Wednesday, February 1, 2017

January 2017 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on the 100 Best Novels goal, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

January News 

The first month of 2017...

....exactly what we expected and yet nothing like we expected.

I have a Let's Talk About... post in the works which will dive deeper into the insanity going on in our country. Trying to craft the words to express thought, much less emotion, in this time is proving a challenge not for the faint of heart. Of course, there are so many doing it so well. For now, I'll keep mulling and editing until I am ready to share all those heavy, heady thoughts I'm having. Just know that it's hard for me to talk about anything but what's going on nationally and internationally.

Yet, life continues for the moment. I'm really struggling with that dichotomy and posting here is no exception. How do we talk about books when all this is happening?

I would argue we need books now more than ever. Books offer insight into worlds and worldviews yet unknown. They educate and enlighten. They help us understand those from whom we are different. They cultivate empathy - and we could all use a lot more of that.

So, we keep reading. We keep talking about reading. And, I'd encourage you (and myself) to read about something that makes you uncomfortable. Read a book written from the other side of the political spectrum. Read a memoir of someone with whom you have virtually no shared life experience. Listen to others tell their stories. Our stories are sometimes all we can offer the world. Share yours, but spend more time listening to others'.

Here are the stories I spent time with this month:

Books Reviewed

  1. The Secret Chord - Geraldine Brooks
  2. One False Note - Gordon Korman
  3. Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline
  4. The Wapshot Chronicle - John Cheever
  5. It's Not Okay - Andi Dorfman
  6. The Sword Thief  - Peter Lerangis
  7. Maybe in Another Life - Taylor Jenkins Reid
  8. The Hopefuls - Jennifer Close
  9. A House for Mr. Biswas - V. S. Naipaul
  10. The Defining Decade - Meg Jay 

Books Read

  1. The Hopefuls - Jennifer Close
  2. A House for Mr. Biswas - V. S. Naipaul
  3. The Defining Decade - Meg Jay 
  4. Golden Son - Pierce Brown
  5. Catherine the Great - Robert K. Massie
  6. Gilded Cage - Vic James
  7. The Passenger - Lisa Lutz
  8. Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
  9. Career of Evil - Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)
  10. The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
  11. The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu - Joshua Hammer
Pages Read: 4,366

Favorite Book Read: So many good ones this month. 2017 is off to a great literary start for me. If forced to pick, I'd go with The Passenger, although The Hopefuls runs a very close second. 

2017 Monthly Goals 

One of my goals this year is to read 6 books every month:
  • 100 Best Novels 
    A House for Mr. Biswas - V. S. Naipaul
    Under the Net - Iris Murdoch
    The Death of the Heart - Elizabeth Bowen
    83% complete with total challenge 
  • 1 Faith-Centered or Philosophical Book 
    The Defining Decade - Meg Jay
    (I know this isn't faith-centered or technically philosophical, but I'm counting it because it forced me to do so much self-reflection.)
  • 1 Nonfiction 
    Catherine the Great - Robert K. Massie
    The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu - Joshua Hammer

Elsewhere Online...

The last several months of 2016, I really debated getting rid of this section all together. I thought I would do so in the new year. Instead, I not only have several book-related links I want to share, but I also want to expand this section to include other things I read throughout the month that I believe matter. I don't have anything along those lines in this month, but I'm going to start saving things as I read them. This is a time to stay alert and educated. I hope the few things I'll post here each month will help you as they have me.

In Praise of Paris Geller and Her Anger (If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you need to read my thoughts on the revival).

Obama's Secret to Surviving the White House: Books (and a full transcript of the interview)

The Surprising Ingenuity Behind "Goodnight Moon"

~     ~     ~

It's a new year, a new era - there's no doubt about that. As we look forward, it's hard to know what will come next and how to be best prepared for it. In the midst of everything, don't forget to take care of yourself. Treasure the moments of joy throughout your day and start a list of things you're thankful for. And read! 


  1. Wow, off to a great start, Alise! I only read 6 books in January and most of them were lame. The Passenger looks great just based off of the cover!

    1. It was! I liked it a lot. I don't think I've enjoyed a thriller that much since Gillian Flynn's books.

  2. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu! I didn't have a chance to read it last year, but it looks amazing.

    1. I just finished my post about it! Overall verdict: I wanted it to be better than it was, but it was an interesting story.