This month really tried me. A lot of good things happened, but the stressful kind of good thing, and so of course I was too busy being stressed to really enjoy any of it. Plus (maybe not so unrelated), the winter blues have struck me hard and I’ve been prone to feeling like NOTHING is really good AT ALL and I’m totally messing up MY ENTIRE LIFE. Which I know is a lie.
I gave myself a deadline of January 23 (the start of the spring semester of my grad program) to finish 2 short story drafts, and I did. They both need some work, but a complete draft is a complete draft and I’m happy. This spring I am starting a new writing project that is a secret goal, and I have a deadline: my 28th birthday.
Other good things: I’ve read some good books.
BOOKS I’VE READ IN JANUARY:
- The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
This book was adorable and I raced through it. It is a contemporary romance about a high-powered Silicon Valley math geek with autism and her love affair with a male escort she hires to teach her how to be good at sex things. If that isn’t the kind of wild ride fiction is all about, I don’t know anything.
- Tin Man by Sarah Winman
This was a slower paced read, but I still read it quickly. A lot of poetic language and sadness and beauty, though I think this is the sort of book I will forget having ever read.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont (audio; also, this is a re-read)
A security blanket book. I read it for the first time in 2013, on the bus to the mall where I worked. This time I listened to it while driving to job interviews. I liked the narrator.
- If You See Me, Don’t Say Hi by Neel Patel
Wonderful short stories about the experiences of first generation Indian Americans. All told in the first person. Some of these characters are truly hot messes, but I loved them and I loved the crisp writing so much.
- The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
A thriller, horror, thing. This book is divisive, but I devoured it. The narrator was crazy and I still don’t understand the ending but what a wild ride.
- Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (audio)
This was a gossipy romp into the crazy world of arrogant and corrupt people who not only buy their own BS, they patent it.
And the not so good stuff….
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Alas, the first DNF of the new year. I had this on hold for a while at the library so I’m annoyed I didn’t like it. I got a few stories in and gave up in the middle of the story that was just fictional recaps of Law & Order: SVU. This book reminded me of a tumblr blog, pre-pornography ban, dirty for its own sake and in love with it’s own deepness. I couldn’t connect – I’m too old for this stuff.
- No Exit by Taylor Adams
I’m in the middle of this now. It may be my second DNF of the year. I like thrillers but the first few chapters haven’t gotten my interest yet.
- You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian
I’m going to finish this one, but it’ll be more of a hate read that’ll drag into February. Roupenian is the author of Cat Person, a short story that was published in the New Yorker and went viral last year. The rest of the collection feels very rushed, and I think I suspect why. Seeing a short story writer make big bucks is pretty cool, though.
That’s all for now. The spring semester has begun and I’m already exhausted. I started a new job in the teen department of a library, which is an exciting thing, so if next month’s list seems YA-heavy you know why.