It’s hard to believe that it’s 2021, and that the first month of the year is over. I started the Reading Roundup series on my blog last January, and while I didn’t hit every single month of 2020, I liked sharing what I read and the highlights of my month in this series, so I’m keeping it up in 2021!
This Month’s Blogs
One of my 2021 goals is to blog more consistently and so far I’ve done a pretty good job in January.
I started the month with my 2020 year-in-review and infographic. This was my third year creating a roundup like this, and I love sharing my reads of the year in inforgraphic form.
Other blog posts included The Outcomes of Fall Online Learning ,where I shared projects I completed last semester; A review of The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep, a verse novel about the Donner Party; and a stationery tour.
My post for Hack Library School this month was about my career goal: Why I Want to Be a Rural Librarian
Books I read this Month
This month, I’ve read 21 books. Mostly I’ve been reading for fun, but I’m taking CHL 413, Realism, this spring which had a significant reading list to be tackled before the semester began, so even though I start classes on February 1, I’ve already started reading for class. As always, reviews and ratings of individual books can be found on my Goodreads page.
Books for Fun:
- Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- Flamer by Mike Curato
- We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
- The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis
- Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins
- The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
- The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf
- The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow.
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
- The Promised Land by Barack Obama
Books for Class:
- Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
- Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
- I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan
- Finding My Voice by Marie Myung-Ok Lee
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- Go Ask Alice by “anonymous”
- The Planet of Junior Brown by Virginia Hamilton
- Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
- Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid
- Harriet’s Daughter by M. NourbeSe Philip
Favorite book of the Month: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
This book is the closest I’ve come in years to replicating the reading experience of my early youth when I was overwhelmed with magic and delight at discovering a new fantasy world. And that’s the true magic of T. J. Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, that it’s an adult fantasy novel that read’s like a middle grade novel (perhaps that’s part of the reason it won an Alex Award earlier this month) It’s charming and delightfully detailed with quirky characters, but it doesn’t hesitate to hit more adult themes.
Linus Baker is a caseworker for DICOMY (The Department in Charge of Magical Youth) who is sent to an island orphanage to determine if it should remain open or not. There, he meets the mysterious master of the orphanage Arthur Parnassus along with the inhabitants who are highly powerful magical creatures while also just being chaotically wonderful child characters.
I honestly spent the last 1/3 of this book intermittently crying because Klune hit all the emotional buttons and the proceeded to wrap the novel in the most wonderful way. If you’re looking for a little bit of fantasy in a world that closely mimics our own, I can’t recommend this highly enough because it was really such a wonderful experience and a great story.
Runner Ups: The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep and We Are Not Free
Favorite Non-Book Things
I’ve gotten to play a lot of board games this month, mostly with Jake and also his family. We’ve played Puerto Rico, 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, and a lot of chess (does chess count as a board game? I’m counting it). If you remember from my blog post on My Winter Break Reading List, I made it a goal to improve my chess game, and while I still lose most of the time, I’m enjoying learning and getting better!
While the cold weather makes it feel a little harder to get outside, I’ve gotten to do some really wonderful winter walks and hikes out in nature. Fingers crossed that there will be more opportunities to do some hiking and exploring nature this winter and into the spring.
Frog and Toad
I made this adorable Frog and Toad embroidery in the last couple of days this month, after remarking at work that I thought Frog and Toad would make a cute embroidery. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of obsessed with this and may have to try my hand at more literary illustrations in the future.