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January 2013 Reading Round-Up

I’ve already spoken about my January, so now all I’ll say is I’m very happy and rather surprised how much reading got done and how well I managed to do for Long-Awaited Reads Month, considering. Then again, I know that I have found a certain peace and motivation in reading, where I’m deciding to sit down with a book more than I was before, so maybe that has helped.

The Books

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Becky Aikman: Saturday Night Widows – Dumped from the widow support group she’d joined and wanting to create one based on trying to live again, Aikman created an original group and in this book she details their year of meetings. Brilliant – well written, insightful, and the woman are great to read about in themselves.

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Susan Cain: Quiet – Cain explains why introversion is just as good as extroversion and why it shouldn’t be a second-class personality. Very good, if a bit too biased on occasion.


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Beatrice Colin: The Luminous Life Of Lilly Aphrodite – Lilly, an orphan, lives through poverty, the war, and eventually as a film star. It’s not perfect but it’s still very very good.

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Lisa See: Shanghai Girls – Pearl and her sister, May, are forced to leave their lives as models behind and marry Americans when their father gets into trouble; with Japan invading China and Communism on the way, that may prove to have been for the best. Stunning, absolutely stunning.

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Manisha Jolie Amin: Dancing To The Flute – Kalu, a street child, accepts the offer of tuition and board from a famous retired musician, and discovers that music can help others in ways he would never have imagined. It’s okay, but there are problems with characterisation.

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Shannon Stacey: All He Ever Dreamed – Josh wants to leave home like his siblings and “find himself”, but he has no idea of his best friend’s feelings for him. A good addition to a fantastic series but suffers from underwhelming resolutions.

This month has been great for favourites. Ana and Iris’s Long-Awaited Reads Month proved a big success for me and showed me just how silly buying books and then leaving them for years can be. I may have had a lot more on my list, but even before this year I had already decided to spend more than just the one month focusing on my older books and I definitely will now. The challenge has brought back some love for books that I never realised I’d lost, and I think it may have helped me enjoy the others more, too. Shanghai Girls will likely be on my best-of list for 2013 – it’s that good a book I’ve made such a decision only one month into the year. In addition I absolutely loved Saturday Night Widows. It’s not the sort of book I would have read if I’d just had the summary to go on, but Jennifer’s review prepared me and when I was offered the book I thought I’d take a chance. Turns out taking a chance paid off a lot this time.

Quotation Report

None this time.

I don’t like to hope for another good reading month, but if I could have another like this I would be very happy.

What was your favourite book this month (or week if you round-up each week)?



February 1, 2013, 2:35 am

Oh I really liked Quiet too – found it very insightful, agree, found the more personal sections more rewarding than those that seemed focused on making a case. The Widows book sounds wonderful.


February 1, 2013, 5:52 am

Congratulations on a wonderful reading month in January, Charlie! You have read some wonderful books! I liked the theme of Susan Cain’s ‘Quiet’ – it is quite fascinating. I will look for it. I read an article on being a introvert, a few years back, by Australian writer Emily Maguire called ‘Solitude is Bliss’. It was beautiful. In case you are interested you can find it here.


February 1, 2013, 10:58 am

I’m glad you’ve made good progress through your tbr mountain! I have also had a really successful reading month in January. It was really hard to pick a favourite for the month as I enjoyed then all so much. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes just nudged out in front of the rest after having a good think about it.

Laurie C

February 1, 2013, 11:27 am

Just the other day, I realized I had only entered my first two reads of 2013 into my brand-new spreadsheet, so I had to go back and fill in 3 audiobooks and 3 books read! Your organized post for January will inspire me to remember for February.
I read Shanghai Girls for a book group a while back and liked it a lot, too. Have been meaning to read Quiet one of these days. So far, my favorite for January was The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, but it’s not published yet.

Tanya Patrice

February 1, 2013, 1:40 pm

Yay for having a great reading month. Mine was slooowwww, but the books were wonderful, so no complaints here :-)


February 1, 2013, 3:36 pm

What a great month :) I’d really like to read Quiet one of these days

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

February 1, 2013, 10:37 pm

I love Lisa See! Have you read Dreams of Joy? And Snow Flower and the Secret Fan?

Also, I have Quiet high up on my to-read list once I finish the nonfiction book I’m currently reading!


February 2, 2013, 2:34 pm

I had the same issue with Cain, but I suppose in a world biased to the Extrovert a little Introvert bias won’t harm.


February 3, 2013, 12:14 pm

Oh yes, I’ve heard Shangai girls is a really good book. I have another by the same author and I’m looking forward to reading it too!

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

February 3, 2013, 2:27 pm

Looks like a great month! I’ve been curious about Saturday Night Widows, but something has been putting me off even though the premise sounds fun. Maybe it’s a book I should grab from the library.


February 7, 2013, 4:43 pm

Jennifer: The sections on making a case were interesting, but I have to agree about the personal ones. They were easier to read, too. Saturday Night Widows was absolutely brilliant. It feels wrong to say so, considering the context, but it is.

Vishy: Yes, it was quite ecletic this month. I’d definitely recommend Quiet :) Thank you for the link, I’m very interested and will read it once I’ve posted this comment. It’s great how one book or article can suddenly open you to a new area of interest, reading or study-wise.

Jessica: You read quite a bit this month, seems we’ve both had it good, so to speak. I can’t remember if that Sherlock Holmes was one of the short stories you mentioned or novel-length. I think I have some on my classics list…

Laurie: You might have missed adding them at the time, but adding them all at once must’ve been quite good for feeling you’ve accomplished a lot :) I can imagine Shanghai Girls being good for a book group, so much to discuss that can’t be unearthed, as it were, by one person. I read your review of The Burgess Boys, it sounds a good if harrowing read.

Tanya: I agree, if the reading was slow but the books were good then that’s fine. I think both quality and quantity are good to apply to books.

Jennifer: Oh do, it’d be great to hear your opinion :)

Rebecca: I’ve read Peony In Love but neither of the others. Dreams Of Joy I’ll have to find now, somehow I sort of went past Snow Flower even though it was her first, I think. I reckon I’m more interested in her more modern works but I do want to read Snow Flower at some point because I love the older history.

Alice: That’s true, and the bias was understandable. It’s just you want something like that to be accessible, especially given the wide target audience.

Isi: Whichever book you have, there’s a big chance you’ll like it, I’d say. I’ve now read 3 and only 1 I wasn’t as keen on.

Kim: I wasn’t sure about the book before I read it, but I’m glad I did. I can’t say our “somethings” are the same, but as someone who did have one I’d say give it a go :)



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