What’s New On My Bookshelf: January

As you all know, I’m an avid reader. I made a goal for myself last year to read 24 books (2 books per month) and surpassed that by reading 40. It was such a fun challenge because it forced me to prioritize reading over watching TV or playing video games, plus because I started borrowing books from the library I was able to expand my horizons and read different genres that I typically would look past. Setting this yearly goal for myself has helped me rediscover my love for books…there is nothing more comforting than snuggling up on my couch with blankets, my cats, a yummy cup of coffee and a good book.

My goal for this year is 30 books because I don’t want to make myself feel like I’m under a deadline, having to rush through pages and not fully enjoy my time with each book. I surprised myself this month by reading 6 books, which I’ve detailed and reviewed below, not with my goal in mind but purely because I was hungry for a good book. I got lucky this month in reading two that really captivated me to the point where I would stay up as late as possible reading, spending my lunch reading, and getting home from work just to immediately sit down and read. Keep on reading to see the new additions to my bookshelf and which ones I liked, didn’t like, and loved.


Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation—awkward but electrifying—something life changing begins.

My first read of the year, Normal People was a fun book about two people popping up in each other’s lives time and time again. I felt like Rooney captured the essence of growing up and growing into yourself as a person.

★★★

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

While this was such a fun page-turner, the ending didn’t satisfy the years of mystery Hawkins details in this small town. Into the Water sadly proved that it’s difficult to follow a bestseller-turned-blockbuster movie.

★★

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

City of Girls was such an incredibly fun and descriptive read, it truly felt like I had been transported to 1940’s NYC, right onto the stage of a small run-down theater that puts on incredibly vivid plays. I would have gladly continued reading City of Girls and was sad when it came to an end.

★★★★

From New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand, comes a novel about the many ways family can fill our lives with love…if they don’t kill us first.

I had always wanted to read something from Hilderbrand, having seen her many books in just about every Target. This was a fun mystery with complex characters that unfortunately ended too quickly. I’ll definitely return to Hilderbrand in future.

★★★

Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

I recently saw the movie (which I loved so, so much) and knew I just had to read the classic novel right away. Although it was very long (and certainly felt so), it was still a beautiful story of four devoted sisters that tugged at my own sister-having heart.

★★★

In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.

A Little Life broke and mended and then again broke my heart multiple times over. Recommended on r/books as the most heartbreaking book ever, I went into this knowing I’d be sad but not anticipating just how much. It’s rare that a book makes me cry. As sad as it is, it is written absolutely beautifully with characters that you know will forever stay with you. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did and I’m so thankful to Yanagihara for her amazing work.

★★★★★


I just finished reading A Little Life last night and just cannot stop thinking about how much it affected me. It’s very tough to read and does require some trigger warnings (SA, SH, DV, PA, ED, EA) but despite all of that, it was a beautiful read. Let me know if you read it, or any of the others on my January bookshelf! Don’t forget to follow my Goodreads account to see what I’m currently reading and join in on my 30 books in 2020 challenge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s