January was a successful reading month. I was able to read several books in different genres. Below I’ve included some thoughts, ratings and suggestions if you happen to like any of these titles.
The Family Game by Catherine Steadman
Genre: Holiday Thriller
General Gist: Harriet is engaged and meeting her future in-laws over the holidays. The family has some odd traditions, family secrets, and complicated relationships with trust issues. The game is about surviving in the family and revealing the truth. I find that it’s best to go in blind and let the chaos unravel for this one. 4 stars.
If you like this you might like: The Christmas Murder Game, And Then There Were None, 56 Days
Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World by Mackenzi Lee and illustrated by Petra Eriksson.
Genre: Illustrated Biography
General Gist: This is a collection of 52 women from around the world that had some historical impact but are mostly forgotten and have been swept under the rug of the patriarchy. The entries read like a twitter thread, because that is where the concept for the book started. These are great mini-biographies that have an approachable, unpretentious voice to pull you back into time and provide a bit of historical context and introduction to each of these women. 3.5 stars.
If you like this you might like: Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas; Renegade Women in Film and TV, Extraordinary Women In History: 70 Remarkable Women Who Made a Difference, Inspired & Broke Barriers
The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry
Genre: Sci-Fi Murder Mystery
General Gist: Imagine being able to change your path and then ending up on a different timeline in a multiverse. Then throw in a stalker that became infatuated with you on one plane, and then murders you on another. Let the chase through time paradox begin. 3 stars.
If you like this you might like: Dark Matter, Midnight Library, Kindred all offer time-travel, multiverse themes.
Falling by TJ Newman
General Gist: A pilot is on duty, mid-flight and he finds out his family is held hostage. The pilot has to make a choice, crash the plane to save his family or land the plane and lose his family. 4 stars.
If you like this you might like: The movie Speed. The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer or The Last Flight by Julie Clark.
Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman
Genre: Literary Fiction
General Gist: This book is about a bank heist, a hostage situation, grief and loss, compassion, humor and humanity. Tonally this is very different from Bear Town and A Man Called Ove but Bachman’s strong suit is providing a cast of characters to show us the human spectrum. 4 stars.
If you like this you might like: Bachman’s backlist, Lessons in Chemistry, Storied Life of A.J. Fikry , Sourdough, Where Did You Go Bernadette?
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
Genre: Micro History / Nature of Rocks and Minerals
General Gist: This is a history of salt across the world, it’s uses, influence, and significance. 2 stars.
If you like this you might like: Micro histories that are hyper focused on one thing. Try this instead; Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World
Spare by Prince Harry
Genre: Royal Memoir
General Gist: This is Prince Harry’s story. This covers his grief, his military career, his complex family dynamic, his love story with Meghan and his ongoing frustration with the symbiotic relationship between the royal family and the british press to retain relevance.
If you like this you might like: Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Genre: Historical Fiction
General Gist: This is the story about William Shakespeare’s wife, their children, a plague. This is also about love, grief, marriage, motherhood. 4 stars.
If you like this you might like: Station Eleven , it’s also about a plague and has Shakespeare connections.
Excuse Me While I Disappear: Tales of Midlife Mayhem by Laurie Notaro
Genre: Memoir Essay: Love, Marriage and Sex
General Gist: This is the real life guide to navigating life from peri-menopause through menopause. I’m an OG fan of Laurie Notaro going back to The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life and I find her to be the big sister I never had doling out the wisdom with her funny anecdotes. If you’ve had a a hotflash and need a laugh while coping, this book is for you. 4 stars.
If you like this you might like: Notaro’s backlist, David Sedaris, Sloane Crosley, Jenny Lawson and Nora Ephron memoir/essay collections.
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
Genre: Isolated Closed Circle Mystery
General Gist: This is a retelling of And Then There Were None – with a great atmosphere and some twists. I read this after having one of twists spoiled so it was fun to see the end coming, however, it’s best to go in blind, as with most thrillers or mysteries. This book contains unlikeable characters and someone dies every hour on Halloween as they are all trapped in by the sea until the tide goes out. Fun game: Pick the person you hate the most at the beginning and see who is the worst at the end. 4 stars.
If you like this you might like: Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, The Family Game, The Christmas Murder Game, No Exit.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
General Gist: 2 kids meet in the hospital when they are kids, they bond over video games. Then over life’s course they reconnect and their friendship has touchstones that correlate with working on video games. 1 star.
If you like this I have nothing for you as this book was not for me. Try the Storied Life of Aj Fikry, as this was a good book by the same author.
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World by Matt Kracht
Genre: Non-Fiction Illustrated Humor
General Gist: The bird book that goes beyond the North America edition with quippy funny details about a selection of bird worldwide, illustrated by the author. 4 stars.
If you like this: The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America