Reading Wrap Up [January & December]

Reading Wrap Up [January & December]

Hey Catastrophes!

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 books in December, so let’s talk books!

January Reading Wrap Up

book stack with mini girl reading on top of it for january wrap up on Olivia's Catastrophe

I have already posted reviews for Solitude: The Change of Heart by Partho Sen, Cathadeus by Jeff J. Peters and Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann!

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

book stack and socks for december wrap up post on Olivia's Catastrophe

I have already posted my review of The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle.

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.

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New Video! Video version of the wrap up!

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Olivia’s Question: What book have you recently finished, and what did you think of it?

Olivia-Savannah x



28 thoughts on “Reading Wrap Up [January & December]”

  • Santino Hassell is on my TBR list so glad to hear you enjoyed Down by Contact. And I have Ursula Le Guin on my TBR since she died as I learnt she was not only a brilliant author and she was badass feminist too. I am definitely going to have to figure out what to read of hers, she’s written so much.

  • It’s fantastic you’ve read 13 books in January! That’s fast reading 🙂
    I wish I had more time to read. My new year’s resolution is to go to the gym so I’ve actually cut down on reading as I am spending more time at the gym.
    I am glad you like Chaucer. Reading for school is great as they make you read stuff you may not think of 🙂

  • Love The Metamorphosis! I read in a world Lit class in college and it’s so fun and strange. I have been curious about Shatter Me as well! Great post and video, Olivia!

  • I love how you read so many books in translation! I enjoyed Kafka’s Metamorphosis too and want to read more of his work. Clarice Lispector is is someone I’ve heard great things about, but haven’t read yet. I’ve got a Brazilian WorldReads post on the 5th March we could link your review into 🙂

  • You poor thing to have had to read Wasteland by T.S. Eliot. I read it in college. For the longest time, it put me off to poetry. It’s one thing to write a poem that’s woven in many things, but when the footnotes are more than the poem, I think it loses individual interpretation and appreciation. I read the Love Letters title, and at first, I thought it was Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. I thought that was a great book. I didn’t read the book you read, but it sounds interesting.

  • I watched your video but I cannot skip any of your blog posts :D. I cannot wait to read that Ursula Le Guin book – I love it when that happens, when you don’t realize how much you love a book until the last page. Plus it sounds like such a good read!

  • Wow, you have to actually fully learn Medieval English!? That has to be SO hard. Like, in theory I love the idea of Chaucer’s tales, but man, talk about too much work hahha. The fact that you can decipher them? Impressive! I really need to read Let’s Talk About Love! ANd I feel you with Shatter Me- I felt that way about book 1, but then really got into the rest of the series. BUT I wonder what will happen with this new book? Do I still care?

    I just finished reading The Beloved Wild. It was good, not mind-blowing, but good. Now I am going to read Saga 8 because I can’t decide what else to read 😀

  • Hi, Olivia! I’ve read some great books this year. I think out of 14, I’ve only had 1 that I didn’t really like. I also had to put one on a “come back to it later” shelf. Finished Still Me by Jojo Moyes yesterday, and am currently reading An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and The Viking’s Chosen by Quinn Loftis. The former is really good but I’m not sure how I feel about the latter yet. The writing isn’t bad, but it’s not that great either. Hope you have some great reads this month!

  • Wow, you had quite a full month!! <3 And I didn't know you had an youtube channel as well, I'm going to check it out as well, right now! So many amazing books you've read this month, some of them I've read as well – like Let's Talk About Love, The Metamorphosis and I also need to read The Love Letters of Lily and Abelard. <3

  • Hey, girl! Your reading list is not just admirable, but your photo game is getting better and better! Love it. I still haven’t started my 2018 reading list. Sigh. So many things happening right now. If I need a quick read, what do you recommend?

  • 13 books! That’s awesome, I’ve been really slow lately and only read oneeee this month 😅 I’ve only read Metamorphosis out of all these, it was assigned reading for school. Love your bookstagrams!

  • Great wrap up!

    It sucks that you’ve had a few books to slug through for school, hopefully they start assigning things more to your taste 😁

    You’ve reminded me that I really need to get back into reading Ursula de Guin, I only ever picked up the Earthsea Trilogy and I really want to reread that as well.

    And like almost all the comments I remember reading Shatter Me! It was one of those YA series that I never got past the first book because it was all a bit meh.

  • Oh all of these sound lovely, Olivia! Well, the ones you enjoyed anyway 😉 I was fortunate enough to like most books I had to read for school but I know what it’s like to be forced to read something you dislike and that is super boring… Ugh.
    I love love your photos!! They are always so creative and interesting to look at 😊 I wish I had your skills. (I also love your socks!)
    I hope you have an amazing reading month 💕💕

  • 13 books, that’s better than I did! I love that picture of you on top of the books XD I read the Shatter Me series like a year ago, and I thought it was alright, nothing that blew me away, but it did get better as it went on. I kind of want to read the next book when it comes out, but I’ve already forgotten everything, so idk. I read Metamorphosis in high school, but I didn’t care for it. Then again, I didn’t enjoy most of the books I was forced to read in high school. Glad you enjoyed it though, despite the weirdness!

  • You’ve read some really good books the past two months! First off, I love that picture of you lying on top those books, I was fully convinced that was a real picture for a while 😀 . I completely agree on Shatter Me! It’s not a convincing dystopia, I had no interest in the characters or their relationship. I don’ really understand the hype. I was surprised to find “The Home and the World” in your list, my mom used to have a copy of that book in Bengali and now I wish she still did so I could read it 🙂 .

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