Wrap up posts

What I read in January 2017 (and #Diverseathon)


I’ve had possibly my best reading month ever, having finished off a whole 7 (7!) books this January.  I know some people usually read that much but it’s quite a lot for me!  As I’ll be posting reviews in the upcoming weeks – though probably not for all of these books – I thought it would be nice to do a quick summary of what I’ve read.

Below I’ve also included some thoughts from participating in the #Diverseathon this past week, though I didn’t get to read quite as much as I’d hoped!

Here are the books I read this month:

essex-serpentThe Essex Serpent – Sarah Perry

The Waterstones Book of the Year, and this week also longlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize.  I started this just after Christmas and absolutely loved it.  Review coming shortly!




reasons-to-stay-aliveReasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

I’ve definitely listed this on a Top Ten Tuesday post at some point – an essential read on mental health.  A reread, and useful during bleak January.




gather-together-in-mynameGather Together in My Name – Maya Angelou

The second of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies, I think I enjoyed this even more than I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.  It tracks the author’s life for about 5 years in and around San Francisco, as a new mother, a worker and through a host of complicated relationships.




the-outrunThe Outrun – Amy Liptrot

I picked this up a while ago, when it got a lot of attention for winning a nature writing prize, and was featured as a Waterstones non-fiction book of the month.  The author grew up on Orkney, lived a hazy and out of control lifestyle, leading to addiction, in London before returning to the islands.  Both a complex personal story and a beautiful, descriptive portrayal of the sometimes harsh, sometimes peaceful, Orkney islands.



girl-on-the-trainThe Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

I read this on my sister’s insistence 😉  After avoiding it due to the fact I’m a huge wimp and I thought it would be scary.  Not usually a fan of crime/thriller but found this pretty entertaining.  Will post my review soon 🙂





so-long-see-you-tomorrowSo Long, See You Tomorrow – William Maxwell

This book came to me through the wonderful Backlisted podcast – which you should definitely listen to.  A very short but incredibly powerful novel.  The narrator is haunted by a childhood friendship and a series of events which unfolded years ago in rural Illinois.  Review for this also forthcoming!





underground-railroadThe Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead

Having received a copy for Christmas, I was prompted to read this as it was chosen as the group read for #Diverseathon.  The tale of a slave, Cora, running away from the plantation which she has never left, this book is pretty hard-hitting.  Whitehead takes the figurative ‘Underground railroad’ and here makes it into a literal railway, operated by a series of station masters and helpers. Initially a bit reluctant about the concept, I actually thought it worked really well and meant the book could explore the different approaches and attitude to slavery in different states.  Review coming soon…


Other thoughts on #Diverseathon:

I really enjoyed the group read The Underground Railroad, and it’s been nice being able to read other people’s reviews and get other takes on it.  It was a busy week for me so have only just got round to starting my other planned read for the week, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  After participating in one of the Twitter chats, I loved seeing other people’s recommendations on specific diverse authors/themes.

Some books I now definitely plan to read, from others recommendations:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

Saree – Su Dharmapala

Behold The Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue

Orientalism – Edward Said

Silence – Shusaku Endo

Reading a wide range of authors, cultures, themes and own voices is something I’m really going to try and keep up this year.

Do you have any other recommendations for Diverse Reads?  Of what you’ve read in January, did anything really stand out for you?  Let me know in the comments 🙂

Here’s to another month of reading!




10 thoughts on “What I read in January 2017 (and #Diverseathon)

  1. Great wrap up, and you had a really good month! I’m looking forward to reading your reviews… The Essex Serpent has been on my shelf for a while but I just haven’t picked it up yet! I loved The Underground Railroad and Homegoing- I hope you enjoy Homegoingas well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading about the books on your post today. The Essex Serpent won’t be released in the US until June, so I’ll have to wait a while for it. I’m reading The Underground Railroad now. I will look for The Outrun, by Amy Liptrot.

    Books that I’ve read recently that I would recommend are The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom; Glory Over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom, which is a sequel to The Kitchen House; and Irena’s Children, by Tilar J. Mazzeo.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was enjoying The Underground Railroad, but I was sidetracked by Irena’s Children, by Tilar J. Mazzeo. When I got back to Underground, I realized I’d lost my train of thought/lost track of the story. Therefore, I started back at the beginning last night. This is what happens when all the books I’m on the waitlist for at the public library come in at the same time.


  3. I read Girl on the Train in January too. I absolutely flew through it!!

    I need to read The Essex Serpent. I wasn’t sure at first, but then Waterstones named it their book of the year and I’ve read some good independent reviews, so I may have to pick this one up!

    Liked by 1 person

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