Reading report for January and February 2023
Books, Lifestyle

Reading report for January and February 2023

7 min read

So far, this year has been a very good year for reading. I have listened to and read 14 books already. I thought this waranted a little reading report!

Reading is just such a wonderful hobby – it allows me to travel, to see another’s point of view, to experience an alternative reality than the one I am living in. I learn, grow in compassion, kindness and wisdom.

In order to to share some of this joy I am reviewing what I have read during January and February. Maybe you are inspired to pick up some of the books I read yourself. I always love hearing or reading book reviews and adding more titles to my very long “to be read” list.

So here’s my reading report for the first two months of 2023

Books 1-7: Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

The first seven books I read this year were all the volumes in the Narnia series. Such a delightful start to the year! I listened to them on audio and loved all the narrators.

I had read this series a few times as a child and teenager but not in a long time. It was so nice to re-imerse myself in this magical world. I love that they are just really good adventure stories on one hand but so full of wisdom at the same time. The subtetly of some of the Christian paralels was refreshing – you can take away a truth about Jesus if you want to, but it is not shoved down your throat.

My favourite two books in the series are “The Silver Chair” and “The Last Battle”. But each of the 7 books gets five stars from me!

Book 8: One for the money by Janet Evanovich

This year I joined my friend Gemma’s book club. The first book I read with the group was “One for the money” by Janet Evanovich. Again, I listened on audio via the Scribd app.

It was really good on audio, I think they way the narrator read the story made it almost funnier. It is quite a gripping plot and the writing style has you turn the pages quickly. HOWEVER, I did have some issues with this one.

It wasn’t really clear what kind of book this was. It was a bit silly and written in quite a comedic style. But then, out of nowhere some quite serious stuff happens. But is then dealth with in a rather questionable way. For example, the main protagonist, Stephanie gets into a situation where someone tries to rape her – luckily she gets away. The guy then threatens her, says he will come and get her, etc. Pretty gruesome. She is afraid (obviously!) but then she kind of makes out how silly it is to feel scared.

A few pages later, she gets chained to her shower. Naked. By some other guy. Am I as the reader supposed to be turned on by this or find it sexy? It’s described as funny. I found it rather troubling.

More along this vein happens in the book. Stephanie seems very casual about it all. If she does get angry or upset, it is “silly” or she is “acting crazy”. The book was published in the 90s, which might be why… It makes me very grateful on how far we have come in the last 25 years.

This book gets 2.5 stars from me. It was a very entertaining read but I just couldn’t get over the fact that women just weren’t taken seriously in the story at all.

Book 9: The twins at St. Clare’s by Enid Blyton

After having enjoyed the journey back to my childhood so much while reading Narnia I was in the mood for another bookish walk down memory lane. So the next audiobook was “The twins at St. Clare’s” by Enid Blyton.

Nothing happens in this story, really. But it is wonderful! It was such a nice feel-good book to listen to while knitting on the couch during cold January days.

I am finding it difficult to give a star rating to this one – it’s not high literature or anything and I am not sure many YA-readers nowadays would love it, but it’s such a comforting read. But for the purposes of this reading report: 4 stars.

Book 10: Boundaries by Henry Cloud

I started “Boundaries – When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life” by Henry Cloud back in November or so but listened to most of it early in February. It’s a fantastic book. The title pretty much tells you what the book is about: it details why boundaries are important, what happens if you don’t have any and how to set them. The authors look at different areas of life, such as marriage, friendships, work etc. and apply their teaching on boundaries with many examples and stories.

I took away many little nuggets of wisdom. Even though I enjoyed the audio version, I think it would have potentially been better to read this as a physical book. I wrote down one quote, but should noted down many more!

Two thoughts that particularly stuck with me: 1) Sometimes you have to say no to a good opportunity in order to be able to say yes to a great one. 2) “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” This one sounds quite harsh (it’s a direct quote) but I think this is such a helpful thing to remember, especially in a work context.

It won’t have been the last time I read this book I think! 5 stars from me.

Book 11: Fantastic Beasts and where to find them by J.K. Rowling

Next, I listened to “Fantastic Beasts” by J.K. Rowling. It was narrated by the guy who plays Newt in the films which was awesome. However, I think I am not a die-hard enough Harry Potter fan for this one. I had expected it to be a novel containing the story of the Fantastic Beasts film. However it was basically a textbook teaching you all about the different magical beings in the world of Harry Potter.

A really fun idea, but to me, it was rather boring. Hence, 3 stars.

Book 12: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Oh, this one I lvoed! I wrote an entire blog post about it detailing my thoughts, you can read it here. As I already wrote about it there, I won’t say much more about it in this reading report other than: I loved it!

5 stars with bells on.

Book 13: This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Even though Rebecca was beyond great, “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” by Ann Patchett is my favourite out of all the books I read so far. It is a collection of essays, with a wide variety of topics. Patchett writes about why she dislikes Christmas, gives advice to aspiring writers and shares travel diaries. Each peace is full of warmth and wit and intelligence. And she writes so well!

I have read and loved many of Ann Patchetts novels and am amazed that she excels so much at non-fiction too. 10 stars!

Book 14: The Familiars by Stacey Halls

This was the next read for my book club. Even though I really enjoy historical fiction I hardly ever gravitated towards it.

The Familiars” by Stacey Halls is about a young woman named Fleetwood Shuttleworth who is pregnant for the fourth time. She has endured three miscarriages and is pretty desprate. She finds a midwife who seems able to help. Alice is not only knowledgable about herbs, she also becomes Fleetwoods first real friend. However, when Alice gets tangled up in some accusations of whichcraft both hers and Fleetwoods life get in danger.

It was really interesting learning more about the Pendle witch trials and I enjoyed reading about places I have visited and lived in (just about 400 years later!). I would have enjoyed more detail on the historical facts. Stacey Halls spins a story around what is known, but I found it quite vague in parts. Also many of her characters have very similar names to one another which is not great for my brain that seems to have an aversion to remebering names.

All in all though I really enjoyed this book and give it 3.5 stars. “The Familiars” is Stacey Halls first novel, I have heard that her later books are even better. I already placed a hold on “Mrs. England” at the Library.

That’s all for my January + February reading report.

You reached the end of my reading report. If you made it this far, well done! Are you reading anything good these days? I am in the mood for more historical fiction, so if you have any recommendations, do let me know!

This is Day 9 of my 100 Day Project. You can learn more about my 100 day project by reading this post.

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