What I Read: January 2016

Monday, February 8, 2016

Every year, I sign up to read 52 books in Goodreads's annual Reading Challenge and I always fall short of my goal.  I'm trying to read 52 in 2016 and I haven't fallen off the wagon yet.  Here's what I read last month.

The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
Ugh, what a slog.  I appreciate the masterful crafting of a multi-generational epic, but come on, how many terrible things can happen to like, five people? I really did not enjoy the development of the character of William Percy. I get that he's supposed to inherently evil, but I felt bludgeoned over the head with the constant descriptions of his sociopathic violence. Also, too much gratuitous rape. And where the hell did Ellen come from? I learned nothing about her origin. Did she just come out of the woods one day and fall in love with the ginger jongleur from Normandy? The Percys and Bishop Bigod seemed terrified of her...and it was just because she knew about their little conspiracy? She is literally a powerless peasant, so I thought there would be some more history to her or her family's relationship with the nobility in the area that would explain all the instances of "Gasp, it's HER!" (aside from all the headless chicken cursing she does).
Do not recommend.

The Library at Mount Char, Scott Hawkins
This book was so much fun to read! I joined the 52 Books Challenge sub on Reddit and this was their January book club selection.  I finished it in two days and was very sad when it was over.
Strong recommend.

The Story of A New Name, Elena Ferrante
This is book two of the Neapolitan Novels, which everyone has been obsessed with, including myself. I found myself thinking of Lenu and Lila and their friends in the neighborhood when I was at work or driving or doing the dishes. They all seem so real and Ferrante makes you care about all of the kids from the neighborhood, despite their tendency to ruthlessness and emotional violence. I wish I had more to say about these books, but I can't explain how much I like them.
Strong recommend.

A Vision of Fire, Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
I won this in a giveaway on Goodreads, but that, and my absolute love of Gillian Anderson, did not affect my impression of the book.  My review on Goodreads is just "Girl, what."
Do not recommend.

On deck for February:  11/22/63 (Stephen King); The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin); City on Fire (Garth Risk Hallberg); Fates and Furies (Lauren Groff); and Witches, Midwives, & Nurses:  A History of Women Healers (Barbara Ehrenreich & Deirdre English).

P.S.  I'm on Goodreads here.

Image via Goodreads.


  1. Agreed on The Pillars of the Earth. I was like, damn Follett,
    can't these people just LIVE!?!

  2. LOL, yes. We get it, no one is all good or all bad! Now can they build that fucking cathedral already? I really wanted to just give up on the book, but I wanted the credit for my reading challenge.