Picture of book Their eyes were watching God. Overlay text reads "January book report"

January Book Report

5 min read

Being in lockdown again has the positive side-effect that I have a lot more time to read. The last weeks have been very cold and grey. So, most evenings I didn’t want to do much besides sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea and a book.

Today I realised that what is hard for me right now, is that I am filling my mind a lot but I don’t do much with it. I don’t meet many people, so discussing books and articles and podcasts is a rare. And I am also not at University anymore, writing no more essays about the things I learn and study. And being without the questions of friends or examiners has made my thinking somehow slower. At least it feels that way.

But reading still helps! A lot of the books I read right now are not overly educational. For me, these days reading mostly serves the purpose of escaping into another world where people shake each others hands and give hugs without fear.

Books I read in January

‘Anxious People’ by Frederik Backman

Edd gave me this book for Christmas and I started reading at the end of December. The story is about a bank robber who ends up taking a group of people hostage who are at an apartment viewing. In the end the bank robber lets everyone go. However, when the police storm the apartment, they cannot find the robber anywhere.

To be honest, despite it being very easy to read I found the book quite irritating in the beginning. The characters were very annoying. I think this was intended, but it still ruined the enjoyment of the book for me a little bit. However, the author makes many great points tabout life and society. He handles topics like loss, family breakdown and suicide with a lot of empathy and care.

So overall, I would still say it was a great book. The style and the unrealistic nature of the story really bothered me. So, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

‘Everything I Never Told You’ by Celeste Ng

‘Everything I Never Told You’ tells the story of Lydia, middle child of three, and her family. Lydias parents are determined that she is the one who will fulfill all of their unlived dreams. The story begins when Lydias dead body is found in a nearby lake.

It is a heartbreaking story about family, race, gender roles and secrets. I found it a fascinating analysis of how parental expectations, which are meant so well, can break a young person. Either by trying to fit into those expectations at all costs or by trying to rebel at all costs. The book is very sad and I didn’t love it as much as “Little fires everywhere” but overall a very gripping story. 4 out of 5 stars.

‘Take It Too Far: Abundant Life, Boundless Love, Unending Grace’ by Jess Connolly

‘Take It Too Far’ is a book of 100 devotionals by one of my all time favourite Christian authors. The topics discussed include peace, rest, purpose, hope, wonder, discipline, and courage. Each entry includes a Bible verse, reflections from Jess, and a conclusion on how to “take it too far”.

I am normally not a fan of devotional books for women as they have a tendency to be a bit cheesy (in my opinion). This book however was refreshing, challenging and encouraging. I have now moved this book to our bathroom so anyone who spends a bit more time in there can leave with a little pep talk from Jess. 5 out of 5 stars for this one.

‘Dear Edward’ by Ann Napolitano

Another Christmas present from Edd. I think the title of the book inspired him to buy this one… haha. Edward (the one in the book) is an 11-year old boy and the sole survivor of a plane crash. All other 192 passengers on board, including Edwards parents and brother do not survive.

This description makes the book sound extremely sad – and it was. But the story was about more than grief. The booke beautifully deals with topics of growing up, how to live with trauma, friendship and how to deal with someone else’s grief.

I think this was the first time ever that a book made me cry. The way the characters are described made them very real to me. I loved how the author described the experience of loss and grief and how it marks you, without using any clichés. 5 out of 5 stars!

‘Their eyes were watching God’ by Zora Neale Hurston

I am not quite sure how to summarise this book so I am quoting goodreads here: “(…) it is the story of fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, and her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, trials, and purpose.”

I read this as part of the Life’s Library book club and I am currently enjoying discussing it with other readers. It’s uper intersting to me to hear all the themes and metaphors other people have picked up on!

It is quite an easy to read book and a very good storyline. It’s shocking in many ways to learn about what life was like for a person of colour in early 20th century Florida and also what life was like for women of colour during that time. I am giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.

What have you been reading lately?

Keep on reading:

April 2019 book report – April 2019 I spent on an internship in a new city. I didn’t know many people but had lots of time to read! A wide range of book recommendations for you to check out.

Let’s talk about books – A whole post dedicated to my love of books. The article includes tips on finding time to read as well as books that you will love.

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