Reading Wrap Up [January & December]
I’m continuing the theme of catching up on things with my reading wrap up for the last two months! I managed to read a surprising 13 books in January, and 7 books in December, so let’s talk books!
January Reading Wrap Up
Endgame by Samuel Beckett was a play I read for university. I have read another of his works before and I enjoyed this one just as much as the other. Although it might be hard to find the relevance in his plays, with contextual research everything makes sense and you can enjoy the comical humor in it!
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was a book I had a love/hate relationship with. There were so many elements to the stoyrline that just didn’t make sense… a ridiculous love triangle and also no world building whatsoever. But the writing was beautiful, and I did keep on reading. I was quite addicted. So yeah, love hate relationship to the max!
Utopia by Thomas More was another university read and it was SO BORING. Snooze-worthy. That’s really all I have to say about it.
Down by Contact by Santino Hassell was my anticipated January release. I buddy read it with Mel @ Bookswithwings and I really enjoyed it. It’s a sequel to his m/m NA NFL football romance series. It really discussed homophobia, the difficulty and dangers of being out in a very homophobic community, and had some great diversity rep as well. I also read 180 Proof Vega by Santino Hassell which was a spin off of his cowritten In the Company of Shadows series. I loved it because we got a bit more background on Emilio Vega, one of the characters whose past is always hinted at but never explained in the main series. You can read it online for free here, but beware because if you haven’t read the main series this will include spoilers!
How to Blow It With A Billionaire by Alexis Hall was the sequel to a billionaire romance triolgy I’ve been reading. It’s another m/m NA romance, but this one includes some gentle BDSM in it. I really like the main characters and all their romantic struggles but the writing… it was SO cheesy. Cheesy 100%. Which is nice every now and again, but cringey in other moments.
Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag was an essay I had to read for university again. It’s about war photography and all of the controversial and technical elements to it. It made me think about war photography in a way I hadn’t before, but the first half was quite slow and took me a while to get through. I’m not really into non-fiction but the second half captivated my interest.
Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector was a brilliant, and beautifully written read. She also does something very interesting with the narrative layers in the story, and everything unfolded so wonderfully. I’m actually excited to write my comparison essay where I chose this as one of the works to compare. That’s how much I loved reading this novel. New favourite!
The Word for World by Ursula Le Guin is another new favourite of mine! My love for this book grew slowly so I didn’t even realise how much I loved it until I turned the last page. But it says so much about humanity, the environment, colonisation, racism and so, so many other important themes while still telling us a story. She knows how to use the sci-fi genre to reflect and compare with our reality today. A magnificent piece of literature.
I also read a collection of medieval plays but I didn’t really enjoy them and they’re not too important. So let’s dive into the other month!
December Reading Wrap Up
The Home and The World by Rabindranath Tagore is a novel translated from Indian that I read. It’s about the nationalist movement which happened in Indian history, and there are two main male characters who each represent the opposing sides during the movement. There is also Bimala, a female character who is deciding whether to side with her husband and his ideals, or with Sandip, the guest in their house who is for nationalism. This one is written very cleverly – although it is all about the protest against British colonisation and the effect it is having on the world outside (India), it is set entirely within the four walls. It was quite the thought-provoking reading.
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka was another translated work and a very quick read. The main character wakes up one day and has transformed from a human to a giant beetle. It then follows what happens to him after this transformation. I really liked how it dealt with the topic of what it means to be human, and identity. A bit of a weird read, yes, but still good! I enjoyed it.
Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht is a translated play. I think you can see how there are a lot of translated reads in my month of December! It’s set during the 30 years war, and is about a mother who is a businesswoman making profit from the war, but is also trying to protect her children from the violence at the same time. It’s actually an allegory for WW2. I quite enjoyed reading this one, and it was a quick one sitting read as well.
The Wasteland, Prufrock and Other Poems by T.S Eliot was the first T.S. Eliot work I’d ever read, but I did not enjoy it. I know his poetry is supposed to be revolutionary and all, but I was bored for the large majority of it. It probably is amazing to a lot of people, but it’s just not my kind of poetry :/
After Midnight by Santino Hassell was my m/m NA romance read of the month, because let’s face it – is it even an Olivia’s Catastrophe wrap up I haven’t read anything by this author? This is another spin-off read to his In the Company of Shadows series. It doesn’t include spoilers for the main series, but it focuses on a secondary character who briefly becomes important in the last book of the main series. He has a relationship with someone who is part of the spy agency, which is a rarity. This book deals with gang culture and explains how their relationship formed and how the maintain it, despite Adam’s double life. I enjoyed it a lot, but it isn’t a new favourite of mine.
I also read more of Chaucer’s tales. They’re always fun, but they take me quite a while to translate (we need to learn Medieval English for my course) which takes some of the fun out of them. But still good, I guess 🙂
And there you have it! All I’ve read and my brief thoughts for the past two months.
New Video! Video version of the wrap up!
Olivia’s Question: What book have you recently finished, and what did you think of it?