reilly –

This was a fun, food-centered, fluffy read. Wouldn’t be a great book club suggestion just because there’s not much to talk about, but it was a fun, light read to follow-up Sense and Sensibility, and not as tedious as some “chick-lit” can be.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows –

This is my book club’s February book and I devoured it in 3 nights. One of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time (maybe since The Help two years ago). It’s not a tough read, but the stories that unravel are enchanting and I fell in love with the characters. That’s a huge factor in me loving a book – a book can be technically good and I can appreciate the prose, but if I’m not in love with the characters, or at least have an interest in how they fair by the end of the novel, I rarely love the book (case in point for me, The Lake of Dreams). But, this one wrapped me in from about page 10 and I am plotting an escape to the Channel Islands and Guernsey ASAP.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton –

At the suggestion of my sweet cousin (she’s yet to lead me wrong with a book recommendation, which is impressive since books are so personal!), I added this to my library queue. And I loved it. I started slowly just because I’d packed January with books and was a little burnt out when I got the library notice that it was available, but by 75 pages in I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. It was a great read and another one close to the top of my recent favorites list. It’s artfully written with gorgeous parallels to a piece of classic literature (that’s all I’m saying on that one).

What did you read in January? Anything I should add to my February list? (PS – I try to keep track of the books I’ve read, am reading, and plan to read on GoodReads. I’m not always great about keeping it up to date, but there’s that in case you’re interested).


  1. Thanks for posting this! I’ve been in need of some good books recommendations.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just read Following Atticus by Tom Ryan. In short, it is about an over weight writer, his dog and hiking in NH. (aren’t you from Maine?) Even though I am not much of a hiker, I love dogs and this book was quite enjoyable and an easy read that I finished in 2 days. Check it out. The book has a good FB page with great dog pictures accompanied by some fabulous quotes. Lesley

  3. thanks for the recommendations, I added a few to my library list. I’m always looking for new books!

  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been on my list. I think I may have to find it.

    We read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake last month for book club. It was a very strange book, but I rather enjoyed it.

    And are you so happy that B will be done with his MBA this year? I’m sure it’s a relief for both of you. I was SO happy when mine was finished last summer. I actually just had a dream last night that I found out I was one course short, and I was trying to explain that the University already sent me my diploma. Anxiety, much?

  5. I loved The Forgotten Garden! It was given to me as a gift last spring, and I read it while I was recovering from foot surgery. Since then, I’ve passed it on to at least three other coworkers who all enjoyed it as much as I did. One of them read another one of Kate Morton’s books (The Distant Hours)and said her writing is just as good in that one.

    I’d recommend The Night Circus. It’d be a good book club read!

  6. I love that you’re doing this! I haven’t read anything by Kate Morton–might have to give The Forgotten Garden a try.

  7. Fun post! I’m always looking for new books…but I hardly read books during the school year because I tend to be unable to stop…which leads me to reading till 3 am. Not great on work nights. A good book or sweets I have no will power. My book club picks such depressing books I stopped going.

  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is one of my very favorite books and you described it perfectly-just enchanting!