• Katja

January Binge-Worthy Reads

Howdy there folx!


My January reading list is off to a great start! I was honestly worried I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my reading steam, but I somehow managed to read 15 books…(a total of 3,794 pages and 47.25 hours of audiobooks)


How?

  1. I have an amazing TBR filled with books I'm brimming with excitement for

  2. I set aside a minimum of 1 hour each day for reading (with a few exceptions here and there)

  3. Audio books--I listen in the AM while I get ready for work and whenever I take Bellamy on walks in the park, so I get a lot of mileage with these.

Picture of my January TBR page from my reading journal. Titles I read are highlighted in pink

4. I'm very competitive and goal oriented and I got this amazing Reading Planner in one of my book boxes this fall...and so now I get to list the entirety of my TBR pile on one page and have the most excellently satisfying experience of crossing it off (highlighting in PINK) when I’m finished. This is very much a me thing and as I get closer to crossing off ALL THE THINGS, I get more competitive…


As you can see from the beginning of the month to the end of the month, I did a pretty gosh darn good job in wiping out almost all of my existing TBR. The Kiersten White books I'm waiting a bit on so that I read them closer to when The Excalibur Curse comes out (so I don’t have to live in angst waiting to read it), Odd Girl Out is a hefty non-fiction read I just haven’t worked up the nerve to tackle yet, and Thornlight was a super late addition to the list, so I feel very accomplished overall with my progress. And I just took the The Lives of Saints off my list because I don't have a huge interest in reading it right now. I did however want it to round out my Bardugo collection. So I'm only carrying over four books total! And honestly there are five books I read this month that weren't even on my TBR--but they came up & I took the opportunity to read them.

A collage of the book covers I read this month. Including: Soalswift, The Burning God, The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Beast Player, Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy, Whipping Girl, You Are a Badass, Dark Star, The Black Kids, Mirage, Among the Beasts & Briars

But on to the good stuff. This month was filled with amazing reads and I want to talk about the four that I could NOT put down. I binged all of these books in two days or less and one of them I devoured in one sitting. I love when I find books that won’t let me walk away and the fact that I found FOUR of them this month can only be a harbinger of how awesome 2021 is going to be.



Picture of Here the Whole time on a dark navy background next to some blue flowers and a small succulent

Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins: This has to be one of the sweetest books I've ever read. Felipe is just so relatable and I felt his insecurities and awkwardness in my bones. Especially his inability to carry on basic conversations that most people manage without a problem. This book captures the difficulties of being a teen and the beauty and awkwardness of first crushes. I love how body positive it is and it has stellar mental health rep. And if you still aren't convinced, please know that this is a contemporary book and I AM HAPPY AND PLEASED BY HOW IT ENDED and usually I an very *unhappy* with how contemporary books end all HEA and that nonsense. This book does have a a HEA and it's done so well and I just couldn't ask for anything more. I couldn't put this one down and I'm waiting for anyone who's a mutual to read it so we can scream about it together. 10/5 stars (CW: fatphobia, queerphobia)


All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Johnson: This was a one sitting read for me. I sat down, kind of late, intending to just read a chapter or two and get started and then all of a sudden the book was over. This memoir and manifesto is a book that teens need today. As I was reading I was mentally compiling my list of students I wanted to recommend this to. Whether they're struggling with their own queer identities or how it intersects with their parents' or society's expectations, this book is incredibly valuable. Johnson doesn't pull any punches, but even in some of the darker moments, he writes with grace and power that reminds you that whoever you are, you are loved and valuable and wanted. This journalistic approach to queerness and how those who identify on the spectrum struggle to find acceptance in hetero-normative society hits hard. I would recommend this as a read to hetero-readers so you can gain some perspective on how your arbitrary judgements impacts those in the queer community. (CW: queerphobia, drug use, non-consensual sex)

picture of the book on a pink and purple background with a plastic tiara

Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia & Anna-Marie McLemore.

Whoever allowed these powerhouse writers to collaborate needs to do it again. And again. Because omg was this book excellent. I've admired stories they've penned as individuals and this collaboration is just a delightful symphony of superb storytelling. The raw emotions of these two girls as they face discrimination in their small town just grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go (no surprise given the prowess of the authors), but what really hit me in the gut was their friendship. And there is so much emphasis in most stories on a love interest and not on the friendship between characters. And these two girls were just, *chef's kiss* perfection in how they interacted. Mejia and McLemore truly captured the truest essence of friendship. There were so many layers and nuances to this story and I couldn't put it down. I read it over the course of two days, one of which I read over 2/3 of the novel. You definitely don't want to miss out on what is possibly the best teen pageant queen novel on the market. 10/5 Stars! (CW: queerphobia, racism, xenophobia)


Stamped by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi : This book was tremendous. It’s been on my radar for a while and when I had a chance to read it as part of ACT 48 hours required to keep my teaching certificate, I leapt at the chance. I also got two other teachers to read it, one of them is a history teacher and I have confidence she will bring bits & pieces of it into her classroom. This book was a quick read, but it was HEAVY. Like incredibly weighty with the amount of truth and eye opening insight into racism it provides. I feel like this needs to be taught in every school because it exposes the white curriculum and propaganda for what it is. And I’m not saying I’m totally hip on this stuff--but it’s opened my eyes even more and has made me want to double down on the #disrupttexts movement. I’ve been raised in white privilege, but I'm working to unpack that and be a better ally. Basically, read this book and make sure that you either already are an antiracist (this will just make you a better antiracist) or that you are on your way to being one. 10/5 stars (CW: racism, sexism, xenophobia)


So what's on my TBR for February? SO MANY BOOKS. I bought a lot in January...whoops? So EVERY line in my reading planner is currently filled. I always prioritize my top five reads, which this month ends up being my top eight because I'm buddy reading the first three Graceling Books with some friends. I've always heard so many good things about this series--I tried to read it several years ago and it just didn't work out, so I'm giving it another go with a fresh mind. I'm excited to tackle these and hopefully a few more this month. What's on your TBR? Hit me up on Twitter or on Instagram and tell me about your most anticipated February reads!


HAPPY READING!


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