Bookworm: January 2018

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Lol, I went a bit nuts this month. Having the whole first week of the month off from work for winter holiday AND being totally sidelined by illness for that week forced me to pound through more books than usual, due to being so down-and-out, and I re-read a few more than I usually do. A good month, all said and done! 

Loved: 

Rich and Pretty, Rumaan Alam: This was one of those books where I recognized someone I knew in one of the main characters and it hit me like a deeply solid, impactful gut-punch. Those little moments of recognition kept happening - in so many of the phrases, the vignettes painted throughout. It's a gorgeous examination of the complexities of female friendship and I recommend it VERY highly. 

Texts from Jane Eyre, Mallory Ortberg: I blew through this in an hour, went back and read most of it again immediately after, and forced it upon Dave and Laura during our post-cocktails wind-down for the evening. It is SO deliciously witty and on point - the reimagining of literary heroes and villains through the modern medium of texting is a juxtaposition any bookworm would adore. 

Enjoyed: 

Single State of Mind, Andi Dorfman: As a shameless "Bachelor" franchise fangirl, this was of course on my list for the month - I was not a huge fan of Dorfman's first effort, but this resonated a bit more for me. Despite the shameless namedropping and privilege-flaunting, a lot of her musings on life as a single woman in her late twenties struck me as worth remembering - I found myself highlighting in my eBook as I read. Worth it, I think, if you're a "Bachelor" lover too - otherwise, eh, skip it. 

Daughter of Empire, Lady Pamela Hicks: I've heard this autobiography mentioned several times as a great behind-the-scenes peek into the early years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, and I picked it up as a quick, light read. It was gossipy and fluffy and totally fun; while the insights to the Queen's early reign were there, I enjoyed it just as much for the Downton-esque drama portrayed throughout the author's chronicle of her life in post-Imperial India and as a titled debutante in post-war London. 

Dazzling Brightness, Roberta Gellis: A retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth that fuses in a little romance and a little sci-fi. This was by no means "highbrow" or "quality" literature, but I read it, and its two sequels, in about a day each (largely poolside). I'm thinking about diving deeper into mythology...we'll see! 

Shimmering Splendor, Roberta Gellis: The sequel to "Dazzling Brightness," a myth-meets-romance-meets-magic retelling of the Eros and Psyche myth. It was good - again, an easy and undemanding read that reminded me a bit of Philip Pullman or Tamora Pierce. 

Fitness Junkie, Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza: Everyone in the world seemed to have this on their lists last year, so I'm a bit late to the game - that said, this biting satire of the world's obsession with health, wellness, and fitness made me legitimately laugh out loud a few times. The story itself - a workaholic faced with the conundrum of losing either weight or her company - was a bit surface-y, but this would be a great beach read regardless of its lack of deeper significance. 

Tolerated: 

Enchanted Fire, Roberta Gellis: The third in the myth trilogy I read, and I didn't like it half as much as the first two. This reimagining of the Orpheus and Euridyce story was largely set on Jason's Argo, and was way too pedantic and bickery for my taste. I slogged through it, unlike the first two, and was relieved when it was over. 

Re-reads: 

Scarlett, Alexandra Ripley: I went on a "Gone With the Wind" binge toward the end of December and picked this up as soon as I got back to the Bay Area - it was the perfect old familiar friend to get me through being sicker than most of my adult life. I love that it gives Scarlett and Rhett a happy ending, with stops in Charleston, Savannah and Ireland along the way. 

Crown Duel, Sherwood Smith: We marathoned the Harry Potter movies early in January and it got me jonesing for a good fantasy book. This one, originally published in two volumes, is a sort of "Hunger Games" meets "The Crown" meets "Potter" with a little helping of Tamora Pierce in there - it's an extremely quick, light, escapist read that I have enjoyed on and off for over a decade now. 

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott: I clearly needed to start 2018 off with some of my favorites, and Alcott is a perennial love of mine. I could write volumes on how much I adore "Little Women," but I'll forbear...needless to say, sometimes a familiar old treasure is the best kind of book. 

Little Men, Louisa May Alcott: Again, Alcott's a go-to for me as a literary equivalent of comfort food, but I don't love either of the sequels to "Little Women" as much as I love the original. Still a good old friend to visit, though! 

Jo's Boys, Louisa May Alcott: More of the same as "Little Men" here, but it's always fun to watch Alcott's little heroes and heroines grow up. 

Eight Cousins, Louisa May Alcott: This novel, and its sequel (below) are two of my favorite Alcott works - wholesome and charming and just the right amount of preachy, coupled with being super-fast reads. Highly recommend for fans of "Little Women" who haven't read them before! 

Rose in Bloom, Louisa May Alcott: See above - seriously, pick them up. They're also available in the public domain through Project Gutenberg - one of my favorite sources for my oldies-but-goodies.