January Reading

This year I broke my trend of setting my book goal as the last two digits of the year (so in 2021 it should have been 21 books). I have outpaced that goal for the last couple of years and set my 2021 reading goal at 40 books. I’m also participating in a couple of reading challenges this year, and using a reading bullet journal for the first time (which I’ll save for a later post).

I enjoy challenges because they force me to be more mindful about the books I’m choosing and stretch me outside of my reading comfort zone. The Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge for 2021 is much different than the past few years. She asks readers to evaluate their reading life and goals and to shape their own checkpoints for the year. I’m going to save mine for a mid-year check in on my reading. I wrote a few ideas down, but I want to see how this year progresses. The RAD Reading Challenge only has 9 topics and is great for those of you who are new to reading challenges.

I read 5 books in January, and did something with a 6th that I usually don’t do. I put it down without finishing it. In no particular order, here’s my take on each of those 6 books:
The Crown: The Official Companion by Robert Lacey – I love, love, love The Crown series on Netflix. I can’t remember where I heard about this book but it was part of the pile of books that my mom gifted me for Christmas. The author gives what actually happened in each episode of the first season and gives quick looks into the real lives of some of the characters. The book was interesting, but felt disorganized to me. I don’t love when the text of chapters are interrupted with pages of sidebar information. 3/5 stars.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – This book was fascinating! I honestly didn’t know much about South Africa or Trevor Noah, but he fully immerses the reader in his life growing up there as the child of a black mother and white father. He does a wonderful job of explaining the cultural and racial landscape and how his mixed race affected him in various situations. 5/5 stars.

Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller – This book was recommended by members of my Rising Tide group, Tuesdays Together during our October meeting that focused on social media. It’s a bestseller for a reason – the author lays out a step-by-step process to refining your business’s or organization’s brand and how to convey that information through social media. 5/5 stars.

Educated by Tara Westover – Wowza. This book has been on my TBR (and my shelf) for a long while. The author grew up on a mountainside in Idaho with very non-traditional Mormon parents who didn’t believe in any government intervention in their lives – including sending their children to school. Westover shares her childhood and educational path through a wealth of stories – it’s a mentally and emotionally difficult read but well worth the time investment. 5/5 stars.

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems before They Happen by Dan Heath – This book was recommended in the latest newsletter from the PA School Board Association, and I was delighted to find it in my local library. The author provides a great framework for looking at issues that may require systemic change or a creative view to solve. He identifies the roadblocks typically encountered in identifying these issues and a list of key questions to ask to solve them. This is a great read for anyone involved in any kind of business or organization! 5/5 stars.

And the one I didn’t finish…

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward – I started this book months ago, misplaced it for a little bit, and then picked it up again in January. The book just wasn’t sitting right with me at this time. I could have forced my way through it, but I’d rather wait and pick it up again at a later date. I feel like there is a stigma associated with putting unfinished books down. I believe that reading should be enjoyable (and yes, even difficult reads can be enjoyable), but forcing myself to read something isn’t worth my time.

What’s the last book you put down without finishing?

(Disclaimer: All links to books are Amazon Affiliate links, so Gingersnaps Bows will make a small profit off each book ordered from that link.)

One thought on “January Reading

  • MaryFebruary 3, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    I have read none of those, although Born a Crime is on my list, and like I commented on Goodreads, I want to move Educated further up my list. I have a couple of books that I have to read to review right now, and they are books I am REALLY excited about, but I have more of them on that list than I usually do, so I am feeling a little rushed right now.

    I regularly put books down without finishing them. I don’t feel guilty about it. I buy a LOT of books and also borrow a lot from the Free Library of Phila on Overdrive. So sometimes I run out of time. I often end up with free books that I picked up as an Amazon First Read or as a free or reduced cost book on Prime that sounds like something I will like that I just don’t end up enjoying. Life’s too short to read bad books!


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