What I Read – January 2020


Pages & Co.: Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James (Harper Collins, 2018)

Strange Planet – Nathan Pyle (Morrow Gift, 2019)

Strange Hotel – Eimear McBride (McClelland & Stewart, 2020)

The Escapist – David Puretz (Global City Press, 2020)

100 Times: A Memoir of Sexism – Chavisa Woods (Seven Stories Press, 2019)

Introverted Mom – Jamie C. Martin (Zondervan, 2019)

Dear Girls – Ali Wong (Random House, 2019)

The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline (Dancing Cat Books, 2017)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong (Random House, 2019)

The Truants – Kate Weinberg (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020)

A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing – Eimear McBride (Simon & Schuster Canada, 2014)

Did Not Finish:

It’s unusual for me to abandon three books in one month and even more unusual to do so with three books in a row. But, honestly, I have so many books I’m excited to read in 2020 that I’m okay with letting go of the books that don’t work for me.

We Wish You Luck – Caroline Zancan

(If I wanted to learn about a low-residency masters program for writers, I would do a low-residency masters program for writers. I got about 50 pages in and all that had happened was different characters were presented to us and we were told things about them. Like, did you know they are doing a low-residency masters program for writing? I’ve read The Secret History and this ain’t it.)

Disappearing Earth – Julia Philips

(This one’s on me. Simply not the right book for me, however good it might be. I read mostly positive reviews from Hannah and Callum and eagerly put this on hold at the library. I read the opening section and from the moment the strange man appeared on the beach, I couldn’t handle the tension. I’m told it’s not just about two little girls who are kidnapped but as a mom of two little girls, I feel this book is not currently for me. Maybe in twenty years…)

Agency – William Gibson

(Again, probably a great book for someone else but not for me. I’m not much of a science fiction reader but I thought I’d give this a shot since Gibson is such a big name in the sci-fi world. I just didn’t have the energy and/or focus to slog through all the world-explaining that science fiction requires and DNFed this one about 70 pages in.)

Currently Reading:

Bleak House – Charles Dickens

The Fat Woman Next Door is Pregnant – Michel Tremblay

The No-Cry Sleep Solution – Elizabeth Pantley

2020 Goals:

Books Read: 11/100

Books Reviewed: 8/75

Translations: 0/20

Writers Fest 2020: 3/8 (announced so far)

Current TBR: 195 (down 3 from the beginning of the year)

What’s Next:

The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick

The Man Who Saw Everything – Deborah Levy

Those are library holds that have recently come in for me so I’ll have to get to them quickly. I’m on the list for Such a Fun Age and The Vagina Bible but I don’t expect either to come in any time soon.

Once I finish Bleak House I am thinking of attempting Ducks, Newburyport. One 500+ page book at a time is enough for me. The question is do I get it from the library and try to read it in 3 weeks or do I buy it new?

My next non-fiction read will be Hold on to Your Kids by Gabor Mate. This book has been recommended to me a dozen times and I bought a copy at Powells Books in 2017 but I’ve been saving it until my kids were older. Well, 2020 is the year Pearl starts kindergarten so I think the time has come.

As for ARCs, I’m actually pretty caught up at the moment. February should see me reading Last Impressions which has a pub date in March but other than that, none are pressing.

How was your reading month? What was your favourite book of January?

12 thoughts on “What I Read – January 2020”

  1. I totally understand your decision not to continue with Disappearing Earth. That first chapter was incredibly anxiety inducing, so I can only imagine how it felt reading it as a mother with two children of a similar age to the characters.

    1. Admittedly, I’m a wuss about these things! And even knowing the book focused on other things, I knew those little girls would stick in my mind!

  2. Bleak House is wonderful, and I enjoyed reading more about how British law worked in the 1800s. It sounds tedious. Also, like they really needed computers. I personally found The Man in the High Castle a total snooze, but that’s because it uses a lot of real WWII history and people who were involved and twists them around. If you don’t know the minor players from German from the 1940s, a lot of meaning will be lost on you.

    1. Chancery sounds terrible! Which was kind of Dickens point. It took me a bit to get into it but I’m really enjoying Bleak House now.

      I’m fully prepared to DNF High Castle if necessary. It’s the oldest book on my TBR so I want to be able to cross it off, one way or the other!

  3. Bleak House – hurrah! Glad to hear you’re enjoying it! Agree totally about DNFing – there’s not a lot of point struggling through books that aren’t working for us when there are plenty more out there. I’d be hard put to pick a favourite for January. I’ve had several good reads and a few not so good ones, but nothing outstanding. (The outstanding ones I’ve been reviewing were all November/December reads – I’m way behind!) I’m jealous that you’ve got your TBR under the magical 200 mark!

    1. My magical TBR number comes from being very honest with myself and culling all the titles that I realized have been sitting there forever and I’m never going to read. It is already creeping back up though!

  4. Looks like you had a great month! I’ll be starting Disappearing Earth in Feb, so I’m sorry to see that one didn’t work for you, but your reasoning seems very understandable and won’t be the case for me, so I’m still hoping to click with that one. I lol’d at your thought of picking it up again in twenty years! 🙂
    I hope you’ll like The Man Who Saw Everything, that one really won me over in the end!
    I’m also curious what you thought about A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing? I found it such a challenging and worthwhile read, but there seem to be a lot of different opinions on it!

    1. I’m pretty sure you’ll get on with Disappearing Earth better than I did. From what I read, I think it’s quite well-written.

      I should have a review of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing up next week. It was definitely challenging but having read McBride before made it slightly easier since I had an idea of what to expect.

    2. Ooh, great!

      I’ll look forward to your review! It was my first McBride so it was utterly unlike anything I had read before, but I really ended up appreciating it. I’ll keep an eye out for your thoughts!

    3. I could totally see that! Lesser Bohemians was like that for me whereas this time I had a better idea of what I was getting into it.

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