Monday, February 08, 2021

January 2021 Books

This is book week here on the blog! (Cheers, applause, boos?!) Today I am sharing all the books I read in January and, on Wednesday, I will share all the books I read for the #24in48 readathon this past weekend. If you don't like books, come back on Friday when I'll be sharing my "10 on the 10th" for February and it will (probably) have fewer books featured :)

I've never been great at tracking my reading. For awhile I was posting every book I had read on Instagram under the hashtag natashareadsonfridays. However, once the pandemic hit, I found my reading suffered. I mean, I was still reading, but mostly I was reading quick comfort reads and not anything I was particularly proud of sharing -- think lots of Nora Roberts.

For 2021, I am going to try and post every book I read (with a mini review) here on the blog. I am hoping this will help keep me accountable, and that I will rediscover my love of reading a wide variety of books and not just turning to comfort reads. After all, we've been in this pandemic for eleven months now (ugh), and I need to adjust to our new normal.

Normally, I will share my books twice a month (mid-month and end of the month) because I usually read a lot of books and I find blog posts with twenty book reviews overwhelming. However, for January, I am just writing one post because I'd only read two books by mid-January. (I was in the middle of a few more in mid-January but hadn't yet finished them.)

First of all, my friend Allena introduced me to Lisa Kleypas last spring and I have been devouring all of her late 19th century, British romances. I'm currently working my way through The Ravenels series and I also discovered her Bow Street Runners trilogy in January and read those too. These books are fun, slightly steamy, and somewhat predictable but I'm still enjoying them :)

Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1) Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2) Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3)

Also, this is totally frivolous but could I please have one of those ballgowns and an excuse to wear it somewhere please???

Someone to Watch Over Me (Bow Street Runners, #1) Lady Sophia's Lover (Bow Street Runners, #2) Worth Any Price (Bow Street Runners, #3)

I don't even know how I discovered this next author (maybe a What's Up Wednesday post?) but I have really been enjoying the mysteries of Jenn McKinlay. She has a library series (which I've read a few of) and a cupcake baker series. These two are from the cupcake series and they're just fun, light, mysteries. If you read them in order, you get a better sense of the community the main characters have built around themselves.

Dying for Devil's Food (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #11) Pumpkin Spice Peril (Cupcake Bakery Mystery, #12)

Then I read one non-fiction book, The Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod. This is a book about a woman who sells everything she owns, quits her job to travel, and ends up falling in love and moving to Paris. She makes it sound really easy except for two things: 1) She has a marketable (moveable) skill in her art and 2) I already do most of the things she recommends to "save money." I always find those "100 ways to save money" lists annoying and hers was no different. However, reading this book did make me want to go to Paris so there is that.

Paris Letters

So quite a few friends, whose opinions I really trust, told me to let go of my weird feeling about reading a novel about Jesus' wife and to read it anyways. And I shouldn't have waited so long because, as usual, they were right, and I LOVED The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd. I basically read it in one glorious Saturday and it was the best day I've spent in a long time. If you haven't read it, pick it up and enjoy!

The Book of Longings

The last two books I read in January (and no, none of these books are listed in the order I read them) were anti-racism books. The first one was I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. I read this book in one night and wondered how many microaggressions I have committed against people of colour.

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

I'd been wanting to read Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria and Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum for awhile so I was really glad when Emily chose it (or we coerced her into choosing it!) for our January book club. I found that parts of this book were very academic and detailed but I really appreciated the introduction and the first half of the book. The last half was full of statistics and I didn't think I'd enjoyed it that much but then I spent half an hour talking to Dave about a bunch of thoughts going through my head when I'd finished it. It broke my heart that this book is twenty years old and things haven't "gotten better" when it comes to racism and how people of colour are treated.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race

I think I normally read more than twelve books in a month but January was a bit of a slower month for me. Have you read any of these books? Do you have suggestions as to what I should read next based on any of these books? Are you skipping my blog for the rest of the week?!?!

See you back here on Wednesday when I'll document my weekend of reading. Spoiler alert: I read seven entire books, finished one I'd already started, and started a ninth book :)


  1. I've read I'm Still Here and I've been curious about The Book of Longings!

  2. Those McKinlay novels look right up my alley- will have to add them to my list- thanks for sharing Natasha!

  3. That is some heavy lifting on the last two. I have many thoughts, but I guess I just constantly hope and pray that all people would be more kind and just and not just when it is trendy to do so.
    One thing I loved about going to the Lutheran church years ago was that we always prayed for peace. :)

  4. Good job on your reading weekend!!!! I was anxious to come over here and see what you accomplished! :)

  5. Not surprising that I've read most of these haha. This was a really great month of reading, love it! I cannot wait for more book reviews!

  6. The Book of Longing sounds so good!! Why Are All the Kids is amazing!

  7. Book posts are among my favorites. Always glad to get good book recommendations and to know which books I can probably skip. My online book club just finished The Book of Lost Friends. I listened to it on Audible. So.Good. I highly recommend listening to this book. We are now reading The Midnight Library. I am listening to it, as well. The narrators for both books are very talented. Midnight Library is making me think...which is good for a change!! I have heard wonderful things about The Book of Longings and feel sure it will be my next read. I have started The Black Friend and it is also making me think.

  8. I actually went to a discussion and book signing by Austin Channing Brown where she discussed this book, why she wrote it, and how she got to where she is and I still haven't read it! I really need to. One of my goals- to read physical books off my bookshelf! I was hesitant to read The Books of Longings for the same reason as you, but you've sold me- adding it to my TBR! Looking forward to more book posts this month :)

  9. I read that Pumpkin Spice Peril book this fall and have been wanting to read that entire series from start to finish; it was so cute! I'm going to have to check out the first author you mentioned too as I tend to like those types of novels as well.

  10. LOVED those last three books! I also find those "100 ways to save money" lists deeply annoying and often rooted in deep privilege but whatever.

  11. So glad you loved Book of Longings!! What a great month of reading!!

  12. You seriously need to join goodreads! I love it because I now have years and years of my books tracked. I have heard good things about story graph too, which is supposed to be similar, but is a smaller business and not owned by Amazon.

  13. The Jenn McKinlay books...going to add those to my list! Thanks


Thank you for being interested in my life as I blog it and for leaving a comment. Comments make me happier than reading a good book and drinking a cold Coke. Almost :)