January is often a month where I neglect my reading because of new year distractions, and the desire to achieve millions of goals. However, this year I settled down and decided to take the year as it comes, without stressing too much (easier said than done, am I right?). If I achieve millions of things, then brilliant, if I don’t, that’s fine too, as long as I am trying to be the best I can be. Anyway, the point of this post is that I read eight books and I’d like to share them. I will let you know which books I’ve posted full reviews of, and hopefully you might find something here you’d like to read. If you’ve read any of these and would like to share opinions, feel free to comment.
1. NOFX The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories by NOFX and Jeff Alulis
The first book I read this month was packed full of unbelievable and pretty gross stories. I’ll be seeing NOFX live this year, so wanted to see what kind of things they got up to, and I can assure you’ll be shocked, and mildly mortified if you read this too. Being a big music fan, I enjoy reading memoirs related to being a musician, and this was no exception. Thoroughly recommend for people who enjoy punk music, or those who just fancy being grossed out a bit.
2. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This book is the fictional tale of a real life woman who was convicted and sentenced to death for murder in Iceland. Hannah Kent does a fantastic job of creating an atmospheric story in which we see a young woman be treated horrifically, and be completely alienated for a crime people cannot be certain she actually committed. The glimpses of human compassion are refreshing, and show the kindness people have the ability to exude during difficult times. The pacing is good, although was slow to get into upon picking it back up. However, once I got going, I would sit with it for a decent amount of time every time, which meant I finished it fairly quickly. Overall, an interesting read, and one which I thoroughly recommend. I would also recommend Hannah Kent’s second novel, The Good People which I read this time last year and thought was just as good.
3. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Shockingly, this is my first Ishiguro, and it certainly will not be my last. He writes of lost time, regret, family and friendship, with such depth and delicacy, whilst simultaneously making a huge impact on the reader. I felt a range of emotions whilst reading this book, and must admit it was the first to make me cry this year (spoilers: won’t be the last, I’m an emotional bear). One thousand percent recommend this one, and I will be shocked if this is the last Ishiguro I read this year.
4. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
I’ve written a full review for this one here – https://paperbackinmybackpack.wordpress.com/2019/01/24/review-my-sister-the-serial-killer/ and would definitely recommend it. Let me know if you’ve read this one and link your review if you’ve done one.
5. Vox by Christina Dalcher
This is another book I’ve done a full review of, which can be found here – https://paperbackinmybackpack.wordpress.com/2019/01/19/review-vox/ .
6. The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This was an extremely difficult read, as I became increasingly shocked and appalled by some of the things that happen to the writers in this book. As a white woman, it is easy to fall into ignorance about racism and xenophobia, because I do not experience these things. This is why it is extremely important for me to read books like this to ensure I never forget these issues exist. The government consistently pits certain groups against each other, and essentially creates a sense of fear of the ‘other’, when we should be sticking together and preventing injustices towards people who are the same as we are. This book provides anecdotes about where this has happened, and certain individuals really need to educate themselves, because racism is dumb and the system is our real enemy.
7. Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
A commentary on the ignorance of mental health issues, and the treatment of the people condemned as ‘mad’ in the past, Faces in the Water, is a hard hitting, semi-autobiographical book. The fact that it is semi-autobiographical is shocking as I cannot imagine the atrocities that occur within the pages being real, but they are. I thoroughly recommend this book, and will be writing a full review for it in the coming days.
8. M Train by Patti Smith
Rounded the month off with another music related book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I became quite sick towards the end of the month, and so wanted to read another book by my idol. I will always recommend Patti Smith, her music, art, photography and books, because she is a fascinating person, and this book is no different. Another solid five stars.