Bookends: January 2023

In January I focused on reading from the Tournament of Books Shortlist. I made some decent progress and completed 10 of the 18 titles. I finished 7 in December (well, 6 plus one DNF), so I have only one left to finish in February, then I’ll be all ready for the Litsy shadow ToB!

Like other readers, I haven’t been wowed by this year’s shortlist. I found the selections in 2022, the first year I read the ToB shortlist, to be better. I’m told that the 2023 longlist has better titles on it, so maybe I’ll make tackling that my post-February goal.

I’ve also started a First-Line Journal for 2023. In it I record the first line of each book I read. I was inspired to keep track of these by a lesson in the language arts class I’m teaching this year in which we analyzed first lines of stories to see what made them compelling. What about them makes us want to keep reading? Of the ones that don’t immediately grab us, how indicative is that first impression of how we’re going to feel about the story as a whole?

I’m not entirely sure what, if anything, I’ll do with this journal, but I like the feeling that I’m gathering data that might be useful later.

January’s Completed Books:

  • Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach
  • Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra
  • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe by Agatha Christie
  • An Island by Karen Jennings
  • The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly
  • Fair Warning by Michael Connelly
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin
  • The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty*
  • Babel by R.F. Kuang*
  • The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker*
  • The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
  • 2 A.M. in Little America by Ken Kalfus
  • The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li*
  • Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith
  • Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
  • My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi

My favorites this month are marked with an asterisk.

Stats (pretty charts thanks to The StoryGraph):

Currently Reading:

  • The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (last of the ToB shortlist)
  • Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

To-Read for February:

I made up my TBR for February and was surprised to find that I have 18 of the 20 titles physically in my possession at the moment. This is the result of a combination of factors:

  1. Birthday books from my spouse that I still haven’t finished (thankfully, these are library books).
  2. Tailored Book Recommendations from Book Riot.
  3. Aardvark Book Club, which is new, and I want to help support it.
  4. Book swaps.

I hope that once I get through this stack, I can ease my way back into my library habit and stop acquiring so many books to own (although they are nice to have on hand as gifts).

You can see my Litsy profile for status updates throughout the month and my Instagram (@ImperfectHappiness) for mostly not-book-related photos.

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