January Redux: just keep swimming

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

2023 is set for mixed reviews as exciting news (my beloved and I have a new personal project) mingled with worry over the health of friends and family, and work loomed menacingly. I am taking it one day at a time, and playing Stardew Valley. Damn I love that game when things are A Bit Much.

Reading Round-up

I got very little reading done in January. No, really. Very little. I started the year with a reread of The Obsidian Tower as I intend to finish Melissa Caruso’s second Eruvian trilogy this year and wanted a refresher. It’s fun, but I still don’t love it as much as Swords and Fire so I didn’t charge straight into the sequels… or anything much else, either.

I eventually settled into The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. This is one of my #12in2023 reads (thank you Dan), a speculative romp through an alternate Earth that I find hard to judge on its own merits because it was so overshadowed by Wil Wheaton’s narration. If you’ve read the book in print, do tell me whether it is PACKED with italics and ALL CAPS or if that’s just Wheaton’s enthusiasm. Either way, it’s exhausting to listen to.

At the tag end of the month, I made a concerted effort to read Woman, Eating which I’d been nibbling at for about a week without making much headway. This short novel about a young vampire wrestling to integrate her human and demon heritage was slow and frustrating; a contemporary tale with little bite rather than the fresh take on vampire tropes I’d hoped for.

Im not even halfway through space horror Dead Silence by SA Barnes (narrated by Lauren Enzo), but as I’m uncritically enjoying its handling of well-trodden tropes I’m declaring it my book of the month regardless – take that, January.

  • The Obsidian Tower – Melissa Caruso ★★★☆
  • Woman, Eating – Claire Kohda ★★
  • Audio Reads: The Kaiju Preservation Society – John Scalzi ★★★☆

Additional Reviews

I started the year with Twelve Days of Bookmas that caught me up on a number of outstanding reviews, although I still haven’t managed to quite cover all of last year’s reading – ironically, the books I haven’t reviewed are the books I most enjoyed. Go figure.

Stacking the shelves

New Year is always dangerous with sales and I really didn’t try to avoid temptation this year. Consequently, sitting down to compile this post has been a bit of a shock. I, uh, may need an intervention at some point. However, I’m super excited to have received an ARC of The Mountain In The Sea by Ray Nayler (angry sentient octopus!), have already listened to The Kaiju Preservation Society and am inhaling Dead Silence. The surprise here is four non-fiction books (Femina, Life Time, What If 2 and Melinda Salisbury’s Way Back Almanac, the only January tradition I’m interested in establishing) so I think I may have found another mini-challenge for the year. The others are pure whim – I saw a rave review for Meru and the Kindle First program lets you pick two, so grabbed The Witch of Tin Mountain and Devotion had me at hello with its pitch of historical lesbian awakening in Australia. As for The Parable of the Sower, it’s past time I read it.

Reading statistics

I’m not going to share my stats each month this year – I can see them in my spreadsheet, which does just fine for accountability.

What’s coming up?

February should see us announce this year’s nominations for the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards, and is when a small group of us begin a read-along of Kushiel’s Avatar (join us!). I shall also be celebrating a birthdays that isn’t a major milestone but is divisible by five so feels slightly more significant than the last few, and spending some time in London.

How was your January?