January 2010 Summary and Plans for February

The BookDepository

January was quite a poor reading month for me, in terms of both quality and quantity. I read 8 books and left a further two unfinished (one is a book I’ve not yet reviewed yet – I’ll leave you to guess which it is!)

The stand-out book was Uglies, something I would never have guessed had you asked me which one I’d enjoy most at the beginning of the month.

Uglies – Scott Westerfeld

Blink – Malcolm Gladwell stars4

Sacred Hearts – Sarah Dunant stars4

The Boat to Redemption – Su Tong stars4

The Infinities – John Banville stars4

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami stars3h

To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf stars3

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: v. 1 – M.T. Anderson stars3

The Elegance of the Hedgehog – Muriel Barbery stars2

The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton stars2

Twilight – Stephenie Meyer (Book and Film)  stars1 (DNF)

Plans for February

I am going to finish Cutting for Stone and Ruby’s Spoon, both of which are fantastic so far.

I failed to read these books that I highlighted in January, so they have been added to the list again:

Small Island – Andrea Levy

The Little Friend – Donna Tartt

Buddha Da – Anne Donovan

The Woman in the Dunes – Kobo Abe

I also hope to read some of these books:

When I Was Five I Killed Myself – Howard Buten

Blacklands – Belinda Bauer

The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger

My Father’s Paradise – Ariel Sabar

The Native Hurricane – Chigozie John Obioma

Disgrace – J.M. Coetzee

The Hiding Place – Trezza Azzopardi

Red Dog, Red Dog – Patrick Lane

The Love We Share Without Knowing – Christopher Barzak

Most of them are quite short, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to manage the majority of the list.

Have you read any of the books that I plan to read in February?


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53 Comments

  1. Eight books a month isn’t that bad…

    I’ve read both, Disgrace and Catcher in The Rye. I think you might get slightly annoyed with Caulfield’s character in Catcher, but, I absolutely love him. In fact, despite the fact that I’ve read the book about a million times, I might re-read it in Feb as well.

    Hope your Feb reading’s quality is much better than Jan, and you aren’t stuck with another Twilight of sorts.

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, You’re right – 8 books in a month is quite good, but I have been reading 10 or more for the last few months, so it is just a bit of a lull for me.

      I haven’t read Catcher in the Rye before, so I look forward to finding out if Caulfield is a character I love or loathe!

  2. Sandy says:

    Believe it or not, but I have never read Catcher in the Rye, and really wanted to participate in the read-along with Michele at Reader’s Respite. They don’t sell it on the Kindle though, and all the copies in the library are about 30 people deep on hold. And I am not buying anything – I have banned myself. I’ve had a couple of slow reading weeks lately. I am never sitting down, have too many irons in the fire and am distracted. The only thing working for me is the audio.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I haven’t read Catcher in the Rye either, but the great thing about having a stupidly large TBR pile is that all sorts of books are buried in there – Catcher in the Rye is one of them! I have been neglecting audio books recently – I really should get another one to listen to.

  3. Verity says:

    Budda Da and The little friend are both seriously good reads in my opinion so look forward to you getting to those.

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, That is good to know. I hope I enjoy them as much as you did.

  4. Annabel says:

    I keep on not managing to read Small Island and The Little Friend too! Of your plans for Feb – Disgrace was an excellent (if unsettling) read. I’ve not read Catcher in the Rye since I was a teenager, and funnily enough I was hoping to read it again anyway this year in my re-reading plan.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, LOL! I have a feeling I might manage not to read them again this month. I don’t like to read too many long, complex books in a row, so will need a bit of space between them and Cutting for Stone. Hopefully I’ll squeeze them into the end of the month, but at least if I list them I’ll get round to them eventually!

  5. I’m sorry January was a disappointing month for you; I read ten books and in the middle of a further three but I’m very behind in reviews and that will take up most of February (I wish I could a day where I could just set aside time to write them all up).

    I’ve read Buddha Da, The Little Friend, The Catcher in the Rye and Disgrace; I’m really interested how you fill find them all as I’m not confident that there will be enough plot in some of them for you. Disgrace is the stand-out for me but it may be too meditative … I hope you enjoy it.

    I have wanted to read Red Dog, Red Dog for months so I’m looking forward to your thoughts!

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I’m behind on reviews too. I used to have a few saved up in advance, but now I’m having to write one before I can post anything! Hopefully I’ll have the time to catch up soon. I look forward to finding out how many of the books I enjoy.

  6. Laura says:

    8 books is a bad month? Wow. I average about 6 myself.

    I’m glad to see Twilight was a DNF — you have good taste, after all! I will be interested in your thoughts on Catcher in the Rye. It was standard fare in high school English and I liked it, but have often thought about re-reading as an adult.

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, Two years ago 8 in month would have been a record, but now I have much more free time (no full time job and children have just started nursery) I should be able to read more than that. On the plus side I have had lots of great nights out in January! 6 in a month with a full time job is great, so sorry if it sounded as though everyone should be reading that much.

  7. diane says:

    You read some great books in January Jackie. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on Cutting for Stone (loved that book). From your February list, I enjoyed: Catcher in he Rye(many many years ago), Little Friend and, Blacklands.

    Happy Reading!

    1. Jackie says:

      diane, I am LOVING Cutting for Stone. If it continues as it is then it will be a 5 star, book of the year read.

  8. Kristen says:

    I’ve read Small Island and Buddha Da and enjoyed both quite a lot. I’ve also read Catcher in the Rye and while it’s never been the book for me, I do appreciate the impact it has had on American Literature as a whole.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kristen, I am intrigued by Catcher in the Rye now. I don’t know anything about it, so am looking forward to finding out what I think of it.

  9. Frances says:

    I think that there has been a reading lull about the blogosphere in general. Post holiday malaise? Whatever the case, your February looks wonderful. Tell me more about Ruby’s Spoon? An unsolicited copy showed up on my doorstep, and I have been waffling a bit about reading it.

    1. Jackie says:

      Frances, I am really enjoying Ruby’s Spoon so far (I’m 80 pages in) The writing is very good – it is like an atmospheric fairy tale. I think it will appeal to those who loved Tender Morsels, but I’m not sure what you’d make of it. If you read the first few pages you should get a good idea of the writing style. I think it has a good chance of being short listed for the Orange prize this year – if it stays as good as it is so far!

  10. Beth F says:

    I have been meaning to read Cutting for Stone. One of these days…

    I haven’t read Catcher in the Rye in forever and ever — I’m so curious about what people will think of it. I loved it and read everything of Salinger’s that was published in book form. But that was back in the dark ages (i.e., when I was in junior high and high school).

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, It looks as though most Americans read it in school, but I don’t think I’d even heard of it until a few years ago. I think there are a lot of people reading it this month, so now is a great time to re-read it.

  11. Simon S says:

    I have had an ace January, I think its 15 books this month and bar the Woolfs its been a great reading phase, am liking this years reading more than last already, dunno if I have honed in on what I like or if the more ‘out there’ books I am trying are pushing me in a good way.

    I really liked Blacklands so I hope you enjoy that, its quite disturbing though. As for Salinger, I know you shouldnt speak ill of the dead but I really didnt care for Catcher in the Rye. Maybe you will love it?

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, Hopefully I’ll manage closer to 15 books in Feb. I’m worried that you didn’t enjoy Catcher in the Rye – that is a good indication that I won’t either. I’ll still give it a go though, you never know – we have been known to disagree in the past!

  12. Steph says:

    I laughed when you said you didn’t read very many books this month – at 8, you surpassed my own January reading, that’s for sure! ;)

    As for your Feb reading plans, I have read two of the books on your list: Catcher and Disgrace. And I really loved both of them. I’m actually re-reading Catcher right now, so I will hopefully have a review up some time this week. The last time I read it I was 17, so I’m interested to see how I feel 10 years later!

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I look forward to reading your Catcher review – it will be interesting to see how your opinion has changed over the years. I hope you have a great February!

  13. Molly says:

    I love the cover of the Uglies! It is completely different than the one my daughter owns.

    I am looking forward to having the time to read 8 books in month — sorry it does not represent the productivity you desired.

    I did read Catcher in the Rye for the first time in 2009. On a personal level, it was not a book that I enjoyed; however, I can totally understand why it has endured as a modern day classic. I look forward to reading your review.

    1. Jackie says:

      Molly, I know I am really lucky to have the free time to read so much. I hope that you find the time comes your way one day soon.

      I look forward to finding out what Catcher in the Rye is like – everyone seems to have very different opinions of it.

  14. Colleen says:

    wow – that is a lot of books and so many good ones!

    I haven’t read any on your February list but Buddha Da and Small Island are both on my shelf so I will be interested in reading your reviews!

    Enjoy a great reading month!

    1. Jackie says:

      Colleen, Let’s hope I enjoy them!

  15. Helen says:

    I really enjoyed Uglies (and Pretties) as well. For your February list I’ve only read Catcher in the Rye and it was so long ago I don’t remember what I thought…I’m sure I read it for some high school English class. I should probably read it again, right?

    1. Jackie says:

      Helen, I hope to read Pretties in March – but my plans are very vague + flexible!

  16. Jenny says:

    I’m curious to see what you think of The Little Friend. I adored The Secret History, and when I’d finished it I went straight to the library for The Little Friend – and couldn’t get past the first three chapters. I don’t know if it’s because I was expecting it to be just the same as The Secret History and it wasn’t, or what, but I tried three times and finally gave up. If you like it I think I shall try again! (Bearing in mind it’ll be quite a different book to The Secret History.)

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, I haven’t read either book, but it will be interesting to find out what I make of it.

  17. Dot says:

    I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think of The Little Friend, I love Donna Tartt’s A Secret History but I just couldn’t get on with this one, I have always kept my copy though so that I could give it another go!

    1. Jackie says:

      Dot, Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you that it is wonderful and you should give it another try!

  18. Stujallen says:

    i manage 9 books in jan , planning to read the belly of the atlantic first off in feb and the jo nesbo near the end of the month other than that it ll just be off the pile as the mood takes me

    1. Jackie says:

      StuJallen, I’ve got the Jo Nesbo book too – I’ll probably read it in March.

  19. Jenners says:

    I read “The Little Friend” and remember liking it. I think I liked her first book better though. But it has been a long long time!!!

    I’m even more excited to try “The Uglies” now.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenners, I hope you enjoy Uglies!

  20. Julie says:

    I am currently reading Cutting For Stone. I just started it, but already am liking it. The only other one I read on your list is Catcher in the Rye, which I would like to read again. Looks like you got through some good books in January. Good luck with Feb!

    1. Jackie says:

      Julie, I am loving Cutting for Stone too! I think it will become one of my favourites of 2010!

  21. Melody says:

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Uglies series so I’m definitely adding them onto my wishlist!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Melody, I hope you enjoy the series!

  22. Mome Rath says:

    Good timing for Catcher in the Rye. I just read the book for the first time last year, and am thinking that Holden Caulfield and the book in general may hold more appeal to teens than to adults. I hope you find it interesting.
    I’m curious as to how you like the J.M. Coetzee book. I’ve read some South African fiction, but haven’t read any from him yet. Incidentally, if you’ve never read Cry, The Beloved Country, I found that a very worthwhile read.

    1. Jackie says:

      Mome Rath, I haven’t read Cry, The Beloved Country, but it is on the list as a book I feel I should read. I’ll get to it one day!

  23. The Woman in the Dunes is good.

    1. Jackie says:

      Damned Conjuror, That is great news!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I read 8 books in January as well. That’s pretty typical. I am always hoping to read more, but it never seems to happen!

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, Hopefully we’ll be able to read more in Feb!

  25. Rebecca Reid says:

    Looks like a great reading plan! I’ll look forward to your thoughts on the Coetzee. I enjoy Catcher but as an adult I find Holden a bit whiny and annoying.

    1. Jackie says:

      Rebecca, I hope I enjoy both books!

  26. S. Krishna says:

    I feel like everyone who reads Uglies loves it. I haven’t read any Scott Westerfeld but really need to!

    1. Jackie says:

      S.Krishna, I really need to read some more – one book isn’t enough!

  27. Samantha says:

    I read A Small Island for bookclub and we all loved it – that’s why I have pre-ordered Levy’s new one. I have also read Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend and while I finished it, it was a bit of a slog to tell you the truth and now I can hardly remember anything about – which usually means I haven’t reommended it to anyone either. I read Disgrace last year and thought it a worthwhile and quick read.

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