Hi, friends! Thanks for joining me today; I’m so glad you’re here 💙. Today I’m sharing my January 2021 wrap-up. Despite all the distractions the world tried to throw at us this month, it was actually a pretty good reading month for me! Keep reading to see what I’ve been up to.
What I Read in January 2021
Almost everything I plan to read this year is part of my 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. You can check out the full list of prompts and my selections ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis
— 3.0 out of 5 stars
The first book I finished this year was Lindsay Ellis’s Axiom’s End. While Ellis doesn’t do anything groundbreaking with the first-contact genre, I thought this was a perfectly serviceable debut. It definitely reads like a debut novel in need of a keener-eyed editor. Still, the story was intriguing enough for me to see it through to the end. I found the extraterrestrial characters much more interesting than the human ones; however, in this type of science-fiction story, cool aliens are pretty important.
If you don’t mind sci-fi that’s light on the sci and can overlook the missing additional draft this book might have needed, Axiom’s End might be for you!
Support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing Axiom’s End on Bookshop.org.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
— 4.0 out of 5 stars
The second book I read this year was J.R.R. Tolkien’s introduction to Middle Earth: The Hobbit. I have nothing to say about this except that it totally lives up to the hype. Having seen The Lord of the Rings films more times than I can count (and The Hobbit trilogy more times than I would like), Rob Inglis’s narration combined with Tolkien’s magical (and not condescending!) writing brought this book to life for me. It reads like a children’s story, but its highly conceptual nature turns it into a middle-grade book for me.
If you like fantasy but find yourself intimidated by the sheer scale of Middle Earth, The Hobbit is a great place to start!
Support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing The Hobbit on Bookshop.org.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
— 3.0 out of 5 stars
Next, I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. This book is, in theory, a collection of letters from Coates to his son. In practice, however, it’s two moderately long letters that digress into definitely long reminiscences about Coates’s college days. Most of this book was very interesting and well-written, but it did lose its focus halfway through. Coates says some great things and tells some great stories, but his book lacks the clear through-line needed to tie all his anecdotes together.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Black experience and don’t need an unequivocal call-to-action in your social just literature, Between the World and Me might be for you!
Support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing Between the World and Me on Bookshop.org.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
— 2.5 out of 5 stars
Next, I read Alex Michaelides’s debut Thriller: The Silent Patient. This book was a pleasant surprise! Sure, there were tropes, and the writing wasn’t the strongest, but I was invested in the characters and couldn’t wait to figure out the twist (because there’s always a twist). Content Warning though, for depictions and discussions of suicide, child abuse, and drug use. In my opinion, nothing was described in egregious detail, but take care of yourself if you pick this one up.
If you want a fast-paced, albeit slightly conventional, thriller that (surprisingly) isn’t totally insensitive in its handling of mental health conditions, then you’ll probably like The Silent Patient.
Support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing The Silent Patient on Bookshop.org.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
— 5 out of 5 stars
The final book I finished in January 2021 was Reni Eddo-Lodge’s stellar debut: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. Folks! Let me just say, this book HITS. My reading experience was basically alternating between whisper-shouting “yes!!!” and quietly nodding in solemn solidarity. Reni’s effortlessly intersectional examination of Blackness at the crossroads of gender, capitalism, education, and other social movements was everything I needed to hear and more.
If you’re a human, alive in [current year], and haven’t read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, then you need to read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race.
Support a local bookstore by purchasing Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People Abour Race on Bookshop.org.
What I’m Currently Reading
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
I’ve been reading War and Peace bit by bit since the holidays in December, and so far, it’s going great! Some readers complain that Tolstoy tends to digress a lot in War and Peace. Two days ago, I would have said that was not my experience. However, having just finished a particular thread involving hunting and some mummers shenanigans (IYKYK), I might have to give those people an “okay, maybe.” I love the characters, though, and find Tolstoy’s writing incredibly poetic, so no (other) complaints so far!
Support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing War and Peace on Bookshop.org.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Full disclosure, I did start this for a hot minute over the December holidays before deciding to change up my reading schedule. I loved the first fifty or so pages I read, and I’ve been eagerly waiting to pick it back up ever since. The cover is gorgeous, the writing style is gorgeous, and I love the simultaneous otherworldliness and humanity of the characters and creatures I’ve met so far. I can’t wait to see where this goes!
Support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing Black Leopard, Red Wolf on Bookshop.org.
What I Want to Read in February 2021
- Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James (continuing)
- The Body is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
- Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
- The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (continuing)
Wrapping Up the January 2021 Wrap-Up
And there you have it! This is everything I have read recently, am currently reading, or will be reading soon. My favorite book I read in January 2021 was Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, and my most disappointing read was Between the World and Me. If I had to say what book I’m most excited about reading in February , it would probably be Black Leopard, Red Wolf.
What about you? Let me know what your favorite book from this month was, and what you’re most excited to read in February.
I’ll be back soon with another blog post, so keep your eyes peeled for that! In the meantime, you can keep up with my reading on Goodreads, where you can find me at @tassara_txt, or follow my other social media: I’m on Instagram as @thepaladinpages, Twitter as @tassara_exe, and Pinterest as @tassara_jpg.
As always: thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon. 💙
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